German Empire

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This article is about the German nation-state existing from 1871 until 1918. German Empire_sentence_0

For other uses, see German Empire (disambiguation). German Empire_sentence_1

German Empire_table_infobox_0

German Empire

Deutsches KaiserreichGerman Empire_header_cell_0_0_0

CapitalGerman Empire_header_cell_0_1_0 BerlinGerman Empire_cell_0_1_1
Common languagesGerman Empire_header_cell_0_2_0 Official:

GermanUnofficial: Czech, Dutch, French, Frisian, Danish, Kashubian, Lithuanian, Low German, Polish, Sorbian, YiddishGerman Empire_cell_0_2_1

ReligionGerman Empire_header_cell_0_3_0 1880 census

Majority: 62.63% United Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed) Minorities: 35.89% Roman Catholic

1.24% Jewish
0.17% Other Christian
0.07% OtherGerman Empire_cell_0_3_1
GovernmentGerman Empire_header_cell_0_4_0 German Empire_cell_0_4_1
EmperorGerman Empire_header_cell_0_5_0 German Empire_cell_0_5_1
1871–1888German Empire_header_cell_0_6_0 Wilhelm IGerman Empire_cell_0_6_1
1888German Empire_header_cell_0_7_0 Friedrich IIIGerman Empire_cell_0_7_1
1888–1918German Empire_header_cell_0_8_0 Wilhelm IIGerman Empire_cell_0_8_1
ChancellorGerman Empire_header_cell_0_9_0 German Empire_cell_0_9_1
1871–1890 (first)

(6 others)German Empire_header_cell_0_10_0

Otto von BismarckGerman Empire_cell_0_10_1
1918 (last)German Empire_header_cell_0_11_0 Max von BadenGerman Empire_cell_0_11_1
LegislatureGerman Empire_header_cell_0_12_0 German Empire_cell_0_12_1
Historical eraGerman Empire_header_cell_0_13_0 New Imperialism  World War IGerman Empire_cell_0_13_1
UnificationGerman Empire_header_cell_0_14_0 18 January 1871German Empire_cell_0_14_1
ConstitutionGerman Empire_header_cell_0_15_0 16 April 1871German Empire_cell_0_15_1
Berlin ConferenceGerman Empire_header_cell_0_16_0 15 November 1884German Empire_cell_0_16_1
World War IGerman Empire_header_cell_0_17_0 28 July 1914German Empire_cell_0_17_1
German RevolutionGerman Empire_header_cell_0_18_0 3 November 1918German Empire_cell_0_18_1
Abdication of Wilhelm IIGerman Empire_header_cell_0_19_0 9 November 1918German Empire_cell_0_19_1
End of World War IGerman Empire_header_cell_0_20_0 11 November 1918German Empire_cell_0_20_1
Weimar ConstitutionGerman Empire_header_cell_0_21_0 11 August 1919German Empire_cell_0_21_1
AreaGerman Empire_header_cell_0_22_0
1910German Empire_header_cell_0_23_0 540,857.54 km (208,826.26 sq mi)German Empire_cell_0_23_1
PopulationGerman Empire_header_cell_0_24_0
1871German Empire_header_cell_0_25_0 41,058,792German Empire_cell_0_25_1
1900German Empire_header_cell_0_26_0 56,367,178German Empire_cell_0_26_1
1910German Empire_header_cell_0_27_0 64,925,993German Empire_cell_0_27_1
CurrencyGerman Empire_header_cell_0_28_0 Until 1873:

Vereinsthaler, South German gulden, Bremen thaler, Hamburg mark, French francGerman gold mark, (1873–1914) German Papiermark (1914–1918)German Empire_cell_0_28_1

Preceded by

Succeeded by

North German Confederation





Weimar Republic


Saar Territory




FranceGerman Empire_cell_0_29_0

Preceded byGerman Empire_cell_0_30_0 Succeeded byGerman Empire_cell_0_30_1
North German Confederation




HesseGerman Empire_cell_0_31_0

Weimar Republic


Saar Territory




FranceGerman Empire_cell_0_31_1

German Empire_cell_0_32_0 North German ConfederationGerman Empire_cell_0_32_1
German Empire_cell_0_33_0 BavariaGerman Empire_cell_0_33_1
German Empire_cell_0_34_0 WürttembergGerman Empire_cell_0_34_1
German Empire_cell_0_35_0 BadenGerman Empire_cell_0_35_1
German Empire_cell_0_36_0 HesseGerman Empire_cell_0_36_1
Weimar RepublicGerman Empire_cell_0_37_0 German Empire_cell_0_37_1
PolandGerman Empire_cell_0_38_0 German Empire_cell_0_38_1
Saar TerritoryGerman Empire_cell_0_39_0 German Empire_cell_0_39_1
DanzigGerman Empire_cell_0_40_0 German Empire_cell_0_40_1
LithuaniaGerman Empire_cell_0_41_0 German Empire_cell_0_41_1
CzechoslovakiaGerman Empire_cell_0_42_0 German Empire_cell_0_42_1
FranceGerman Empire_cell_0_43_0 German Empire_cell_0_43_1

The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany, also referred to as Imperial Germany or Second Reich, as well as simply Germany, was the period of the German Reich from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the November Revolution in 1918, when the German Reich changed its form of government from a monarchy to a republic. German Empire_sentence_2

It was founded on 1 January 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation and the new constitution came into force changing the name of the federal state to the German Empire and introduced the title of German Emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. German Empire_sentence_3

Berlin remained its capital, and Bismarck, Minister-President of Prussia became Chancellor, the head of government. German Empire_sentence_4

As these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. German Empire_sentence_5

The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families. German Empire_sentence_6

They included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies (six before 1876), seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, and one imperial territory. German Empire_sentence_7

Although Prussia was one of four kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory. German Empire_sentence_8

Prussian dominance had also been constitutionally established, as the King of Prussia was also the German Emperor. German Empire_sentence_9

After 1850, the states of Germany had rapidly become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron (and later steel), chemicals, and railways. German Empire_sentence_10

In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people; by 1913, this had increased to 68 million. German Empire_sentence_11

A heavily rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. German Empire_sentence_12

During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial, technological, and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. German Empire_sentence_13

Between 1901 and 1918, the Germans won 4 Nobel Prizes in Medicine, 6 Prizes in Physics, 7 Prizes in Chemistry and 3 Prizes in Literature. German Empire_sentence_14

By 1913, Germany was the largest economy in Continental Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom (excluding its Empire and Dominions), as well as the third-largest in the world, only behind the United States and the British Empire. German Empire_sentence_15

From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest-serving Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. German Empire_sentence_16

Broad reforms, and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. German Empire_sentence_17

Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his earlier personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. German Empire_sentence_18

Claiming much of the leftover territory that was yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire at the time, after the British and the French ones. German Empire_sentence_19

As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers, especially the British Empire. German Empire_sentence_20

During its colonial expansion, the German Empire committed the Herero and Namaqua genocide. German Empire_sentence_21

Germany became a great power, boasting a rapidly developing rail network, the world's strongest army, and a fast-growing industrial base. German Empire_sentence_22

Starting very small in 1871, in a decade, the navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. German Empire_sentence_23

After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that ultimately contributed to the outbreak of World War I. German Empire_sentence_24

In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex, shifting, and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated. German Empire_sentence_25

This period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were often perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. German Empire_sentence_26

In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882. German Empire_sentence_27

It also retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. German Empire_sentence_28

When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany. German Empire_sentence_29

In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris quickly in the autumn of 1914 failed. German Empire_sentence_30

The war on the Western Front became a stalemate. German Empire_sentence_31

The Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. German Empire_sentence_32

However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; it occupied a large amount of territory to its east following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. German Empire_sentence_33

The German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917 contributed to bringing the United States into the war. German Empire_sentence_34

The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff increasingly controlled the country, but in October 1918 after the failed Spring Offensive, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, and Bulgaria had surrendered. German Empire_sentence_35

The Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. German Empire_sentence_36

This left a post-war federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, faced with post-war reparation costs of nearly 270 billion dollars, all of which is considered a leading factor in the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. German Empire_sentence_37

History German Empire_section_0

Background German Empire_section_1

Main article: Unification of Germany German Empire_sentence_38

The German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in of the 1814 Treaty of Paris. German Empire_sentence_39

Bourgeois revolutions of 1848, associated with highly educated and middle class were crushed in favor of peasants, artisans and Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. German Empire_sentence_40

Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states; to do so meant unification of the German states and the exclusion of Prussia's main German rival, Austria, from the subsequent German Empire. German Empire_sentence_41

He envisioned a conservative, Prussian-dominated Germany. German Empire_sentence_42

Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War in 1870–1871. German Empire_sentence_43

The German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Prussia and its allies on the other. German Empire_sentence_44

The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main River. German Empire_sentence_45

The patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany (aside from Austria) in the four states south of the Main and during November 1870 they joined the North German Confederation by treaty. German Empire_sentence_46

