|German Empire |
Gott mit uns
"God with us"
"Heil dir im Siegerkranz" (Imperial)
"Die Wacht am Rhein" (Unofficial)
Territory of the German Empire in 1914, prior to World War I
Unofficial minority languages:
Danish, French, Polish, Frisian, Lithuanian
Colonial languages: Bantu, Oshiwambo, Afrikaans, Swahili,
(African Colonies) Chinese,
(Tsingtao & Jiaozhou bay)
Papuan languages, (German New Guinea)
|-||1871–1890||Otto von Bismarck (first)|
|-||8–9 November 1918||Friedrich Ebert (last)|
|Historical era||New Imperialism/WWI|
|-||Unification||18 January 1871|
|-||Republic declared||9 November 1918|
|-||Formal abdication||28 November 1918|
|-||1910||540,857.54 km² (208,826 sq mi)|
|Density||120 /km² (310.9 /sq mi)|
|Currency||Vereinsthaler, South German gulden, Bremen thaler, Hamburg mark, French franc|
(until 1873, together)
Papiermark (after 1914)
|Today part of|| Belgium|
|Area and population not including colonial possessions |
Area source: Population source:
The German Empire (German: Deutsches Reich, but also the called Kaiserlich Deutsches Reich or Kaiserreich by some German historians) refers to Germany from the unification of Germany and proclamation of William I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871 to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of William II (28 November 1918). Deutsches Reich remained the official name of Germany throughout the Weimar period and most of the Nazi period until 1943, when it was changed to Großdeutsches Reich ("Great German Empire").
During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire emerged as one of the most powerful industrial economies in the world and a great power, until it collapsed following its military defeat in World War I and the concurrent November Revolution. The most important bordering states were Imperial Russia in the east, France in the west, and Austria-Hungary in the south.
The German Empire consisted of twenty-six constituent territories (if Alsace-Lorraine is included) but the Kingdom of Prussia contained most of the population and most of the territory of the Empire.
- 1 Bismarck's founding of the empire
- 2 Constituent states of the Empire
- 3 Linguistic minorities in the German Empire
- 4 Bismarck era
- 5 Year of three emperors
- 6 Wilhelmine era
- 7 World War I and the end of the empire
- 8 Legacy
- 9 Territorial legacy
- 10 Claims to continued existence
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Bismarck's founding of the empire
German nationalism rapidly shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states; to do so meant unification of the German states and the elimination of Prussia's rival, Austria, from the subsequent empire. He envisioned a conservative, Prussian-dominated Germany.
Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second war of Schleswig against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War against Austria in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War, known as the German-French War in Germany, against France in 1870–71. During the Siege of Paris in 1871, the northern German states, supported by its German allies from outside of the confederation (excluding Austria), formed the German Empire with the proclamation of the Prussian king Wilhelm I of Prussia as German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.
Bismarck himself prepared a broad outline—the 1866 North German Constitution, which became the 1871 German Constitution with some adjustments. Germany acquired some democratic features. The new empire had a parliament with two houses. The lower house, or Reichstag, was elected by universal male suffrage. However, the original constituencies drawn in 1871 were never redrawn to reflect the growth of urban areas. As a result, by the time of the great expansion of German cities in the 1890s and first decade of the 20th century, rural areas were grossly overrepresented.
Legislation also required the consent of the Bundesrat, the federal council of deputies from the states. Executive power was vested in the emperor, or Kaiser (Caesar), who was assisted by a chancellor responsible only to him. The emperor was given extensive powers by the constitution. He alone appointed and dismissed the chancellor, was supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and final arbiter of all foreign affairs. Officially, the chancellor was a one-man cabinet and was responsible for the conduct of all state affairs; in practice, the State Secretaries (bureaucratic top officials in charge of such fields as finance, war, foreign affairs, etc.) acted as unofficial portfolio ministers. The Reichstag had the power to pass, amend or reject bills and to initiate legislation.
Although nominally a league of equals, in practice the empire was dominated by the largest and most powerful state, Prussia. It stretched across the northern two-thirds of the new Reich, and contained three-fifths of its population. The imperial crown was hereditary in the House of Hohenzollern, the ruling house of Prussia. With the exception of the years 1872–1873 and 1892–1894, the chancellor was always simultaneously the prime minister of Prussia. With 17 out of 58 votes in the Bundesrat, Berlin needed only a few votes from the small states to exercise effective control.
The other states retained their own governments, but had only limited aspects of sovereignty. For example, both postage stamps and currency were issued for the empire as a whole. Coins through one mark was also minted in the name of the empire, while higher valued pieces were issued by the states. But these larger gold and silver issues were virtually commemorative coins and had limited circulation.
While the states issued their own decorations, and some had their own armies, the military forces of the smaller ones were put under Prussian control. Those of the larger states, such as the Kingdoms of Bavaria and Saxony, were coordinated along Prussian principles and would in wartime be controlled by the federal government.
The evolution of the German Empire is somewhat in line with parallel developments in Italy which became a united nation state shortly before the German Empire. Some key elements of the German Empire's authoritarian political structure were also the basis for conservative modernization in Imperial Japan under Meiji and the preservation of an authoritarian political structure under the Tsars in the Russian Empire.
One factor in the social anatomy of these governments had been the retention of a very substantial share in political power by the landed elite, the Junkers, resulting from the absence of a revolutionary breakthrough by the peasants in combination with urban areas.
Although authoritarian in many respects, the empire permitted the development of political parties. Bismarck's intention was to create a constitutional façade which would mask the continuation of authoritarian policies. In the process, he created a system with a serious flaw. There was a significant disparity between the Prussian and German electoral systems. Prussia used a highly restrictive three-class voting system in which the richest third of the population could choose 85 percent of the legislature, all but assuring a conservative majority. As mentioned above, the king and (with two exceptions) the prime minister of Prussia were also the emperor and chancellor of the empire—meaning that the same rulers had to seek majorities from legislatures elected from completely different franchises.
Germany emerges as an industrial power
Under the leadership of Prussia and Bismarck, Germany had emerged as a nation and as a world power. In 1871, 39 separate states were united. The kings of Saxony and Bavaria, the princes, dukes and electors, Brunswick, Baden, Hanover, Mecklenburg, Württemberg, Oldenburg, all paid allegiance to the king of Prussia, the Kaiser. With unity there came an extraordinary period of energy and expansion.
In 1871, there were 41 million citizens in the German Empire. In 1913 there were nearly 68 million, an increase of over half. More than half of this number were living in towns and cities.
But it was not merely an expansion of population. The foundations of economic strength at the turn of the 20th century were steel and coal – Germany had made great strides with both:
- Steel production multiplied by twelve in 30 years
- Coal production multiplied by nearly five in 30 years
- Manufactures multiplied by four
- Exports multiplied by three
- Exports of chemicals multiplied by three
- Exports of machinery multiplied by five
In 30 years, Germany’s share in world trade had risen by a third. Now, in 1914, Germany was the most powerful industrial nation in Europe. The epitome of her industrial might lay in the firm of Krupp, whose first factory was built in Essen. By 1902, the factory alone had become "A great city with its own streets, its own police force, fire department and traffic laws. There are 150 kilometres of rail, 60 different factory buildings, 8,500 machine tools, seven electrical stations, 140 kilometres of underground cable and 46 overhead."
