To What Extent Was The Course Of German History 1900 1914 Dictated By The Personality Of The Kaiser?

1080 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

This law set up the proposal to build 38 battleships in 20 years. The final law of 1906 was in response to the building of the HMS Dreadnought, it saw to add 6 battle cruisers to those being manufactured and the widening of the Kiel Canal to allow for that style of ship to fit through. Overall this kept German attention on patriotism and nationalism. This shows that there was some control over this period by people other than the Kaiser and his personality, in this instance it is shown by Von Bulow and the political pressure groups.
On the other hand whilst Von Bulow may have been responsible for securing the building up of the armed forces (specifically the navy) it was extremely evident who they supported. The army would swear an oath of loyalty to the Kaiser himself instead of to Germany. This meant that if the Kaiser were to decide to do something no matter how drastic it was and whether or not the Reichstag or chancellor wanted it to happen then they would be forced to act. This meant that it was down to the Kaiser and his personality therefore to decide any military action that was to be taken. And in a country The Army is one of the main ways to control and protect it. I believe this gave the Kaiser a drastic amount of power when it came to the course of germany in this period.
Conversely you have to also look at the different ways that germany changed in this period. During this time we had a large growth in the german economy. Between 1900 and 1910 steel production doubled in germany largely due to the growth of the german industries. This lead to germany becoming a wealthy and self sufficient country. The increase in factories and industrial production lead to increased urbanisation as shown by events such as in hamburg where 8,600 people died of cholera. This increase in industrial workers lead to the rise of a socialist party. This was something that the Kaiser certainly did not approve of due to his belief in autocracy. However despite the Kaiser not...

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