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REVIEW ARTICLE William D.

Godsey, Jr
Nobles and Modernity
Der europa ische Adel im Ancien Re gime. Von der Krise der sta ndischen Monarchien bis zur Revolution (ca. 16001789) . Edited by Ronald G. Asch. Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Bo hlau. 2001. vii + 438 pp. DM78 (paperback). bergang. Die Fu Adel im U rsten und Grafen von Lo wenstein-Wertheim zwischen Landesherrschaft und Standesherrschaft 17801850 . By Harald Stockert. Vero ffentlichungen der Kommission fu r geschichtliche Landeskunde in Baden-Wu rttemberg, Series B, vol. 144. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer. 2000. 330 pp. 28.00. (hardback). Adel im 19, und 20. Jahrhundert . By Heinz Reif. Enzyklopa die deutscher Geschichte, vol. 55. Munich: Oldenbourg, 1999. 156 pp. 19.80 (paperback). Adel und Bu rgertum in Deutschland I. Entwicklungslinien und Wendepunkt im 19. Jahrhundert . Edited by Heinz Reif. Elitenwandel in der Moderne, vol. 1. Berlin: Akademie. 2000. 355 pp. 49.80 (hardback) Der Schritt in die Moderne. Sa chsischer Adel zwischen 1763 und 1918. Edited by Silke Marburg and Josef Matzerath. Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Bo hlau. 2001. 258 pp. DM58 (paperback). Von deutschem Adel. Die Grafen von Bernstorff im zwanzigsten Jahrhundert . By Eckart Conze. Stuttgart and Munich: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. 2000. 560 pp. 29.80 (hardback). sterreichisches Adelsrecht 18681918/19. Von der Ausgestaltung des O Adelsrechts der cisleithanischen Reichsha lfte bis zum Adelsaufhebungsgesetz der Republik unter besonderer Beru cksichtigung des adeligen Namensrechts . By Reinhard Binder-Krieglstein. Rechtshistorische Reihe, vol. 216. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 2000. 292 pp. 30 (paperback). Crafting a Post-Imperial Identity: Nobles and Nationality Politics in
German History Vol. 20 No. 4 10.1191/0266355402gh270ra 2002 The German History Society

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Czechoslovakia, 19181948. By Eagle Glassheim. Ph.D. Dissertation. Columbia University, 2000. In his masterful study of a German noble house in the twentieth century, Eckart Conze makes (p. 286) the seemingly immodest and, for some, perhaps improbable claim that the history of the nobility may be understood as nothing less than the history of society generally (Gesesellschaftsgeschichte ). That historians of modern central Europe have tended to ignore the nobility in favour of the middle classes and the proletariat would give his claim even greater implausibility. The historiography of German society was long dominated by such great projects as those in Bielefeld and Frankfurt am Main devoted to the German bourgeoisie. Even with the more recent shift in interest, a certain shyness has strangely remained concerning initiatives devoted to nobles alone. The Institute for European History in Mainz chose to sponsor (19962000) a lites and Heinz Reif, arguably Germanys leading broadly de ned project on e authority on the late modern nobility, organized his own research project in Berlin to encompass both nobles and the middle classes. The book title Adel und Bu rgertum alone has acquired a certain currency.1 In the central European successor states of the Habsburg Empire, the nobility virtually disappears from the historiography of the late modern period. This is particularly unfortunate given what we know, thanks to the work of R. J. W. Evans, about the matchless social, economic, and cultural power of the aristocracy in the preceding era.2 Little evidence suggests that the great territorial magnates had by the nineteenth century forfeited their wealth and traditional power, which rested on an alliance with dynasty and Church dating to the Counter-Reformation. Only a few incidental studies have appeared recently.3 The bourgeoisie on the other hand has come to occupy, somewhat later than in Germany, a privileged position among social historians of Austria.4 The tide may have turned in the Czech Republic, where scholars have just begun trying to untangle the history of the nobility in Bohemia and Moravia from the ticklish
1 Apart from Reifs book of that title being reviewed here, see Elisabeth Fehrenbach and Elisabeth Mu ller-Luckner, eds., Adel und Bu rgertum in Deutschland 17701848 , Schriften des Historischen Kollegs, vol. 31 (Munich, 1994). 2 R. J. W. Evans, The Making of the Habsburg Monarchy 15501700 (Oxford, 1979). 3 See the literature listed in Lothar Ho belt, The Discreet Charm of the Old Regime, Austrian History Yearbook XXVII (1996), pp. 289302. Most recently: Ralph Melville, Adel und Revol sterreich um die Mitte des ution in Bo hmen. Strukturwandel von Herrschaft und Gesellschaft in O 19, Jahrhunderts , Vero ffentlichungen des Instituts fu r Europa ische Geschichte Mainz Abteilung Universalgeschichte, vol. 95 (Mainz, 1998); William D. Godsey, Jr., Aristocratic Redoubt: The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Of ce on the Eve of the First World War, Central European Studies, ed. Charles Ingrao (West Lafayette, IN, 1999); William D. Godsey, Jr., Quarterings and Kinship: The Social Composition of the Habsburg Aristocracy in the Dualist Era, The Journal of Modern History , 71 (1999), pp. 56104; and, William D. Godsey, Jr., Noble Survival and Transformation at the Beginning of the Late Modern Era: The Counts Coudenhove from Rhenish Cathedral Canons to Austrian Priests, 17501850, German History , 19 (2001), pp. 499524. 4 sterreich: Ein Bericht, O sterreich in Konstantinos Raptis, Bu rgertumsforschung in O Geschichte und Literatur , 45 (2001), pp. 17378.

