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Unification of Germany and the period up to the second world war Essay

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I. Background

* 1815 to 1848 German confederation of states and the zollverein it was basically a gp of states under the leadership of Austria, and Austria wanted to stamp out nationalism, and against democracy and revolution, lose entity with assembly who had no powers, they had no fed army, but one good thing they did was set up the zollverein from 1832 to 1834 and this made Prussia take the lead in front of Austria and this had three major effects ; power to Prussia and economic prosperity and nationalist feelings

II. 1848 to 1850 first unification attempts

* great thinkers began to think it was better to unite and therefore started to do this in 1848 and unite Germany with all the rest to make one big state and therefore they did the Frankfurt assembly but people soon lost faith as they did not represent the people well enough all they wanted was power and then the Prussian king was asked to come to power and he said no and therefore Fred William IV tried to unite powers from above after the assembly was dissolved and nothing came of it and Austria asserted her power at olmutz

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III. Austro Prussian rivalry

* Prussia got more and more money, Crimean war and Italian defeat there, Von moltke and Von roon played great part, Prussia explored coal and steel, Prussian and Austrian German nationalism was very present

IV. Unification process

* Preparation phase with the Prussian constitutional crisis, 1860 to 1862 and therefore they got Bismarck since assembly did not want to agree with the military budget and he had good education and he was conservative but changed ideals after he realized that Prussia was much stronger

V. Road to success

* Schleswig hollstein issue where H wanted to break away but the Danish king did not want too and therefore he started asserting more power on them and Prussia was annoyed since these people were German, and therefore they want to war and they won

* Then Bismarck made sure that no one would come to the help of the Austrians and he therefore looked at Russia and she owed a favor, then he went to France and they were promised the Rhine land, and the Italians were promised venecia, and the French asked them to stay neutral too so they went into Austria and won in 7 weeks

* Consequences were therefore that Austria was humiliated and the treaty of Prague and German confederation was set up and venecia was to Italy but not the rhineland to France and so she was pissed off, and therefore she declared war after a problem from Spain arose as the rule was overthrown and they wanted Prussian ruler to come but Prussia said no and France wanted Prussia to swear never to accept and so Bismarck printed the paper and it was scandal and war was on

* Consequences was that Prussia won and therefore she was head and then all joined and it was also Italian unification and Spain became monarch again under the son and therefore France also had huge reparations and was not happy and lost Alsace and Lorraine too

Imperial Germany and the Second Reich

I. Intro

* Satisfied people and proud in war, prussianisation of the Germans and not union of equals

II. Organization of the new empire

* Head was to be the Prussian ruler and value was placed on nationalism, huge population explosion, organization was that Bismarck decided of all arrangements, and assembly would be bundersrat and reichstag and 25 states and also had free towns like hamburg, 65 percent of the population was Prussian and more authoritarian like really

III. Bismarck’s period of rule / Internal Policies

* National unity and safe from attack was main aims and there were dangerous divisive forces

* State governments friction since he could bypass the reichstag and he did too then he wanted to have huge army which was to be paid by federal expenditure, agreement was to be looked over every 7 years

* Religious situation roman Catholics were a threat to the papal infallibility, therefore kulturekampf here where he prosecuted all the Catholics, Jesuits were banned, 1873-1875 and also all priest had to go to German high school or Uni., state could veto the bishops, papal jurisdiction was ended, and state schools and church schools had new inspections and also had to have state marriages

* Socialists Marxist works, feel out with national liberals, he improves social legislation too, he did law to protect people who had been incapacitated from work, specific injury law, and also pension scheme in 1884, tried to get rid of them but instead they got stronger

* Minorities poles Danes and the French, he wanted germinization so he got them to move out there too and therefore minorities could elect people and have influence in the gov and this all depended on their relations with the reps in the regions and therefore all was counter productive

IV. Foreign policy

* Wanted to maintain national unity and therefore set up alliances

1. dual alliance 1872 Germany and AH

2. dreikaiserbund 1873 Germany Russia and AH

3. Russia turkey war 1876

4. aggressors listed for Germany and AH in 1879

5. triple alliance after dual alliance with Italy too

6. colonial society in 1882 had not wanted to take part in all of this but had to

