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What Impact did Social and Economic change have upon Germany, 1870 – 1914?

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Introduction

What Impact did Social and Economic change have upon Germany, 1870 - 1914? The unification of Germany in 1871 acted as a catalyst for industry that enabled a period of rapid growth and change. This growth in industry changed Germany forever socially and economically and it was this change that was to make Germany a great nation, even rivalling Britain itself by 1890. As soon as the Reich was established in 1871, the German economy took off. Germany possessed huge mineral wealth and this was manipulated to build an incredibly strong economy. Germany possessed areas such as Alsace-Lorraine that contained Europe's largest source of iron ore that was essential to its growing steel industries. In fact Germany was totally independent due to the abundance of all resources that were necessary for an industry at the time. Germany was developing industrially at an incredibly rapid rate and this is shown through its outputs (fig. ...read more.

Middle

Germany was a conservative state and so naturally change was frowned upon. What remained of Germany's past during the industrialisation was that of the Junkers political monopoly. Bismarck himself was a Junker and one of his main political aims was to maintain the superiority of this upper class. The Junkers also continued to obtain great wealth due to their hold over agriculture. Without the food stuffs that the Junkers provided, Germany would not have been able to grow in the manner that it had. As well as industrialisation, urbanisation was taking place at the same time as Germany's population was moving from rural areas to cities in search of employment. These people that came in search of work became known as the working class, an entirely new level of German society. It was the industrialists however who actively attempted to draw people from the countryside into the cities. ...read more.

Conclusion

However at this time, countries such as Britain and France had taken all the colonies of worth. The only way Germany would gain such useful assets would be to take them by force from their custodians. This action could easily lead to war however and so called for a more aggressive foreign policy that in the future would contribute to Germany's involvement in world war one. In conclusion the social and economic changes had a massive effect on Germany. Germany began to change into a whole new place and towards the end of the period it also began to develop it's own identity. Although some problems arose none were too serious as to stop Germany becoming a great nation. The leadership Bismarck supplied enabled Germany to pass through troubled times with ease and differences began to become less of an issue as time went on. However it is ironic that while Bismarck suspected Catholics and Socialists of trying to destroy Germany, it was to be the demands of the industrialists and financiers that led to the downfall of his conservative system. ...read more.

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