Germany 1900-14: Who Actually Ran Germany?

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Germany 1900-14
Who actually ran Germany?
Constitution ­ The set of rules by which a country is run. It is supposed to reflect the values
and traditions of that country. Sometimes a constitution is written; sometimes it is a
collection of accepted traditions that are not written down
How the German Constitution was formed in 1871
The North German Confederation was defined by a constitution in which the component
states kept their own governments, but military matters were controlled by the King of
Victory against France in 1871 led to the unification of the states of the North German
Confederation with southern kingdoms, including Bavaria and Württemberg. The unification
was on Prussia's terms, and the constitution adopted was an alteration of the constitution
of the North German Confederation.
The main aim of the author of the constitution and Germany's first chancellor, Otto van
Bismarck, was to preserve the power of elite.
The Constitution of the German Second Reich
Institution Main Role Use under Wilhelm II
Kaiser (Emperor) The King of Prussia was No political party was willing
automatically the Emperor of to challenge the power of
Germany. He was able to: the monarchy.
Appoint and dismiss the Many socialists were bound
Chancellor to the monarchy through
Dissolve the Reichstag loyalty, meaning they were
(but needed the unwilling to argue in favour
Bundesrat consent) of constitutional reform.

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Command all armed
forces as
within the Empire both in
peace and in war
Chancellor (Kanzler) The chief minister of the Reich The Chancellor, in the Zabern
and normally combined it with the Affair, defended the military
post of Minister President of to the dissatisfaction of the
Prussia. He was: Reichstag. Which supported a
Responsible to the vote of no confidence
Emperor alone against the Chancellor by 293
Responsible for shaping votes to 54.…read more

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The imperial government
was not accountable to it
Institution Strengths Weaknesses
Kaiser (Emperor) He was always to be Kaiser Wilhelm II was
the Prussian King, which a poor decision
reinforced Prussia's maker, his attention
dominant position in the span was short and
new state he did not work hard
The Kaiser held full Wilhelm was
control over foreign happiest when
and diplomatic policy.…read more

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Chancellor Von Bülow's In 1910, he tried to
strengths lay primarily reform to Prussian
in foreign policy voting system which
One of Von was blatantly unfair,
Bülow's aims but when he was in
the face of
to build an
alliance of
opposition, he
conservative dropped his
interests in proposals.…read more

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Political Parties from 1890 to 1914
Conservative What did they Parts of How they How they
Parties believe? society they worked with worked with
attracted? The Reichstag the Kaiser
Conservatives Supported the Junkers, The were able The Kaiser
Kaiser, landed to gain the could always
discipline and interests, most seats in depend on
authority; in especially in the Reichstag the backing of
favour of a Prussia in 1887, but the 3
nationalist were on the right-wing
foreign policy decline by parties who
1912 were all…read more

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Christian Church middle and Reichstag
against the lower
dominance of middle class
Protestant interests
Social Split: Marxists Working
Democratic argue for classes after
Party revolution and Bismarck's
non-cooperatio Anti-Socialis
n with the t Laws
political system; lapsed in
reformists 1890
argued that the
party should
work within the
political system
to achieve
social reform
Explain the developments in voting and the fortunes of political parties from
The amount of seats won by the conservative parties were declining from 1898-1903, was at an
all-time…read more

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Main pressure groups that existed under the Kaiser and explain how and why
pressure groups were influential
These groups were often focused on single issues, but they highlighted the tensions and divisions in
Nationalist Pressure Organisations
There were 3 main groups that pressurised for German colonial expansion and the assertion of
German interests. They were to have an important impact on the development of policy.…read more

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Bismarck's fall exacerbated the situation as the new Chancellors lacked the authority to
stand up against the military chiefs, as they had the sympathy of the Emperor. The lack of
civil control over the military had important consequences for domestic and international
policies; most significantly the Schlieffen Plan in 1905.
The aristocratic dominance in the army was beginning to wane slightly by 1914, as the lower
officers came from the middles classes, rather than the landed aristocracy.…read more

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Significance of German Industrial Production from 1800s-1915
From the 1800s there had been a technological revolution in the new industries of steel,
engineering and chemicals. It was Germany that led the way in many of these new industries.
Steel. Due to the new process of steel manufacturing, Germany took advantage and
increased production rapidly in the pre-war period. The German advantage over Britain
in steel was also gained through the size of her companies.…read more

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Geographical advantages included major navigable rivers e.g. Rhine and the Elbe, and easy
access to the Danube. The broad flat northern plain was well suited to the construction of
its excellent railway system.
Short-term Causes of German Success
Germany had the best elementary education system in the world, and between 1890 and
1914, enrolment to university doubled.…read more


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