Under Bismarck, Germany had come closer than any other state to modern conceptions of social welfare. German workers enjoyed sickness, accident and maternity benefits, canteens and changing rooms and a national pension scheme before these were even thought of in more liberal countries. Yet the life of the workers was hard. The steel mills operated a 12-hour day and an 80-hour week. Neither rest nor holidays were guaranteed. In Germany, as in every industrial state, there was poverty and protest.
By 1912, the Marxist Social Democratic Party was the strongest party in the Reichstag, the German parliament. But the Reichstag did not rule Germany. The Kaiser ruled Germany through officials whom he personally appointed.
Constituent states of the Empire
Before unification, German territory was made up of 26 constituent states. These states consisted of kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, free Hanseatic cities and one imperial territory. The Kingdom of Prussia was the largest of the constituent states, covering some 60 percent of the territory of the German Empire.
Several of these states had gained sovereignty following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. Others were created as sovereign states after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Territories were not necessarily contiguous – many existed in several parts, as a result of historical acquisition, or, in several cases, divisions of the ruling family trees. The constituent Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, then ruled in personal union by the Prussian king, merged with Prussia in real union in 1876.
Each component of the German Empire sent representatives to the Imperial Council (Bundesrat) and the Imperial Diet (Reichstag). Relations between the Imperial centre and the Empire's components were somewhat fluid, and were developed on an ongoing basis. The extent to which the German Emperor could, for example, intervene on occasions of disputed or unclear succession was much debated on occasion – for example with the Lippe-Detmold inheritance crisis.
Template:Table of states in the German Empire
Linguistic minorities in the German Empire
Because of the multicultural and multilingual history of Central Europe, the population of the German Empire consisted of people with different mother tongues. However 92.5% of the population had German as their first language, a figure significantly higher than other big countries of the time (Britain, France, Russia) . The only minority language with significant number of speakers was Polish, mother tongue of 5.45% of the imperial citizens. The other minority languages were spoken only regionally by few people, people who were minorities even in their respective regions.
The non-German Germanic languages language group (0.5%) like Danish, Dutch and Frisian were located in the north and northwest of the empire. (Plattdeutsch is being spoken in the northern part of Germany, it is also called Low German and is linguistically a precursor of High German or Hochdeutsch. It is related to Danish, Dutch and English though different. Danish and Frisian were spoken predominantly in the north of the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein and Dutch in the western border areas of the Prussian provinces of Hanover, Westphalia and the Rhine Province.
The Slavic languages (6.28%) like Polish, Masurian, Kashubian, Sorbian and Czech were located in the east. Polish mainly in the Prussian provinces of Posen, West Prussia and Silesia (Upper Silesia). Small islands also existed in Recklinghausen (Westphalia) with 13,8% of the population) and in the Kreis of Kalau (Brandenburg) (5.5%) and in parts of East Prussia and Pomerania. Czech predominantly in the south of the Silesia, Masurian in the south of East Prussia, Kashubian in the north of West Prussia and Sorbian in the Lusatian regions of Prussia (Brandenburg and Silesia) and the Kingdom of Saxony.
Romanic languages (0.52%) were located only at the western border of the German Empire. The largest group was the French speaking community near the border to France in the Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen, where it formed 11.6% of the total population. Here also existed the Italian speaking minority which encompased 9.5% of the population in the Kreis of Diedenhofen (migrants working in the steel industry). The Walloons made up to 28.7% in the Kreis of Malmedy (Rhine Province).
The Baltic language group are the smallest and only consists of Lithuanian speaking people (0.19%) in the north east of the Prussian provinces of East Prussia.
|German and a foreign language||252,918||0.45|
|Other foreign languages||14,535||0.03|
|Imperial citizens on December 1. 1900||56,367,187||100|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Germany|
|Names of Germany|
|Kingdom of Germany|
|Holy Roman Empire|
|Early Modern period|
|Kingdom of Prussia|
|Unification of Germany|
|Confederation of the Rhine|
|German Confederation & Zollverein|
|German Revolutions of 1848|
|North German Confederation|
|The German Reich|
|World War I|
Saar, Danzig, Memel, Austria, Sudeten
World War II
|Germany since 1945|
|Occupation + Ostgebiete|
|Expulsion of Germans|
|West Germany, East Germany, and Saar|
|Economic history of Germany|
|Military history of Germany|
Bismarck's domestic policies played a great role in forging the authoritarian political culture of the Kaiserreich. Less preoccupied by continental power politics following unification in 1871, Germany's semi-parliamentary government carried out a relatively smooth economic and political revolution from above that pushed them along the way towards becoming the world's leading industrial power of the time.
Bismarck's post-1871 foreign policy was conservative and sought to preserve the balance of power in Europe. His biggest concern was France, which was left defeated and resentful after the Franco-Prussian War. As the French lacked the strength to defeat Germany by themselves, they sought an alliance with Russia, which would trap Germany between the two in a war (as would ultimately happen in 1914). Bismarck wanted to prevent this at all costs and maintain friendly relations with the Russians, and thereby formed an alliance with them and Austria-Hungary (which by the 1880s was being slowly reduced to a German satellite), the Dreikaiserbund (League of Three Emperors). During this period, individuals within the German military were advocating a preemptive strike against Russia, but Bismarck knew that such ideas were foolhardy. He once wrote that "the most brilliant victories would not avail against the Russian nation, because of its climate, its desert, and its frugality, and having but one frontier to defend," and because it would leave Germany with another bitter, resentful neighbor. Bismarck once contrasted his nation's foreign policy difficulties with the easy situation of the United States (the only strong power in the Western Hemisphere), saying "The Americans are a very lucky people. They're bordered to the north and south by weak neighbors, and to the east and west by fish."
Meanwhile, the chancellor remained wary of any foreign policy developments that looked even remotely warlike. In 1886, he moved to stop an attempted sale of horses to France on the grounds that they might be used for cavalry and also ordered an investigation into large Russian purchases of medicine from a German chemical works. Bismarck stubbornly refused to listen to Georg Herbert zu Munster (ambassador to France), who reported back that the French were not seeking a revanchist war, and in fact were desperate for peace at all costs.
Bismarck and most of his contemporaries were conservative-minded and focused their foreign policy attention on Germany's neighboring states. In 1914, 60% of German foreign investment was in Europe, as opposed to just 5% of British investment. Most of the money went to developing nations such as Russia that lacked the capital or technical knowledge to industrialize on their own. The construction of the Baghdad Railway, financed by German banks, was designed to eventually connect Germany with the Turkish Empire and the Persian Gulf, but it also collided with British and Russian geopolitical interests.