Foundation German Empire_section_2

Main article: Founding of the German Empire German Empire_sentence_47

On 10 December 1870, the North German Confederation Reichstag renamed the Confederation the "German Empire" and gave the title of German Emperor to William I, the King of Prussia, as Bundespräsidium of the Confederation. German Empire_sentence_48

The new constitution (Constitution of the German Confederation) and the title Emperor came into effect on 1 January 1871. German Empire_sentence_49

During the Siege of Paris on 18 January 1871, William accepted to be proclaimed Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. German Empire_sentence_50

The second German Constitution, adopted by the Reichstag on 14 April 1871 and proclaimed by the Emperor on 16 April, was substantially based upon Bismarck's North German Constitution. German Empire_sentence_51

The political system remained the same. German Empire_sentence_52

The empire had a parliament called the Reichstag, which was elected by universal male suffrage. German Empire_sentence_53

However, the original constituencies drawn in 1871 were never redrawn to reflect the growth of urban areas. German Empire_sentence_54

As a result, by the time of the great expansion of German cities in the 1890s and 1900s, rural areas were grossly over-represented. German Empire_sentence_55

Legislation also required the consent of the Bundesrat, the federal council of deputies from the 27 states. German Empire_sentence_56

Executive power was vested in the emperor, or Kaiser, who was assisted by a Chancellor responsible only to him. German Empire_sentence_57

The emperor was given extensive powers by the constitution. German Empire_sentence_58

He alone appointed and dismissed the chancellor (so in practice the emperor ruled the empire through the chancellor), was supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and final arbiter of all foreign affairs, and could also disband the Reichstag to call for new elections. German Empire_sentence_59

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.) functioned much like ministers in other monarchies. German Empire_sentence_60

The Reichstag had the power to pass, amend, or reject bills and to initiate legislation. German Empire_sentence_61

However, as mentioned above, in practice the real power was vested in the emperor, who exercised it through his chancellor. German Empire_sentence_62

Although nominally a federal empire and league of equals, in practice, the empire was dominated by the largest and most powerful state, Prussia. German Empire_sentence_63

Prussia stretched across the northern two-thirds of the new Reich and contained three-fifths of its population. German Empire_sentence_64

The imperial crown was hereditary in the ruling house of Prussia, the House of Hohenzollern. German Empire_sentence_65

With the exception of 1872–1873 and 1892–1894, the chancellor was always simultaneously the prime minister of Prussia. German Empire_sentence_66

With 17 out of 58 votes in the Bundesrat, Berlin needed only a few votes from the smaller states to exercise effective control. German Empire_sentence_67

The other states retained their own governments, but had only limited aspects of sovereignty. German Empire_sentence_68

For example, both postage stamps and currency were issued for the empire as a whole. German Empire_sentence_69

Coins through one mark were also minted in the name of the empire, while higher-valued pieces were issued by the states. German Empire_sentence_70

However, these larger gold and silver issues were virtually commemorative coins and had limited circulation. German Empire_sentence_71

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. German Empire_sentence_72

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. German Empire_sentence_73

The evolution of the German Empire is somewhat in line with parallel developments in Italy, which became a united nation-state a decade earlier. German Empire_sentence_74

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. German Empire_sentence_75

One factor in the social anatomy of these governments was 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. German Empire_sentence_76

Although authoritarian in many respects, the empire had some democratic features. German Empire_sentence_77

Besides universal suffrage, it permitted the development of political parties. German Empire_sentence_78

Bismarck intended to create a constitutional façade which would mask the continuation of authoritarian policies. German Empire_sentence_79

In the process, he created a system with a serious flaw. German Empire_sentence_80

There was a significant disparity between the Prussian and German electoral systems. German Empire_sentence_81

Prussia used a highly restrictive three-class voting system in which the richest third of the population could choose 85% of the legislature, all but assuring a conservative majority. German Empire_sentence_82

As mentioned above, the king and (with two exceptions) the prime minister of Prussia was also the emperor and chancellor of the empire – meaning that the same rulers had to seek majorities from legislatures elected from completely different franchises. German Empire_sentence_83

Universal suffrage was significantly diluted by gross over-representation of rural areas from the 1890s onward. German Empire_sentence_84

By the turn of the century, the urban-rural population balance was completely reversed from 1871; more than two-thirds of the empire's people lived in cities and towns. German Empire_sentence_85

Bismarck era German Empire_section_3

Bismarck's domestic policies played an important role in forging the authoritarian political culture of the Kaiserreich. German Empire_sentence_86

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. German Empire_sentence_87

Bismarck's "revolutionary conservatism" was a conservative state-building strategy designed to make ordinary Germans—not just the Junker elite—more loyal to the throne and empire. German Empire_sentence_88

According to Kees van Kersbergen and Barbara Vis, his strategy was: German Empire_sentence_89

Bismarck created the modern welfare state in Germany in the 1880s and enacted universal male suffrage in 1871. German Empire_sentence_90

He became a great hero to German conservatives, who erected many monuments to his memory and tried to emulate his policies. German Empire_sentence_91

Foreign policy German Empire_section_4

Bismarck's post-1871 foreign policy was conservative and sought to preserve the balance of power in Europe. German Empire_sentence_92

British historian Eric Hobsbawm concludes that he "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for almost twenty years after 1871, [devoting] himself exclusively, and successfully, to maintaining peace between the powers". German Empire_sentence_93

This was a departure from his adventurous foreign policy for Prussia, where he favored strength and expansion, punctuating this by saying "The great question of the age are not settled by speeches and majority votes – this was the error of 1848–49 – but by iron and blood." German Empire_sentence_94

Bismarck's chief concern was that France would plot revenge after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. German Empire_sentence_95

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). German Empire_sentence_96

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, the Dreikaiserbund (League of Three Emperors) in 1881. German Empire_sentence_97

The alliance was further cemented by a separate non-aggression pact with Russia called Reinsurance Treaty, which was signed in 1887. German Empire_sentence_98

During this period, individuals within the German military were advocating a preemptive strike against Russia, but Bismarck knew that such ideas were foolhardy. German Empire_sentence_99

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 neighbour. German Empire_sentence_100

Meanwhile, the chancellor remained wary of any foreign policy developments that looked even remotely warlike. German Empire_sentence_101

In 1886, he moved to stop an attempted sale of horses to France because they might be used for cavalry and also ordered an investigation into large Russian purchases of medicine from a German chemical works. German Empire_sentence_102

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 were desperate for peace at all costs. German Empire_sentence_103

Bismarck and most of his contemporaries were conservative-minded and focused their foreign policy attention on Germany's neighbouring states. German Empire_sentence_104

In 1914, 60% of German foreign investment was in Europe, as opposed to just 5% of British investment. German Empire_sentence_105

Most of the money went to developing nations such as Russia that lacked the capital or technical knowledge to industrialize on their own. German Empire_sentence_106

The construction of the Baghdad Railway, financed by German banks, was designed to eventually connect Germany with the Ottoman Empire and the Persian Gulf, but it also collided with British and Russian geopolitical interests. German Empire_sentence_107

Conflict over the Baghdad Railway was resolved in June 1914. German Empire_sentence_108

Many consider Bismarck's foreign policy as a coherent system and partly responsible for the preservation of Europe's stability. German Empire_sentence_109

It was also marked by the need to balance circumspect defensiveness and the desire to be free from the constraints of its position as a major European power. German Empire_sentence_110

Unfortunately, Bismark's successors did not pursue his foreign policy legacy. German Empire_sentence_111

For instance, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who dismissed the chancellor in 1890, let the treaty with Russia lapse in favor of Germany's alliance with Austria, which finally led to a stronger coalition-building between Russia and France. German Empire_sentence_112

Colonies German Empire_section_5

Main article: German colonial empire German Empire_sentence_113

Bismarck secured a number of German colonial possessions during the 1880s in Africa and the Pacific, but he never considered an overseas colonial empire valuable due to fierce resistance to German colonial rule from the natives. German Empire_sentence_114

Thus, Germany's colonies remained badly undeveloped. German Empire_sentence_115

However they excited the interest of the religious-minded, who supported an extensive network of missionaries. German Empire_sentence_116

Germans had dreamed of colonial imperialism since 1848. German Empire_sentence_117

Bismarck began the process, and by 1884 had acquired German New Guinea. German Empire_sentence_118

By the 1890s, German colonial expansion in Asia and the Pacific (Kiauchau in China, Tientsin in China, the Marianas, the Caroline Islands, Samoa) led to frictions with the UK, Russia, Japan, and the US. German Empire_sentence_119

The largest colonial enterprises were in Africa, where the Herero Wars in what is now Namibia in 1906–1907 resulted in the Herero and Namaqua genocide. German Empire_sentence_120

Economy German Empire_section_6

Further information: Economic history of Germany German Empire_sentence_121

See also: Urbanization in the German Empire German Empire_sentence_122

By 1900, Germany became the largest economy in continental Europe and the third largest in the world behind the United States and the British Empire. German Empire_sentence_123

Germany's main economic rivals were Great Britain and the United States. German Empire_sentence_124

Throughout its existence, it experienced economic growth and modernization led by heavy industry. German Empire_sentence_125

