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Unit 3: Option D1 ­ From Kaiser To Führer 1900-45
Unit 1a: The Second Reich
Lesson 2: The Wilhelmite
Lesson Objectives:
· Introduction to the
· Overview of different
political groups.
· Read Alan Farmers
article on the Constitution.…read more

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Key Words :
Grossdeutsch ­ `Large Germany' refers to basis of possible unification for
German states in the 1860s along the lines of Austria.
Kleinedeutsch ­ `Small Germany' refers to basis of possible unification for
German states in the 1860s along the lines of Prussia (the winning
Protectionism ­ The use of high tariffs on imported goods to protect
home industries. Begun in earnest in Germany after depression of
Reichsfeind ­ `Enemy of the Empire'. One group is held up as an enemy in
order to unite other groups against them in support of the state
(Bismark placed Socialists in this guise)
Sammlungspolitik ­ Having policies that are designed to have an equal
appeal to many different political interests in the Reichstag to create a
sense of unified purpose.
Weltpolitik ­ `World Politics', refers to Germany's policy of colonial
expansion begun by Bismark in his final years. The aim to be a `World
Burgfriede ­ `Castle Peace', the idea being a garrison of a sieged castle
will put aside their differences in the face of a common threat
(Germany and internal divisions that were `healed' at the outbreak of
war)…read more

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Overview of the Constitution :
· The Kaiser :
The most powerful component of the Constitution.
He alone could appoint or sack ministers; declare
war and decide foreign policy.
· The Chancellor :
The head of government and directed domestic
policy. They did not need to have a majority in the
Reichstag and came from the Aristocratic Class. This
has led to the argument that Germany was a
Polycracy :- When a state is ruled by more than one person (not just a monarch)…read more

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Overview of the Constitution :
· The Bundesrat :
The upper house. It was declining in influence from 1890. It became a debating
chamber more than a legislating body.
· The Reichstag :
Could discuss, amend, pass or reject government legislation. It however had little
scope to successfully introduce legislation, no party or coalition created the
government. The Kaiser's Chancellor created a government from his allies and a
vote of no confidence had little impact. They could, however, stop monetary bills
and legislation.
· States :
Were also in decline as the Reich government dominated politics. (Prussia was
an exception as the Kaiser and Chancellor were also King and Prime Ministers of
· The Army :
Had been under political control under Bismarck. Yet Wilhelm supported the
military chiefs over politicians. The Schleiffen plan to invade France through
Belgium was kept quiet from Germany's civilian leaders. Despite the numbers of
aristocrats declining they held positions of power. The army was an obstacle to
political change. It often regarded "mere" civilians with contempt.…read more

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Political Parties :
Left Centre Right
(FVP after 1910)…read more

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Political Parties :
· SPD:
The Social Democratic Party. Closely linked to the Trade Unions and supported by
the working classes. Split between Marxist (revolutionary change) and Minimum
(gradual change) divisions.
· ZP:
The Centre Party was a denominational party created to protect the interests of the
Catholics. Despite Kulturkampf it was a powerful group.
· DKP:
The German Conservative Party represented the landowning farming community.
It was ultra-conservative and hostile to political liberalism.
· RP:
The Free Conservative Party was the party of industrialists and landowners.
· NLP:
The National Liberty Party was traditionally the party of economic and political
liberalism ­ but was becoming increasingly conservative.
· DFP:
The German Free Thought Party is a group which broke away from the NLP to
promote liberalism. Regrouped in 1910 as the FVP ­ People's Progressive Party.…read more

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