The Seeds of Evil: The Rise of Hitler

The Seeds of Evil: Germany 1919 - 1933.

German Society during the Second Reich

German politics had been dominated by the middle classes and the aristocracy in the Second Reich. Whilst there was Universal Suffrage for men aged above 25 the real political power was very firmly in the hands of the nobility. Economic prosperity and growth led to increased urbanisation within Germany, 60% of the populace lived in towns and cities by 1910. This led to the emergence of a stronger socialist movement during the latter stages of the 19th century, though this was controlled initially by Bismarck via the introduction of welfare legislation and later through anti-socialist legislation. Much of Germany could be considered to have a military tradition at this time. The Military was of great importance to the Second Reich throughout its inception and was much loved by many of those with political power, particularly the Prussian aristocracy. Generally speaking, the Second Reich was therefore a conservative society, as illustrated by these electoral results:

Party 1887 1890 1893 1898 1903 1907 1912
German conservatives 80 73 72 56 54 60 43
Free conservatives 41 20 28 23 21 24 14
National Liberals 99 42 53 46 51 54 45
Centre 98 106 96 102 100 105 91
Left Liberals 32 76 48 49 36 49 42
Social Democrats 11 35 44 56 81 43 110
Minorities 33 38 35 34 32 29 33
Right Wing Splinter Parties 3 7 21 31 22 33 19
Total 397 397 397 397 397 397 397
Source: European History for AS Level, Edited by Steve Lancaster, Causeway Press.
The Second Reich
The Founding of the Weimar Republic
The Impact of War
The Treaty of Versailles
Germany 1919 - 1923
Germany - Economic Recovery
The Early days of the Nazi Party 1919 - 1924
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Text © Schoolshistory.org.uk

Unit last updated 4th June 2004

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