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How far is it true to say that Bismarck created a state where democracy and Liberalism flourished?

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How far is it true to say that Bismarck created a state where democracy and Liberalism flourished? Bismarck was very much involved in trying to manipulate different ideals in the unified Germany. He attempted to take control of internal affairs in Germany with a number of Domestic Policies. Some of these policies were successful but others failed in their aims. This information will help me to challenge and hopefully answer the question. Unified Germany was intended to be a democratic state in which the population was fairly represented although there are a number of arguments against this. Germany's parliament was made up of The Reichstag and The Bundesrat, these were supposed to be democratic government. However The Reichstag held little power and was said to be a 'Fig leaf covering the nakedness of absolutism'. This means that The Reichstag was a puppet for Bismarck and was only in place to hide what was really an absolutist Germany. Along with this The Bundesrat, which held the real political power, was really controlled by the Emperor Wilhelm I. ...read more.


One of the problems with the argument that Bismarck created a state where democracy and Liberalism flourished was Kulturkampf was not a success. It was seen as a 'martyrdom' and because of this the church thrived and the Centre Party gained increased representation in the Reichstag. This hindered the Liberal party and argues against Liberals flourishing. The majority of Catholics also became more sympathetic to Papal infallibility which argues against Democracy flourishing. After the Kulturkampf Bismarck sought to combat socialism which he saw as a menace within Germany. Bismarck attempted to stop Socialism by banning the publication of socialist propaganda and prosecute the SDP. However this failed and Bismarck tried to use an assassination attempt on William I to attack the SDP. He wanted to blame it on the SDP but the National Liberals and the Centre Party were against the bill. This tells us that Bismarck was creating a state where Liberalism could flourish by banning other ideals. It also tells us he wasn't attempting to set up a very democratic state but in fat the powers and beliefs of the other parties meant that it was democratic. ...read more.


From this it can be said that Bismarck didn't create a state where Democracy flourished at all. Although Bismarck did attempt to make Germany look democratic with the Reichstag and his attempts to combat papal infallibility, it can be said that these were just facades. Really combating Papal infallibility was just a cover for his own benefits from the Kulturkampf and the Reichstag was really a puppet he controlled, proven by his willingness to dissolve it. Liberalism however seems to be able to flourish in Bismarck's Germany, other parties were repressed and they were able to gain from Bismarck's other plans in return for their support. However relations between Bismarck and Liberals were not perfect, both sides disagreed with a number of the others ideas and when the Liberals apposed a plan that would reduce the Reichstag's powers, Bismarck even threatened to call new elections. Taking all of this into account, it can be said that the question should be challenged and that rather it can be said that Liberalism could flourish in Bismarck's Germany but Democracy couldn't. I believe that Bismarck was more of an authoritarian leader and that although it did flourish Liberalism was not Bismarck's overall ideal. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Webb 1. ...read more.

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