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"The West" is a central idea in German public discourse, yet historians know surprisingly little about the evolution of the concept. Contrary to common assumptions, this volume argues that the German concept of the West was not born in the twentieth century, but can be traced from a much earlier time. In the nineteenth century, "the West" became associated with notions of progress, liberty, civilization, and modernity. It signified the future through the opposition to antonyms such as "Russia" and "the East," and was deployed as a tool for forging German identities. Examining the shifting meanings, political uses, and transnational circulations of the idea of "the West" sheds new light on German intellectual history from the post-Napoleonic era to the Cold War.