The Second Reich 1871-1918

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Flashcards for A2 German History (Edexcel) - The Second Reich to 1918

Resource summary

Question Answer
Industrial output rose between 1900-1914 by how much, in regards to coal, iron and steel production? Coal and iron production doubled Steel production tripled
Who described industrialisation in Germany as a "whirlwind boom period"? Hans-Ulrich Wehler, in 'The German Empire 1871-1918', published in 1985
What were the 4 key industries in the German Empire? 1 - Steel, e.g. Krupps 2 - Chemicals, e.g. Bayer and Agfa 3 - Electricals, e.g. Siemens and Bosch 4 - Automobiles, e.g. Benz and Daimler
Between 1900-1914, how much did trade union membership increase by? 0.8 million to 2.4 million
The growth in trade union membership was viewed with alarm by who? The conservative industrial tycoons, as it meant that the SPD was growing too
In 1914, what percentage of the population worked in agriculture and industry? 34% in agriculture 35% in industry
Name some German cities that were the main centres of industry The Ruhr, for coal, iron and steel Berlin, for electricals, machinery and manufacturing Saxony, for textiles Hamburg, for ship building
By what percentage did the German population increase by between 1871-1914? Population increased by 40% (It reflected the expansion of industry in industrial towns and cities)
What were the 3 types of social divisions in the German Empire? Region, religion and social class
Volker Berghahn described early 20th Century Germany as a society.... ..."full of tension"
How was the German Empire split by regions? (States, kingdoms, etc.) There were 25 states and 4 kingdoms (Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Wurttemburg) Also, 6 grand duchies, 5 duchies, 7 principalities and 3 free cities (Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck)
Why would the different regions create social tensions? Because they all had their own distinctive histories and traditions, of which their inhabitants identified with
Why was Prussia particularly resented by the rest of the German population? Because of their ascendency in the politics of Imperial Germany
Germany was a predominantly Protestant Empire. What was the percentage of Protestants compared to Catholics? 62% Protestant 36% Catholic
What was 'Kulturkampf'? A campaign by the government to undermine the influence of the Catholic Church
What political party did the Catholics form? The Centre Party (Zentrum)
Early 20th Century Germany was a strongly hierarchical society. What were the main 3 social groups? Conservative Elites Middle classes Working classes and agricultural labourers
Who were the Conservative Elites? Core elite was the Prussian aristocracy Junkers - owners of big estates in Germany They were closely connected with the German army and indsutrialists
Who was included in the middle-classes? Prosperous merchants, industrialists and businessmen Educated and professionals, e.g. lawyers, teachers, doctors Self-employed and small businesses (the Mittlestand)
Describe the working classes? 40% of Germans were workers They were poorly integrated in society and lived in working class ghettos The SPD represented them
What were the 4 social-political camps? Conservative camp Middle-class camp Catholic camp Working-class camp
Between which 2 social-political camps was there the most hostility and why? The conservatives and working class, because the conservatives feared the SPD as its commitment to communism threatened their wealth and power
Outline the 1871 German Constitution It established a federal system Authority was shared between the Emperor, Chancellor, Federal Council and the Reichstag
What was the role of the Kaiser under the 1871 Constitution? He appointed and dismissed federal government ministers Commander-in-chief of the army Controlled foreign policy Could dissolve the Reichstag
What was the role of the Imperial Chancellor under the 1871 Constitution? He was appointed by the Emperor, and was his chief minister Other government ministers were accountable to him
What were the 25 state governments in control of? Policing, education, social welfare and taxes
What was the Federal Council (Bundesrat)? It was an assembly of representatives from the 25 states Their consent was required for any new law
What was the problem with Prussian delegates in the Federal Council? There were 17 Prussian delegates. Only 14 votes were needed to block changes to the Constitution, so Prussia had considerable power over the other states
What was the Reichstag? It was the national parliament and had shared law-making powers with the Federal Council They could only discuss, amend, pass or reject legislation - not initiate it
Who was the electorate? All German men aged 25+
What was the problem with the Prussian electoral system? There was a 3-tier franchise which gave a disproportionate amount of political influence to the wealthy
Was Imperial Germany an autocratic state? Emperor was powerful, but not all-powerful - he did not have control over individual state powers and he could not change the law without the approval of the Federal Council and Reichstag Decrees also had to be approved by Chancellor
What are the two competing views of the political role of William II? 1) 'Personal rule' - his intention was to be a hands-on ruler, and he intervened decisively in politics frequently 2) However, others say Germany was dominated by the conservative elites. William II was impulsive, had little interest in domestic policy and had no coherent personal agenda
What two parties were in the Conservative camp and who did they represent German Conservative Party - DKP; represented Prussian Junkers Free Conservatives - RFKP; represented non-Prussian landowners and industrialists
What two political parties were in the Middle-Class camp and who supported them? National Liberals - wealthier elements of the middle-class Left Liberals - educated middle-class
What was the main political party of the Working-Class camp, and what did they want? The SPD Wanted radical social, political and economic change Some wanted socialism by revolutionary means
Outline the change in support for political parties up to 1912. Conservatives lost support (16% to 12%) National Liberals and Left Liberals relatively the same Centre Party lost support (19% to 16%) Social Democrats gained support (27% to 35%)
Were there any restrictions on the German press? Not any rigid restrictions The free press could be strongly critical of the government, such as the SPD newspaper 'Voawrts'
What were some of Imperial Germany's pressure groups and what did they want? Pan-German League, Colonial Society and the Navy League (300,000 full members) They wanted expansionist foreign policy, increased military spending, the acquisition of colonies, and naval spending
