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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, which argues for the persistence of a regime of authoritarian policing in Bavaria during the first two decades after the Second World War. The book examines the close relationship between this phenomenon and the modernization and transformation of postwar Germany’s largest and most historically “authentic” state, as Bavaria underwent a rapid passage from defeat and occupation to the swift emergence of a suburbanized, post-agricultural society after the catastrophes of the mid-twentieth century. Nineteenth-century Continental European police systems had many practical order-control responsibilities in common with the patchwork of urban and rural police traditions that characterized contemporary Britain and North America. The term “police state” has therefore become an all-purpose and carelessly applied pejorative, particularly in Anglo-American common usage. However, there are important differences between the classic Continental European authoritarian police tradition and the police of arbitrary autocracies or ideological totalitarianisms.

Keywords: authoritarian policing; Bavaria; continental European police systems; police state; post-agricultural society



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