Bismarck secured a number of German colonial possessions during the 1880s in Africa and the Pacific, but he never saw much value in an overseas colonial empire; Germany's colonies remained badly undeveloped. However they excited the interest of the religious-minded, who supported an extensive network of missionaries.
Germans had dreamed of colonial imperialism since 1848. Bismark began the process, and by 1884 had acquired German New Guinea. By the 1890s, German colonial expansion in Asia and the Pacific (Kiauchau in China, the Marianas, the Caroline Islands, Samoa) led to frictions with Britain , Russia, Japan and the United States. The largest colonial enterprises were in Africa, where the harsh treatment of the Nama and Herero in what is now Namibia in 1906-07 led to charges of genocide against the Germans.
Lacking a technological base at first, the Germans imported their engineering and hardware from Britain, but quickly learned the skills needed to operate and expand the railways. In many cities, the new railway shops were the centres of technological awareness and training, so that by 1850, Germany was self sufficient in meeting the demands of railroad construction, and the railways were a major impetus for the growth of the new steel industry. However, German unification in 1870 stimulated consolidation, nationalisation into state-owned companies, and further rapid growth. Unlike the situation in France, the goal was support of industrialisation, and so heavy lines crisscrossed the Ruhr and other industrial districts, and provided good connections to the major ports of Hamburg and Bremen. By 1880, Germany had 9,400 locomotives pulling 43,000 passengers and 30,000 tons of freight, and forged ahead of France
Industrialization progressed dynamically in Germany and German manufacturers began to capture domestic markets from British imports, and also to compete with British industry abroad, particularly in the United States. The German textiles and metal industries had by 1870 surpassed those of Britain in organization and technical efficiency and usurped British manufacturers in the domestic market. Germany became the dominant economic power on the continent and was the second largest exporting nation after Britain.
Technological progress during German industrialization occurred in four waves: the railway wave (1877–86), the dye wave (1887–96), the chemical wave (1897–1902), and the wave of electrical engineering (1903–18). Since Germany industrialized later than Britain, it was able to model its factories after those of Britain, thus making more efficient use of its capital and avoiding legacy methods in its leap to the envelope of technology. Germany invested more heavily than the British in research, especially in the chemistry, motors and electricity. Imperial Germany dominated in physics and chemistry so that one-third of all Nobel Prizes went to German inventors and researchers.
The German cartel system (known as Konzerne), being significantly concentrated, was able to make more efficient use of capital. Germany was not weighted down with an expensive worldwide empire that needed defense. Following Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871, it absorbed parts of what had been France's industrial base.
By 1900 the German chemical industry dominated the world market for synthetic dyes. The three major firms BASF, Bayer and Hoechst produced several hundred different dyes, along with the five smaller firms. In 1913 these eight firms produced almost 90 percent of the world supply of dyestuffs and sold about 80 percent of their production abroad. The three major firms had also integrated upstream into the production of essential raw materials and they began to expand into other areas of chemistry such as pharmaceuticals, photographic film, agricultural chemicals and electrochemicals. Top-level decision-making was in the hands of professional salaried managers; leading Chandler to call the German dye companies "the world's first truly managerial industrial enterprises". There were many spinoffs from research—such as the pharmaceutical industry, which emerged from chemical research.
By the time of World War I (1914–1918) German industry switched to war production. The heaviest demands were on coal and steel for artillery and shell production, and on chemicals for the synthetization of materials that were subject to import restrictions and for chemical weapons and war supplies.
After achieving formal unification in 1871, Bismarck devoted much of his attention to the cause of national unity under the ideology of Prussianism. Conservative Catholic activism and emancipation, conceptualized by the conservative turn of the Vatican under Pope Pius IX and its dogma of Papal Infallibility, and working class radicalism, represented by the emerging Social Democratic Party, in many ways both reacted to concerns of dislocation by very different segments of German society, brought by a rapid shift from an agrarian-based economy to modern industrial capitalism under nationalist tutelage. While out-and-out suppression failed to contain either socialists or Catholics, Bismarck's "carrot and stick" approach significantly mollified opposition from both groups.
One can summarize Bismarck's ideology under four objectives: Kulturkampf, social reform, national unification, and Kleindeutschland.
Following the incorporation of the Catholic German states in the south and some areas in the east, Catholicism, represented by the Catholic Centre Party, was seemingly the principal threat to unification process. Southern Catholics, hailing from a much more agrarian base and falling under the ranks of the peasantry, artisans, guildsmen, clergy, and princely aristocracies of the small states more often than their Protestant counterparts in the North, initially had trouble competing with industrial efficiency and the opening of outside trade by the Zollverein. Roman Catholic institutions were obstructed and Catholic influence on society was fought by the Bismarck government. After 1878 however, the struggle against socialism would unite Bismarck with the Catholic Centre Party, bringing an end to the Kulturkampf, which had led to far greater Catholic unrest than existed beforehand and had strengthened rather than weakened Catholicism in Germany.
To contain the working class and to weaken the influence of socialist groups, Bismarck reluctantly implemented a welfare state. He came to realize that this sort of policy was very appealing, since it bound workers to the state, and also fit in very well with his authoritarian nature. The social security systems installed by Bismarck (health care in 1883, accident insurance in 1884, invalidity and old-age insurance in 1889) at the time were the largest in the world and, to a degree, still exist in Germany today.
Bismarck's efforts also initiated the levelling of the enormous differences between the German states, which had been independent in their evolution for centuries, especially with legislation.
Two visions of what the German Empire should territorially comprise were debated during Bismarck's tenure. One vision was of a Großdeutschland (Greater or Big Germany), and the other, preferred by Bismarck, was a Kleindeutschland (Lesser or Small Germany). Großdeutschland then especially espoused by German liberals and Pan-German nationalists was that Germany should be an all-encompassing state for all Germans including Austrian territory (a few wanting all of Austro-Hungarian territory, others only German Austrian lands). Kleindeutschland was an idea espoused by Bismarck and Prussian conservatives. While the Kleindeutschland concept included millions of non-Germans (mainly Poles) its believers thought that incorporating all of Austria-Hungary into Germany would result in the destabilization of the German state due to the even greater number of ethnic minorities in Austria-Hungary. Also, the largely Prussian supporters of Kleindeutschland feared that even the incorporation of German Austria alone excluding non-German territory, would weaken Prussia's control over the direction of Germany and substantially increase the number of Roman Catholics in a state that already had tensions with the Protestant north establishment and Catholic south, which the state wanted to assimilate.
One of the effects of the unification policies was the gradually increasing tendency to eliminate the use of non-German languages in public life, schools and academic settings with the intent of pressuring the non-German population to abandon their national identity or leave the country in what was called "Germanization." The strict Germanization policies had often the reverse effect of stimulating resistance, usually in the form of home schooling and tighter unity in the minority groups.
