The, The Butcher 's Tale, By Helmut Walser Smith

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Late 19th Century Germany was a time seemingly stuck between two worlds – the past and the future – and this period’s amount of rapid growth and change ultimately resulted in the decimation of German society as was known. This collapse allowed a river of hatred to flow in its place, known as Anti-Semitism. Based on the primary and secondary sources discussed in and out of class, I believe there are three main reasons why such a horrendous belief system infiltrated 19th Century German society: conflict between urban and rural populations, rapid freedoms granted to the media, and the ignorance of German politicians who unknowingly or not, pushed political extremists’ agendas. Late 19th Century Germany was an ever-changing political,…show more content…
This estrangement left a disconnect in society that spread just from being “urban” or “rural” – it expanded all the way to the government and society as a whole. Often times, people associate government with “city” as both are often far away and unaware of rural life and its needs. This caused a rift between the people and the government as the people implementing laws and decrees have no true knowledge of how it is affecting the people who are not directly at “arms reach”. This is most prominent in “The Butcher’s Tale” where the author describes the government’s attempts to bring in troops and investigators to quell the ongoing anti-Semitic mob and in turn they are easily dispelled. The people in small towns around the German Empire – like Konitz – were aware that the government didn’t understand their needs. This ultimately left them susceptible to the media that they learned their news from. Media was just as ever-changing as the society it was taking place within. During this time, media was just beginning to become a nationwide phenomenon. In May of 1874, the “Imperial Press Law” decreed that there would be freedom of the press. This opened the door not only for more forms of media to be readily available, but also for media to now be interwoven with politics. Newspapers

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