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issue of nationality. A recent conference at the university in Olomouc (Olmu tz), the results of which are soon to be published, evidences this new interest.5 The focus on other social formations can only partly explain the neglect of the nobility. The wicked role traditionally assigned by Czech national historiography to the Bohemian aristocracy is symptomatic. Our perception of noble history has owed much to approachesnationalist. Marxist, or Liberalin which the nobility often followed a conveniently prearranged cue. Older Marxist historiography regarded the alleged triumph of the bourgeoisie at the time of the French Revolution as suf cient justi cation for ignoring the hereditary caste thereafter. Bohemian magnates offered a similarly easy target that the sacredness of national myths made dif cult to dismantle.6 Speci c questions have likewise de ected serious, critical inquiry. The scholarly debate about absolutism long noted the expansion of monarchical power at the expense of the nobility, but not noble resistance, resilience and autonomy. Similarly, the famous Sonderweg thesis, which aimed to elucidate the origins of Nazism, assigned to the Junkers an explanatory value little-marked by complexity or contingency. * * * A closer look at the noble past promises far more than an insight into one, albeit powerful and privileged, social group however much this in itself is a worthy objective. Precisely because of the nobilitys continuing importance, out of all proportion to its numbers, a familiarity with its experiences can offer correctives to our general understanding of modern European history. The publications under consideration point us in that direction. The ne collection of essays edited by Asch offers new perspectives on the rise of the modern state and engages with the recent, lively discussion about the usefulness of the concept of absolutism.7 Each of the three sections addresses a different facet of this important topic: the nobility and governmental absolutism in practice; the alleged domestication of the nobility under the in uence of the monarchical court; and, the relationship between bureaucratic centre and noble periphery in the great empires. The nobility, usually pictured as the loser in power struggles with the monarch, convincingly emerges from these pages with much of its autonomy intact and indeed revived down to the end of the eighteenth century.
5 The conference Adel in (aus) Bo hmen und Ma hren im 19. Jahrhundert/ La noblesse en (de) Bohe me et Moravie au XIXe sie `cle took place on 2627 October 2001 in Olomouc. The results tudes danubiennes . are to appear in a forthcoming special issue of E 6 For an important corrective, based on the experiences of the Tuscan nobility, to the historiography of Italian uni cation, see Thomas Kroll, Die Revolte des Patriziats. Der toskanische Adelsliberalismus im Risorgimento . Bibliothek des deutschen historischen Instituts in Rom, vol. 90 (Tu bingen 1999). 7 Ronald G. Asch and Heinz Duchhardt, eds., Der Absolutismus ein Mythos? Sturkturwandel monarchischer Herrschaft in West- und Mitteleuropa (ca. 15001700) , Mu nstersche Historische Forschungen, vol. 9 (Cologne, Weimar, and Vienna, 1996).

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Even in an absolutist state such as Prussia, the extension of royal power strongly varied from province to province, as Wolfgang Neugebauer has shown in his well-argued contribution. In the interesting work of the Dutch scholar, Jeroen Duindam, many old shibboleths concerning the role of the courts in taming the nobility, here in Vienna and Paris, are being rethought: I nd it dif cult to see ceremony as a means used to control nobles. Only in very exceptional cases could it be used against troublesome courtiers (p. 203). As with Neugebauer, Duindam has gone back to the archives and does not propose to replace a tired model with its opposite, redirecting our attention to longneglected aspects of a process central to modern European history. When can we properly speak of the victory of the bureaucratic, centralizing state? The studies considered here also raise questions about the accuracy, at least for much of central and eastern Europe, or the interpretative validity of such accepted notions as bourgeois to describe the nineteenth century. On the basis of their work on the Saxon nobility, Silke Marburg and Josef Matzerath argue explicitly for such a reconsideration: The obvious persistence of the nobility in the nineteenth century at all events calls into question the expository value of the prototypical model of bourgeois society. Instead of conceding exceptions (remnants), it would seem more appropriate to come up with another conceptual model for the modern era (p. 6). Although they offer us only the outlines of such a model, Marburg does show that one of the forms of social organization quintessentially regarded as bourgeois, the association (Verein), actually had its roots in noble clubs of the ancien re gime. Here she implicitly follows Jonathan Dewald, who has convincingly laid bare the aristocratic origins of important elements of modern culture previously regarded as the heritage of the bourgeoisie. 8 Marburgs work on Saxony thus provides empirical support for a thesis based originally on the case of France. If the nineteenth century was perhaps not as bourgeois as we have been used to believing, then this raises important questions about the power of middle-class culture, initially at least, to project itself and displace other ways of thinking. To what extent, when and how did an embourgeoisement of the nobility actually take place? Conze perceptively submits that one will only be able to work with the thesis of embourgeoisement usefully if one frames it as a question of extent or degree and in answering this question pays special attention to the residue of noble identity (Adeligkeit) (p. 339). The works reviewed here all indicate that deep into the nineteenth century and beyond, nobles successfully maintained many pivotal elements of a speci c and separate self-understanding. These elements further outbalanced those absorbed from other, competing social milieus. Even developments, such as the rising number
8 Jonathan Dewald, Aristocratic Experience and the Origins of Modern Culture: France 1570 1715 (Berkeley, 1993). See also Dewalds study. The European Nobility, 14001800 , New Approaches to European History eds. William Beik and T. C. W. Blanning (Cambridge, 1996), especially Chapter 4.

