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Unformatted text preview: GERMANY Lecture: Monday, October 8 Outline: German History Music: Jan Delay Mercedes-Dance Road to Statehood o Emphasis on common cultural and ethnic traits o Industrial Revolution and economic development Important role in necessitating political roles o German (Prussian) militarism o Path toward natl unity under Prussian leadership Prussian Minister-President Otto von Bismarck forges conservative- reactionary coalition between old aristocracy and new-money industrialists 1871: Unified German State o 1860s: Blood and I ron 3 bloody conflicts precede statehood, as Prussia defeats: Denmark Austria-Hungary France o King of Prussia = Kaiser (Emperor) of united Germany o But: Bismarck still calls the shots Kaiserreich (1871-1918) o Rise of labor movement and SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) Political and social force o But: power remains in hands of traditional conservative forces o Rapid industrialization o Quest of Empire (our place in the sun) Tried to catch up w/ other colonial powers Established overseas trading Felt it needed to prove itself in the world Other countries became intimidated o Ultimately: Germany triggers WWI WWI o Costs Germany. Hundreds of thousands of lives Its few colonial possessions that it had Its imperial social and political order o With the end of WWI, Germany ceased to be a monarchy o When the Kaiser abdicates, it leaves Germany w/o a head of govt or a head of state Weimar Republic (1918-1933) GERMANY o Social Democratic party (SPD) fills the political vacuum Took over and t ried to run the affairs in Germany o But, while large, the SPD was politically inexperienced o In 1918, the new leadership proclaims Germanys 1 st democratic govt o However; perceived by many as having been born out of a shameful defeat; lacked legitimacy in the eyes of many o Constitution drafted in city of Weimar, hence the name o Procedural democracy, regular democratic elections, democratically legitimate govts o Multiple parties in the German parliament, functions as many European counterparts o Nonetheless, political system not in order o 5 Key weaknesses: 1 st , almost pure PR (proportional representation) leads to fragmented political landscape w/ small fringe parties represented in parliament 2 nd , far right and far left parties do not accept legitimacy of democratic government, active attempts at undermining it 3 rd , old elites are never held responsible for their actions, and even strengthened 4 th , outcome of war fuels nationalist sentiment; Versailles Treaty and stab-in-the-back legend provide legitimacy to anti-democratic sentiment Myth that forces argued that Germany would have won WWI but the new democratic system stabbed Germany in the back Severe economic crises, especially hyperinflation Germany never really took off in terms of economic recovery Value of dollar dropped...
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- Spring '08
- Comparative Politics