Unit 1 - From kaiser to Fuhrer

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  • Unit 1 from Kaiser to Fuhrer
    • A federal State
      • including 25 states, four kingdoms, 6 grand duchies, 12 duchies and 3 free cities.
      • - states retained their own government, some allowed universal suffrage, others retained 17th century style systems.
      • the constitution granted the states fairly wide ranging powers, like helping in education, healthcare etc, only domestic disputes
    • The Kaiser
      • Kaiser held constitutional powers which made the personality of the Kaiser of paramount importance
        • Kaiser Wilhelm II said that 'there is only one man in charge of the Reich and I will not tolerate another'
      • Kaiser was always to be Prussian king, reinforcing its dominance in the new state
      • Kaiser held full control over foreign and domestic policy
      • the Kaisers influence over the country was considerable. Appointed and dismissed Chancellor's, and he could dissolve the Reichstag.
      • He had to oversee implication of federal law, and he was the guardian of the constitution.
    • The chancellor
      • the chancellor was directly responsible to the Kaiser as chief minister of the Reich, he was in charge of appointing and dismissing state secretaries
      • chancellor could ignore resolutions passed by Reichstag
        • He was minister president of Prussia
      • Bismarck gave the position of chancellor to manipulate the Kaiser and the Reichstag, but it depended on the chancellor's political ability
    • Bundesrat
      • The upper house of the federal parliament
      • consisted of 58 members nominated by the state assemblies In theory it could change the constitution.
      • created by Bismarck to act as a barrier to radical legislation, could veto something if 14 or more chamber of deputies voted against.
        • 3 class franchise..
          • 3 bands, - those who paid more tax accounted for more of the votes
          • lowest group of voters made 92% but their vote didn't count.. 600,000 socialist votes accounted to SPD seats
          • 418,000 conservative votes was 212 seats
      • 17 of the 58 members in the Bundesrat were Prussian - no legislation could be passed without consent of the Chamber of Deputies.
    • The Reichstag
      • lower house of the federal parliament, it held joint power with the Bundesrat.
        • persuaded the Reichstag to vote through the septennial act, with the result that the military budget was voted every 5 years instead of 7.
      • control over the defence budget, Bismarck recognised the potential political lever that it might give the Reischtag.
      • Had to pass the annual budget, but the power was reduced by Bismarck, when he switched to protectionism.
      • even though the Reichstag could be dissolved by the Kaiser, it could not be dismissed and it had the right to hold elections soon after dissolution.
      • universal male suffrage of men over the age of 25.  It's members represented constituencies that were arranged in the 1870's. The Reichstag was limited
      • Reichstag members could not become members of the government if they wanted to they had to resign their seats.
      • The chancellor was not accountable to the Reichstag and did not even have answer to its questions.
      • Bismarck included the stipulation that members could not be paid.
    • Army
      • The army laid outside the formal constitution because Bismarck did not want to tie its hands by defining its role.
      • Based on the face that German victories meant that they got Germany (Prussia) - army therefore they answered to the Kaiser.
      • Kaiser appointed the military cabinet
      • military cabinet chose general staff
      • the war minister was a member of the general staff and accountable to the Kaiser and the military cabinet
      • Swore oath of allegiance to the Kaiser
      • most f the guard and generals were the elite, and Junkers. 44% were professional soldiers  - few had respect for democracy.
      • army = a state within a state
    • the bureaucracy
      • didn't have specific jobs, but was still significant
        • Fredreich Holstein - 1890-1906 the Kaiser's chief of adviser on foreign affairs. His impact on policy and events was considerable

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