Review Of The Loyal Subject

639 words - 3 pages

Review of Henrich Mann’s “The Loyal Subject”
Henrich Mann’s book belongs to a short list of works destined as one of the most important books critique of Wilhelmine Germany, post Bismarck. Although Germany, once deeply divided and now unified, begins to transition from a nation once searching for democracy to a nation completely devoid of it. Mann provides a portent that explains the connection of traditional nineteenth century Germany, to a Germany with far greater problems looming ahead. The book under review is more than just a satirical story of politics and power. It is a profile that largely reflects an archetype of Wilhelmine Germany. Under the authoritarian and monarchal elite rule of the emperor, views of German militarism and ultra-nationalism are the focus. Evidence of the intellectual, social, and political history of Germany, specifically, Germany’s struggle with democracy are apparent, as well as, the foreshadowing of the Nazi personality type. In spite of this, Mann suggests that his anti-hero undoubtedly understands and knows right from wrong, but consistently chooses evil. Thereby, proving that Germany has indeed, misplaced or abandoned her goals for democracy and will trust in her “Loyal Subjects” to continue to plant and nurture the seeds of complete obedience and conformity. In addition, Mann describes the list of ingredients throughout the book, for growing and nurturing “Loyal Subjects”. In the case of his anti-hero, obedience to authority, slavish attributes, a strong dedication to nationalistic goals, inflexible ideals, with hint of mania, a loyal subject makes. The resounding impressions of repression and ceremony offer the reader a glimpse into the resistance of democracy before the wars (WW I and II), and allows some understanding of why and how German thinking was structured and a nations self-understanding on the eve of the Nazi era. However, Mann tells a story about individuals and a society built on...

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