Economy in Wilhelmine Germany 1900-1914

  • Created by: o s
  • Created on: 18-04-14 14:12

Economy in Wilhelmine Germany 1900-1914


  • Economic Take Off - 'First industrial revolution' from early 1870's saw growth in industrial sector (raw materials). The second was sustained after 1890 with 7-8% growth per annum.
  • The German Economy By 1914 - Was Europe's industrial superpower, share of world trade only rivalled by Britain, largest manufacture of cotton cloth, overtaken Britain in iron, steel prod increased 9 times 1890-1914. AEG + Siemens 50% of worlds electrical products, by 1900 prod 90% of worlds synthetic dyes, Dailmer and Benz created first car.


  • Rapid employment in the industrial sector at expense of primary sector (mostly agriculture). Agricultures share in GNP fell to 25% whilst industry rose to 45%. Second phase was more diverse; chemicals, electrics, steel etc.
  • Long Term Causes - Population growth 1/3 more Germans in 1910 than 1890 provided labour for growth. Raw materials were easily obtainable e.g coal from Ruhr, iron ore from Alsace-Lorraine. Navigable river helped e.g Rhine, Elbe. Flat northern plain allowed for railways.
  • Short Term Causes - Had the best elementary system in the world. 1890-1914 enrolment to uni's doubled. Banking system was  free from control, generous long term credit to industry, banks were directly involved in research. Policy of tariffs protected cheap imports of wheat from Russia. Growth of cartels (businessmen controlling prices and production levels) by 1905 there were 366 cartels. State intervention in key industries; railways nationalised, post service, telephones + telegraph state owned. Mixed ownership of gas + water, contrast to Britain's 'laissez faire' approach.

Overall summary

The economic take off brought Germany to the forefront of technology and economies of scale, creating their new image of a key European superpower. This saw a change in all levels of society and altering the class system with the introduction of the 'New Industrialists' in the form of middle class, and the 'Industrial Workers' which upset the balance especially for the Mittlestand who were squeezed between the two.


No comments have yet been made