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of noble-bourgeois nuptials, which posed a potential threat to traditional identity, look somewhat different on closer examination. Heinz Reif has shown that the daughters of the rich bourgeoisie were often co-opted by the nobility to regild lackluster coronets, but that, at the same time, the high number of unmarried offspring indicates that celibacy was considered preferable to a loss of status. For the high nobility, such as the family Lo wenstein-Wertheim, alliances with the bourgeoisie, wealthy or not, remained taboo and were regarded as catastrophic if they did occur (Stockert, 19798, 29293). Resilience and pride, even on the defensive, characterized noble efforts to parry new challenges. Reif even goes so far as to argue that [t]he boundary between nobility and bourgeoisie remained conspicuously hard in Germany . . . To speak of an embourgeoisement of the nobility fails to capture reality (p. 61). Interestingly, his determination that no signi cant amalgamation of the nobility and the middle classes took place also casts doubt on the oft-repeated notion of the feudalization of the bourgeoisie so forcefully argued by Arno Mayer in a pathbreaking study. 9 One of the greatest challenges confronting traditional thinking was the rise of agrarian capitalism, which, like noble-bourgeois connubium, potentially imperilled the core of the nobilitys existence. Here, an embourgeoisement has usually been seen as unavoidable, because a landowner either had to become an entrepreneur or risk going under. According to this thesis, the discipline of the market forced the abandonment of speci cally noble forms of behaviour that had required lavish display and representation for the preservation of social standing and thereby large sums of capital unavailable for reinvestment. Not only, therefore, did noble mentality undergo a transformation, but so also did noble ways of life.1 0 Choices were reduced, seemingly to the unhappy ones of change or destruction. In the best contribution in the volume of collected essays edited by Heinz Reif, a young French scholar. Thierry Jacob, provides a fresh perspective on the problem of nobles and capitalism. He too has conducted extensive original research using as his experimental sample the landed nobility of the Prussian province of Saxony, where the connections between modern industry and the agrarian economy were unusually close. On the one hand, he rejects a pure, even arti cial model of bourgeois capitalism as the measure for evaluating the performance of the nobility. On the other hand, he argues that in order to understand the complex and ambivalent process of noble economic activity, one should not only speak of economic adaptation, but also of the development of a speci cally noble form of capitalism and of the use of capitalist sources of income by the nobility (p. 318). In a limited way, nobles collectively exploited the opportunities offered by capitalism, but did so in a way that allowed them to protect and even promote their values and interests.
Arno Mayer, The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War (New York, 1981). For an excellent summary and refutation of this traditional thesis, which was a product of Marxist historiography, see Kroll, Die Revolte des Patriziats , pp. 74100.
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Jacob identi es three ways in which noble capitalist behaviour differed from that of comparable bourgeois entrepreneurs. First, nobles tended to restrict their economic activity, including participation in industrial ventures, to the local and regional levels both because of the limits imposed by their roots in the countryside and because of the endeavour not just to turn a pro t, but also to maintain a pro le in areas of past familial power and in uence. Secondly, nobles often preferred to put their returns into the acquisition of land and the renovation of their castles. It is not without a certain irony that families that enlarged their landholdings and rebuilt their castles were often those that drew a considerable part of their incomes from stocks and industrial activity (p. 323). In Jacobs estimation, such traditional and symbolic expenditures, usually dismissed as irrational or non-productive, instead manifest uniquely noble priorities. Thirdly, preserving the status of the family and providing for its future were no less important for the nobility than adding to its revenues. All three of these factors help account for the fact that overall noble wealth increased in size more slowly than that of the bourgeoisie. Jacobs ndings are corroborated deep into the twentieth century by those of Conze, whose investigation into noble economic life compared two branches of the house of Bernstorff, one in Hanover (Gartow), the other in MecklenburgSchwerin (Wedendorf). The former, which owned several thousand hectares of forests, made an early transition to the market economy, a tradition that has been successfully continued since the mid-nineteenth century. Following Conze, this line undeniably underwent a certain embourgeoisement , but at the same used its resources in pursuit of unmistakably noble ends, including the maintenance of the family in a manner commensurate with its rank and its understanding of itself. Wedendorf offered a stark contrast. No such modernization occurred, with the family additionally holding onto its traditional and very elaborate style of life, including expensive hunts and an open house, until it was nearly ruined by the economic crises of the interwar years. Here, there can be little talk of embourgeoisement : even after the extent of the disaster had become apparent, only marginal, and ultimately ineffectual, reductions in expenditures were made. The threat posed by agrarian capitalism obviously became most apparent where older attitudes persisted and no adaptation to new circumstances occurred. The longue dure e of cultural and social history, especially concerning the peasantry, has justi ably lent a certain relativity to political great dates. The experiences of the nobility likewise open another vista on the past. Here again, its history has implications beyond itself. One of the most impressive sections of Conzes book is his description of the contrast between the revolutionary chaos in late 1918 in the German capital and the relative order and quiet on the estates of the Counts Bernstorff in the provinces: There was no trace of the revolt in Wedendorf or Bernstorf. While the journals reported on the Christmas battles in Berlin, on the armed confrontations between Spartacists and the guards-cavalry division under General von Tschirschky, who enjoyed

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the sympathy of the inhabitants of Wedendorfs manor house, while the brothers [Bernstorff] regretted the destruction in Berlin, particularly the devastation of the palace and the royal stables, they went hunting (p. 43). Without pressing the point too much, he questions the absolute relevance for the east Elbian nobility even of such a date as 1945. The experiences of the Bernstorffs show that it was sometimes not the advance of the Red Army, but rather the land reform in the Soviet-occupied zone that provoked ight. Even this did not always lead to the disappearance of the nobility. After the occupation of his estate by the Russians, Count Christian Bernstorff (190271) continued to oversee agricultural production there and in 1945 brought in the harvest. Indeed for the later 1940s, Conze nds that the con scation of the land and its redistribution could not alone change mentalities and attitudes overnight (p. 282). Conzes attention to the local and regional levels, which often enough remained immune to change at the centre, at least in the short run, accounts in large part for the lesser moment of a date such as 1918. Not only had the Hanoverian monarchy been abolished two generations earlier, but more importantly the struggle of the nobility to maintain its position had, by the nineteenth century, increasingly become one fought precisely at those levels. A slight shift in focus, from the capital and its bureaucracy to the nobility on its estates, highlights the tenacity and occasional successes of the old e lites rather than the irresistible forward march of the new ones. Harald Stockert has sketched the decades-long battle between the mediatized Princes Lo wensteinWertheim and the south German states that annexed their territories and, in general, dealt harshly with the former immediate imperial nobility. He thereby revises the older verdict that had seen merely an illusory victory of the aristocrats (p. 227) in their struggle with the state. His ndings are substantiated by Bernhard Lo f er in an investigation of noble-peasant con ict at the communal level in Bavaria during the Restoration and Pre-March era (Reif, Adel und Bu rgertum , pp. 12354). Though the anti-noble attitude of the bureaucratic state is again unmistakable, magni ed in this case by its alliance with the peasantry, Lo f er outlines the evolving, increasingly exible, and ultimately more effective strategies of the nobility in defending its interests. A hundred years later, in the case of the Bernstorffs, the immediate factors perhaps looked different, but the goalpower at the local levelremained essentially the same. It was not patrimonial jurisdiction and feudal ties, but rather the old Prussian administrative estate-districts (Gutsbezirke ), the right of ecclesiastical presentation (Kirchenpatronat ) and the entail that had to be defended. These furnished the surviving bulwarks of noble power and in uence in the countryside. Until 1927, there existed some 12 000 estate-districts covering some 29 per cent of Prussian territory and limited not just to the provinces east of the Elbe. Though already marked for destruction in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, they had survived as islands of feudalism (p. 91) in which local authority lay in the hands of the lord of the manor. Their dissolution, nally pushed through in 1927 by the republic, eliminated the last bas-