7. 1884 to 1885 congress in Berlin to set up rules for colonialisation

V. Bismarck’s fall

* 1888 William died and Frederick III came and Bismarck wanted tough anti socialist laws and he did not and also wanted renewal of the insurance treaty therefore clash and resigned in 1890

VI. Assessment of rule

* It was positive in the sense that it was peace for 20 years in Germany and there was diplomatic evidence and also great social welfare laws

* Negative in the sense that the system he set up was impossible for anyone else to maintain and it was often counter productive really all of his policies really, prevented democracy and the military was really a state within a state, political system did not follow social progress and did not match economic progress, he also had total powers with the constitution

Wilhelmine period from 1890 to 1918

I. Character

* Influencible and too impulsive, sensible to flattery and such

II. Policies internal

* Domestically he gave free hand to the chancellor and tariffs were lowered and income tax and further social welfare too, suddenly attacked socialists again and he didn’t care for internal policies at all really but still the industry greatly prospered and so did the economy too, good schooling results, good placement in Europe too, good rivers and canals,

III. Policies external

* Weltpolitiek, navy league and he undid Bismarck’s safe guard too, GB was not happy since it wanted alliance but then the king got them annoyed, thought alliance with AH was most important and that was it and no others were maintained, lack of political development

IV. Effects

* Built on Bismarck’s base and had modern economy did not evolve democratically, backward political system, top people had to be very good, William not a good man to have in crisis

Germany from Weimar to Republic

I. Background

* by WW1 did not have any consitutional system and therefore that was prob so socialism was encouraged, had largest number of deputies, emperor resigned too, armistice, new republic came in by default, people were ok with it for now

II. Difficulties in establishing the republic

* Socialists very disorganised but there were moderate so it was ok, USP was more violent, SPD new they were not permanent and therefore they were not going to impose any laws here, USP therefore left as they could not do anything, SPD now had freicorps which was made up of ex soldiers, new constitution on teh 31st july 1919

1. president for seven years elected by uni man suff

2. ebert was first president

3. different states had local governments

4. chancellor at the head of fed governmetn

5. 60 000 votes had a rep

6. article 48 could rule by decree

7. so coalitions and problems with decree

8. state powers reinforced

III. Problems faced by the weimar republic

1. spartacists open opposition 1919

2. attempted putsch by kapp

3. beer hall pustch with hitler and ludendorf

4. harsher sentences to the left wing than right

5. economic constraints due to versailles and injuries too, no colonies and no emperors and large debts

6. permanent economic crisis high unemployment

7. could not pay reperations and printed out more money which was huge mistake therefore high inflation during this time

8. french went into the ruhr and took everythign they needed

IV. Years of prosperity

1. gustave streseman was there

2. negociated reperations with american dawrs

3. schacht hjalmar too who was financial genius

4. rentenmarks at this pt to replace all devalued currency

5. mortgaged all land and industry

6. job cuts in the gov too

7. lowered reperations

8. extended time which they had to pay them too

9. loans too

10. americans also poured money into germany

11. increase in monopoly and cartels though eliminated competition and small businesses

12. women and all did not like all these roaring 20s either

13. streseman died before the great crash where he was really needed

V. Who was hitler

1. 1889 to 1945 and he was born on austrian border too vagabond in vienna and this is where he learnt anti semetism and such and he did not like political situation in austria and he watched the big orators here and he looked at what people wanted to hear

2. pan german feelings very strong, hired by the amry to go see meetings to make sure they were not being revolutionary and this is how he became part of NSDAP

VI. Political and Constitutional history – the capture and consolidation of power

1. it is not possible to say that Hitler seized power since he did not but instead he came to power legally, he did not seize power but instead he came to power legally due to president von hinderburg who asked him to come to power and he became president (Hitler) in 1934 after the death of Von Hinderburg

2. he was appointed in the 30th Jan 1933 to a cabinet which only contained 2 other nazis and a majority of nationalists and Hitler immediately wanted to secure power for himself and the nazi party and an end to its dependence on other parties, Hitler precipitated the Reichstag elections and the election campaign was used to extend nazi power and influence by setting up of the SA and the SS

