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To What Extent Was the Course of German History 1900-1914 Dictated by the Personality of the Kaiser?

  • Date Submitted: 02/20/2012 02:41 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.2 
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In 1900 germany had come out of a difficult transformation into a united country. It had been brought together under Bismarks unification post prussio francan war.

When Bismark set up the unification of the german states following the Prussian victory in the franco Prussian war he drew up a very biased constitution. It largely was in the favour of the state of Prussia. This lead to the dominance of the Kaiser as the head of Prussia and as such of the entire of Germany. He had the power to dismiss the Reichstag and would prop up the Chancellor as in the Zaben affair when the vote of no confidence in Bethmann Hollweg as chancellor was secured at 293-54 but Bethmann Hollweg kept his position and the vote was simply ignored. This ability to prop up a chancellor showed the Kaisers dominance over the Reichstag and is evidence of how this period was dictated by him.
However there were other key figures during this period. Von Bulow was Chancellor before Bethmann Hollweg and he started Weltpolitik. Weltpolitik, literally meaning world policy was the attempt by the German nation at becoming a large European colonial force. Wishing to expand its empire and unite the country Von Bülow set about increasing the size of the German armed forces. This lead to Von Bülow working with the secretary to the Navy Alfred Von Tirpitz to build up the navy through the policy called Flottenpolitik. Flottenpolitik were three bills that were passed between 1898 and 1906 to increase the size of the German navy however with the intention for it to reach the size of Britain’s Navy, as this would be impossible, but rather to increase it to a size that it would make any other naval power think twice before attacking it. The first Bill of 1898 was passed through von Tirpitz and increased the size of the navy, the second bill of 1900 was held through by the Naval League which was a political pressure group set up to increase support for naval expansion. This law set up the proposal to build 38...

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