A proper understanding of a nation’s identity over time requires tracing how a modern sense of belonging can derive from the symbolic reservoir of society and how cultural symbols can change their meaning in history. This research agenda becomes significantly more challenging when it involves a national group’s experience across hundreds of years from the early modern period to the present. Such is the task of Smith’s Germany: A Nation and Its Time in its attempt to tell the story of nation and nationalism in Germany from 1500 to 2000.

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