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tion of pre-modern-estatist dominion (p. 91) of the nobility; this, at least, was the intention. A subsequent provision allowed certain exceptions, one of which, still extant today, became the wooded hectares of the Bernstorffs in Gartow. The relief that so many disoriented or de classe blue-bloods hoped for by the accession to power of the National Socialists in fact meant a continuation, on a much more intrusive scale, of the struggle not only with the state but also the Party. Now, however, the attacks were clearly directed at private property, while the traditional recourse to the law, which had been guaranteed by the republic, vanished. Having barely headed off the consequences of the abolition of the estates-districts, the Bernstorffs found themselves saddled with brown of cials, eventually including a compulsory administrator, charged with ensuring the ful lment of of cial economic plans. The excellent studies by Harald Stockert and Eckart Conze, each based on extensive original research, point to an important de cit in the historiography of the nobility in central Europe. Both deal with the question of local control, which became ever more critical as the nobility was gradually driven back to its power-base and to important sources of its identity: the estate and the family. The many well-preserved and unexploited manuscript collections of noble families in public archives, not only in Germany, but also in Austria and the Czech Republic, more than hint at the work that badly needs to be done. It is to be hoped that Conzes wish that his book will become a preliminary study (p. 15) to others that follow may be ful lled. As he himself writes, the BernstorffsProtestant, landed, and based in Hanover and Mecklenburgmay not be seen as representative. He has nevertheless called attention to central problems and proposed questions that will be of use to scholars working on other noble families in the twentieth century. * * * The unique experience with National Socialism has had a decisive impact on our view of the role of the nobility in German history. In his Adel im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert , Heinz Reif surveys the newer literature and reports that historians have begun to free themselves of the old dogmas concerning the Junkers. This is not to say that a positive image of the East Elbian nobility has somehow emerged, only that certain of its, albeit de ning, elements have not been borne out by recent research. In particular, the notion of the nobilitys unusually successful endurance down into the twentieth century has been discredited. Obsessed with nding an explanation for National Socialism, scholars have clearly overcalculated [both] surviving noble in uence on the economy and politics and the negative political and social consequences thereof (p. 58). The latest research calls into question, according to Reif with good reason, the existence of an agrarian crisis in the late Kaiserreich that has usually been accredited with radicalizing noble politics. Other studies have suggested that despite the states protectionist policies, many estate-owners actually did adapt

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themselves to modern market conditions. Interestingly, Reifs tentative conclusions regarding the economic activity of the nobility, which except in Silesia was essentially con ned to agriculture and forestry, implicitly reinforce Thierry Jacobs discriminating thesis of a speci cally noble form of agrarian capitalism. For Reif though, a bourgeois model continues to provide the norm: The modern, entrepreneurial, noble, thoroughbred-agrarian was still the exception before 1914 (p. 98). Though the traditional picture of the successfully grasping Junker is being corrected, neither Reif nor the other authors have adopted in its stead the notion of decline (Niedergang ). Conze openly questions the explanatory value of what he terms linear models of interpretation such as decline or embourgeoisement (p. 401). The general thrust of the current research is much more differentiated than in the past, but still emphasizes the resilience and adroitness with which the nobility in Germany handled challenges. Reif argues, in one typical instance, that nobles successfully adjusted in the middle and long term to the introduction of professional requirements for admission to the Bavarian of cer corps (p. 80). Here, one must ask, however, what is meant by long term? Might not the history of the nobility in central Europe lend itself more easily to the notion of decline and fall than that of the British territorial establishment, a process that has been so brilliantly told by David Cannadine under precisely that rubric?1 1 The aristocracy in the United Kingdom has not lost its titles, nor been faced with revolution, nor seen its estates occupied by Soviet armies, all of which have befallen the nobility in much of Germany. That Reif brings his account down only to 1945, a year which for him evidently marks the end of the history of the German nobility, removes an important element of the historical dynamic. The thematic rather than the narrative approach, such as was used by Cannadine, is similarly conducive to the idea of successful self-preservation. Not only is the important issue of ultimate change de ected, but the gripping quality of a dramatic transformationand its essential stagesgoes missing. Cannadines choice of the last quarter of the nineteenth century to date the beginning of decline has much to recommend it in the central European case as well. It concedes the very real staying power of lites even in the wake of the French Revolution, but also does not the old e understate the depth of the eventual fall. Another principal impulse of the newer research has been to get at noble mentalite s and cultural identity. Drawing on attempts in this direction at the beginning of the 1990s, 1 2 Reif has attempted a de nition of noble identity, which he calls Adeligkeit, a concept heavily in uenced by that of Bu rgerlichkeit
11 David Cannadine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (London and Basingstoke, 1996). 12 Otto Gerhard Oexle, Aspekte der Geschichte des Adels im Mittelalter und in der Fru hen Neuzeit and Gerhard Dilcher, Der alteuropa ische Adel ein verfassungsgeschichlicher Typus? in: Hans-Ulrich Wehler, ed., Europa ischer Adel 17501850 , Geschichte und Gesellschaft, Sonderheft 13 (Go ttingen 1990), pp. 1956, pp. 5786.

