Wars Of Germany Essay

4672 words - 19 pages

In examining great social and cultural changes in the modern West, many specific events come to mind: the Renaissance and the Reformation, the "discovery" of the Americas, industrialization, and World War Two. One such event, often overlooked, is the "Great War", 1914-1918. Like every people affected by the expanse of this war, Germans were deeply affected and forever changed. As a social, cultural, and psychological reaction to World War I, the German people created the Weimar Republic, leading to a drastic change in German society and culture. To best understand these changes, a comprehensive analysis of World War I, before, during, and after, is necessary.What was Germany before World War ...view middle of the document...

Members of the Reichstag were voted in, and eligible voters included all men over the age of 25. Germany was also ahead of her time in terms of workers' rights (albeit no nation was timely enough to satisfy the rapidly-growing working class.)For the most part, however, Germany was the symbol of authoritarianism. The Kaiser himself was an important symbol of this governmental style. To best understand this politic, one must examine the conditions in which the new German Empire was created: the Germany Wilhelm II was doomed to dominate.Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor of a relatively new Germany and the ninth King of Prussia, was born in 1859. His education, like many European monarchs at the time, was strict, militaristic, and enforced concepts like authoritarianism and imperialism. He spent time with his grandmother, Queen Victoria of England, and grew to admire his grandmother's dominating navy (which allowed Britain to expand her colonial interests with relative ease.) He grew up immersed in Prussian ideas, and was espousing them freely by the time he came to the throne (Clark).His lust for power was apparent two years after he took the throne in 1888, when he dismissed his chancellor, Otto von Bismarck--a man who, by all accounts, helped to shape the European world Wilhelm wished to dominate. Von Bismarck, after serving several years as an ambassador between 1851 and 1862, returned to Prussia as prime minister, and devoted his energies to uniting Germany. The War of 1866, during which von Bismarck successfully prevented Austria from mingling with Germany, and the Prussian success during the Franco-Prussian (1870-1871), furthered von Bismarck's ambitions and esteem in new German Empire, the Deutsches Reich, created in 1870 (Clark, 82). Naturally, the power Prussia exerted over Germania led to King Wilhelm I of Prussia's title as Emperor of the Reich.This signaled great change for Germans. For one, Germany took on a Prussian political system, because of Prussia's hand in creating the Reich. The positions in which Prussians were appointed were in the upper echelons of government. This was a significant change from the numerous German states which, for centuries, maintained their own autonomy. Also, the alliance of the German states led credence to the concept that Germany could become a dominating European power. Disconcerting to those Germans far removed from Prussia culturally and socially, the power of the new and potent Reich was in the hands of very few people. Von Bismarck, who became Imperial Chancellor, was answerable to no one but the Emperor himself. Von Bismarck himself decided who stayed and who left, and who was present in the first place, among the states secretaries who administered the Reichstag.Von Bismarck controlled and accomplished much for his new Reich. "Non-binding opinions" were the greatest . The system was described at the time as a "chancellor dictatorship". Von Bismarck decided upon policy outlines, and made the most...

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