The Germanization policies were targeted particularly against the significant Polish minority of the empire, gained by Prussia in the Partitions of Poland. Laws were made that denied Poles the right to build homes in territories acquired in the Partitions of Poland, restricted the right to speak Polish in public meetings, and in 1908 a law was made allowing for expulsion of Poles from their homes. This latter law was only executed in four cases and served more as a threat, but all these measures led to alienation of the Poles from the German authorities. A Settlement Commission was set up and funded by the government in 1885, with a mission to distribute Polish owned land among German colonists. The Poles, however, founded an organization of their own to defend themselves against the German settlement commission. In the 1880s mass expulsion of some 24,000 Poles to Russian Poland who didn't have German citizenship were organized by German authorities. This act was heavily criticized by leftist German political parties and Bismarck himself was skeptical about it, but he was concerned about possible "revolutionary elements" among the Poles from Russian Poland. Polish associations tried to fight for their rights without success, and although Polish deputies were elected to the Reichstag and proportionally represented the Polish minority, they were greatly outnumbered by German representatives by the majority hostile to their cause. In summary the anti-Polish laws had no great effect especially in the province of Posen where the German-speaking population dropped from 42.8% in 1871 to 38.1% in 1905, despite all efforts.
Anti-Semitism was an endemic problem in Germany. In past times, it had been religiously-motivated (due to the idea that the Jews had crucified Jesus), but by the 19th century, it was economically and socially-motivated. The last legal barriers on Jews in Prussia were lifted by the 1860s, and within 20 years, they dominated the white-collar professions and much of academia. A popular joke of the period went "A dead body was found lying in the street. A policeman, a barrister, a doctor, and an undertaker were summoned to the scene. Of all the men present, only the corpse was German." Despite the often crude anti-Semitism of German elites, many of them would gladly utilize the services of Jews, such as Bismarck's banker Gerson Bleichroder. Jews were also seen as a symbol of capitalism and modernity, two things that were resented by the Prussian aristocracy, who were finding their power and prestige rapidly diminished in the new, unified Germany. On the other hand, the constitution and legal system protected the rights of Jews as German citizens. It was only in a later time that anti-Semitism in Germany would have tragic consequences.
The completely different legal histories and judicial systems posed enormous complications, especially for national trade. While a common trade code had already been introduced by the Confederation in 1861 (which was adapted for the Empire and, with great modifications, is still in effect today), there was little similarity in laws otherwise.
In 1871, a common Criminal Code (Reichsstrafgesetzbuch) was introduced; in 1877, common court procedures were established in the court system (Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz), civil procedures (Zivilprozessordnung) and criminal procedures (Strafprozessordnung). In 1873 the constitution was amended to allow the Empire to replace the various and greatly differing Civil Codes of the states (if they existed at all; for example, parts of Germany formerly occupied by Napoleon's France had adopted the French Civil Code, while in Prussia the Allgemeines Preußisches Landrecht of 1794 was still in effect). In 1881, a first commission was established to produce a common Civil Code for all of the Empire, an enormous effort that would produce the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB), possibly one of the most impressive legal works of the world; it was eventually put into effect on 1 January 1900. It speaks volumes for the conceptual quality of these codifications that they all, albeit with many amendments, are still in effect today.
Year of three emperors
On 9 March 1888, Wilhelm I died shortly before his 91st birthday, leaving his son Frederick III as the new emperor. Frederick was a liberal and an admirer of the British constitution, while his links to Britain strengthened further with his marriage to Princess Victoria, eldest child of Queen Victoria. With his ascent to the throne, many hoped that Frederick's reign would lead to a liberalisation of the Reich and an increase of parliament's influence on the political process. The dismissal of Robert von Puttkamer, the highly-conservative Prussian interior minister, on 8 June was a sign of the expected direction and a blow to Bismarck's administration.
By the time of his accession, however, Frederick had developed incurable laryngeal cancer, which had been diagnosed the previous year on 12 November 1887 by the British doctor Morell Mackenzie. Frederick died on the 99th day of his rule, on 15 June 1888. The death of Frederick III led to the accession of his son Wilhelm II as emperor. Due to the rapid succession of these three monarchs, 1888 is known as the Year of Three Emperors (German: Dreikaiserjahr).
Relegitimization of the throne, and Bismarck's resignation
Wilhelm II intended to relegitimize the importance of the imperial throne at a time when other monarchies in Europe were being subordinated into figurehead positions. This decision led the ambitious Kaiser into conflict with Bismarck. The old chancellor had hoped to control Wilhelm as he had controlled his grandfather, but the emperor wanted to be the master in his own house, and had numerous sycophants telling him that Frederick the Great would not have been great with a Bismarck at his side. A major difference between Wilhelm II and Bismarck was their approaches to handling political crises, especially in 1889, when German coal miners went on strike in Upper Silesia. Bismarck demanded that the German Army be sent in to crush the strike, but Wilhelm II rejected this authoritarian measure, responding "I do not wish to stain my reign with the blood of my subjects." Instead of repression being used, Wilhelm had the government proceed with negotiations with a delegation sent from the coal miners which resulted in the strike coming to an end without violence. The fractious relationship ended after Wilhelm II and Bismarck had a dispute, and the latter resigned days later in March 1890. Bismarck's last few years saw power slip from his hands as he grew older, more irritable, authoritarian, and less focused. German politics had become progressively more chaotic, and the chancellor understood this better than anyone. Bismarck, unlike Wilhelm II's generation, knew well that an ungovernable country with an adventurous foreign policy was a recipe for disaster. After his retirement, he remarked "20 years after I'm gone, it will all be over." (it was 20 years and one month from his death in October 1898 to the end of the German Empire in November 1918).
With the departure of Bismarck as chancellor, Wilhelm II became the dominant leader of Germany. Unlike his grandfather, Wilhelm I, who was satisfied with leaving government affairs to the chancellor, Wilhelm II wanted to be active in the affairs of Germany and wanted to be a knowledgeable leader, not an ornamental figurehead, although most Germans found amusing his claims of divine right to rule. Wilhelm voluntarily received economics tutoring from politician Walther Rathenau. From Rathenau, Wilhelm learned about European economics and industrial and financial realities in Europe.
In official appearances and photographs, Wilhelm II tried with some success to conceal his withered left arm which he had due to Erb's Palsy since his traumatic breech birth. Wilhelm would become internationally known for his aggressive foreign policy positions and strategic blunders (Tangier Crisis for example) which pushed the German Empire into political isolation and later into World War I.
Under Wilhelm II, Germany no longer had long-ruling strong chancellors like Bismarck. The new chancellors had difficulty in performing their roles, especially their additional role as Prime Minister of Prussia that was assigned to them in the German Constitution. Reforms made by Chancellor Caprivi involving trade liberalization which brought about a reduction in unemployment were supported by the Kaiser and many Germans, except for Prussian landowners, who feared loss of land and power and set up a number of anti-Caprivi campaigns against the reforms.