In 1871, it had a largely rural population of 41 million, while by 1913 this had increased to a predominantly urban population of 68 million. German Empire_sentence_126

Industrial power German Empire_section_7

For 30 years, Germany struggled against Britain to be Europe's leading industrial power. German Empire_sentence_127

Representative of Germany's industry was the steel giant Krupp, whose first factory was built in Essen. German Empire_sentence_128

By 1902, the factory alone became "A great city with its own streets, its own police force, fire department and traffic laws. German Empire_sentence_129

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." German Empire_sentence_130

Under Bismarck, Germany was a world innovator in building the welfare state. German Empire_sentence_131

German workers enjoyed health, accident and maternity benefits, canteens, changing rooms and a national pension scheme. German Empire_sentence_132

Railways German Empire_section_8

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. German Empire_sentence_133

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. German Empire_sentence_134

However, German unification in 1870 stimulated consolidation, nationalisation into state-owned companies, and further rapid growth. German Empire_sentence_135

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. German Empire_sentence_136

By 1880, Germany had 9,400 locomotives pulling 43,000 passengers and 30,000 tons of freight, and forged ahead of France. German Empire_sentence_137

The total length of German railroad tracks expanded from 21,000 kilometers in 1871 to 63,000 kilometres by 1913, establishing the largest rail network in the world after the United States, and effectively surpassing the 32,000 kilometers of rail that connected Britain in the same year. German Empire_sentence_138

Industry German Empire_section_9

Industrialisation 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 U.S. German Empire_sentence_139

The German textile and metal industries had by 1870 surpassed those of Britain in organisation and technical efficiency and superseded British manufacturers in the domestic market. German Empire_sentence_140

Germany became the dominant economic power on the continent and was the second largest exporting nation after Britain. German Empire_sentence_141

Technological progress during German industrialisation occurred in four waves: the railway wave (1877–1886), the dye wave (1887–1896), the chemical wave (1897–1902), and the wave of electrical engineering (1903–1918). German Empire_sentence_142

Since Germany industrialised 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. German Empire_sentence_143

Germany invested more heavily than the British in research, especially in chemistry, motors and electricity. German Empire_sentence_144

Germany's dominance in physics and chemistry was such that one-third of all Nobel Prizes went to German inventors and researchers. German Empire_sentence_145

The German cartel system (known as Konzerne), being significantly concentrated, was able to make more efficient use of capital. German Empire_sentence_146

Germany was not weighted down with an expensive worldwide empire that needed defense. German Empire_sentence_147

Following Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871, it absorbed parts of what had been France's industrial base. German Empire_sentence_148

By 1900, the German chemical industry dominated the world market for synthetic dyes. German Empire_sentence_149

The three major firms BASF, Bayer and Hoechst produced several hundred different dyes, along with the five smaller firms. German Empire_sentence_150

In 1913, these eight firms produced almost 90% of the world supply of dyestuffs and sold about 80% of their production abroad. German Empire_sentence_151

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. German Empire_sentence_152

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". German Empire_sentence_153

There were many spinoffs from research—such as the pharmaceutical industry, which emerged from chemical research. German Empire_sentence_154

By the start of World War I (1914–1918), German industry switched to war production. German Empire_sentence_155

The heaviest demands were on coal and steel for artillery and shell production, and on chemicals for the synthesis of materials that were subject to import restrictions and for chemical weapons and war supplies. German Empire_sentence_156

Consolidation German Empire_section_10

The creation of the Empire under Prussian leadership was a victory for the concept of Kleindeutschland (Smaller Germany) over the Großdeutschland concept. German Empire_sentence_157

This meant that Austria-Hungary, a multi-ethnic Empire with a considerable German-speaking population, would remain outside of the German nation state. German Empire_sentence_158

Bismarck's policy was to pursue a solution diplomatically. German Empire_sentence_159

The effective alliance between Germany and Austria played a major role in Germany's decision to enter World War I in 1914. German Empire_sentence_160

Bismarck announced there would be no more territorial additions to Germany in Europe, and his diplomacy after 1871 was focused on stabilizing the European system and preventing any wars. German Empire_sentence_161

He succeeded, and only after his departure from office in 1890 did the diplomatic tensions start rising again. German Empire_sentence_162

Social issues German Empire_section_11

After achieving formal unification in 1871, Bismarck devoted much of his attention to the cause of national unity. German Empire_sentence_163

He opposed Catholic civil rights and emancipation, especially the influence of the Vatican under Pope Pius IX, and working-class radicalism, represented by the emerging Social Democratic Party. German Empire_sentence_164

Kulturkampf German Empire_section_12

Main article: Kulturkampf German Empire_sentence_165

See also: Pope Pius IX and Germany German Empire_sentence_166

Prussia in 1871 included 16,000,000 Protestants, both Reformed and Lutheran, and 8,000,000 Catholics. German Empire_sentence_167

Most people were generally segregated into their own religious worlds, living in rural districts or city neighbourhoods that were overwhelmingly of the same religion, and sending their children to separate public schools where their religion was taught. German Empire_sentence_168

There was little interaction or intermarriage. German Empire_sentence_169

On the whole, the Protestants had a higher social status, and the Catholics were more likely to be peasant farmers or unskilled or semiskilled industrial workers. German Empire_sentence_170

In 1870, the Catholics formed their own political party, the Centre Party, which generally supported unification and most of Bismarck's policies. German Empire_sentence_171

However, Bismarck distrusted parliamentary democracy in general and opposition parties in particular, especially when the Centre Party showed signs of gaining support among dissident elements such as the Polish Catholics in Silesia. German Empire_sentence_172

A powerful intellectual force of the time was anti-Catholicism, led by the liberal intellectuals who formed a vital part of Bismarck's coalition. German Empire_sentence_173

They saw the Catholic Church as a powerful force of reaction and anti-modernity, especially after the proclamation of papal infallibility in 1870, and the tightening control of the Vatican over the local bishops. German Empire_sentence_174

The Kulturkampf launched by Bismarck 1871–1880 affected Prussia; although there were similar movements in Baden and Hesse, the rest of Germany was not affected. German Empire_sentence_175

According to the new imperial constitution, the states were in charge of religious and educational affairs; they funded the Protestant and Catholic schools. German Empire_sentence_176

In July 1871 Bismarck abolished the Catholic section of the Prussian Ministry of ecclesiastical and educational affairs, depriving Catholics of their voice at the highest level. German Empire_sentence_177

The system of strict government supervision of schools was applied only in Catholic areas; the Protestant schools were left alone. German Empire_sentence_178

Much more serious were the May laws of 1873. German Empire_sentence_179

One made the appointment of any priest dependent on his attendance at a German university, as opposed to the seminaries that the Catholics typically used. German Empire_sentence_180

Furthermore, all candidates for the ministry had to pass an examination in German culture before a state board which weeded out intransigent Catholics. German Empire_sentence_181

Another provision gave the government a veto power over most church activities. German Empire_sentence_182

A second law abolished the jurisdiction of the Vatican over the Catholic Church in Prussia; its authority was transferred to a government body controlled by Protestants. German Empire_sentence_183

Nearly all German bishops, clergy, and laymen rejected the legality of the new laws, and were defiant in the face of heavier and heavier penalties and imprisonments imposed by Bismarck's government. German Empire_sentence_184

By 1876, all the Prussian bishops were imprisoned or in exile, and a third of the Catholic parishes were without a priest. German Empire_sentence_185

In the face of systematic defiance, the Bismarck government increased the penalties and its attacks, and were challenged in 1875 when a papal encyclical declared the whole ecclesiastical legislation of Prussia was invalid, and threatened to excommunicate any Catholic who obeyed. German Empire_sentence_186

There was no violence, but the Catholics mobilized their support, set up numerous civic organizations, raised money to pay fines, and rallied behind their church and the Centre Party. German Empire_sentence_187

The "Old Catholic Church", which rejected the First Vatican Council, attracted only a few thousand members. German Empire_sentence_188

Bismarck, a devout pietistic Protestant, realized his Kulturkampf was backfiring when secular and socialist elements used the opportunity to attack all religion. German Empire_sentence_189

In the long run, the most significant result was the mobilization of the Catholic voters, and their insistence on protecting their religious identity. German Empire_sentence_190

In the elections of 1874, the Centre party doubled its popular vote, and became the second-largest party in the national parliament—and remained a powerful force for the next 60 years, so that after Bismarck it became difficult to form a government without their support. German Empire_sentence_191

Social reform German Empire_section_13

Bismarck built on a tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony that began as early as in the 1840s. German Empire_sentence_192

In the 1880s he introduced old-age pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance that formed the basis of the modern European welfare state. German Empire_sentence_193

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. German Empire_sentence_194

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. German Empire_sentence_195

Bismarck's paternalistic programs won the support of German industry because its goals were to win the support of the working classes for the Empire and reduce the outflow of immigrants to America, where wages were higher but welfare did not exist. German Empire_sentence_196

Bismarck further won the support of both industry and skilled workers by his high tariff policies, which protected profits and wages from American competition, although they alienated the liberal intellectuals who wanted free trade. German Empire_sentence_197

