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By 1914 the domestic and international position of Germany had sharply deteriorated - Discuss this comment on the policies pursued by Bismarck's successors.

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Introduction

By 1914 the domestic and international position of Germany had sharply deteriorated. Discuss this comment on the policies pursued by Bismarck's successors. Germany pre 1890 * Germany's position pre-1914, both internationally and domestically, was very powerful and strong which is why the deterioration had such a great affect. * Bismarck, who was chancellor of Germany from 1871-1890, was one of the greatest statesman ever. He had a profound influence on Germany in the nineteenth century. * Germany did not exist when he became Prussian chief minister in 1862. When he left office in 1890 it was Europe's strongest state. This did not happen by any chance. * It had much to do with his diplomatic skill. He manipulated situations and worked hard to make the outcomes as desirable as possible. * In doing so he won the trust of few but the respect of virtually everybody he encountered. * After he died, it was unfortunate for both Europe and Germany that after 1890 the creation of Germany was in the hands of less skilful men. Domestic policy * During the reign of Bismarck he helped to modernise and consolidate Germany. ...read more.

Middle

* He surrounded himself with personal friends who did little to temper his pretensions to grandeur. * He was determined to be his own ruler. However none of his chancellors were the of the calibre of Bismarck * He boasted that he never read the constitution which gave him considerable influence because he chose who to talk to and who to appoint Caprivi's reforms (Domestic) * Leo von Caprivi introduced several reforms and laws. * These reforms were introduced to make Germany a more liberal country: * working hours for women were restricted * industrial courts to arbitrate wage claims were set up and workers were allowed to elect committees to negotiate with employers about working conditions. * Laws of socialism lapse factory inspection was made more rigorous * tariffs were reduced in order to stimulate foreign trade-food import prices were reduced * SPD was gaining more support, Foreign policy (International) * Bismarck dominated foreign policy's during the period of 1871-1888 with the support of Wilhelm I * To avoid war, Bismarck wanted to remain one of the five great powers * Bismarck's cornerstones o foreign policy were: 1. ...read more.

Conclusion

This could not be compensated by a few colonial gains * This position and the growing German awareness of this fact led some historians to accuse the Kaiser's government of deliberately manufacturing a war crises to enable Germany to brake out of encirclement whilst there was still time * In 1914 war plans existed, such as the notorious Schlieffen Plan which assumed a two-front war with France and Russia Differences between the Germany of 1914 and the Germany of 1871-1890 * Germany was more powerful military and had the second greatest navy in the world * Germany was the greatest economic power on the continent * Germany was led less effectively, both domestically and internationally Wilhelm II than under Bismarck * There had been advantages in living and working conditions * Nationalist feelings grew * Parliamentary system became more mature and society became more modern and complex * Most of the gains were shattered by WWI (World War One) * Germany had a brief experiment with a democratic government in the 1920's but than Germany experienced a more sinister, authoritarian regime, known as Nazism Robinson Wollersheim Page 1 02/05/2007 ...read more.

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