Friday, 29 August 2014

Humanity shatters "Kultur"

Much anti-German sentiment during the Great War was directed at something called "Kultur." What was it, and why was it reviled?

It means in German roughly what we would mean by "culture" in English, but was used sarcastially in Britain to lampoon the supposed German belief that their culture was superior to all others - "Uber alles", and all that. The British naturally found this belief both risible and self-evidently inaccurate, and started depicting Germany as a drooling ape in a pickelhaube helmet running around with a large club with the word Kulture engraved on it, presumably looking for victims to educate.

But "Kultur" also has another shade of meaning relating to something called "Kulturkampf." Those Noble Readers steeped in 20th Century lore, will notice that word "kampf" - as in Mein Kampf, the title of a peculiar fantasy penned by infamous jail-bird Adolf Hitler.  "Kampf" means "struggle" or perhaps "battle," and "Kulturkampf" refers to late 19th Century efforts in Prussia to cleanse the domain of Roman Catholic influence. Chancellor Otto von Bismarck introduced increasingly stringent curbs on Catholic institutions, which had an effect later when, in August, 1914, the Germans overran Belgium and Poland, both notably Catholic countries.


Click on this link to get a copy of my latest novel - The Deadly Playground, 1914 

2 comments:

  1. Enjoying the background info on the period!

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  2. Glad to hear it - there's much more coming your way. I do a lot of research for the book and I like to share it.

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