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which emerged from the project in Bielefeld.1 3 For the late modern period, he posits an essential unity of noble culture in Germany, despite the very different traditions and estates from which nobles emerged. To support this thesis, he has identi ed what he believes to have been the essential elements of noble identity, all of which had been present in earlier epochs in all strata of the nobility and which had survived the revolutionary upheaval around 1800. These included a belief in the importance of blood (inequality), honour, family, and (hereditary) landownership, as well as the ability to rule and to adapt to changing circumstances (reinvention). This cornucopia proved rich enough to supply the contemporary world with relevant images that in turn offered a basis for noble stabilization. From the perspective of their work on the Saxon nobility, Silke Marburg and Josef Matzerath in part take issue with Reif, arguing that until the end of the Kaiserreich [the various groups of nobles] de ned themselves regionally and did not simply merge into an undifferentiated German nobility (p. 9). They thereby call into question the idea of a unitary Adeligkeit shared by all nobles, or at least the usefulness of such a concept. The revolutionary era transformed nobles, according to their view, from an estate into an e lite of memory (Erinnerungsgruppe ) (p. 14) that used symbols drawn from the past in its struggle for self-preservation with competing social groups. As the writings of the Rhenish imperial knight and Prussian reformer, Carl vom Stein (17571831), indicate, memory was increasingly used in the construction of noble identity. The essays in the Marburg/Matzerath volume suggest a noble awareness of a Saxon identity, but unfortunately offer little insight into its uniqueness or social effectiveness nor into how the nobility might have metamorphosed as it passed into the nineteenth century. Did noble cultural identity change fundamentally, as it had in the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period? 1 4 This is a question that Reifs notion of Adeligkeit basically answers in the negative. He contends that being noble consisted of intrinsic elements present since the emergence of the caste. Indeed, he explicitly denies (p. 30) that the concept of nobility (Adelsbegriff ) underwent a transformation after 1800, with the quintessence of noble identity remaining the same. At the same time, these elements were exible enough to meet contemporary contingencies, that is to say, readjustment and reinvention occurred to preserve the core. However, quite apart from the fact that the actual content of the elements identi ed by Reif altered radically through the centuriesfor instance the meaning of noble bloodone must
13 berlegungen zum AdelshabHeinz Reif, Adeligkeithistorische und elitentheoretische U itus in Deutschland um 1800, speech delivered at the Institute for European History in Mainz, 18 June, 1997. 14 For the earlier transformation, see Ellery Schalk, From Valor to Pedigree: Ideas of Nobility in France in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Princeton, 1986). Also H. C. Erik Midelfort, Adliges Landleben und die Legitimationskrise des deutschen Adels im 16. Jahrhundert , in Georg Schmidt, Sta nde und Gesellschaft im Alten Reich. Vero ffentlichungen des Instituts fu r Europa ische Geschichte Mainz Abteilung Universalgeschichte, Beiheft 29 (Stuttgart, 1989), pp. 24564.

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wonder if the approach does not underestimate the ability of general sociocultural processes to transform identity. Was there so little essential difference between a noble in 1400 and one in 1900? * * * Lurking beneath the surface of much of the work under consideration is the issue of the nobility and modern national identity. As we have seen, Reif has suggested a oneness of identity for nobles in Germany, though he has not indicated whether linguistic-cultural ideas of nation contributed in some way to it, and if so, when that might have been the case. In fact, we know little about the social contours of early German nationalism and nothing at all about noble af nity for the phenomenon. 1 5 Most of the authors, even those who nd evidence of continuing noble political af nity for the lesser states, appear to assume an innate cultural Germanness of their subjects. Eckart Conzes title Vom deutschem Adel is telling in this regard, though he emphasizes the regional attachments to Hanover and Mecklenburg of the Bernstorffs. The assumption that nobles were German may in fact not be far from the mark after a certain point, but raises the question when and how they began to understand themselves as being German in a modern cultural sense. To use Benedict Andersons expression, when were nobles naturalized?1 6 Their naturalization would evidence a very dramatic shift in worldview and cultural orientation not dissimilar to that made out by Eugen Weber in his famous study of peasants in France.1 7 There have been recent, strained, and disputed attempts to prove the presence of a modern German national consciousness long before the advent of the revolutionary era.1 8 Whatever their merits, they have had little to say about the
15 For one attempt at the problem, which approaches social change from the perspective of the history of ideas, see William D. Godsey, Jr., Vom Stiftsadel zum Uradel. Die Legitim bergang zur Moderne, ationskrise des Adels und die Entstehung eines neuen Adelsbegriffs im U in Anja Victorine Hartmann, et al. (eds.), Eliten um 1800. Erfahrungshorizonte, Verhaltensweisen, Handlungsmo glichkeiten . Vero ffentlichungen des Instituts fu r Europa siche Geschichte Mainz Abteilung fu r Universalgeschichte, Historische Beitra ge zur Elitenforschung, no. 1 (Mainz, 2000), pp. 37191. 16 Benedict Anderson used the term naturalization to refer to the process undergone by Europes dynasties in the decades leading up to the First World War. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Re ections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism , rev. ed. (London and New York, 1991), pp. 856. 17 Eugen Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 18701914 (London 1979). 18 Wolfgang Burgdorf, Reichskonstitution und Nation. Verfassungsreformprojekte fu r das Heilige Ro mische Reich deutscher Nation im politischen Schrifttum von 1648 bis 1806 . Vero ffentlichungen des Instituts fu r Europa ische Geschichte Mainz Abteilung Universalgeschichte, vol. 173, Beitra ge zur Sozial- und Verfassungsgeschichte des alten Reiches, no. 13 (Mainz, 1998); Georg Schmidt, Geschichte des alten Reiches. Staat und Nation in der Fru hen Neuzeit 1495 1806 (Munich, 1999). For a potent refutation of this thesis, see Heinz Schilling, Reichs-Staat berlegungen und fru hneuzeitliche Nation der Deutschen oder teilmodernisiertes Reichssystem. U zu Charakter und Aktualita t des Alten Reiches, Historische Zeitschrift 272 (2001), pp. 37795.

