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Recasting Bourgeois EuropeStabilization in France, Germany, and Italy in the Decade after World War I$
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Charles S. Maier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169798

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169798.001.0001

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The Dimensions of Social Conflict at the End of World War I

The Dimensions of Social Conflict at the End of World War I

(p.19) 1 The Dimensions of Social Conflict at the End of World War I
Recasting Bourgeois Europe

Charles S. Maier

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines social conflict at the end of World War I in three dimensions: in terms of class, elite, and interest groups. Conservatives throughout Europe were preoccupied with class divisions and the vulnerability of their own favored stations in life, but their sense of vulnerability emerged in different language and day-to-day disputes. In France, social defensiveness was revealed directly by continuing justification and discussion of the bourgeoisie, while in Germany the fixation with the Social Democratic Party and in Italy the defense of “liberalism” disclosed underlying class malaise. The chapter explains how these differences emerged within a pervasive anxiety about social polarization. It also considers the ways in which the elites sought to utilize the opportunity to reassert their older social hegemony in the context of corporate capitalism.

Keywords:   social conflict, class, elites, interest groups, conservatives, Europe, class divisions, bourgeoisie, liberalism, capitalism

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