‘Moderate Reform Caused the Balance of Power to Remain Unchanged’. How Far Do You Agree with This Judgement?

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‘Moderate reform caused the balance of power to remain unchanged’. How far do you agree with this judgement? During the years 1900-1914 the Kaiser faced many potential threats to the extent of his power. These ranged from demands for social reform, from the SPD, to the demands for constitutional change, from the liberals, to demands for more power, from the Centre Party and finally to demands for a more aggressive foreign policy. Despite these threats ultimate power remained in the hands of the Kaiser in 1914. Some would argue that this retention of power was a result of the moderate reform put in place in order to placate the parties in the government enough that they would not challenge the status quo. It cannot be denied that a small amount of moderate reform played a small role, there is evidence to suggest that other factors played a larger, more important role. The sense of nationalism and patriotism that gripped the country at the time as well as the disunity of the political parties meant that there was never any real threat to the Kaiser and his autocratic rule. Moderate reform played a small part in keeping power in the hands of the Kaiser but its limited scope together with the lack of any real success show that it may have been other factors that kept power in the hands of the Kaiser. This is clearly shown in the lack of substance inherent in Bulow’s and Hollweg’s reforms to placate the socialists together with the failure of Hollweg’s reforms to reform the constitution. On the surface it would appear that Bulow’s reforms to solve the socialist threat show that it was actually reform that maintained power in the hands of the Kaiser, these include the laws to extend accident insurance, to give longer and more generous hours to workers in poor health and those to reduce the amount of factory work. In actual fact, the introduction of a tariff law in
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