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How strong was Nationalism in the Second Reich

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How strong was Nationalism in the Second Reich? How did the constitution help encourage nationalism? In 1871, Bismarck unified Germany; however this great achievement did not mean that his job was done. Now, the ultimate threat for him was a revolution, so he needed to make sure that everyone was reasonably happy in the new unified Germany. The constitution of the German Reich was created on 19 April 1871. This aimed to please the upper class, middle class, working class and the German states. The upper class were pleased by the fact that they would be ruled by a German Emperor (William I) who was also the King of Prussia and Supreme Commander. This way, they could maintain an element of autocracy and social hierarchy. The Federal Council could over-rule the Reichstag if it wanted to so this helped to avoid democracy, again, pleasing the upper class. Having a constitution would please the middle class as it enables democracy to a certain extent. They would have been pleased by the fact that the constitution allows the middle class suffrage and in turn, gains them more power. ...read more.


As he was such an influential writer, it was causing nationalism to grow amongst the German people. Treitschke also believed in conformity and wrote that "the individual has no right to regard the state as a means for attaining his own ambitions in life", meaning that people should do as they are told by their government, and not revolt (like the French did.) Both the acquisition of power and conformity had created a replacement to absolutism known as authoritarianism. His writing showed that nationalism was becoming more and more conservative. To be a good German, you had to pure blooded and a militarist. Treitschke taught that war was a good thing and it makes you a better person. "The sacred power of love which a righteous war awakes" is an example of what he wrote about war. Germany was founded through three wars, so to Germans it must seem a very good thing. However, this all changed after WWI. Nationalism was also being encouraged through education. Textbooks would contain phrases such as "the ideal bearers of civilisation with an innate superiority and pureness of blood." ...read more.


By 1912, the SPD were the largest party in the Reichstag with nearly 4million votes!! Bismarck even attempted to encourage working class nationalism by introducing state insurance and pension, however, this was simply mocked by socialists. They called it 'state socialism.' The social democrats continued to be the largest party in the Reichstag up to the outbreak of WWI in 1914. Another form of opposition to nationalism was women. This was not as serious as the Suffragettes in Britain, although it still posed a threat to nationalism. Women were seen as second class citizens who were oppressed by the ruling classes, generally men. The women's movement achieved very little under Bismarck, however, they managed to get the right to get involved in politics. It was the most low key of the three main threats to nationalism, as it was not as significant as the Socialists or the Catholics. Out of the three, the biggest threat to nationalism seems to be the Social Democratic party, as they managed to become the largest party in the Reichstag, meaning that they would have quite an influence over parliament. However, the Federal Council could just simply dissolve the Reichstag if they felt it was necessary. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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