Germanisation German Empire_section_14

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 in what was called "Germanisation". German Empire_sentence_198

These policies often had the reverse effect of stimulating resistance, usually in the form of homeschooling and tighter unity in the minority groups, especially the Poles. German Empire_sentence_199

The Germanisation policies were targeted particularly against the significant Polish minority of the empire, gained by Prussia in the partitions of Poland. German Empire_sentence_200

Poles were treated as an ethnic minority even where they made up the majority, as in the Province of Posen, where a series of anti-Polish measures was enforced. German Empire_sentence_201

Numerous 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. German Empire_sentence_202

Antisemitism German Empire_section_15

Antisemitism was endemic in Germany during the period. German Empire_sentence_203

Before Napoleon's decrees ended the ghettos in Germany, it had been religiously motivated, but by the 19th century, it was a factor in German nationalism. German Empire_sentence_204

In the popular mind Jews became a symbol of capitalism and wealth. German Empire_sentence_205

On the other hand, the constitution and legal system protected the rights of Jews as German citizens. German Empire_sentence_206

Antisemitic parties were formed but soon collapsed. German Empire_sentence_207

Law German Empire_section_16

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. German Empire_sentence_208

The completely different legal histories and judicial systems posed enormous complications, especially for national trade. German Empire_sentence_209

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. German Empire_sentence_210

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). German Empire_sentence_211

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). German Empire_sentence_212

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 in the world; it was eventually put into effect on 1 January 1900. German Empire_sentence_213

All of these codifications are, albeit with many amendments, still in effect today. German Empire_sentence_214

German Empire_unordered_list_0

  • German Empire_item_0_0
  • German Empire_item_0_1

Year of the three emperors German Empire_section_17

Main article: Year of the Three Emperors German Empire_sentence_215

On 9 March 1888, Wilhelm I died shortly before his 91st birthday, leaving his son Frederick III as the new emperor. German Empire_sentence_216

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. German Empire_sentence_217

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. German Empire_sentence_218

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. German Empire_sentence_219

By the time of his accession, however, Frederick had developed incurable laryngeal cancer, which had been diagnosed in 1887. German Empire_sentence_220

He died on the 99th day of his rule, on 15 June 1888. German Empire_sentence_221

His son Wilhelm II became emperor. German Empire_sentence_222

Wilhelmine era German Empire_section_18

Bismarck's resignation German Empire_section_19

Wilhelm II wanted to reassert his ruling prerogatives at a time when other monarchs in Europe were being transformed into constitutional figureheads. German Empire_sentence_223

This decision led the ambitious Kaiser into conflict with Bismarck. German Empire_sentence_224

The old chancellor had hoped to guide Wilhelm as he had guided his grandfather, but the emperor wanted to be the master in his own house and had many sycophants telling him that Frederick the Great would not have been great with a Bismarck at his side. German Empire_sentence_225

A key 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. German Empire_sentence_226

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." German Empire_sentence_227

Instead of condoning repression, Wilhelm had the government negotiate with a delegation from the coal miners, which brought the strike to an end without violence. German Empire_sentence_228

The fractious relationship ended in March 1890, after Wilhelm II and Bismarck quarrelled, and the chancellor resigned days later. German Empire_sentence_229

Bismarck's last few years had seen power slip from his hands as he grew older, more irritable, more authoritarian, and less focused. German Empire_sentence_230

With Bismarck's departure, Wilhelm II became the dominant ruler of Germany. German Empire_sentence_231

Unlike his grandfather, Wilhelm I, who had been largely content to leave government affairs to the chancellor, Wilhelm II wanted to be fully informed and actively involved in running Germany, not an ornamental figurehead, although most Germans found his claims of divine right to rule amusing. German Empire_sentence_232

Wilhelm allowed politician Walther Rathenau to tutor him in European economics and industrial and financial realities in Europe. German Empire_sentence_233

As Hull (2004) notes, Bismarckian foreign policy "was too sedate for the reckless Kaiser". German Empire_sentence_234

Wilhelm became internationally notorious for his aggressive stance on foreign policy and his strategic blunders (such as the Tangier Crisis), which pushed the German Empire into growing political isolation and eventually helped to cause World War I. German Empire_sentence_235

Domestic affairs German Empire_section_20

Under Wilhelm II, Germany no longer had long-ruling strong chancellors like Bismarck. German Empire_sentence_236

The new chancellors had difficulty in performing their roles, especially the additional role as Prime Minister of Prussia assigned to them in the German Constitution. German Empire_sentence_237

The reforms of Chancellor Leo von Caprivi, which liberalized trade and so reduced unemployment, were supported by the Kaiser and most Germans except for Prussian landowners, who feared loss of land and power and launched several campaigns against the reforms German Empire_sentence_238

While Prussian aristocrats challenged the demands of a united German state, in the 1890s several organizations were set up to challenge the authoritarian conservative Prussian militarism which was being imposed on the country. German Empire_sentence_239

Educators opposed to the German state-run schools, which emphasized military education, set up their own independent liberal schools, which encouraged individuality and freedom. German Empire_sentence_240

However nearly all the schools in Imperial Germany had a very high standard and kept abreast with modern developments in knowledge. German Empire_sentence_241

Artists began experimental art in opposition to Kaiser Wilhelm's support for traditional art, to which Wilhelm responded "art which transgresses the laws and limits laid down by me can no longer be called art". German Empire_sentence_242

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. German Empire_sentence_243

At the same time, a new generation of cultural creators emerged. German Empire_sentence_244

From the 1890s onwards, the most effective opposition to the monarchy came from the newly formed Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), whose radicals advocated Marxism. German Empire_sentence_245

The threat of the SPD to the German monarchy and industrialists caused the state both to crack down on the party's supporters and to implement its own programme of social reform to soothe discontent. German Empire_sentence_246

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 trade-union members. German Empire_sentence_247

The larger industrial firms provided pensions, sickness benefits and even housing to their employees. German Empire_sentence_248

Having learned from the failure of Bismarck's Kulturkampf, Wilhelm II maintained good relations with the Roman Catholic Church and concentrated on opposing socialism. German Empire_sentence_249

This policy failed when the Social Democrats won a third of the votes in the 1912 elections to the Reichstag, and became the largest political party in Germany. German Empire_sentence_250

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. German Empire_sentence_251

The rising militarism under Wilhelm II caused many Germans to emigrate to the U.S. and the British colonies to escape mandatory military service. German Empire_sentence_252

During World War I, the Kaiser increasingly devolved his powers to the leaders of the German High Command, particularly future President of Germany, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff. German Empire_sentence_253

Hindenburg took over the role of commander–in–chief from the Kaiser, while Ludendorff became de facto general chief of staff. German Empire_sentence_254

By 1916, Germany was effectively a military dictatorship run by Hindenburg and Ludendorff, with the Kaiser reduced to a mere figurehead. German Empire_sentence_255

Foreign affairs German Empire_section_21

Main article: German colonial empire German Empire_sentence_256

Wilhelm II wanted Germany to have her "place in the sun", like Britain, which he constantly wished to emulate or rival. German Empire_sentence_257

With German traders and merchants already active worldwide, he encouraged colonial efforts in Africa and the Pacific ("new imperialism"), causing the German Empire to vie with other European powers for remaining "unclaimed" territories. German Empire_sentence_258

With the encouragement or at least the acquiescence of Britain, which at this stage saw Germany as a counterweight to her old rival France, Germany acquired German Southwest Africa (modern Namibia), German Kamerun (modern Cameroon), Togoland (modern Togo) and German East Africa (modern Rwanda, Burundi, and the mainland part of current Tanzania). German Empire_sentence_259

Islands were gained in the Pacific through purchase and treaties and also a 99-year lease for the territory of Kiautschou in northeast China. German Empire_sentence_260

But of these German colonies only Togoland and German Samoa (after 1908) became self-sufficient and profitable; all the others required subsidies from the Berlin treasury for building infrastructure, school systems, hospitals and other institutions. German Empire_sentence_261

Bismarck had originally dismissed the agitation for colonies with contempt; he favoured a Eurocentric foreign policy, as the treaty arrangements made during his tenure in office show. German Empire_sentence_262

As a latecomer to colonization, Germany repeatedly came into conflict with the established colonial powers and also with the United States, which opposed German attempts at colonial expansion in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. German Empire_sentence_263

Native insurrections in German territories received prominent coverage in other countries, especially in Britain; the established powers had dealt with such uprisings decades earlier, often brutally, and had secured firm control of their colonies by then. German Empire_sentence_264

The Boxer Rising in China, which the Chinese government eventually sponsored, began in the Shandong province, in part because Germany, as colonizer at Kiautschou, was an untested power and had only been active there for two years. German Empire_sentence_265

Eight western nations, including the United States, mounted a joint relief force to rescue westerners caught up in the rebellion. German Empire_sentence_266

During the departure ceremonies for the German contingent, Wilhelm II urged them to behave like the Hun invaders of continental Europe – an unfortunate remark that would later be resurrected by British propagandists to paint Germans as barbarians during World War I and World War II. German Empire_sentence_267

On two occasions, a French-German conflict over the fate of Morocco seemed inevitable. German Empire_sentence_268

