Second Reich Essay

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‘There is only one man in charge of the Reich and I will not tolerate another’ –Kaiser Wilhelm II How far do you agree with this view of who governed Germany in the years 1900-1914? In May 1891 Kaiser Wilhelm II stated: “There is only one man in charge of the Reich and I will not tolerate another”. Wilhelm felt strongest when surrounded by members of the military, and it was to them he turned for advice. Wilhelm had both positive and negative opinions around him being the most powerful influence in governing Germany during the Second Reich. Some points that were in favour of him being the most powerful figure are that he could dissolve the Reichstag and that he had great constitutional power, another is that he could choose chancellors, I third positive point was that he had a very good and charismatic personality. A few negative points are that Chancellors were becoming more independent than what the Kaiser had wanted, ‘the daily telegraph affair, a third negative point is that the people of Germany were becoming more powerful, including the Reichstag. A point in favour of Kaiser Wilhelm II having the power of the German government is that he could dissolve the Reichstag and that had a lot of constitutional power, as he was the guardian of the constitution. Wilhelm boasted that he never read the constitution, even though he was the guardian, he was a very intelligent man. While the driving force of day-to-day politics in Germany was in the hands of the Chancellor, the constitution gave the Kaiser many powers. Any decrees relating to the military only needed his signature and not the Chancellor’s. So if a bill passed the Reichstag that was military in nature, it became law if Wilhelm signed it even if the Chancellor of the day disapproved of it. Wilhelm had the constitutional power to sack his chancellor and he was not obligated by the constitution to consult his
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