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nobility in the eighteenth century. Little proof has been presented that such a consciousness existed among the very heterogeneous groups of nobles in the Holy Roman Empire, who indisputably constituted the dominant social stratum. A German national state, as the Empire or at least its core has been alleged lite. Though to have been, is thus dif cult to imagine without a corresponding e the works under review here scarcely address the problem of cultural-national identity head-on, nearly all of them here offer valuable and relevant insights. Harald Stockert repeatedly presents evidence that would make problematic a characterization of the Franconian Lo wenstein-Wertheims, who are in many respects typical representatives of the high nobility in the early modern period, as German in any sense comprehensibly modern. In the 1600s, the Catholic line allied itself repeatedly with the imperial clientele of the French, while in the century thereafter members of the family occasionally accepted lettres de naturalisation from the Most Christian King: It thus came about that Prince Dominik Konstantin, who was born in 1762 in Nancy, was by birth a Frenchman (p. 85). It goes almost with saying that the education, manners, and language of the Lo wensteins were in uenced decisively by the court of Versailles. In 1806, the Protestant Prince Georg Lo wenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg (1775 1855) offered to become Napoleons vassal to head off mediatization. Stockerts portrayal of this as merely an act of desperation (p. 196) under-rates the strength of the traditional ties of the Empires nobility to France that were severed less by the Revolution than by the creation of new, less permeable German boundaries. To speak of the Lo wensteins as either French or German in the eighteenth century therefore risks imposing labels of doubtful utility or accuracy. Their identity was ultimately corporate, as nobles who effortlessly combined an unmistakable taste for things French with a political loyalty to the Holy Roman Emperor. A social equal of the Lo wensteins, Prince Clemens Metternich (17731859), put it perhaps best when he later wrote that the chief in uences of his boyhood were my birth as an immediate imperial noble (reichssta ndischer Geburt ), the of cial position of my father in the emperors service, French social life, and the moral slackness that characterized the lesser German states before the storm.1 9 In the case of the Lo wensteins, Stockert has hinted tantalizingly at how this had changed by 1848. He attributes a national commitment (p. 284) to Prince Adolf Lo wenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg (180561), son of Prince Georg, as evidenced by his involvement in bourgeois associations (Vereinswesen ) and his marriage with a burghers daughter. Though Stockert withholds judgment, there can be little doubt that Adolf had come to understand himself as a German in a cultural way that would have been foreign to his ancestors. Given the essentially non-noble origins of modern cultural-national consciousness in Germany, Lo wenstein thereby underwent, in one important respect, an embourRichard Fu rst Metternich-Winneburg and Alfons von Klinkowstro m (eds.) Aus Metternichs nachgelassenen Papieren , vol. 1 (Vienna 1880), p. 7.
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geoisement . In his essay on Wilhelm Adolf von Tru tzschler (181849), a Saxon landowners son who sprang from an altogether different tradition than his contemporary Adolf Lo wenstein, Thomas Barth has located a nobleman who not only had fully ingested contemporary German nationalist ideology, but was willing to accept its fundamentally egalitarian premises (Marburg/Matzerath, Der Schritt in die Moderne , pp. 6493). In this spirit, Tru tzschler proposed the abolition of the nobility, which he viewed as an integral segment of the Volk no more entitled to rule than any of its other component parts. Though more investigation would also be required here, Tru tzschlers ancestors probably no more understood themselves as German in his sense than those of Lo wenstein. Indeed, Barth believes Tru tzschlers exposure to liberal and national in uences (p. 68) to have taken place at the university in Jena. With the Gagerns, discussed by Frank Mo ller in an informative essay in the volume edited by Heinz Reif, we return to the former immediate imperial nobility. The Gagerns, as mere Reichsritter, had not been represented in the diet in Regensburg, but their leading role in the knightly Canton Middle Rhine nevertheless suggests a well-developed corporate awareness not unlike that of the Lo wensteins. The Gagerns furthermore, though Protestant, were as rooted as the Lo wensteins in the uniquely noble world that converged from west and east on the Rhine, the Moselle and the Meuse. The Gagerns served in the armies of the kings of France and their children received the usual francophone education. 2 0 Even if he does not use Benedict Andersons term, Mo ller traces the gradual naturalization of this family for the period after 1800. His reading of Baron Hans Christoph Gagern (17661852), whose lifetime fully spanned the great upheaval, probably underrates the transformation that took place within a single generation. Though many traditional elements remained present in Hans Christophs thinking, his identi cation with a German cultural nation had also become unmistakable by the Restoration. He went so far as to author its history, in the midst of which he clearly placed himself and the nobility: Eben das ist der Inbegriff dessen, was unserm Herzen so theuer ist: eine Nation, die dieselbige Sprache redet, zur selbigen Cultur kam; ihr Character, Zusammenhang, Zusammenwirken und Wollen.2 1 In Hans Christophs son, Friedrich (17941848), traditional ideas of the corporation receded. According to Mo ller, his writings quasi-nationalized the nobility, who were integrated into bourgeois society as a political e lite (p. 114). The process advanced even further with Friedrichs younger brother, Heinrich (17991880), who discarded time-honoured corporate ideas altogether, rejected the notion of the me salliance as being incompatible with democratic-national sentiment and found that his noble status obliged him to be a champion of the people (Vorka mpfer des
20 Hellmuth Ro ssler, Zwischen Revolution und Reaktion. Ein Lebensbild des Reichsfreiherrn Hans Christoph von Gagern 17661852 , Vero ffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission fu r Nassau, vol. XIV (Go ttingen, Berlin and Frankfurt, 1958), pp. 919. 21 H. C. Freiherr von Gagern, Die Nationalgeschichte der Deutschen , part 1, 2nd ed. (Frankfurt am Main, 1825), p. IX.

