From Kaiser to Fuhrer: The second reich society and Government in Germany 1900-1919.

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Political Developments:

The Left: Growing urban working class led to expansion of left wing political organisations. By 1900 Trade Union movement greatest in the World with main left wing party SPD growing in popularity.

Between 1887 and 1912 the %age of votes increased from 0.03%- 28%.

The Right: Changing economic and social situation in Germany also caused a rise in nationalist politics, DKP began moving in radical direction.

Right Wing pressure groups fought to protect Social elite from free market policies and promote nationalism, as well as conolonial expansion.

Political Parties and pressure groups:

DKP (German conservative party): Represented Junkers, was strong in Prussia and had links with Government. From 1890's elements became more anti-semetic.

Zentrum (Centre Party): represented German Catholics, one third of Germans. Usually worked with more conservative parties, but over the budget in 1906 sided with the SPD

SPD: theoretically had revolutionary aims. Mainly moderate reformist at this time.

Agrarian Leage: Formed as a pressure group by Junkers seeking protectionist measures against competition. Also had nationalist and anti-semetic bend, had links with DKP. 

Central Assosciation of German industrialists: called for Tarriffs to protect German industry from competition. Gave funding to many conservative members of the Reichstag.

Navy League: Campaigned for Naval expansion. Very popular, membership of 1 million.

German Colonial League and Pan German leage: Right wing groups, supported colonial expansion. Also sought dominant role in Europe. 

How did the Political system work in practise


Budgetary crisis 1906: SPD and Centre Party voted against the Governments budget in protest to their colonial policies. Kaiser used his powers to dissolve the reichstag and create A new one in 1907 and rehold the election (Hottentot election). Conservative imperialist parties emerged stronger after this. 

Daily Telegraph Affair: 1908 conversations the kaiser had with the British Colonial were published in the Daily Telegraph.The Kaiser made unguarded comments regarding foreign policy, and was seen by Germany as exceeding his authority. Led to further criticism in press and Reichstag, and resulted in him promising to not talk like this in the future. Pressured Von Bulow, who had been to supportive of the reichstag to resign.

Zabern Affair: German soldior in Zabern made derogitary comment about alsacian locals. Soldior started a fight with the inhabitants, and was acquitted by a millitary court. Kaiser backed the millitary, and had a vote of no confidence pressed against him. Bethmenn was asked to resign for supporting the Kaiser, but said he depended on the authority of the Kaiser.

Second Reich by 1914:

Evidence that Germany was autocratic-

Kaiser had the power to appoint…


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