3. the Reichstag building was then burnt down and Hitler accused the communists, and therefore hindenburg allowed for a law which called for the suppression of many civil liberties and many communists were therefore arrested and purged and many knew it was had been Hitler who was responsible and just used it as an excuse to kill communists

4. nazi got larger percentage in voting now and the communist party was banned but the most vital bill was the enabling bill which gave Hitler full and total powers on the 23rd March 1933 and this would give him all power for a year where he could make laws without asking the Reichstag and could also make alliances with other treaties and go against the constitution, SA and SS put pressure on people and the bill was enacted and therefore Hitler turned on his enemies

5. catholic parties were declared illegal SPD was also dissolved some time after trade unions banned, nazis became the only legal party in 1933 and up to august 1934 this was considered period of co-ordination where nazis infiltrated everything

6. serious opposition was the SA and right wing nationalists since they had hoped to get power through Hitler which they did not, Hitler used right wing support to gain respectability here and abroad with also his concordat with the Vatican, and the Germany withdrawal from the LN which both won support of traditional Germans and opposers of weimar rep but support for Hitler was short-lived, and therefore a lot of them were removed in the night of the long knives, from the 30th of June to 2nd July and Hitler took personal command of the armed forces, so removed all aspects of traditional right in his government, and left wing supporters found in the SA, who were headed by Rohm most of them were removed since they still wanted economic reform and he did not want to give them that

7. all Hitler was interested in was order and peace, and one month after great purge, he assumed complete leadership as he announced that chancellor and president would now have one name fuhrer and they would be one and hindenburg died and had new oath of allegiance from the army where they had to swear an oath to him and not the state

VII. Constitutional Policy

1. weimar organs seized to exist or had no more important for Hitler, commissioners were appointed by Hitler (18) and they had full power over local governments also had put in place the law for the reconstruction of the Reich which meant state was now national rather than federal state, therefore the relationship between party and state remained ambiguous but one thing for sure had massive bureaucracy which was not very efficient but some historians think this was on purpose in order to avoid people making too strong opposition but some others thought that it was because he could not rule and the thing is when you look at it when he needed to intervene he did so he could not have been that weak really

2. Reichstag and cabinet soon lost all their power, and then only nazis were allowed to stand, legal processes were also changed, and concepts of right and wrong were also changed by considerations of welfare of the state, and nazi party eventhough people’s court was established but this did not much really as only appeal was in front of Hitler and then only thing you could be tried for was treason and the punishment was death or concentration camps

VIII. Religious policy

1. nazism and the church were at odds for sure, they were in contradiction with each other, there was semi religious aspect with all the rite like aspects of it, catholic bishops were afraid of another culture camp, but in 1933 agreement with the church was reached which insured the church religious freedom, bishops could communicate with Rome, pastoral letters could be published, pope could elect bishops, after consultation of the government though, church schools would not be harassed, catholic bishops had to swear an oath to the state and the catholic party and Christian trade union was to be abolished, clergy promised not to participate in elections

2. agreement was almost immediately ignored though, pope attacked nazi party and then policy against church began again and also Protestant church had to unite all its different little organisations and religious orders under one main order, evangelical church it was called and all priests who were not Aryan had to be removed, and the Protestant church was brought under closer state control, and there was opposition to this but nothing they could really do

IX. Racial policy

1. his beliefs lay on what he was taught on the streets of Vienna and this was where he learned social Darwinism and such survival of the fittest and therefore superiority of the Aryans and then also biological differences between the both and therefore inferior races were the Slavs and they were supposed to rule over them, and interested in the anti Semitic aspect and he thought they were polluting the blood of others by marrying them but however anti semitism was not major part at first not a great vote catcher nor was it reason for his popularity really as a whole

2. Jewish officials were dismissed, boycott of Jewish shops, in national state and municipal government all non Aryans had to resign added to propaganda supposingly based on biology and Nuremberg laws, removed all German citizenship to people with Jewish grandparents, forbidden to marry Aryans, register all property within two weeks, KRISTALLNACHT all shops were ruined and schools too, and homes and synagogues and Jews beaten up and killed and the Jews could not own a business, go to theatre go to movies, or even attend school, had to wear start of David on them so as to be recognised, and also fine on the Jewish community, and many left but many were still there for final solution some say policies were improvised, some say it was all planned, many people share the responsibility of this