While Prussian aristocrats challenged the demands of a united German state, in the 1890s, a number of rebellious organizations were set up to challenge the authoritarian conservative Prussian militarism which was instilled on the country. Some educators acted in opposition of the German state-run schools which taught military education and set up their own independent liberal-minded schools which encouraged individuality and freedom. Nevertheless, the schools in Imperial Germany had a very high standard and dealt with modern developments.
Artists began experimental art in opposition to Kaiser Wilhelm's demands for traditional art in which Wilhelm responded "art which transgresses the laws and limits laid down by me can no longer be called art [...]." It was largely thanks to Wilhelm's influence that most printed material in Germany used blackletter instead of the Roman type used in the rest of Western Europe. At the same time, a new generation of cultural producers emerged.
The most important opposition to the monarchy came from the newly formed Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in the 1890s which advocated Marxism. The threat of the SPD towards the German monarchy and industrialists caused the state to both crack down on socialist supporters as well as initiating social reform to soothe tensions. Germany's large industries provided significant social welfare programmes and good care to their employees as long as they were not identified as socialists or members of a trade union. Pensions, sickness benefits and even housing were provided to employees by the big industries to reduce social unease.
Wilhelm II, unlike Bismarck, set aside differences with the Roman Catholic Church and put the government's energy into opposing socialism at all cost. This policy failed when the Social Democrats won a third of the votes in the 1912 elections to the Reichstag (imperial parliament), and became the largest political party in Germany. The government remained in the hands of a succession of conservative coalitions supported by right-wing liberals or Catholic clerics and heavily dependent on the Kaiser's favour. The rising militarism under Wilhelm II caused many Germans to emigrate to the United States to escape mandatory military service.
During World War I, the Kaiser's powers were devolved to the German High Command leaders, future President of Germany, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff. Hindenburg himself had in fact taken over the role as commander–in–chief from the Kaiser and Ludendorff was de facto the real general chief of staff. By 1916, Germany was effectively a military dictatorship run by Hindenburg and Ludendorff, with the Kaiser a mere figurehead.
Wilhelm II wanted Germany to have her "place in the sun," not unlike the British with whom he constantly wished to compete and often emulate . With German traders and merchants already engaged worldwide, he encouraged colonial efforts in Africa and the Pacific ("new imperialism"), in essence for the German Empire to stand up to other European powers for the remaining "unclaimed" territories. Germany acquired German Southwest Africa (today Namibia), German Kamerun (Cameroon), Togoland and German East Africa (the mainland part of current Tanzania). Islands were gained in the Pacific through purchase and treaties, as well as a 99-year lease for the territory of Kiautschou in north east China. Only Togoland and German Samoa (after 1908) became self-sufficient and profitable, all other territories required subsidies from the Berlin treasury for building infrastructure, school systems, hospitals and other institutions. An attempt to expand into American markets by establishing a colony near Curaçao as part of the German Caribbean colony was undertaken in 1888, but to no avail.
Colonial efforts were treated at first contemptuously by Bismarck; he engineered a Euro-centric foreign policy as shown by the treaty arrangements during his tenure in office. Since Germany was a latecomer to colonization, conflicts occurred with the established colonial powers on a number of occasions. Native insurrections in German territories became print media events, especially in Britain; the established powers had dealt with their uprisings decades before, often brutally, and had installed firm controls by then. The Boxer Rising in China with its later sponsorship by the Chinese authorities had its beginning in the Shandong province, in part because Germany, as colonizer at Kiautschou, was the sole untested power and only a short two years on the scene. When Wilhelm II spoke during departure ceremonies for the German contingent to the eight-nation international relief force in China, an impromptu, but intemperate and inopportune reference to the Hun invaders of continental Europe would later be resurrected by British propaganda to mock Germany during World War I and World War II. On two occasions, a French-German conflict over the fate of Morocco seemed inevitable.
Upon acquiring Southwest Africa, German settlers were encouraged to cultivate land held by the Herero and Nama. Herero and Nama tribal lands were used for a variety of exploitive goals (much as the British did before in Rhodesia), including farming, ranching, and mining for minerals and diamonds. In 1904 the Herero and the Nama revolted against the colonists in Southwest Africa, killing farm families, their laborers and servants. In response to the attacks, troops were dispatched to quell the uprising which then resulted in the Herero and Namaqua Genocide. In total, some 65,000 Herero (80 percent of the total Herero population), and 10,000 Nama (50 percent of the total Nama population) perished. The commander of the punitive expedition, General Lothar von Trotha, was eventually relieved and reprimanded for his usurpation of orders and the cruelties he inflicted. These occurrences were sometimes referred to as "the first genocide of the 20th century" and officially condemned by the United Nations in 1985. In 2004 a formal apology by a government minister of the Federal Republic of Germany followed.
Bismarck had the goal of forging closer economic relationships with the Ottoman Empire. With the financial backing of Deutsche Bank, the Baghdad Railway was begun—although by 1914 it was still 500 km short of its destination in Baghdad. In an interview with Wilhelm II in 1899, Cecil Rhodes had tried "to convince the Kaiser that the future of the German empire abroad lay in the Middle East" and not in Africa; with a grand Middle-Eastern empire Germany could grant Britain the unhindered completion of her Cape to Cairo pursuits. Building the Baghdad Railway from 1900–1911 was initially supported by Britain. However, as time passed, the British increasingly saw Germany as a vigorous competitor in the region where it believed it alone should dominate and demanded retrenchment, a block to the expansion of the railway in 1911; this demand was acquiesced to by Germany and the Ottoman Empire.
German attitudes and inattention in letting the Bismarck designed treaties lapse, and Germany's support of her ally Austria-Hungary in occupying Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, caused diplomatic relations to deteriorate with Tsarist Russia, and a potential alliance with Britain to evaporate. In effect, Wilhelm II had picked apart the careful power balance established by Bismarck. By 1914, the nation’s erratic foreign policy left Germany isolated with Austria-Hungary its only real ally. Germany's other official treaty partner, the Kingdom of Italy, remained an ally only pro forma, and saw more benefit in entering into alliances which could take eventually the largely German-speaking territory of South Tyrol from Austria-Hungary in a future conflict, which did occur.
World War I and the end of the empire
Following the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke of Austria-Este, Francis Ferdinand by Bosnian Serbs, the Kaiser offered Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph full support of Austro-Hungarian plans to invade the Kingdom of Serbia, which Austria-Hungary blamed for the assassination. This unconditional support for Austria-Hungary was called a blank cheque by historians, including German Fritz Fischer. Subsequent interpretation – for example at the Versailles Peace Conference – was that this "blank cheque" licensed Austro-Hungarian aggression regardless of the diplomatic consequences, and thus Germany bore responsibility for starting the war, or at least provoking a wider conflict.
Germany began the war by targeting its major rival, France. Germany saw France as its principal danger on the European continent as it could mobilize much faster than Russia and bordered Germany's industrial core in the Rhineland. Unlike Britain and Russia, the French were principally involved in the war for revenge against Germany, in particular, for France's loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1871. The German high command knew that France would muster its forces to go into Alsace-Lorraine.