Upon acquiring Southwest Africa, German settlers were encouraged to cultivate land held by the Herero and Nama. German Empire_sentence_269

Herero and Nama tribal lands were used for a variety of exploitative goals (much as the British did before in Rhodesia), including farming, ranching, and mining for minerals and diamonds. German Empire_sentence_270

In 1904, the Herero and the Nama revolted against the colonists in Southwest Africa, killing farm families, their laborers and servants. German Empire_sentence_271

In response to the attacks, troops were dispatched to quell the uprising which then resulted in the Herero and Namaqua Genocide. German Empire_sentence_272

In total, some 65,000 Herero (80% of the total Herero population), and 10,000 Nama (50% of the total Nama population) perished. German Empire_sentence_273

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. German Empire_sentence_274

These occurrences were sometimes referred to as "the first genocide of the 20th century" and officially condemned by the United Nations in 1985. German Empire_sentence_275

In 2004 a formal apology by a government minister of the Federal Republic of Germany followed. German Empire_sentence_276

Middle East German Empire_section_22

Bismarck and Wilhelm II after him sought closer economic ties with the Ottoman Empire. German Empire_sentence_277

Under Wilhelm II, with the financial backing of the Deutsche Bank, the Baghdad Railway was begun in 1900, although by 1914 it was still 500 km (310 mi) short of its destination in Baghdad. German Empire_sentence_278

In an interview with Wilhelm 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 afford to allow Britain the unhindered completion of the Cape-to-Cairo railway that Rhodes favoured. German Empire_sentence_279

Britain initially supported the Baghdad Railway; but by 1911 British statesmen came to fear it might be extended to Basra on the Persian Gulf, threatening Britain's naval supremacy in the Indian Ocean. German Empire_sentence_280

Accordingly, they asked to have construction halted, to which Germany and the Ottoman Empire acquiesced. German Empire_sentence_281

Europe German Empire_section_23

Main articles: Causes of World War I and Diplomatic history of World War I German Empire_sentence_282

Wilhelm II and his advisers committed a fatal diplomatic error when they allowed the "Reinsurance Treaty" that Bismarck had negotiated with Tsarist Russia to lapse. German Empire_sentence_283

Germany was left with no firm ally but Austria-Hungary, and her support for action in annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 further soured relations with Russia. German Empire_sentence_284

Wilhelm missed the opportunity to secure an alliance with Britain in the 1890s when it was involved in colonial rivalries with France, and he alienated British statesmen further by openly supporting the Boers in the South African War and building a navy to rival Britain's. German Empire_sentence_285

By 1911 Wilhelm had completely picked apart the careful power balance established by Bismarck and Britain turned to France in the Entente Cordiale. German Empire_sentence_286

Germany's only other ally besides Austria was the Kingdom of Italy, but it remained an ally only pro forma. German Empire_sentence_287

When war came, Italy saw more benefit in an alliance with Britain, France, and Russia, which, in the secret Treaty of London in 1915 promised it the frontier districts of Austria where Italians formed the majority of the population and also colonial concessions. German Empire_sentence_288

Germany did acquire a second ally that same year when the Ottoman Empire entered the war on its side, but in the long run, supporting the Ottoman war effort only drained away German resources from the main fronts. German Empire_sentence_289

World War I German Empire_section_24

See also: History of Germany during World War I German Empire_sentence_290

Origins German Empire_section_25

Main article: German entry into World War I German Empire_sentence_291

Following the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke of Franz Ferdinand by a Bosnian Serb, the Kaiser offered Emperor Franz Joseph full support for Austro-Hungarian plans to invade the Kingdom of Serbia, which Austria-Hungary blamed for the assassination. German Empire_sentence_292

This unconditional support for Austria-Hungary was called a "blank cheque" by historians, including German Fritz Fischer. German Empire_sentence_293

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. German Empire_sentence_294

Germany began the war by targeting its chief rival, France. German Empire_sentence_295

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. German Empire_sentence_296

Unlike Britain and Russia, the French entered the war mainly for revenge against Germany, in particular for France's loss of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany in 1871. German Empire_sentence_297

The German high command knew that France would muster its forces to go into Alsace-Lorraine. German Empire_sentence_298

Aside from the very unofficial Septemberprogramm, the Germans never stated a clear list of goals that they wanted out of the war. German Empire_sentence_299

Western Front German Empire_section_26

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 to encircle and crush both Paris and the French forces along the Franco-German border in a quick victory. German Empire_sentence_300

After defeating France, Germany would turn to attack Russia. German Empire_sentence_301

The plan required violating the official neutrality of Belgium and Luxembourg, which Britain had guaranteed by treaty. German Empire_sentence_302

However, the Germans had calculated that Britain would enter the war regardless of whether they had formal justification to do so. German Empire_sentence_303

At first the attack was successful: the German Army swept down from Belgium and Luxembourg and advanced on Paris, at the nearby River Marne. German Empire_sentence_304

However, the evolution of weapons over the last century heavily favored defense over offense, especially thanks to the machine gun, so that it took proportionally more offensive force to overcome a defensive position. German Empire_sentence_305

This resulted in the German lines on the offense contracting to keep up the offensive time table while correspondingly the French lines were extending. German Empire_sentence_306

In addition, some German units that were originally slotted for the German far-right were transferred to the Eastern Front in reaction to Russia mobilizing far faster than anticipated. German Empire_sentence_307

The combined effect had the German right flank sweeping down in front of Paris instead of behind it exposing the German Right flank to the extending French lines and attack from strategic French reserves stationed in Paris. German Empire_sentence_308

Attacking the exposed German right flank, the French Army and the British Army put up a strong resistance to the defense of Paris at the First Battle of the Marne, resulting in the German Army retreating to defensive positions along the river Aisne. German Empire_sentence_309

A subsequent Race to the Sea resulted in a long-held stalemate between the German Army and the Allies in dug-in trench warfare positions from Alsace to Flanders. German Empire_sentence_310

German attempts to break through failed at the two battles of Ypres (1st/2nd) with huge casualties. German Empire_sentence_311

A series of allied offensives in 1915 against German positions in Artois and Champagne resulted in huge allied casualties and little territorial change. German Empire_sentence_312

German Chief of Staff Erich von Falkenhayn decided to exploit the defensive advantages that had shown themselves in the 1915 Allied offensives by attempting to goad France into attacking strong defensive positions near the ancient city of Verdun. German Empire_sentence_313

Verdun had been one of the last cities to hold out against the German Army in 1870, and Falkenhayn predicted that as a matter of national pride the French would do anything to ensure that it was not taken. German Empire_sentence_314

He expected that he could take strong defensive positions in the hills overlooking Verdun on the east bank of the River Meuse to threaten the city and the French would launch desperate attacks against these positions. German Empire_sentence_315

He predicted that French losses would be greater than those of the Germans and that continued French commitment of troops to Verdun would "bleed the French Army white." German Empire_sentence_316

In 1916, the Battle of Verdun began, with the French positions under constant shelling and poison gas attack and taking large casualties under the assault of overwhelmingly large German forces. German Empire_sentence_317

However, Falkenhayn's prediction of a greater ratio of French killed proved to be wrong as both sides took heavy casualties. German Empire_sentence_318

Falkenhayn was replaced by Erich Ludendorff, and with no success in sight, the German Army pulled out of Verdun in December 1916 and the battle ended. German Empire_sentence_319

Eastern Front German Empire_section_27

While the Western Front was a stalemate for the German Army, the Eastern Front eventually proved to be a great success. German Empire_sentence_320

Despite initial setbacks due to the unexpectedly rapid mobilisation of the Russian army, which resulted in a Russian invasion of East Prussia and Austrian Galicia, the badly organised and supplied Russian Army faltered and the German and Austro-Hungarian armies thereafter steadily advanced eastward. German Empire_sentence_321

The Germans benefited from political instability in Russia and its population's desire to end the war. German Empire_sentence_322

In 1917 the German government allowed Russia's communist Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin to travel through Germany from Switzerland into Russia. German Empire_sentence_323

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. German Empire_sentence_324

In March 1917, the Tsar was ousted from the Russian throne, and in November a Bolshevik government came to power under the leadership of Lenin. German Empire_sentence_325

Facing political opposition from the Bolsheviks, he decided to end Russia's campaign against Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria to redirect Bolshevik energy to eliminating internal dissent. German Empire_sentence_326

In March 1918, by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Bolshevik government gave Germany and the Ottoman Empire enormous territorial and economic concessions in exchange for an end to war on the Eastern Front. German Empire_sentence_327

All of the modern-day Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) were given over to the German occupation authority Ober Ost, along with Belarus and Ukraine. German Empire_sentence_328

Thus Germany had at last achieved its long-wanted dominance of "Mitteleuropa" (Central Europe) and could now focus fully on defeating the Allies on the Western Front. German Empire_sentence_329

In practice, however, the forces that were needed to garrison and secure the new territories were a drain on the German war effort. German Empire_sentence_330

