'Britische Freiheit' und das Englandbild in der öffentlichen deutschen Diskussion im ausgehenden 18. Jahrhundert
This thesis deals with the propagandist significance of the anglophilia and anglophobia of the German intelligentsia in public life at the end of the 18th century. The source material consists of the most important media for political discussion of the period: journals, pamphlets and travelogues. The thesis demonstrates that for people of the time Great Britain represented a model of one social and political system and that discussion of this model, "British freedom", was implicitly or explicitly concerned with the suitability of this model for Germany. The political images of England were also governed by particular and national interests as well as the attitude to the legitimate justification of antirevolutionary feeling. The anglophilia of the 1780s, the admiration of the British constitution, society and national character contained criticism of the shortcomings of German class hierarchy and absolutism as well as demands for reform which supported the emancipation of the bourgeoisie. In the 1790s "British freedom" lost some of its emancipatory significance in the consciousness of people of the time for the reason that it came into comparison with the modern models of the French revolution. Basing themselves on Burke, anglophile conservatives developed British freedom into an antirevolutionary slogan and argument for a method of gradual reform. The propagation of foreign models for a future utopia for Germany aroused anglophobic protests even in the conservatives' own circles. The principal critics of anglophilia, however, were German Jacobins. The attitude of liberals to England was ambivalent in the sense that on one hand they propagated British-style social and even constitutional reforms in order to avert the threat of revolution in Germany, but on the other hand they sharply condemned the reactionary policy of Pitt's government which many conservatives for their part recommended as a model to the German princes. As a result of liberal and Jacobin promulgation, aggressive criticism of "Pitt's system" and theses about the destruction of British freedom and the decay of the national character attained considerable proportions in Germany. The influence of the British opposition press is visible in this criticism but at its root the dominance of anglophobia in public is explained by the revolutionary wars which where defeats for the empire and the role of Great Britain as a fashioner and financer of coalitions. Debate about the war shows that criticism of Great Britain was also a channel for bitterness towards the German princes and that under the pressure of censorship this criticism became one method of demanding that German governments should abandon the war. ...
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