Germany did not want to risk lengthy battles along the Franco-German border and instead adopted the Schlieffen Plan, a military strategy designed to cripple France by invading Belgium and Luxembourg, sweeping down towards Paris and encircling and crushing the French forces along the Franco-German border in a quick victory. After defeating France, Germany would turn to attack Russia. The plan required the violation of Belgium's and Luxembourg's official neutrality. At first the attack was successful: the German Army swept down from Belgium and Luxembourg and was nearly at Paris, at the nearby River Marne. However the French Army put up a strong resistance to defend their capital at the First Battle of the Marne resulting in the German Army retreating.
The aftermath of the First Battle of the Marne was a long-held stalemate between the German Army and the Allies with the use of dug-in trench warfare. Further attempts to break through deeper into France failed at the two battles of Ypres (1st/2nd) with huge casualties. German Chief of Staff Erich von Falkenhayn decided to break away from the Schlieffen Plan and instead focus on a war of attrition against France. Falkenhayn targeted the ancient city of Verdun because Verdun had been one of the last cities to hold out against the German Army in 1870, and Falkenhayn knew that as a matter of national pride, the French would do anything to ensure that Verdun was not taken. Falkenhayn anticipated that with proper tactics, French losses would be greater than those of the Germans and that continued French commitment of troops to Verdun would cause the French Army to "bleed white" and then allow the German army to take France easily. In 1916, the Battle of Verdun began, with the French positions in Verdun under constant shelling and poison gas attack and taking large casualties under the attack of an overwhelmingly large German forces. However Falkenhayn's prediction of a greater ratio of French killed proved to be wrong. With Falkenhayn's replacement by Erich Ludendorff and no success in sight at Verdun, the German Army retreated in December 1916.
While the Western Front was a stalemate for the German Army, the Eastern Front proved to be a great success. The badly organised and supplied Russian Army faltered and the German and Austro-Hungarian armies steadily advanced eastward. The Germans benefited from political instability in Russia and a desire to end the war. In 1916, the German government allowed Russia's communist Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin to travel through Germany from Switzerland into Russia. Germany believed that if Lenin could create further political unrest, Russia would no longer be able to continue its war with Germany, allowing the German Army to focus on the Western Front.
In 1917, the Tsar was ousted from the Russian throne and later a Bolshevik government was created under the leadership of Lenin. Facing political opposition to the Bolsheviks, Lenin decided to end Russia's campaign against Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria in order to redirect its energy to eliminating internal dissent. In 1918, at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Bolshevik government gave Germany and the Ottoman Empire an enormous territorial settlement in exchange for an end to war on the Eastern Front. This settlement including all of modern-day Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) which were given to the German occupation authority Ober Ost, and Belarus and Ukraine also were given to Germany. As a result, Germany had at last achieved the long-wanted land of "Mitteleuropa", and now could fully focus on destroying the Allies on the Western Front.
On the colonial front, German results were mixed. Much of Germany's colonies fell to the British and French armies, but in German East Africa, an impressive campaign was waged by the colonial army leader there, General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. Using Germans and native Askaris Lettow-Vorbeck launched multiple guerrilla raids against British forces in Kenya and Rhodesia. He invaded Portuguese Mozambique to give his forces supplies and to pick up more Askari recruits. His force was active at war's end.
Despite success on the Eastern Front in 1918, Germany was not making progress on the Western Front for three reasons. The first was war exhaustion; German soldiers had been on the battlefield constantly without relief and, after failing to break the British and French armies in offensives in March and April 1918 despite the transfer of large numbers of troops from the Eastern Front, had lost hope in the chance of a victory. The second was civil unrest because of the war effort.
By defeating Russia in 1917 Germany was able to bring hundreds of thousands of combat troops from the east to the Western Front, giving it a numerical advantage over the Allies. By retraining the soldiers in new storm-trooper tactics, the Germans expected to unfreeze the Battlefield and win a decisive victory before the American army arrived in strength. However, the spring offensives all failed, as the Allies fell back and regrouped, and the Germans lacked the reserves necessary to consolidate their gains. In the summer, with the Americans arriving at 10,000 a day, and the German reserves exhausted, it was only a matter of time before multiple Allied offenses destroyed the German army.
The concept of "total war" in World War I, meant that supplies had to be redirected towards the armed forces and, with German commerce being stopped by the British naval blockade, German civilians were forced to live in increasingly meagre conditions. Food prices were first limited, then rationing was introduced. During the war, about 750,000 German civilians died from malnutrition.
Conditions deteriorated rapidly on the home front, with severe food shortages reported in all urban areas. The causes involved the transfer of so many farmers and food workers into the military, combined with the overburdened railroad system, shortages of coal, and the British blockade that cut off imports from abroad. The winter of 1916 1917 was known as the "turnip winter," because that hardly-edible vegetable, usually fed to livestock, was used by people as a substitute for potatoes and meat, which were increasingly scarce. Thousands of soup kitchens were opened to feed the hungry people, who grumbled that the farmers were keeping the food for themselves. Even the army had to cut the rations for soldiers. Morale of both civilians and soldiers continued to sink.
Many Germans wanted an end to the war and increasing numbers of Germans began to associate with the political left, such as the Social Democratic Party and the more radical Independent Social Democratic Party which demanded an end to the war. The third reason was the entry of the United States into the war in April 1917, which changed the long-run balance of power in favor of the Allies.
The end of October 1918, in Kiel, in northern Germany, saw the beginning of the German Revolution of 1918–19. Units of the German Navy refused to set sail for a last, large-scale operation in a war which they saw as good as lost, initiating the uprising. On 3 November, the revolt spread to other cities and states of the country, in many of which workers' and soldiers' councils were established. Meanwhile, Hindenburg and the senior generals lost confidence in the Kaiser and his government.
In November 1918, with internal revolution, a stalemated war, Austria-Hungary falling apart from multiple ethnic tensions, and pressure from the German high command, the Kaiser and all German ruling princes abdicated. On 9 November 1918, the Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed a Republic. The new government led by the German Social Democrats called for and received an armistice on 11 November 1918. The war was over; the history books closed on the German Empire. It was succeeded by the democratic, yet flawed, Weimar Republic.
The German Empire left a legacy of mixed fortunes for Germany and Europe. Under Bismarck, a united German state had finally been achieved, but it remained a Prussian-dominated state and did not have German Austria within it as Pan-German nationalists had desired. Influence of Prussian militarism, the Empire’s colonial efforts and its vigorous, competitive industrial prowess caused a negative view of the state. The German Empire enacted a number of progressive firsts, such as establishment of Europe's first social welfare system (still in place today), other social reforms, as well as guaranteeing freedom of press. There was also a modern election system to the federal parliament, the Reichstag, which represented every adult man by one vote. This enabled the Socialists and the Catholic Centre Party to play considerable roles in the empire's political life despite the frequent hostility of Prussian aristocrats.