Colonies German Empire_section_28

Germany quickly lost almost all its colonies. German Empire_sentence_331

However, in German East Africa, an impressive guerrilla campaign was waged by the colonial army leader there, General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. German Empire_sentence_332

Using Germans and native Askaris, Lettow-Vorbeck launched multiple guerrilla raids against British forces in Kenya and Rhodesia. German Empire_sentence_333

He also invaded Portuguese Mozambique to gain his forces supplies and to pick up more Askari recruits. German Empire_sentence_334

His force was still active at war's end. German Empire_sentence_335

1918 German Empire_section_29

The defeat of Russia in 1917 enabled Germany to transfer hundreds of thousands of troops from the Eastern to the Western Front, giving it a numerical advantage over the Allies. German Empire_sentence_336

By retraining the soldiers in new infiltration tactics, the Germans expected to unfreeze the battlefield and win a decisive victory before the army of the United States, which had now entered the war on the side of the Allies, arrived in strength. German Empire_sentence_337

In what was known as the “kaiserschlacht”, Germany converged their troops and delivered multiple blows that pushed back the allies. German Empire_sentence_338

However, the repeated German offensives in the spring of 1918 all failed, as the Allies fell back and regrouped and the Germans lacked the reserves needed to consolidate their gains. German Empire_sentence_339

Meanwhile, soldiers had become radicalised by the Russian Revolution and were less willing to continue fighting. German Empire_sentence_340

The war effort sparked civil unrest in Germany, while the troops, who had been constantly in the field without relief, grew exhausted and lost all hope of victory. German Empire_sentence_341

In the summer of 1918, the British Army was at its peak strength with as many as 4.5 million men on the western front and 4,000 tanks for the Hundred Days Offensive, the Americans arriving at the rate of 10,000 a day, Germany's allies facing collapse and the German Empire's manpower exhausted, it was only a matter of time before multiple Allied offensives destroyed the German army. German Empire_sentence_342

Home front German Empire_section_30

The concept of "total war" meant that supplies had to be redirected towards the armed forces and, with German commerce being stopped by the Allied naval blockade, German civilians were forced to live in increasingly meagre conditions. German Empire_sentence_343

First food prices were controlled, then rationing was introduced. German Empire_sentence_344

During the war about 750,000 German civilians died from malnutrition. German Empire_sentence_345

Towards the end of the war, conditions deteriorated rapidly on the home front, with severe food shortages reported in all urban areas. German Empire_sentence_346

The causes included the transfer of many farmers and food workers into the military, combined with the overburdened railway system, shortages of coal, and the British blockade. German Empire_sentence_347

The winter of 1916–1917 was known as the "turnip winter", because the people had to survive on a vegetable more commonly reserved for livestock, as a substitute for potatoes and meat, which were increasingly scarce. German Empire_sentence_348

Thousands of soup kitchens were opened to feed the hungry, who grumbled that the farmers were keeping the food for themselves. German Empire_sentence_349

Even the army had to cut the soldiers' rations. German Empire_sentence_350

The morale of both civilians and soldiers continued to sink. German Empire_sentence_351

Spanish Flu Pandemic German Empire_section_31

The population of Germany was already suffering from outbreaks of disease due to malnutrition due to Allied blockade preventing food imports. German Empire_sentence_352

Spanish flu arrived in Germany with returning troops. German Empire_sentence_353

Around 287,000 people died of Spanish flu in Germany between 1918-1920. German Empire_sentence_354

Revolt and demise German Empire_section_32

Many Germans wanted an end to the war and increasing numbers 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. German Empire_sentence_355

The entry of the U.S. into the war in April 1917 tipped the long-run balance of power even more in favour of the Allies. German Empire_sentence_356

The end of October 1918, in Kiel, in northern Germany, saw the beginning of the German Revolution of 1918–1919. German Empire_sentence_357

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. German Empire_sentence_358

On 3 November, the revolt spread to other cities and states of the country, in many of which workers' and soldiers' councils were established. German Empire_sentence_359

Meanwhile, Hindenburg and the senior generals lost confidence in the Kaiser and his government. German Empire_sentence_360

Bulgaria signed the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. German Empire_sentence_361

The Ottoman Empire signed the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918. German Empire_sentence_362

Between 24 October and 3 November 1918, Italy defeated Austria-Hungary in the battle of Vittorio Veneto, which forced Austria-Hungary to sign the Armistice of Villa Giusti on 3 November 1918. German Empire_sentence_363

So, in November 1918, with internal revolution, the Allies advancing toward Germany on the Western Front, Austria-Hungary falling apart from multiple ethnic tensions, its other allies out of the war and pressure from the German high command, the Kaiser and all German ruling kings, dukes, and princes abdicated, and German nobility was abolished. German Empire_sentence_364

On 9 November, the Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed a republic. German Empire_sentence_365

The new government led by the German Social Democrats called for and received an armistice on 11 November. German Empire_sentence_366

It was succeeded by the Weimar Republic. German Empire_sentence_367

Those opposed, including disaffected veterans, joined a diverse set of paramilitary and underground political groups such as the Freikorps, the Organisation Consul, and the Communists. German Empire_sentence_368

Constitution German Empire_section_33

Main article: Constitution of the German Empire German Empire_sentence_369

The Empire's legislation was based on two organs, the Bundesrat and the Reichstag (parliament). German Empire_sentence_370

There was universal male suffrage for the Reichstag, however legislation would have to pass both houses. German Empire_sentence_371

The Bundesrat contained representatives of the states. German Empire_sentence_372

Constituent states German Empire_section_34

Main article: States of the German Empire German Empire_sentence_373

See also: List of historic states of Germany German Empire_sentence_374

Before unification, German territory (excluding Austria and Switzerland) was made up of 27 constituent states. German Empire_sentence_375

These states consisted of kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, free Hanseatic cities and one imperial territory. German Empire_sentence_376

The free cities had a republican form of government on the state level, even though the Empire at large was constituted as a monarchy, and so were most of the states. German Empire_sentence_377

Prussia was the largest of the constituent states, covering two-thirds of the empire's territory. German Empire_sentence_378

Several of these states had gained sovereignty following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and had been de facto sovereign from the mid-1600s onward. German Empire_sentence_379

Others were created as sovereign states after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. German Empire_sentence_380

Territories were not necessarily contiguous—many existed in several parts, as a result of historical acquisitions, or, in several cases, divisions of the ruling families. German Empire_sentence_381

Some of the initially existing states, in particular Hanover, were abolished and annexed by Prussia as a result of the war of 1866. German Empire_sentence_382

Each component of the German Empire sent representatives to the Federal Council (Bundesrat) and, via single-member districts, the Imperial Diet (Reichstag). German Empire_sentence_383

Relations between the Imperial centre and the Empire's components were somewhat fluid and were developed on an ongoing basis. German Empire_sentence_384

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 in the inheritance crisis of the Lippe-Detmold. German Empire_sentence_385

Unusually for a federation and/or a nation-state, the German states maintained limited autonomy over foreign affairs and continued to exchange ambassadors and other diplomats (both with each other and directly with foreign nations) for the Empire's entire existence. German Empire_sentence_386

Shortly after the Empire was proclaimed, Bismarck implemented a convention in which his sovereign would only send and receive envoys to and from other German states as the King of Prussia, while envoys from Berlin sent to foreign nations always received credentials from the monarch in his capacity as German Emperor. German Empire_sentence_387

In this way, the Prussian foreign ministry was largely tasked with managing relations with the other German states while the Imperial foreign ministry managed Germany's external relations. German Empire_sentence_388

Map and table German Empire_section_35

Other maps German Empire_section_36

German Empire_unordered_list_1

  • German Empire_item_1_2
  • German Empire_item_1_3
  • German Empire_item_1_4
  • German Empire_item_1_5

Language German Empire_section_37

About 92% of the population spoke German as their first language. German Empire_sentence_389

The only minority language with a significant number of speakers (5.4%) was Polish (a figure that rises to over 6% when including the related Kashubian and Masurian languages). German Empire_sentence_390

The non-German Germanic languages (0.5%), like Danish, Dutch and Frisian, were located in the north and northwest of the empire, near the borders with Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. German Empire_sentence_391

Low German was spoken throughout northern Germany and, though linguistically as distinct from High German (Hochdeutsch) as from Dutch and English, is considered "German", hence also its name. German Empire_sentence_392

Danish and Frisian were spoken predominantly in the north of the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein and Dutch in the western border areas of Prussia (Hanover, Westphalia, and the Rhine Province). German Empire_sentence_393

Polish and other Slavic languages (6.28%) were spoken chiefly in the east. German Empire_sentence_394

A few (0.5%) spoke French, the vast majority of these in the Reichsland Elsass-Lothringen where francophones formed 11.6% of the total population. German Empire_sentence_395

