Nikolay Golovin 1
  • 1 Saint Petersburg University, Universitetskaya Emb., 7-9, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation 199034

Max Weber and the Great War: Personal Opinions and Essays as Historical Sociology

2019, vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 138–145 [issue contents]
The influence of the Great War on the personality, sociology, political activity, and views of Max Weber has not yet been sufficiently researched. The second complete edition of works by Max Weber presents us with new opportunities to conduct a historical and sociological analysis of these issues. His personal letters and essays written during the Great War provide us with highly informative materials for such research. These materials, some of which are not widely known, are studied in the article from the perspective of historical sociology, whose co-founder was Weber himself. At the very beginning of the Great War, Max Weber underwent an emotional experience. He gave up lecturing for two years of army service in the hospital commission. After his service, he would make the shift to political speeches, dec-larations, and opinion essays. His previous understanding of the essence of war had been critically re-evaluated from the national and patriotic to the insight that Germany during and after the war would face a difficult choice between the trajectory of individual historical development and the Western path to political freedom. The article analyzes and sums up Weber’s criticism of the politics of the German High Command which had obtained virtual governmental power in Germany. In particular, the article studies Weber’s criticism of the total submarine warfare started by the German mili-tary in 1917–1918 and its political consequences. This political prevarication used by the commanders at the end of the Great War resulted in the tight connection between democracy and military defeat in German public opinion. Some of Weber’s political forecasts are summed up and critically evaluated.
Citation: Golovin N. (2019) Max Weber and the Great War: Personal Opinions and Essays as Historical Sociology. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 2, pp. 138-145
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