The history of the German Empire is well remembered in Germany as a period of great cultural and intellectual vigor. Thomas Mann published his novel Buddenbrooks in 1901. Theodor Mommsen was awarded the Nobel prize for literature a year later for his Roman history. Painters like the groups Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke made a significant contribution to modern art. The AEG turbine building in Berlin by Peter Behrens from 1909 can be regarded as a milestone in classic modern architecture and an outstanding example of emerging functionalism. The social, economic, and scientific successes of this Gründerzeit, or founding epoch, have led the Wilhelmine era to sometimes be regarded as a golden age.
In the field of economics, the "Kaiserzeit" lay the foundation of Germany being one of the world's leading economic powers. The iron and coal industry of the Ruhr area, at the Saar Bassin and in Upper Silesia especially contributed much to that process. The first motorcar was constructed by Karl Benz in 1886. The enormous growth of industrial production and industrial potential also led to a rapid urbanisation of Germany, which turned the Germans into a nation of city dwellers.
The empire's support of Austria–Hungary's invasion of Serbia against Russia's opposition has been seen by a number of historians as a major influence in what caused the clash of alliances in Europe which resulted in the massive war later known as World War I. The defeat and aftermath of World War I and the territorial and economic losses imposed by the Treaty of Versailles caused enormous ramifications for the new German republic, such as defining what the German state was and how it should operate. Conservatives, liberals, socialists, nationalists, Catholics, and Protestants all had their own interpretations, which led to a fractious political and social climate in Germany in the aftermath of the empire's collapse.
Many historians have emphasized the central importance of a German Sonderweg or "special path" (or "exceptionalism") as the root of Nazism and the German catastrophe in the 20th century. According to the historiography by Kocka (1988), the process of nation-building from above had very grievous long-term implications, historians have argued. In terms of parliamentary democracy, Parliament was kept week, the parties were fragmented, and there was a row file level of mutual distrust. The Nazis built on the illiberal, anti-pluralist elements of Weimar's political culture. The Junker elites (the large landowners in the east) and senior civil servants, used their great power and influence well into the twentieth century to frustrate any movement toward democracy. They played an especially negative role in the crisis of 1930-1933. Bismarck's emphasis on military force amplified the voice of the officer corps, which combined advanced modernization of military technology with reactionary politics. The rising upper-middle-class elites, in the business, financial, and professional worlds, tended to accept the values of the old traditional elites. The German Empire was for Hans-Ulrich Wehler a strange mixture of highly successful capitalist industrialization and socio-economic modernization on the one hand, and of surviving pre-industrial institutions, power relations and traditional cultures on the other. Wehler argues that it produced a high degree of internal tension, which led on the one hand to the suppression of socialists, Catholics, and reformers, and on the other hand to a highly aggressive foreign policy. For these reasons Fritz Fischer and his students emphasized Germany’s primary guilt for causing World War I..
Hans-Ulrich Wehler, a leader of the Bielefeld School of social history, places the origins of Germany's path to disaster in the 1860s-1870s, when economic modernization took place, but political modernization did not happen and the old Prussian rural elite remained in firm control of the army, diplomacy and the civil service. Traditional, aristocratic, premodern society battled an emerging capitalist, bourgeois, modernizing society. Recognizing the importance of modernizing forces in industry and the economy and in the cultural realm, Wehler argues that reactionary traditionalism dominated the political hierarchy of power in Germany, as well as social mentalities and in class relations (Klassenhabitus). The catastrophic German politics between 1914 and 1945 are interpreted in terms of a delayed modernization of its political structures. At the core of Wehler's interpretation is his treatment of "the middle class" and "revolution," each of which was instrumental in shaping the 20th century. Wehler's examination of Nazi rule is shaped by his concept of "charismatic domination," which focuses heavily on Adolf Hitler.
The historiographical concept of a German Sonderweg has had a turbulent history. Nineteenth century scholars who emphasized a separate German path to modernity saw it as a positive factor that differentiated Germany from the "western path" typified by Great Britain. The stressed the strong bureaucratic state, reforms initiated by Bismarck and other strong leaders, the Prussian service ethos, the high culture of philosophy and music, and Germany's pioneering of a social welfare state. In the 1950s, historians in West German argued that the Sonderweg lead Germany to the disaster of 1933-1945. The special circumstances of German historical structures and experiences, were interpreted as preconditions that, while not directly causing National Socialism, did hamper the development of a liberal democracy and facilitate the rise of fascism. The Sonderweg paradigm has provided the impetus for at least three strands of research in German historiography: the "long nineteenth century", the history of the bourgeoisie, and comparisons with the West. After 1990, increased attention to cultural dimensions and to comparative and relational history moved German historiography to different topics, with much less attention paid to the Sonderweg. While some historians have abandoned the Sonderweg thesis, they have not provided a generally accepted alternative interpretation.
In addition to present-day Germany, large parts of what comprised the German Empire now belong to several other modern European countries:
|Elsass-Lothringen||France||The German-speaking départements of Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin (Alsace region) and Moselle (northeastern part of the Lorraine region)|
|The Eupen und Malmédy area
(intentionally spelled with é only then)
|Belgium||Eupen and Malmedy, two towns and surrounding municipalities in the province of Liège, on the German border|
|Nordschleswig||Denmark||South Jutland County|
|Hultschiner Ländchen||Czech Republic||Hlučín Region, on the border to Poland in Silesia, from which most of Germans were deported following WWII.|
|Central and eastern Pommern, Schlesien, Ostbrandenburg, Ermland, Masuren, Westpreußen, Southern Ostpreußen
Also Posen (Wartheland).
|Poland||the northern and western parts of the country, including Pomerania, Silesia, Lubusz Land, Warmia and Masuria, from all of which Germans were deported following WWII.|
|Northern Ostpreußen with Königsberg||Russia||Kaliningrad Oblast exclave on the Baltic, from which Germans were deported following WWII.|
|Memelland with Memel (city)||Lithuania||Klaipėda Region, including the Baltic coastal city of Klaipėda, from which Germans were deported following WWII.|
Claims to continued existence
Since 1985, a number of German fringe groups and individuals – collectively labeled Kommissarische Reichsregierungen (KRR) – assert that the Empire continues to exist in its pre-World War II borders and that they are its government.
- German Colonial Empire
- German colonization of the Americas
- German East Africa Company
- German New Guinea Company
- List of former German colonies
- ^ a b German constitution of 1871
- ^ "German Empire: administrative subdivision and municipalities, 1900 to 1910" (in German). http://www.gemeindeverzeichnis.de/gem1900/gem1900.htm?gem1900_2.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
- ^ "Population statistics of the German Empire, 1871" (in German). http://www.deutsche-schutzgebiete.de/einwohner.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-25.