1900 census results German Empire_section_38

German Empire_table_general_1

Native languages of the citizens of the German Empire (1 December 1900)German Empire_table_caption_1
LanguageGerman Empire_header_cell_1_0_0 CountGerman Empire_header_cell_1_0_1 PercentageGerman Empire_header_cell_1_0_2
GermanGerman Empire_cell_1_1_0 51,883,131German Empire_cell_1_1_1 92.05German Empire_cell_1_1_2
German and a foreign languageGerman Empire_cell_1_2_0 252,918German Empire_cell_1_2_1 0.45German Empire_cell_1_2_2
PolishGerman Empire_cell_1_3_0 3,086,489German Empire_cell_1_3_1 5.48German Empire_cell_1_3_2
FrenchGerman Empire_cell_1_4_0 211,679German Empire_cell_1_4_1 0.38German Empire_cell_1_4_2
MasurianGerman Empire_cell_1_5_0 142,049German Empire_cell_1_5_1 0.25German Empire_cell_1_5_2
DanishGerman Empire_cell_1_6_0 141,061German Empire_cell_1_6_1 0.25German Empire_cell_1_6_2
LithuanianGerman Empire_cell_1_7_0 106,305German Empire_cell_1_7_1 0.19German Empire_cell_1_7_2
KashubianGerman Empire_cell_1_8_0 100,213German Empire_cell_1_8_1 0.18German Empire_cell_1_8_2
Wendish (Sorbian)German Empire_cell_1_9_0 93,032German Empire_cell_1_9_1 0.16German Empire_cell_1_9_2
DutchGerman Empire_cell_1_10_0 80,361German Empire_cell_1_10_1 0.14German Empire_cell_1_10_2
ItalianGerman Empire_cell_1_11_0 65,930German Empire_cell_1_11_1 0.12German Empire_cell_1_11_2
Moravian (Czech)German Empire_cell_1_12_0 64,382German Empire_cell_1_12_1 0.11German Empire_cell_1_12_2
CzechGerman Empire_cell_1_13_0 43,016German Empire_cell_1_13_1 0.08German Empire_cell_1_13_2
FrisianGerman Empire_cell_1_14_0 20,677German Empire_cell_1_14_1 0.04German Empire_cell_1_14_2
EnglishGerman Empire_cell_1_15_0 20,217German Empire_cell_1_15_1 0.04German Empire_cell_1_15_2
RussianGerman Empire_cell_1_16_0 9,617German Empire_cell_1_16_1 0.02German Empire_cell_1_16_2
SwedishGerman Empire_cell_1_17_0 8,998German Empire_cell_1_17_1 0.02German Empire_cell_1_17_2
HungarianGerman Empire_cell_1_18_0 8,158German Empire_cell_1_18_1 0.01German Empire_cell_1_18_2
SpanishGerman Empire_cell_1_19_0 2,059German Empire_cell_1_19_1 0.00German Empire_cell_1_19_2
PortugueseGerman Empire_cell_1_20_0 479German Empire_cell_1_20_1 0.00German Empire_cell_1_20_2
Other foreign languagesGerman Empire_cell_1_21_0 14,535German Empire_cell_1_21_1 0.03German Empire_cell_1_21_2
Imperial citizensGerman Empire_cell_1_22_0 56,367,187German Empire_cell_1_22_1 100German Empire_cell_1_22_2

Linguistic maps German Empire_section_39

German Empire_unordered_list_2

  • German Empire_item_2_6
  • German Empire_item_2_7
  • German Empire_item_2_8
  • German Empire_item_2_9
  • German Empire_item_2_10
  • German Empire_item_2_11
  • German Empire_item_2_12
  • German Empire_item_2_13
  • German Empire_item_2_14
  • German Empire_item_2_15
  • German Empire_item_2_16
  • German Empire_item_2_17
  • German Empire_item_2_18

Religion German Empire_section_40

Generally, religious demographics of the early modern period hardly changed. German Empire_sentence_396

Still, there were almost entirely Catholic areas (Lower and Upper Bavaria, northern Westphalia, Upper Silesia, etc.) and almost entirely Protestant areas (Schleswig-Holstein, Pomerania, Saxony, etc.). German Empire_sentence_397

Confessional prejudices, especially towards mixed marriages, were still common. German Empire_sentence_398

Bit by bit, through internal migration, religious blending was more and more common. German Empire_sentence_399

In eastern territories, confession was almost uniquely perceived to be connected to one's ethnicity and the equation "Protestant = German, Catholic = Polish" was held to be valid. German Empire_sentence_400

In areas affected by immigration in the Ruhr area and Westphalia, as well as in some large cities, religious landscape changed substantially. German Empire_sentence_401

This was especially true in largely Catholic areas of Westphalia, which changed through Protestant immigration from the eastern provinces. German Empire_sentence_402

Politically, the confessional division of Germany had considerable consequences. German Empire_sentence_403

In Catholic areas, the Centre Party had a big electorate. German Empire_sentence_404

On the other hand, Social Democrats and Free Trade Unions usually received hardly any votes in the Catholic areas of the Ruhr. German Empire_sentence_405

This began to change with the secularization arising in the last decades of the German Empire. German Empire_sentence_406

German Empire_table_general_2

Religious confessions in the German Empire 1880German Empire_table_caption_2
AreaGerman Empire_header_cell_2_0_0 ProtestantGerman Empire_header_cell_2_0_1 CatholicGerman Empire_header_cell_2_0_3 Other ChristianGerman Empire_header_cell_2_0_5 JewishGerman Empire_header_cell_2_0_7 OtherGerman Empire_header_cell_2_0_9
NumberGerman Empire_header_cell_2_1_0 %German Empire_header_cell_2_1_1 NumberGerman Empire_header_cell_2_1_2 %German Empire_header_cell_2_1_3 NumberGerman Empire_header_cell_2_1_4 %German Empire_header_cell_2_1_5 NumberGerman Empire_header_cell_2_1_6 %German Empire_header_cell_2_1_7 NumberGerman Empire_header_cell_2_1_8 %German Empire_header_cell_2_1_9
PrussiaGerman Empire_cell_2_2_0 17,633,279German Empire_cell_2_2_1 64,64German Empire_cell_2_2_2 9,206,283German Empire_cell_2_2_3 33,75German Empire_cell_2_2_4 52,225German Empire_cell_2_2_5 0,19German Empire_cell_2_2_6 363,790German Empire_cell_2_2_7 1,33German Empire_cell_2_2_8 23,534German Empire_cell_2_2_9 0,09German Empire_cell_2_2_10
BavariaGerman Empire_cell_2_3_0 1,477,952German Empire_cell_2_3_1 27,97German Empire_cell_2_3_2 3,748,253German Empire_cell_2_3_3 70,93German Empire_cell_2_3_4 5,017German Empire_cell_2_3_5 0,09German Empire_cell_2_3_6 53,526German Empire_cell_2_3_7 1,01German Empire_cell_2_3_8 30German Empire_cell_2_3_9 0,00German Empire_cell_2_3_10
SaxonyGerman Empire_cell_2_4_0 2,886,806German Empire_cell_2_4_1 97,11German Empire_cell_2_4_2 74,333German Empire_cell_2_4_3 2,50German Empire_cell_2_4_4 4,809German Empire_cell_2_4_5 0,16German Empire_cell_2_4_6 6,518German Empire_cell_2_4_7 0,22German Empire_cell_2_4_8 339German Empire_cell_2_4_9 0,01German Empire_cell_2_4_10
WürttembergGerman Empire_cell_2_5_0 1,364,580German Empire_cell_2_5_1 69,23German Empire_cell_2_5_2 590,290German Empire_cell_2_5_3 29,95German Empire_cell_2_5_4 2,817German Empire_cell_2_5_5 0,14German Empire_cell_2_5_6 13,331German Empire_cell_2_5_7 0,68German Empire_cell_2_5_8 100German Empire_cell_2_5_9 0,01German Empire_cell_2_5_10
BadenGerman Empire_cell_2_6_0 547,461German Empire_cell_2_6_1 34,86German Empire_cell_2_6_2 993,109German Empire_cell_2_6_3 63,25German Empire_cell_2_6_4 2,280German Empire_cell_2_6_5 0,15German Empire_cell_2_6_6 27,278German Empire_cell_2_6_7 1,74German Empire_cell_2_6_8 126German Empire_cell_2_6_9 0,01German Empire_cell_2_6_10
Alsace-LotharingiaGerman Empire_cell_2_7_0 305,315German Empire_cell_2_7_1 19,49German Empire_cell_2_7_2 1,218,513German Empire_cell_2_7_3 77,78German Empire_cell_2_7_4 3,053German Empire_cell_2_7_5 0,19German Empire_cell_2_7_6 39,278German Empire_cell_2_7_7 2,51German Empire_cell_2_7_8 511German Empire_cell_2_7_9 0,03German Empire_cell_2_7_10
German EmpireGerman Empire_cell_2_8_0 28,331,152German Empire_cell_2_8_1 62,63German Empire_cell_2_8_2 16,232,651German Empire_cell_2_8_3 35,89German Empire_cell_2_8_4 78,031German Empire_cell_2_8_5 0,17German Empire_cell_2_8_6 561,612German Empire_cell_2_8_7 1,24German Empire_cell_2_8_8 30,615German Empire_cell_2_8_9 0,07German Empire_cell_2_8_10

In Germany's overseas colonial empire, millions of subjects practiced various indigenous religions in addition to Christianity. German Empire_sentence_407

