Second Reich Reforms

Summaries, examples and statistics for Unit 1

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  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 08-06-11 09:38

Socialist Movement

  • The Anti-Socialist Laws 1878-1890 actually encouraged the working class's eagerness for political action.
  • 1907 - SPD leadership aimed towards reformism
  • By 1914 there were approx 2.5 million German workers who were members of trade unions.
  • 400,000 of them went out on strike at some time during 1913 for better working conditions.
  • 1910 - SPD had 720,000 members - largest socialist party in Europe.
  • 1912 election - the SPD became the largest party in the Reichstag - 110 seats. Gaining up to 75% of the vote on the eve of war.
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Pressure Groups

Nationalist

  • German Colonial League (1882)
  • The Pan German League (1890)
  • The Navy League (1898)

Economic

  • The Central Association of German Industrialists (1886)
  • The Agrarian League (1893)
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Challenges

  • Aggressive foreign policy - demands for international expansion.
  • Demands for constitutional reforms - strengthening the power of the Reichstag.
  • The demand for social reform.
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Flottenpolitik

  • 1898 - von Tirpitz's first Navy Law. Supporters say - large fleet necessary for protection of Colonies and Germany's 'Great Power' status.
  • Tirpitz's risk theory -  strong navy as deterrrent to prevent other naval powers from attacking it.
  • 1900 2nd Navy Law - 38 battleships in 20 years.
  • 1906 response to Dreadnought - 3rd Navy Law - 6 battle cruisers, widening Kiel Canal
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von Bulow's reforms.

Count Arthur von Posadowsky Interior Minister

  • Old Age and Invalidity Law - amended June 1899.  Increase OA Pensions, extension of compulsary insurance.
  • 1900 extension of accident insurance
  • December 1902 - new Tariff Law! Restored higher duty on  agricultural imports = rise in food prices - influence Agrarian Leauge. However this resulted in a rise in support for SPD plus balance of power to Centre Party.
  • April 1903 Sickness Insurance Law Amendment - 26 weeks
  • Late 1908 - No children under 13 to be employed.
  • Limiting to six hour day for kids aged 13-14 and 10 hours for kids aged 14-16.
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Bethmann-Hollweg's Reforms

  • Attempt to reform Prussian Voting System in 1910 - blatantly unfair (illustrated by 1908 election to Prussian Landtag. Conservatives: 16% of the vote, 212 seats, SPD: 23% of vote, 7 seats) But shot down by conservative opposition - protecting elites.
  • Started taking control of Polish estates in the East - to please the conservatives, redistribution of land to German peasantry.
  • 1911 Imperial Insurance Code - consolidation of all previous German workers insurance laws, amended and extended.
  • White collar workers insured seperately.
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