X. Control over individuals

1. nazis permeated every corner of every day life in 1930s had loads of activities and no one could escape all the bands and the marches the propaganda flags and uniforms, there was frequent grumbling but everyone was too afraid to talk, problems with the economic policy and the policy with the church too

2. anyone over the age of ten took part in Hitler organisations, Hitler youth , league of Germany girls, textbooks nazified, and had to do two years of national service and then six months working in public works

3. different organisation replaced trade unions and had organisations for everyone such and Drs and all the like

4. SS was Hitler’s bodyguard and headed by himler who was also head of secret police and also head of Gestapo and also controlled 18 concentration camps, this should not be overestimated as this was less than Stalin’s victims

XI. Economic history

1. before 1933 mostly socialist party and called for the abolition of unearned incomes, a state share of all profits and a degree of state control over large businesses, never implemented though and Hitler forbade talks of economics and appointed a orthodox financier to take care of things, he said they should concentrate on socialising human beings

2. labour caused two problems to him firstly trade unions opposed some policies and therefore could unit against him, so he placed himself at the head of the working class symbolically second thing was unemployment and this was aim of the first four year plan and so therefore had afforestation and water conservation schemes and semi military programs too to help him get more jobs, built barracks and motorways too, also expansion of the party and also intro of conscription, marriages allowances for women gave more jobs open to men since women stayed at home

3. second four year plan was self sufficiency, reaction to the disaster of 1929 to 1932 where Germany had suffered greatly this was also important in the event of a war, minimise imports and increase exports she had bilateral agreements with the Balkans where she gave manufactured goods for raw materials she also increased the use of low grade ore and bad materials

4. autarky was less successful than at first, much had been done for the economy though, workers were better off too, organisations like strength through joy gave cheap holidays and activities and such and also as long as you were Aryan and a farmer you were also given stability

5. this was not nazi miracle as all economies were doing better than before at this point, also recovery was based on complete state control, and things which would not have been OK in a democracy, most money raised by loans in Germany since no foreign loans so huge deficit, and bankrupt through most of Hitler’s rule and the country was also not geared to the demands of a war either because Hitler did not want one or because he did not want to institute tough economic measures but what is sure is all economy was mobilised for total war from start, unlike opponents, increases in war production in 1942 was fantastic but too late to change situation though

XII. Foreign policy

1. he had four chief aims nazism be extended defy and revise Versailles and change spirit unite all German speaking people in greater Germany and more living space too lebensraum some say world domination but no one finds evidence to suggest this really

2. he introduced conscription, and most of the projects for jobs were somewhat military based, and therefore rearmament and conscription was mostly a way of stopping unemployment and he then entered rhineland and this could have been stopped as he had an illusion of strength but in fact was not that strong at all he was anyway more ready for short war than long one but also he withdrew from the league of nations and the disarmament conference, and did non aggression pact with Poland in 1934 for ten years, then he went into France’s security zone and then also had serious talks with Mussolini

3. conscription then naval treaty with Britain so she was calmed down, and France was pissed since England saying OK to going against treaty, he got back the SAAR as has been promised to him and so his unification had begun then also went into rhineland again which went against Versailles and locarno, then went to get alliances, got Rome Berlin axis and allowed to recognise Austrian independence as long as she was friendly to Germany to follow there was Austrian anchluss, he also recognised franco’s regime, anti comintern pact with Japan

4. lord Halifax was sent to calm his down and French went to eastern Europe to try to strengthen alliances there

5. after 1937 Hitler achieved all three first aims anchluss with Austria and had gone all against Versailles treaty too, won Czech too after Munich conference, he then took back his agreements with Poland and UK saying it was trying to circle Germany, non aggression with Denmark Latvia and Estonia, and then strengthened alliance with Italy too and in 1939 non aggression pact with Russia too, even though totally against his thing against communism in the beg but that was OK since he needed it self interest was more important at this point, however he miscalculated with Poland since he thought they would let him have it there is debate whether all this was planned or not and seems to think that really he did not he was just great opportunist and he knew extra living space would be the hardest thing to do

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