Germany the lead up to World War One.

Germany in the run up to the war including the personality of the kaiser, the constitution, the course of the war and the aftermath. 


What is Germany?

Majority of Germans = Christian                                                                                   North Germany = Protestant  South Germany = Bavaria Catholic

In 1871 Germany was a new country it was a federal state.  A federal state is a state made up of individual states.   germany had gone to war with france and consequently the Germans united all parts of Germany, under the leadership of the King of Prussia.

Places that were separate countries before 1871 like Saxony and Bavaria lost much independence.  However the State of Prussia gained lots of money, land and emerging industries such as motor vehicle production, chemicals and electrical equipment.  It was also in the middle of Germany which would be both its biggest advantage and disadvantage.

The Austrian Hungarian Empire did not become part of Germany in 1871, though they were allies.  Despite speaking the same language as Germany, Austria had many different cultures and didn't want Germany taking over their country.

1 of 4

The Constitution

  • The Kaiser  = The Prussian King.  The Kaiser had control over Foreign policy + diplomatic policy, he made alliances and signed treaties, sue for peace and was the commander in chief of the Army of all German States. He appointed and dismissed the chancellor and could also dissolve the reichstag
  • The Chancellor = Chief Minister of the Reich and was directly responsible to the Kaiser.  Main priority was to balance relationship with the Kaiser and the Reichstag. The chancellor could ignore resolutions passed by Reichstag.
  • The Bundesrat = Upper House of Federal parliament, created to check on reichstag, a barrier to legislation of the Reichstag.  Always dominated by conservatives who had old interests.
  • The Reichstag = Lower House of federal parliament, they had control over the Defense budget however this was dissolved by Bismarck in the Septennial act which meant that the Reichstag only voted on the defense budget every 5 years.
  • The Army = huge significance to the new state, Army was directly responsible to the Kaiser but lay outside the formal constitution.  The Army swore an oath on allegiance to the Kaiser not the state.  Few Officers in the Army had respect for democracy they thought themselves as a 'state within a state' .
2 of 4

Personality of Kaiser Wilhelm 11

  • The Kaiser held considerable power in the constitution therefore his personality was crucial. Wilhem 11 came into power around 1888 at the age of 29.  
  • He had a sad childhood: Ear and Arm Damaged at Birth. He was disabled but strongly militaristic.
  • Character was dictatorial, He saw himself as the personification of Germany.
  • He was Queen Victoria's Grandson.  He had many trips to Osbourne House as a child.  Though he saw himself as a rival to Britain, he wanted to be admired as a British Gentlemen and feared as a Prussian King.
  • He had an Obsession with the Military, strongly allied himself with it. 
  • He was 'sensitive, artistic and controversial', there was a scandal in a magazine about a man Phillipe dressing up in a TuTu, whilst doing this he died.  Him and the Kaiser were accused of being Gay.  To the rest of Germany it didn't look good that they were being led by a Homosexual.
3 of 4

The Rise of German Nationalism.

German Nationalism can be defined by what it is not : NOT FRENCH. After the Napoleonic war, Germans adopted a strong anathema to French.  

Most persistent form of German Nationalism was XENOPHOBIA (A fear

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all The rise of Germany from 1871 resources »