How the figures were authoritarian and democratic

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The Kaiser

The Kaiser was authoritarian because:

  • He claimed he had the divine right to rule: 'there is only one Ruler in the Reich and I am he.'
  • `He had military values.
  • He had the right to appoint and dismiss the Chancellor and his state secretaries, completely independent of the Reichstag's wishes.
  • He pushed Germany into the Royal Navy.

However, the Kaiser was democratic (not authoritarian) because:

  • His social and ceremonial duties meant that he was absent from Berlin for long periods of time.
  • So he didn't have command of the detail of the government's work.
  • He didn't really excersise his power until something bad would happen where he would interfer and make things worse. 
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The Chancellors

The Chancellors were authoritarian because:

  • The Chancellor made the decisions and contributed in the law making process. 

However, the Chancellors were not authoritarian because:

  • They were essentially civil swervants to trick Germans into thinking it was democratic.
  • The Kaiser interfered with their power.
  • They didn't dominate the German political scene as Bismarck had done.
  • Political survival was dependednt on showing loyalty to the Kaiser and doing his will.
  • So they were the Kaiser's puppets in other words.
  • Chancellors changed a lot so they weren't many figurative Chancellors after Bismarck.
  • They were appointed and dismissed by the Kaiser so they weren't very democratic this way. 
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The Bundesrat

The Bundesrat were not authoritarian because:

  • After 2 years of rulling, the bills were discussed by the main political parties, instead of the Bundesrat.
  • It declined influence. 

The Bundesrat was democratic because:

  • They were voted in.
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Reichstag and Parties

The Reichstag and parties was authoritarian because:

  • They had great influence over the people. 
  • The SDP adopted an uncompromising Marxist programme to overthrow Wilhelm's system. 

The Reichstag and parties were not authoritarian because:

  • They are democratic.
  • The Chancellor had minimal effect.
  • They relied on right wing parties.
  • The Kaiser's power was greater than theirs. 

The Reichstag and Parties were democratic because:

  • They could discuss, amend and pass or reject govt legislation.
  • Had universal male suffrage.
  • Parties were voted in by the people. 
  • Most walks of life were represented.
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Development of interest groups

The development of interest groups were authoritarian because:

  • 1890s: Professionally led interest groups became more powerful. 
  • Such as the economic lobby groups, e.g Agrarian League.

The development of interest groups were democratic because:

  • Organisation, such as the Pan-German League, the Navy League and the Colonial Society improved political participation. 
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Federal State

The Federal States were authoritarian because:

  • 25 states retained control over many domestic matters which was imperial authority.
  • The vote in Prussia however, gave disproportionate political weight to the rich. 

The Federal states were democratic because:

  • The functions of the Reich government expanded, such as the social insurance scheme which were theirs.
  • The Landtag in Prussia, was elected by a 3 class suffrage system. 
  • They pursued a liberal policy.
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The Army

The Army was authoritarian because:

  • Bismarck fought hard to keep the military under political control.
  • Civilian ministers were not consulted when the General Staff drew up its war plans.
  • The army was aristocratically led.
  • Officers were selected by regimental commanders.
  • They had an oath of loyalty to the Kaiser, not the people.
  • Conscription

The Army was democratic because:

  • Civilians admired military virtues and had great faith in the army as an institution. 
  • Despite this, this isn't very democratic because the army had to fight for the Kaiser not the country itself. Admiration doesn't mean its democratic.
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