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Volkes) (p. 117). It is uncertain how representative the Gagerns might have been of their social equals, though probably more so of the Protestants than the Catholics. Nonetheless astonishing is how much of an older identity had been jettisoned in favour of an af nity with the nation and how the Gagerns had implicitly subscribed to the revolutionary view, to paraphrase Benedict Anderson, that they were only one among many of the same kind as themselves.2 2 Though we should be careful not to oversimplify, the earlier naturalization of the nobility undeniably prepared the ground for later radicalization. Heinz Reif reports that even before the First World War, many, primarily Protestant nobles had passed into the nationalist- vo lkische milieu (p. 116). From the idea that the nobility was an integral part of the people, it was not far to that of a peoples nobility (Volksadel ) (p. 117). Like Reif, Conze believes that the year 1918, which marked the disappearance of the numerous principalities that had claimed another layer of noble allegiance, gave contour to a German nobility (p. 69). The interwar period witnessed the emergence of an organization meant to encompass the entire German nobility, the Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft , which long before 1933 introduced a grotesque perversion of the old pedigree (Ahnenprobe ) that had once governed admission to the numerous noble corporations of the Holy Roman Empire, such as cathedral chapters, collegiate foundations and the Reichsritterschaft . In this case, members were required to prove not the purity of their noble ancestry, but rather that their forebears had been Aryan. The quality of nobility had nally come, not illogically if one keeps in mind the developments of the preceding century, to depend on its ethnicity!2 3 Catholics and traditional monarchists, such as the Bernstorff-Gartows in Hanover, longer remained immune or did not succumb at all to vo lkisch ideology. No rule governed here, however, and there were many exceptions. The Protestant Count Helmuth James Moltke (190745) never sympathized with Nazism and became one of its leading opponents, whereas the Catholic Count Claus Stauffenberg (190744), whose family had once furnished the old Empire with prince-bishops, at rst sympathized with the new masters out of nationalist conviction. That Stauffenberg thought of nothing better to shout than Long live holy Germany!2 4 as he was about to be gunned down for trying to assassinate the centurys leading criminal nationalist is poignant testimony both to the ultimate bankruptcy of naturalization for the nobility and, more importantly, to a seismic cultural transformation. His exclamation would have been unthinkable from the mouth of a Stauffenberg cathedral canon two centuries earlier. It is worth speculating whether the perhaps unavoidable attenu22 If Kaiser Wilhelm II cast himself as No. I German, he implicitly conceded that he was one among many of the same kind as himself . Anderson, Imagined Communities , p. 85. 23 See Godsey, Vom Stiftsadel zum Uradel, pp. 38788. 24 Peter Hoffmann, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg und seine Bru der (Stuttgart, 1992), p. 443.

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ation of earlier estatist and corporate elements of its identity deprived the nobility of what might have been a source for resisting ethnic nationalism. Even though some form of innate Germanness of the nobility, even as early as the beginning of the late modern era, seems an unquestioned assumption of many scholars, the example of the Habsburg aristocracy shows us that another possibility existed. Here we have an e lite whose members long resisted acquiring the protective colouring of cultural nationalism, though this, in theory, would have been as possible as in Germany and might well have yielded some of the same initial advantages that it did there. Indeed this occurred to some extent among Hungarian and Polish nobles. The neglect of this possibility is in part a consequence of the unbroken power of national categories in postmodern thinking and of their problematic application to the past. It is also a result, however, of the fact that the very useful comparative perspective offered by Habsburg history is too often ignored by historians of Germany. Reifs perspective is essentially Borussian and Harald Stockerts otherwise very ne study is marred by his having mostly ignored the very strong Habsburg orientation of the Lo wenstein-Wertheims in the rst half of the nineteenth century. He pointedly omitted their Bohemian estates from his maps of their holdings (pp. 37, 129, 153, and 190) and thus retroactively lends them an exclusively German quality. The ties to Austria are not only of interest for the economic history of the family, but possibly also for the cultural bearings of its Catholic line that, by 1848, may not yet have shared the national sympathies of its Protestant counterpart. Following Ralph Melvilles important corrective to the traditional interpretation of the relationship between nobles and Czechs in the nineteenth century, the American historian Eagle Glassheim has now provided us with a fascinating glimpse of the Bohemian aristocracy in the prism of national revolution between 1918 and 1948. Based on extensive archival research, Glassheim focuses on several hundred noble, mostly landowning families in the former kingdom of Bohemia, while excluding those nobles in former Upper Hungary who came under Czechoslovak sovereignty following the collapse of the Habsburg Empire. Given the very different historical and constitutional traditions of Bohemia (the Czech lands) and Upper Hungary (Slovakia), as well as the crisis produced by the Sudeten question in the 1930s, Glassheims decision has a clear logic. His ndings suggest that the naturalization of the Bohemian aristocracy, as either Czech or German, had not progressed very far by 1918. Where national unity in Germany probably spurred the emergence of a naturalized nobility, the existence of the supranational Habsburg polityat least in Cisleithaniaoffered the aristocracy a much different point of reference. The alliance with the cosmopolitan dynasty and the universal Church, as well as a curial system that effectively favoured parties of landowners dominated by the magnates, helped stave off erosion. A unique obsession with pedigree reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire also contributed to the persistence of a traditional, even early modern corporate identity among aristocrats. The

