Main issues in the Second Reich 1900-14

Constitution, powers of Kaiser, Chancellor and Reichstag. Different political parties, economoic growth and social change.

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  • was the Emporer of germany and King of Prussia.
  • Full control over foreign and diplomatic policy.
  • He could appoint and dismiss Chancellor at any time.
  • He had to oversee the implemenatation of federal law.
  • He could dissolve the Reichstag and was the guardian of the constitution.


  • and Government Ministers were below him, and he was directly responsible to the Kaiser. He can ignore resolutions past by the Reichstag.
  • Chancellor had powers to manipulate both Kaiser and Reichstag.
  • He had to stirke deals fast and manage politicans.
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Federal State

  • German Reich contained 25 states and four kingdoms and Alsace-Lorraine which had been seized from France.
  • Each state had own governements and different constitutions which had wide ranging powers.
  • Domestic Affairs were in the hands of the state gov not federal gov.

The Bundesrat

  • Upper house of federal parliament.
  • Part of law making process and could change the constitution.
  • It was to act as a barrier for radical legislation.
  • Voters put into three bands; upper, middle and lower.
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The Army

  • Army had huge impact on the new state, as the army had lead to the new states formation die to victories on battlefields in previsious years.
  • Bismark did not make army accountable to the Reichstag. It was only resposible to the Kaiser who...
  • Appointed the Military Cabnet which chose General Staff which organised military affairs. Army swore an oath the to Kaiser and not to the state.
  • Officers were class slpit; little had respect for democracy as a result.

The Bureacracy

  • Civil servants that helped to develop policies.
  • Implemented new laws and arranged events and made policy decisions.
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Kaiser Wilhelm 2

  • Belived it was his power to rule and not share power witht he Reichstag.
  • He was a poor decision maker and did not work hard. His only interest was the military which he turned to for advice.
  • He had a poor opinion of democracy in the Reichstag.


  • Concstitution creastes a political structure which was not clear and was fragmented and dominated by conservative elites.
  • There was much domanance and veto of Prussia.
  • Main aim of the author of the new constitution and Germanys first Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, was to preserve power of the elite.

1871 - Prince Otto von Bismarck, 1890 - Georg Leo von Caprivi, 1904 - Prince Chlodwig zu Schillingsfurst, 1900 - Bernhard won Bulow, 1909 - Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg.

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