Kaiser to Fuhrer 1900-1945. Germany, the key debates

PPP notes on the period 1900-1945 for the Kaiser to Fuhrer Edexcel History A2.

Basically focusing on the different arguments for why things happened throughout this period, with a focus on personal rule, authoritarian govt and the structuralist and intentionalist arguments.

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  • Created by: marcus
  • Created on: 10-06-12 18:14
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INTERPRETATIONS
Structuralist school:
Sought to explain history through a detailed examination of the various social,
political and economic forces that influence events.
Intentionalist historians:…read more

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`PERSONAL RULE OF THE KAISER'
John Rohl:
Argues that the personal rule of the Kaiser was centred on the Imperial court.
Aspects of the Kaiser's personality do suggest he was mentally unhinged (Personality is at
the very centre of his interpretation of Imperial Germany).
This manic character was flattered and charmed by an inner circle resulting in him gaining
control over other sources of power.
Constitution granted the Kaiser extensive powers if he chose to use them.
Had sole right to dismiss chancellor and state secretaries without the need to consult the
Reichstag.…read more

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LIMITATIONS TO `PERSONAL RULE'
Kaiser's grasp of politics was very limited.
Essentially a lazy and pleasure seeking man.
Never able to settle down into the regular routine of govt.
Much preferred to spend time socialising and playing the ceremonial roles of
monarch.
Liked to be in military barracks ­ travelled the country lots on military
manoeuvres.
Did the Kaiser have a delusion of power?…read more

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PERSONAL RULE: STRUCTURALIST
REFUTATION
Wehler (Structuralist):
Kaiser was not the main influence behind German policy and political affairs.
Kaiser didn't have the strength of character like Bismarck to provide strong leadership.
Power vacuum developed post 1890 (departure of Bismark) because the powers of
the chancellor and Reichstag were limited by the constitution.
Arrogant leadership of the Kaiser was able to hide the fact that there was a political crisis.
"Kaiserrich was suffering from a permanent crisis of the state behind its façade of high
handed leadership".…read more

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WEHLER: THE (PRUSSIAN) ELITES
Other forces were able to take advantage of the power vacuum and exert a
major influence over the nations affairs:
Junkers
Officer class of the Army
High ranking civil servants
Judiciary
Senior diplomatic service
These elites were able to exercise power because the constitution allowed
Prussia to dominate.
Germany was undergoing rapid change (powerful bankers and industrialists
emerging) which threatened the elites.…read more

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