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contrast to the situation in Germany, where by 1914 some nobles had already succumbed to vo lkisch ideas, could not be greater. Beginning in 1918, this contrast became progressively weaker. Glassheim probably tends to underplay the dislocation for the aristocracy brought about by the collapse of the Habsburg Empire and the social persecution of the new Czechoslovak republic. He reports that the magnates on average retained about half of the area of their estates after land reform, that national bias played a subordinate role in determining how much was taken away, that the aristocracy by and large managed to preserve its social exclusivity and that few faced any existential economic crisis. In comparison to the situation for the Bernstorffs in Hanover and Mecklenburg, however, the challenge for the old e lite in Bohemia was truly revolutionary. Quite apart from the disintegration of the centuries-old Empire and the subjugation to what was considered an alien national state, the aristocracy did lose about half of its property. That this would be all they lost to land reform was long not clear, given the new governments suspension of traditional property rights. At the same time, Glassheim has convincingly demonstrated the continuing strength for much of the interwar period of the supranational tradition of the Habsburg aristocracy. True, magnates hoped to stave off the worst of the land reform by rediscovering the Czech roots of their families, ransacking their genealogies for Czech patriots and professing Czech national sentiments. Here one is reminded of Heinz Reifs useful image of the cornucopia from which nobles pulled at will from their past. Even such unlikely candidates as the Moravian grandee and former Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, Count Leopold Berchtold (18631942), understandably tried to demonstrate their loyalty to the new order. Where political interests in the late nineteenth century had made aristocrats bedfellows with nationalist parties, material considerations now dictated a similar strategy. Actual cultural af liation with the nation appears to have been stronger among the Germans, such as Count Eugen Ledebur-Wicheln (18731945), a leader of the Sudeten Germans, while a number of them, including Prince Ulrich Kinsky (18931938), played an unsavoury role in undermining the republic in 1938. Nevertheless, the traditional social unity of the aristocracy remained unimpaired and political co-operation between those nobles who tended to the Czechs and those who preferred the Germans occurred often. As Glassheim writes, national loyalty was largely a political identi cation and not a social one, at least up into the 1930s (p. 204). He could just as easily have added that such loyalty was also essentially not cultural. With the radicalization following the economic and political crises of the early 1930s, the naturalization of the nobility picked up speed. Glassheims ne vignette of Prince Karl Anton Rohan (18981975), the descendant of a French e migre who had settled in Bohemia in the revolutionary era, traces a path that led from German internationalism to National Socialism. Rohan had early given up on a monarchist restoration but, as a writer and publisher, had

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hoped in the 1920s that the League [of Nations] would ll the shoes of the supra-national Habsburg state, providing an umbrella unity for German minorities and majorities in [the] far- ung lands of East Central Europe (p. 206). Where Rohan acquired his German af nity in the rst place, which was no more self-evident than Ulrich Kinskys, would bear closer investigation. By the 1930s, his disgust with the impotence of the League and the increasing misery in the wake of the Great Depression modi ed his views in ways not dissimilar, tellingly, to what happened to non-nobles such as Konrad Henlein (18981945), head of the Sudeten German Party. Not only did Rohan greet the accession to power of Hitler enthusiastically, but he came to subscribe to much of the racial-biological nonsense that had infected the Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft as early as the beginning of the 1920s. Even late in the interwar period, Glassheim nds it dif cult to generalize about the strength of national sympathies among Czech-leaning nobles (p. 272). The famous declaration of support drafted by Prince Karl Schwarzenbergk (191186), signed by the representatives of 11 noble families and delivOrli ered to the president at the height of the Sudeten crisis (17 September 1938) made a point of expressing loyalty to the Czech state without an explicit identication with Czech nationalism (p. 274). Interestingly, Glassheim detects the nobilitys old states rights argument behind this de marche , a traditional position that had been taken in the nineteenth century as well. For this Czech segment of the nobility, the republic embodied the heritage of the old kingdom of Bohemia and therefore commanded loyalty. Glassheim nevertheless believes that the Nazi threat of the late 1930s provoked an essential transformation in Czech noble loyalties. The second declaration of support (September 1939) for the Czech cause, this time by 69 nobles after the country had been swallowed by the Germans, stressed allegiance to the nation and responsibilities to the national community. As he notes, the tremendous risks involved with signing the declaration suggest that something beyond opportunism or material interest was at work (p. 293). Now naturalized, whether as Czechs or Germans, and as such indistinguishable from the surrounding populations, the Bohemian aristocracy found itself in a situation not unlike that of Stauffenberg and his friends, who had recognized the danger too late. Cultural nationalism, subscribed to for whatever reason, proved delusive in the long run. Admittedly, there may have been no alternative solution, given that central Europe had run out of room for those without an ethnic-cultural identity. It is hard to imagine a strategy that could have saved the aristocracy from the relentless effects of war and renewed national and social revolution. * * * Reinhard Binder-Krieglsteins intriguing study of Austrian law respecting the nobility suggests that the history of the group, even now, has not completely run its course. On the one hand, the republic still occasionally persecutes, on

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the basis of the law from 1919 abolishing the nobility, those who employ titles. Unlike in Germany, where former noble titles became part of the of cial family name, their use in Austria is in theory a punishable offence. In 1994, an of cious inspector in the headquarters of the Austrian Federal Police instituted legal proceedings against four women, including two countesses (both ironically of non-noble background), for having been listed with their titles in an advertisement supporting Austrian admission to the European Union. On the grounds that the law provided only for a sanction paid in crowns, a currency not in use in Austria since the 1920s, one of the women refused to pay the ne that had been levied in Schillings . However comical this incident, Binders investigation raises the more serious question whether the nobility might not still exist in the province of Burgenland, a formerly Hungarian territory that became part of Austria only after the statute of 1919 and the constitution of 1920 acquired the force of law. On the other hand, Binder pays special attention to the legal consequences of the provisions of 1919 for family names, an issue of particular interest today for the descendants of the nobility whose names alone, without title or Pra dikat, might not distinguish them from their fellow citizens. Whereas a Schwarzenberg is recognizable as an aristocrat without the title of prince, a former Pertner von Pernheim, to use one of Binders examples, might prefer to call himself Pertner-Pernheim rather than Pertner for reasons of prestige. Binders concern with this last vestige of noble prerogative has meant that a consideration of other privileges earlier reserved to the pedigreed aristocracy, which remained the nobilitys undisputed e lite, has come up short. Of particular importance here was Maria Theresas Patent from 1766 that laid the basis for the pedigrees demanded for many honours and privileges down to the fall of the Monarchy. The judicial unity of the nobility before 1918, as re ected in Binders work, in fact had little to do with social reality. Austrian Academy of Sciences william d. godsey, jr