Who were William's Chancellors up to 1918? Caprivi - 1890-1894 Hohenlohe - 1894-1900 Bulow - 1900-1909 Bethmann-Hollweg - 1909-1917
Why did Bulow and Hollweg survive as Chancellors for longer than their predecessors? Bulow handled the Reichstag well and flattered the Emperor shamelessly Hollweg was competent but unadventurous. However, he failed to reform the Prussian electoral system in 1910
Why did Bulow and William II's relationship break down? The Daily Telegraph Affair William made indiscreet remarks about foreign policy to a British newspaper, and Bulow took no responsibility so the Emperor felt betrayed
Why did the Chancellors face difficulty in the Reichstag to try and get laws passed? The Conservatives and National Liberals were a minority in the Reichstag from 1890, so they had to win the approval of other parties from the centre and left
What methods did the Chancellors use to get the support of the centre and left parties? (Bargaining) Bargaining - Bulow repealed anti-Jesuit law and passed series of social welfare reform to gain Centre Party support
What methods did the Chancellors use to get the support of the centre and left parties? (Uniting) Uniting conservatives and middle classes around programme of imperialism and anti-socialism (Sammlungspolitik) E.g. building of German navy
What methods did the Chancellors use to get the support of the centre and left parties? (Other methods) Dissolve Reichstag and hope that new election would defeat their critics Conservatives argued they should disband Reichstag completely (last resort)
What was the Zabern Incident of 1913? A German army officer, von Frostner, ordered recruits to respond violently if attacked by local civilians However, there were allegations of brutality It was made public by the press, and a demonstration was suppressed by the army
How did the army respond to the Zabern Incident? They stood by their men. Frostier was merely given a slap on the wrist He was court-martialled for attacking a shoemaker, although he was acquitted
Outline the political fall out in Germany due to the Zabern Incident. There was a wave of protest, and the SPD orchestrated many against the army in industrial centres of Germany
What was the significance of the Zabern Incident? Highlighted that the army was only accountable to the Emperor, making it untouchable Showed Reichstag to be powerless, even with public opinion on its side Exposed social divisions in Germany
What did Volker Berghahn say in regards to the social divisions in Germany after the Zabern Incident? (Imperial Germany 1871-1918, published 2005) He said "it was as if a flashlight had lit up for a moment the deep and ever-deepening divisions within German politics"
What was the 'Burgfrieden' of 1914? It was a political truce in domestic politics following the outbreak of war Political parties would not criticise the government during wartime, and trade unions promised to refrain from strike action
What was surprising about the SPD accepting the Burgfrieden, and what did they hope? Were opposed to militarism and imperialism However, the leaders were patriotic They hoped their loyalty would be rewarded, e.g. the government would reform the Prussian electoral system
Outline the military aspects of WWI on the Eastern front. Defeated Russia in the Battle of Tanenburg and Masurian Lakes in 1914 Germany advanced into Russian Poland in 1915, and began the Brusilov Offensive in 1916 Made huge territorial gains under the Treaty of Bresk-Litovsk (March 1918)
Outline the military aspects of WWI on the Western front. The Schlieffen Plan failed, leading to a military stalemate which lasted until the Armistice Allies imposed a naval blockade on Germany in 1914 which restricted the flow of food and supplies to Germany, and was not lifted until July 1919
What were the German military casualties? 1.6 million killed 1.6 million seriously wounded 2.2 million otherwise wounded
Why did the Burgfrieden break down? Rising number of casualties Food shortages, e.g. Turnip Winter 1916-17 Malnutrition and starvation Fall in wages by around 30% (inflation) Auxiliary Labour Law of 1916 - conscription of men aged 16-60 was resented by working class Lack of equality (Junkers vs workers)
How did army chiefs push for an intensification of the war effort from 1916? Hard-line generals, e.g. Hindenburg replaced Falkenhayn with Ludendorff as deputy - both waging 'total war' Hindenburg Programme, e.g. Auxiliary Labour Law Feb 1917 - unrestricted submarine warfare brought USA into the war
How did political support start to wane from 1917? Sharp increase in the number of strikes SPD split; anti-war elements forming USPD
Why did Bethmann-Hollweg lose support? He wanted to preserve Burgfrieden by making concessions with the left, so German high-command forced his resignation in July 1917
What were the two types of revolution in October-November 1918? October - 'revolution from above' - army high-command tried to impose constitutional reform on Germany November - 'popular revolution' - socialists took control of major cities and proclaimed existence of democratic republic
When did fighting end on the Eastern Front? March 1918; Germany imposed Brest-Litovsk Treaty on Russia
What happened on the Western Front? Ludendorff Offensive failed. US forces arrived in large numbers.
When did the German high-command realise the war was lost, and what did they do in response? Autumn 1918, although the public was unaware Hindenburg and Ludendorff decided to protect the reputation of the army, so convinced William to create more democratic parliament, and put blame of defeat on these politicians
Who were the new important figures in German Government, 1918? Prince Max of Baden - Chancellor Philip Schiedemann (SPD) Matthias Erzeuger (Centre Party)
What happened to William II? Allies were unprepared to negotiate peace terms whilst he still had some authority, so there was calls for his abdication Abdicated 9th November
What did Scheer, the chief of naval staff, do and what effect did this have? Ordered suicide mission on British fleet However, sailors refused and seized control of naval base at Kiel Set up a soviet to run the base Other towns and cities followed Kiel, e.g. Hamburg, Berlin
When was the German Republic proclaimed and by who? November 9th by Philip Schiedemann
What were the 2 big agreements between the powerful groups in society? 1 - Ebert-Groener Pact Between new Republic's president and Groener, who had succeeded Ludendorff 2 - Stinnes-Legien Agreement Between big businesses and trade unions. Introduce 8-hour day in return for prevention of disruption in factories
When was the Armistice signed and who was involved? November 11th German delegation headed by M. Erzberger No real negotiations - Germany forced to accept Allied proposals
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