Over two million Muslims also lived under German colonial rule, primarily in German East Africa. German Empire_sentence_408

German Empire_unordered_list_3

  • German Empire_item_3_19
  • German Empire_item_3_20
  • German Empire_item_3_21

Coat of arms German Empire_section_41

Legacy German Empire_section_42

The defeat and aftermath of the First World War and the penalties imposed by the Treaty of Versailles shaped the positive memory of the Empire, especially among Germans who distrusted and despised the Weimar Republic. German Empire_sentence_409

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. German Empire_sentence_410

Under Bismarck, a united German state had finally been achieved, but it remained a Prussian-dominated state and did not include German Austria as Pan-German nationalists had desired. German Empire_sentence_411

The influence of Prussian militarism, the Empire's colonial efforts and its vigorous, competitive industrial prowess all gained it the dislike and envy of other nations. German Empire_sentence_412

The German Empire enacted a number of progressive reforms, such as Europe's first social welfare system and freedom of press. German Empire_sentence_413

There was also a modern system for electing the federal parliament, the Reichstag, in which every adult man had one vote. German Empire_sentence_414

This enabled the Socialists and the Catholic Centre Party to play considerable roles in the empire's political life despite the continued hostility of Prussian aristocrats. German Empire_sentence_415

The era of the German Empire is well remembered in Germany as one of great cultural and intellectual vigour. German Empire_sentence_416

Thomas Mann published his novel Buddenbrooks in 1901. German Empire_sentence_417

Theodor Mommsen received the Nobel prize for literature a year later for his Roman history. German Empire_sentence_418

Painters like the groups Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke made a significant contribution to modern art. German Empire_sentence_419

The AEG turbine factory in Berlin by Peter Behrens from 1909 was a milestone in classic modern architecture and an outstanding example of emerging functionalism. German Empire_sentence_420

The social, economic, and scientific successes of this Gründerzeit, or founding epoch, have sometimes led the Wilhelmine era to be regarded as a golden age. German Empire_sentence_421

In the field of economics, the "Kaiserzeit" laid the foundation of Germany's status as one of the world's leading economic powers. German Empire_sentence_422

The iron and coal industries of the Ruhr, the Saar and Upper Silesia especially contributed to that process. German Empire_sentence_423

The first motorcar was built by Karl Benz in 1886. German Empire_sentence_424

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. German Empire_sentence_425

More than 5 million people left Germany for the United States during the 19th century. German Empire_sentence_426

Sonderweg German Empire_section_43

Main article: Sonderweg German Empire_sentence_427

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. German Empire_sentence_428

According to the historiography by Kocka (1988), the process of nation-building from above had very grievous long-term implications. German Empire_sentence_429

In terms of parliamentary democracy, Parliament was kept weak, the parties were fragmented, and there was a high level of mutual distrust. German Empire_sentence_430

The Nazis built on the illiberal, anti-pluralist elements of Weimar's political culture. German Empire_sentence_431

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. German Empire_sentence_432

They played an especially negative role in the crisis of 1930–1933. German Empire_sentence_433

Bismarck's emphasis on military force amplified the voice of the officer corps, which combined advanced modernisation of military technology with reactionary politics. German Empire_sentence_434

The rising upper-middle class elites, in the business, financial and professional worlds, tended to accept the values of the old traditional elites. German Empire_sentence_435

The German Empire was for Hans-Ulrich Wehler a strange mixture of highly successful capitalist industrialisation and socio-economic modernisation on the one hand, and of surviving pre-industrial institutions, power relations and traditional cultures on the other. German Empire_sentence_436

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. German Empire_sentence_437

For these reasons Fritz Fischer and his students emphasised Germany's primary guilt for causing the First World War. German Empire_sentence_438

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 modernisation took place, but political modernisation did not happen and the old Prussian rural elite remained in firm control of the army, diplomacy and the civil service. German Empire_sentence_439

Traditional, aristocratic, premodern society battled an emerging capitalist, bourgeois, modernising society. German Empire_sentence_440

Recognising the importance of modernising 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). German Empire_sentence_441

The catastrophic German politics between 1914 and 1945 are interpreted in terms of a delayed modernisation of its political structures. German Empire_sentence_442

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. German Empire_sentence_443

Wehler's examination of Nazi rule is shaped by his concept of "charismatic domination", which focuses heavily on Hitler. German Empire_sentence_444

The historiographical concept of a German Sonderweg has had a turbulent history. German Empire_sentence_445

19th century scholars who emphasised a separate German path to modernity saw it as a positive factor that differentiated Germany from the "western path" typified by Great Britain. German Empire_sentence_446

They 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. German Empire_sentence_447

In the 1950s, historians in West Germany argued that the Sonderweg led Germany to the disaster of 1933–1945. German Empire_sentence_448

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. German Empire_sentence_449

The Sonderweg paradigm has provided the impetus for at least three strands of research in German historiography: the "long 19th century", the history of the bourgeoisie, and comparisons with the West. German Empire_sentence_450

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. German Empire_sentence_451

While some historians have abandoned the Sonderweg thesis, they have not provided a generally accepted alternative interpretation. German Empire_sentence_452

Military German Empire_section_44

The Empire of Germany had 2 militaries; the: German Empire_sentence_453

German Empire_unordered_list_4

Territorial legacy German Empire_section_45

In addition to present-day Germany, large parts of what comprised the German Empire now belong to several other modern European countries. German Empire_sentence_454

German Empire_table_general_3

When lost from GermanyGerman Empire_header_cell_3_0_0 NameGerman Empire_header_cell_3_0_1 CountryGerman Empire_header_cell_3_0_2 RegionGerman Empire_header_cell_3_0_3
Both World WarsGerman Empire_cell_3_1_0 Alsace-LorraineGerman Empire_header_cell_3_1_1 FranceGerman Empire_cell_3_1_2 The departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin (both within Alsace region) and Moselle (northeastern part of the Lorraine region)German Empire_cell_3_1_3
Both World WarsGerman Empire_cell_3_2_0 Eupen-MalmedyGerman Empire_header_cell_3_2_1 BelgiumGerman Empire_cell_3_2_2 The two towns of Eupen and Malmedy and the municipalities of Amel, Büllingen, Burg-Reuland, Bütgenbach, Kelmis, Lontzen, Raeren, Waimes and St. Vith (all are parts of the province of Liège in Wallonia region on the Belgian–German border)German Empire_cell_3_2_3
World War IIGerman Empire_cell_3_3_0 WylerbergGerman Empire_header_cell_3_3_1 NetherlandsGerman Empire_cell_3_3_2 Duivelsberg (German: Wylerberg), an uninhabited hill and some nearby slivers of land, annexed by the Netherlands after WWIIGerman Empire_cell_3_3_3
World War IGerman Empire_cell_3_4_0 Northern SchleswigGerman Empire_header_cell_3_4_1 DenmarkGerman Empire_cell_3_4_2 South Jutland County (excluding towns of Taps, Hejle and Vejstrup), and the towns of Hviding, Roager and SpandetGerman Empire_cell_3_4_3
Both World WarsGerman Empire_cell_3_5_0 Hultschin RegionGerman Empire_header_cell_3_5_1 Czech RepublicGerman Empire_cell_3_5_2 Hlučín Region, on the Czech–Polish border in Silesia, whose German population was partially deported following WWII; part of Czechoslovakia until its dissolution in 1992German Empire_cell_3_5_3
Both World WarsGerman Empire_cell_3_6_0 Memel TerritoryGerman Empire_header_cell_3_6_1 LithuaniaGerman Empire_cell_3_6_2 Klaipėda Region, transferred to Soviet Lithuania and from which Germans were deported following WWII; continued as a part of Lithuania following the collapse of the Soviet UnionGerman Empire_cell_3_6_3
Both World WarsGerman Empire_cell_3_7_0 Most of West Prussia and Posen, a part of Upper Silesia, parts of the districts of Bütow, Lauenburg and Stolp in Pomerania, Soldau in East PrussiaGerman Empire_header_cell_3_7_1 PolandGerman Empire_cell_3_7_2 Silesian, Pomeranian and Greater Poland Voivodeships, the towns of Bytów, Lębork, Słupsk and Działdowo (the German population was deported following WWII)German Empire_cell_3_7_3
World War IIGerman Empire_cell_3_8_0 Silesia, East Brandenburg, Warmia, Masuria, southern East Prussia, central and eastern parts of PomeraniaGerman Empire_header_cell_3_8_1 PolandGerman Empire_cell_3_8_2 Northern and western parts of the country, including Pomerania, Silesia, Lubusz Land, Warmia and Masuria, from all of which Germans were deported following WWIIGerman Empire_cell_3_8_3
World War IIGerman Empire_cell_3_9_0 Northern East PrussiaGerman Empire_header_cell_3_9_1 RussiaGerman Empire_cell_3_9_2 The Kaliningrad Oblast exclave on the Baltic, from which Germans were deported following WWII. Transferred to the Russian SFSR and continued as a part of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet UnionGerman Empire_cell_3_9_3

See also German Empire_section_46

German Empire_unordered_list_5

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Empire.