Bismarck's relationship with political parties

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Conservative Party

Supported by:

  • Landed nobility (Junkers)
  • Aimed to protect landed nobility's domination & privileged position in Germnay

Relations with Bismarck:

  • Supported him generally but criticised any liberal and democratic policy
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Free Conservatives

Supported by:

  • Landed Nobility (Junkers) and industrial elite
  • Aimed to keep things as they are

Relations with Bismarck

  • Supported him
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Centre Party (Catholics)

Supported by:

  • Catholics
  • Aimed to protect Catholics interests but agreed with conservatives in many areas

Relations with BIsmarck:

  • In 1870s serious conflict with him over his attempts to control Catholic Church. United with him against 'socialist threat.'
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National Liberals

Supported by:

  • Largest party in 1870- mainly from Middle class
  • Aims- to defend national unity from any threats, move away from authoritarian type of government. Opposed Church influence in the state

Relations with Bismarck:

  • Worked with him most of the time against the Catholics and Socialists. Uncomfortable with repressive tactics of Bismarck and his refusal to give Reichstag greater role in government
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Supported by:

  • small party. Left-wing or more radical liberals. Mainly vote from middle class
  • Same aims from more critical of lack of parliamentary power and power and role of Prussian army in Germany

Relations to Bismarck:

  • Did not work with him and opposed to many of his policies
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SPD or Socialists

Supported by:

  • Working class
  • Aims greater democracy, social reform to improve the life of the poorer sections of society and freedom and equality for all.

Relations with Bismarck:

  • Did not work with Bismark and opposed many of his policies
  • Bismarck hated this party the most
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