The Second Reich (Germany 1900-1914) Revision


The German Second Reich (1900-1914) Revision

So, with any luck this'll be a complete revision set to the German Second Reich. This is a pretty huge topic and I've split it into 5 separate sections that my course wants me to learn. If your doing the same course (Edexcel GCE History: From Kaiser to Fuhrer, 1900-45) then score for you, if not, sorry but I hope/it should be useful anyways. Enjoy! 

1) The relative power and importance of the Kaiser, Chancellor and Reichstag as well as examples of where this relationship is demonstrated:  


The Kaiser, 

This is the German monarch, the King of Prussia who automatically becomes the Kaiser, emperor of all Germany (I'm assuming you know that Germany is split into several different states, each with their own courts, royal families, etc...). He was the figurehead of the nation and as such, had considerable constitutional power: 

-Had full control of Foreign and Diplomatic policy, allowing him to wage war or make peace. 

-He appointed and dismissed the Chancellor and was able to dissolve the Reichstag. More on both later.

-Commander in chief of the German armed forces. 

-Guardian of the Constitution. 

The Chancellor, 

So this guy is the one between the Kaiser and the Reichstag, sort of like a prime minister. He is in charge of the state secretaries who run government ministries. 

-Responsible to the Kaiser, not the Reichstag (could just ignore the Reichstag).

-Was able to ignore any and all resolutions passed by the Reichstag. 

The way the position of Chancellor was set up meant that his success depended on his ability to manipulate both the Kaiser and Reichstag. Most important to remember is that the Chancellor depended on the support of the Kaiser and could operate without the support of the Reichstag, so long as the Kaiser was on his side. Lose this support and things go **** up, as you'll see later on. 

The Reichstag, 

This is the German equivalent (sort of...) of our House of Commons, the lower house of parliament. They hold legislative power along with the Bundersrat.  

-Every 7 years it dictates a military budget. 

-Passes an annual budget for the country. 

-Was able to hold elections soon after being dissolved, so that it couldn't be dissolved indefinitely. 

Other Players of Note, 

...The Army, 

The army was deliberately left out outside of the constitutional situation so that it was not tied to a particular role. That said, it was not accountable to the Reichstag or the Chancellor, but to the Kaiser directly. He appointed the military cabinet who advised and selected the General Staff, who then organised all affairs military. Most important is that the Army is entirely self sufficient with no input from the outside required.

...The Bundersrat, 

This is the other half of parliament, kinda like the House of Lords. It was set up to be made up of conservative members so that it could veto any overly socialist legislation that may come from the Reichstag. Most important is the Prussian dominance of the Bundersrat. To veto legislation, you…




again fantastic! thank you