Social and political divisions in the Second Reich


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Social and political divisions in the Second Reich at the beginning of the 20th century
In 1898 Tirpitz steered his first Navy Laws through the Reichstag.
He knew he could never rival the Royal Navy but still wanted a strong navy.
In 1900 the second Navy Law came in and increased steel production.
In 1906 Britain launched the Dreadnought and the third Navy Law was passed seeing not only bigger ships but the
widening of canals for bigger ships.
Bulow's interior Minister was Count von Posadowsky.
Old age and invalidity Laws 1899 - 1900 increased pensions and extended insurance.
1902 new Tariff Law saw a higher duty on imported agriculture groups to curb cheap imported crops ect.
1903 the Sickness Insurance Law was more generous to ill workers.
Laws were passed to restrict the working hours in factories for young people.
Bulow served as Foreign Minister from 1897 to 1900 and Chancellor from 1900 to 1909.
He devised strategies to protect the ruling classes.
Sammlungs Politik's aim was to build an alliance of conservative interests (Liberal, industrialists and Junkers) against
He hoped to rally support through Nationalism.
Weltpolitik was adopted.
Weltpolitik meant the building of armed forces and Secretary of the Navy, Alfred von Tirpitz, building up the Navy
However despite the pressure to expand from the Colonial League, most territory had already been taken by
European powers.
It was only the planned extension in 1899 of the German built Constantinople-Konia railway through Bagdad which
kept alive imperialism in the Middle East.
The Herero Uprising,
The SPD (socialists) were against imperialism and wanted reform.
Bulow tried to keep everybody happy with something called the Blue-Black Bloc however there was political crisis.
In January 1904 the Herero people of South West Africa rose in a revolt against their colonial repressors but were
defeated at the Battle of Waterberg.
The Herero people were then subject to a policy of genocide, their numbers dropped to 15,000 in 1911 from
Some conservatives feared Bulow even more but the Centre Party was outraged.
Ergburg arose on the back of this.
It was clear that parliament needed a greater say over colonial affairs.
The Hottentot Election,
26th May 1908 - the Centre Party and the SDP voted down more imperial plans such as more railways.
As a result of this the Reichstag was dissolved.
The Hottentot Election1907 was on the issue of nationalism with Bulow and the Pan-German League.
He won as he frightened voters with an alternative of a Centre Party/SPD alliance.
Bulow could have gone as a result of this election.
Daily Telegraph Affair,
The Bulow-Bloc held together for a while but was undermined by finance deficit.
They wanted to extend tax to support military spending.
In an interview with the British Daily Telegraph the Kaiser suggested that he wanted an alliance with Britain.
The Reichstag objected to this.
The Kaiser blamed Bulow as he did not censor the interview.
This ended Bulow's Chancellorship.
Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg,

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In 1910 he tried to reform the Prussian voting system, which was so warped it was blatantly unfair. In the 1908
election to the Prussian Landtag the conservatives won 16% of the vote and 212 seats while the SPD won 23% of the
vote and just 7 seats. In the face of conservative opposition he dropped his proposal.…read more

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