- ^ "Fremdsprachige Minderheiten im Deutschen Reich" (in German). http://www.verwaltungsgeschichte.de/fremdsprachen.html. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
- ^ Matthew Fitzpatrick, "A Fall from Grace? National Unity and the Search for Naval Power and Colonial Possessions 1848-1884," German History, April 2007, Vol. 25#2 pp 135-161
- ^ David Ciarlo, "Globalizing German Colonialism," German History April 2008, Vol. 26 Issue 2, pp 285-298
- ^ L. Gann and Peter Duignan, The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914 (1977) focuses on political and economic history; Michael Perraudin and Jürgen Zimmerer, eds. German Colonialism and National Identity (2010) focuses on cultural impact in Africa and Germany.
- ^ Tilman Dedering, "The German-Herero of war 1904: Revisionism of genocide," Journal of Southern African Studies, March 1993, Vol. 19 Issue 1, pp 80-88
- ^ Allan Mitchell, Great Train Race: Railways and the Franco-German Rivalry, 1815-1914 (2000)
- ^ Jochen Streb, et al. "Technological and geographical knowledge spillover in the German empire 1877–1918," Economic History Review, May 2006, Vol. 59 Issue 2, pp 347-373
- ^ Stephen Broadberry, and Kevin H. O'Rourke. The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe (2 vol. 2010)
- ^ John J. Beer, The Emergence of the German Dye Industry (1959).
- ^ Werner Abelshauser, German History and Global Enterprise: BASF: The History of a Company (2004) covers 1865 to 2000;
- ^ Chandler (1990) p 474-5
- ^ Carsten Burhop, "Pharmaceutical Research in Wilhelmine Germany: the Case of E. Merck," Business History Review. Volume: 83. Issue: 3. 2009. pp 475+. in ProQuest
- ^ a b Imanuel Geiss, Der polnische Grenzstreifen 1914–1918. Ein Beitrag zur deutschen Kriegszielpolitik im Ersten Weltkrieg, Hamburg/Lübeck 1960 Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; name "Geiss" defined multiple times with different content
- ^ Martin Broszat: Zweihundert Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik. suhrkamp 1978, p. 144; ISBN 3-518-36574-6
- ^ Kitchen, Martin (2000). Cambridge Illustrated History of Germany. Cambridge University Press. pp. 214. ISBN 978-0521794329.
- ^ Judd, Denis (1976). Eclipse of Kings. Stein & Day. pp. 13. ISBN 978-0685701195.
- ^ a b c Kurtz, Harold (1970). The Second Reich: Kaiser Wilhelm II and his Germany. McGraw-Hill. pp. 60. ISBN 978-0070356535.
- ^ Stürmer, Michael (2000). The German Empire: 1870–1918. New York: Random House. pp. 63. ISBN 0679640908..
- ^ a b Kurtz, Harold (1970) 63
- ^ Kurtz, Harold (1970) 67
- ^ a b Kurtz, Harold (1970) 72
- ^ Geoffrey Cocks and Konrad H. Jarausch, eds. German Professions, 1800-1950 (1990)
- ^ Kurtz, Harold (1970) 76
- ^ Matthew Jefferies, Imperial Culture in Germany, 1871–1918 (2003).
- ^ Kurtz, Harold (1970) 56
- ^ Lamar Cecil, Wilhelm II: Emperor and Exile, 1900-1941 (1996) ch 9-13
- ^ Stürmer, Michael (2000) 91
- ^ Louis, Ruanda-Urundi 1884–1919, p. 163
- ^ The 'Fischer Hypothesis' and the start of World War I, Answers.com
- ^ Edwin Hoyt, Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck and Germany's East African Empire (1981)
- ^ Holger H. Herwig, The First World War: Germany and Austria–Hungary 1914–1918 (1996)
- ^ Rod Paschall, The defeat of imperial Germany, 1917-1918 (1994)
- ^ German Historical Museum. "1914–18: Lebensmittelversorgung" (in German). http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/wk1/wirtschaft/versorgung/index.html.
- ^ Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (2004) p. 141-42
- ^ A. J. Ryder, The German Revolution of 1918: A Study of German Socialism in War and Revolt (2008)
- ^ Jürgen Kocka, "German History before Hitler: The Debate about the German 'Sonderweg.'" Journal of Contemporary History, Jan 1988, Vol. 23#1, pp 3-16 in JSTOR
- ^ Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte: Vom Beginn des Ersten Weltkrieges bis zur Gründung der Beiden Deutschen Staaten 1914-1949 (2003) is the fourth volume of his monumental history of German society. None of the series has yet been translated into English. A partial summary appears in Hans-Ulrich Wehler, The German Empire, 1871-1918 (1997)
- ^ Helmut Walser Smith, "When the Sonderweg Debate Left Us," German Studies Review, May 2008, Vol. 31#2 pp 225-240
- ^ Thiriet, Maurice (11 March 2009). "«Reichsführerschein» im Thurgau nicht gültig" (in German). Tages-Anzeiger. http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/panorama/vermischtes/Reichsfuehrerschein-im-Thurgau-nicht-gueltig/story/27903000. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
- Berghahn, Volker Rolf. Modern Germany: society, economy, and politics in the twentieth century (1987) ACLS E-book
- Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918 (1998) excerpt and text search
- Blackbourn, David, and Geoff Eley. The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (1984) online edition ISBN 0-19-873058-6.
- Cecil, Lamar. Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859-1900 (1989) online edition; vol2: Wilhelm II: Emperor and Exile, 1900-1941 (1996) online edition
- Dickinson, Edward Ross. "The German Empire: an Empire?" History Workshop Journal Issue 66, Autumn 2008 in Project MUSE
- Fischer, Fritz. From Kaiserreich to Third Reich: Elements of Continuity in German History, 1871–1945. (1986). ISBN 0-04-943043-2.
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- Kurlander, Eric. The Price of Exclusion: Ethnicity, National Identity, and the Decline of German Liberalism, 1898–1933 (2007).
- Pflanze, Otto. Bismarck and the Development of Germany 3 vols. (1963–90). the standard scholarly biography
- Reagin, Nancy. "The Imagined Hausfrau: National Identity, Domesticity, and Colonialism in Imperial Germany," Journal of Modern History Vol. 73, No. 1 (March 2001), pp. 54–86 in JSTOR
- Reagin, Nancy R. "Recent Work on German National Identity: Regional? Imperial? Gendered? Imaginary?" Central European History 2004 37, pp 273–289 doi:10.1163/156916104323121483
- Retallack, James. Germany In The Age of Kaiser Wilhelm II, (1996) ISBN 0-312-16031-3.
- Ritter, Gerhard. The Sword and the Scepter; the Problem of Militarism in Germany. (4 vol University of Miami Press 1969–73)
- Scheck, Raffael. “Lecture Notes, Germany and Europe, 1871-1945” (2008) full text online, a brief textbook by a leading scholar
- Schollgen, Gregor. Escape into War? The Foreign Policy of Imperial Germany. (Berg, 1990) ISBN 0-85496-275-1.
- Smith, Woodruff D. The German Colonial Empire (1978)
- Stürmer, Michael. The German Empire, 1870–1918. (Random House, 2000). ISBN 0-679-64090-8.
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- Ravenstein's Atlas of the German Empire, Library.wis.edu
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