Kaiser Rreich - social and political change

Social and Political change 1900-1914

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New ideas

Socialism

 - shown through SPD creation 1875

 - election in 1893 won nearly 1/4 of vote

 - Bismarck saw as great threat = anti socialist laws 1878 and 1890

= HOWEVER, didn't kill it, made socialist movement stronger.

Social Darwinism

 - Jews = parasitic. Aryans = superior

 - Historian Noakes 'by 1900 anti semitism had succeeded in permeating higher sections of German society from the Kaiser down to the lower middle class'

 - key figure = Heinrich Von Treitschke - 'Jews are our misfortune'

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NEW IDEAS cont

Nationalism:

 - aimed to Germanise areas - in Polish regions, German language strictly enforced

 - in a chauvanistic/racist form - exemplified by Pan German League 1893

 - from 1880s took different form - harsher and more directed towards minorities

Anti-Semitism

 - by 1900, a number of anti semitic, Volkisch parties were winning seats = extreme right made gains

 - seen as a more just response to intellectual developments - Jews formed less than 1% of population but a high %age of them were bankers, lawyers, doctors

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SOCIETY AND DIVISIONS

Junkers

- conservative. landowning aristocracy

- those who failed to modernise farming production methods found their financial position under threat

- beginning to experience less prosperous times

- determined to uphold social superiority. wanted to keep army officers under control to the extent that they opposed expansion of army incase it diluted their aristocratic power

Industrial Bourgeoisie

- greatest threat to Junkers but didn't want to be them, just copy them!

- included the upper and middle classes who owned capital and means of production (factories and mines)

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SOCIETY AND DIVISIONS cont

Middle Classes

- growing in size

- professionals and clerical workers in education and industry were in demand

- in return for accepting strict employment regulations, were guaranteed rights of employment and privileges

Mittelstand

- not a good time for them

- squeezed between powerful workers trade unions and big businesses. Thus, they regarded the time before industrialisation as the Golden Era.

- changing attitudes led to increasing support in 1890s for right wing movements

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SOCIETY AND DIVISIONS cont

working classes

- hard life

- long hours at work and lived in cramp, cold conditions

- not surprising that for many, industrial work was attractive

- mass of population

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