Spaces of National Culture in Imperial Germany. Baedeker Guidebooks of the North, South and Rhineland, 1871-1914.
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The German culture of the imperial period represented a combination of local and regional histories and identities that had historically overpowered the national narrative. While the unified nation was a political product, the spaces of the German landscape show there was a cohesive shared culture prior to and after unification. Though a spatial analysis of nine Baedeker tour guides from 1871-1914, the shared narratives of Germany became evident and suggest cohesion between the regions. The spaces within the tour guides represented imperialist efforts to nationalize space through the creation of imperial iconography across the German landscape. These explicit references were not as strong in creating a unified German culture as other narratives of progress. During the imperial period, social spaces represented that localities in Germany were dedicated to strengthening the nation through the promotion of historical legitimization, the development of the empire, and the incorporation of the natural landscape into everyday life. The Baedeker guidebooks were instrumental in solidifying these specific narratives of German culture in the minds of travellers. Based on the ubiquity and reoccurring nature of the spaces within the Baedeker tour guides in conjunction with power of the guidebooks in creating reliable narratives, the guidebooks demonstrate Germany was comprised of explicit and implicit national narratives that depicted a cohesive national culture during the imperial period.