History Essay Second Reich

564 Words3 Pages
How successful were successive German Chancellors in protecting the position of the Second Reich's ruling elite? Germany's ruling elite were made up primarily of Prussians, land owning aristocrats or high ranking military leaders. It also consisted of leading industrialists and the judiciary. However, their position as the ruling elite was under threat. Although the industrial revolution had a huge positive impact on German economy, it also lead to a rise in socialism which meant the emergence of pressure groups, such as the Nationalist pressure groups and the Economic pressure groups. These groups were often focused on single issues, but they highlighted the tensions and divisions in Germany. Foreign minister and Chancellor Von Bulow played a key part in protecting the position of the Second Reich's ruling elite. He focussed on an aggressive foreign policy to appease the Conservatives, the National liberals and various other pressure groups. Furthermore, the role of Sammlungspolitik was essential in building an alliance of conservative interests against the threat of socialism/communism. It was Von Bulow's aim to build an alliance of conservative interest in the Reich, between conservatives and liberals, Junker and industrialists, which would present a broad front against the threat. He did this by creating a policy of protectionism and rallying Germans from all sections of society through the following of a nationalist foreign and colonial policy. This was known as Weltpolitik, which means world politics. This included the building up of the armed forces, focusing on the development of Flottenpolitik, the building of a navy to rival that of Britain. This began in 1898, when Von Tirpitz steered his first Navy Law through the Reichstag. Supporters of the law were able to argue that a larger fleet was necessary for the protection of Germany's growing number of
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