• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was Germany a parliamentary democracy in the years 1900-1914?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐To what extent was Germany a parliamentary democracy in the years 1900-1914? By Patrick Woodcock Parliamentary democracy refers to an democratic system of government in which the party which has the largest amount of support from the electorate and the greatest representation in the Reichstag becomes the executive, therefore accurately representing the opinions of the majority of the population. During the period 1900-1914, Germany?s political landscape witnessed extraordinary changes in which typical features associated with a parliamentary democracy- such as significant and influential pressure group activity and universal suffrage- were present. It can however be argued that this period also represented a time in which the German Reichstag did not truly represent the population due to archaic and corrupt voting system for Prussia which saw votes disproportionately given and the role of all the chancellors- in particular Von Bulow- during this time, which saw unelected officials yielding greater influence than that of the Reichstag. The extent to which Germany was accurately an parliamentary democracy is the subject of controversy due to the many contrasting features of the political system- Germany may have had many features where an ?parliamentary democracy? can be boasted, but there are also just as many contrasting points which expose the system as being corrupt and broken. ...read more.


Bismark is known to have wanted the cooperation of the Reichstag in matters relating to passing legislation, yet denied the Reichstag the status and importance of its counterparts in order to restrict their influence. Bismark knew that introducing the idea of universal suffrage would project the idea of parliamentary democracy and preserve stability within the newly unified Germany, yet was also aware that the Reichstag was an assembly which lacked any real power. It can therefore be said that this ?universal suffrage? was in fact a smoke screen created by Bismark in order to hide the true, doctoral nature of the Germany political system. If the purpose of introducing universal suffrage is to act as an mask for the elitist, un representative political system, then it cannot be said that this represents Germany as an parliamentary democracy, when the aim of it is in fact the complete opposite. Germany?s corrupt political system is able emphasis the idea that it was not an parliamentary democracy. This is seen in regards to the Prussian three class franchise voting system which was introduced by Wilhelm IV in 1849 and not abolished until 1918. ...read more.


Chancellor Bethmann Hollwegs attempts to reform the corrupt system in 1917 can be seen as an example of parliamentary democracy in action due to the fact that the executive were reacting to the public?s dissatisfaction, however Kaiser Wilhelm II attempts to water down the reform by not setting an particular date or plan for change only angered the public further, with the three class franchise remaining in place until the German revolution of 1919-thus showing that parliamentary democracy remained very ineffective within Germany. The voting system within Prussian also allowed for a large amount of votes being incredibly dispropionate. In 1908, Prussian conservatives won 16% votes and 212 seats, yet the Social Demoncrat Party achieved 23% of votes and just 7 seats. This is significant in revealing how undemocratic Germany could still be due to the fact that the true opinion of the electorate was clearly not being accurately represented in favour of preserving conservative politicians rule. Parliamentary democracy can be seen to have been significant within Germany between 1900-1914 due to the wide range and variety of political parties which operated at this time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Hitlers Germany

    No regime in history has ever paid such careful attention to psychological factors in politics. Hitler was a master of mass emotion. To attend one of his big meetings was to go through an emotional experience, not to listen to an argument or a program.

  2. History Research Project. The influence of Major Vernon Kell in the effectiveness of the ...

    system of German espionage exists in this country and that we have no organisation for keeping in touch with that espionage and for accurately determining its extent or objectives." (Andrew, 2009, p.3) This finding from the subcommittee underlined the fear of the enfeebled state of British intelligence.

  1. Explain why women failed to gain the vote 1900-1914

    Most women felt their political interests were safe in men's hands as they had an indirect influence on politics and some had no interest in politics at all. This caused a large disadvantage for the NUWSS and the WSPU during their struggle for the vote because they didn't have the rest of the female nation supporting them.

  2. Hitler's address to the Reichstag

    He knew that any threat of war would drive the Anglo-French into a defensive posture. The reason for this should be pretty clear -- Britain and France would have done anything to avoid another conflict and this defensive position managed to win a vote of confidence from public opinion.

  1. In the years before WW1, Germany was progressing towards an effective parliamentary democracy. Do ...

    The idea of the Reichstag having an active role is perhaps demonstrated by the Daily Telegraph Affair in 1908 when it openly criticised the Kaiser, thus prompting the Kaiser to take a step back from politics. This, coupled with the fact that the Reichstag was becoming increasingly dominated by the

  2. To what extent was Wilhelmine Germany an entrenched authoritarian state?

    The Kaiser often also took it upon himself to make decisions of a great magnitude, such as the push for Weltpolitik. The ends to which his cabinet was willing to go to in order to achieve his goal, such as using inheritance tax and a rise in VAT, suggests that

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work