Edward Raymond Turner.

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twice as many people. The results were both good and
bad. This increase made Germany more powerful and
it also made her richer, since it constantly gave her a


Growth of






Belief that
more terri-
tory was

Contest with
the Church

larger number of workingmen who labored and produced
goods and wealth. The country seemed well able to
support them. Once there had been a large emigration of
Germans to other places, but this had altogether come to
an end, and almost all her people now found employment
within their owti country. None the less, it was increas-
ingly apparent that so large a number, as was the case
with England, could not be fed from the Fatherland's
agricultural resources, and that they could be maintained
only so long as Germany made goods which she was able
to sell abroad. As time went on this was becoming more
difficult, and it would be harder and harder as the number
of people increased. England had in her empire vast
quantities of raw materials, and in her colonies a great
market also. With Germany this was not the case. Hence,
as will be seen, there was increasing belief that she must
have more territory to accommodate her enlarging popula-
tion, that she required colonies, and ought to have her
own sources of supply of raw materials. And in the
minds of some there gradually developed the feeling that
it was very wrong for Germany not to have what they
thought she ought to possess, that she had been deprived
of chance to obtain them by the wickedness of rivals,
and that it was most proper for Germany to take from
them whatever she wanted whenever she could.

The first of the great domestic problems which con-
fronted the new Empire was a struggle with the Catholics
under its jurisdiction. The Reformation had made
Germany Protestant, but the Counter-Reformation won
many of the people back to the older faith, and a little
later the result of the Thirty Years War left the German
people partly in Protestant and partly in Catholic states.
After 1648 there was little trouble about religion, since
with respect to religion the different states went their own
way, unhampered by the weak government of the Holy
Roman Empire which bound them together so loosely.



But the Empire foimded in 1S71 bound firmly together
Protestant north Germuny and the (Jatholics of the Rhine
and the south, and brought them all under a strong
central power. It is said that Bismarck wished to assert
the supremacy' of the State's power over the Church, and
desired an occasion to do this. The occasion was ready at
hand. In 1870 the Vatican Council affirmed the doctrine
that the pope, speaking ex cathedra, or in his capacity of
pontiff, was infallible, not able to err. Tliis doctrine, so
counter to many of the tendencies of the time, was not
assented to by the German bishops at the Council, and,
indeed, they withdrew from the Council. But, as is us-
ually the case in the strongly organized Catholic Churcli,
the dissenters soon adopted that which their Church had
received, though some German Catholics, including the
celebrated theologian. Doctor Dollinger, refused to ac-
cede. Declining merely the new doctrine, they held, as
they said, to the old doctrines of the Catholic faith; and
so they were known as Old Catholics. Dollinger and his
associates were excommunicated; they were attacked by
the orthodox Catholic clergy, deprived of positions, and
denied participation in the rites of the Church. They
appealed to the government for protection and at this
point Bismarck intervened. It seemed to him and to
others that the doctrine of Papal Infallibility implied
superiority of the Church over the State, and he desired
to assert the supremacy of the State. Accordingly, a
religious conflict began, famous then and since as the Kul-
iurkampf (struggle for civilization). Strong measures
were taken: religious orders were forbidden to teach, and
Jesuits were expelled from Germany. Then in the Falk
Laws, passed in Prussia, 1873-5, the State was given
control over the education and appointment of clergy, and
some control over the dismissal of priests; a law was
passed making civil marriage compulsory; and all religious
orders were suppressed.

The new
Empire and
the Roman

The Kultur-




The Center



A bitter conflict ensued. Catholics protested; the
pope declared the laws of no effect; the clergy refused
to obey them and were supported by the strict Catholics
in their congregations. Those who disobeyed were
punished by fine and imprisonment, and the most re-
calcitrant were expelled from the country. Soon many
bishoprics were vacant; everywhere churches were closed
and religious services suspended; and presently there
was the trouble and disturbance of life that had used
to follow conflict between Church and State in the Middle
Ages. In medieval times the Church had usually been
the victor, but after the rise of national feeling in states
this had generally not been the case. Now, however,
the contest was bitter and prolonged. "We shall not go
to Canossa," said Bismarck, recalling the old-time humilia-
tion of the Emperor Henry IV by Pope Gregory VII. But
Bismarck could not win complete triumph. Under per-
secution the Catholics rallied and strengthened their
resistance. Already in 1871 a Catholic Party had been
organized, and, as the Party of the Center, had become
an important factor in the Reichstag. Now it became
the largest group in that body. By 1878 it was evident
that the policy of sternness was accomplishing little. Bis-
marck had antagonized one of the most conservative
elements in the Empire, and now he needed the assistance
of conservatives against what seemed to him the rising
tide of socialist and radical agitation. Accordingly, most
of the anti-clerical laws were repealed, though civil mar-
riage and state regulation of schools were retained. By
1887 the conflict was at an end, the Catholic Party aban-
doned opposition and gave Bismarck the support which
he needed for a policy which it approved. The State
had asserted its supremacy, but found it wise not to make
much use of its power. After that time the Center Party,
the strongest and most solid in the Empire, remained on
guard, ever watchful of its own peculiar interests.



The conflift lo which Bismarck and ricnnan conserva-
tives now turned was with socialism wliicli had hileiy heen
making rapid progress. SociaHsm had })een widely
taught in Germany before the Empire was made, and the
socialists elected two members to the first Reichstag which
was chosen. Thereafter it grew steadily in importance,
attracting more and more attention as the years passed,
because of teachings which most people regarded as
harmful and wild. Socialists and their leaders were
considered not only dangerous but unpatriotic. These
were the first glorious years of the new Empire, when the
hearts of Germans were aglow with patriotism and with
pride at what the Fatherland had wrought. Liebknecht
and Bebel and others had not only opposed the founding
of the North German Confederation but also of the Em-
pire, the war with France, and the taking of Alsace-
Lorraine. They cared not for military glory and greatness
of dominion but for the rise and betterment of men and
women. They had no admiration for Bismarck or Moltke
and not much for the emperor and his court. As these
radicals got to be better knowTi they became more hated
and feared. Especially the governing and conservative
classes dreaded the undoing of the great work which had
just been accomplished. The emperor looked upon
socialists as enemies of himself, and Bismarck longed for
a chance to repress them completely. It was largely for
this reason, because he regarded socialists as more dan-
gerous than clericals, that he brought the Kulturkampf
to an end. The opportunity for action, which he sought,
came in 1878, when in swift succession two attempts to
assassinate William were made by socialist adherents.
Socialists denounced these deeds and disclaimed all re-
sponsibility for them; but there was a great wave of
indignation and anger, and it seemed that the time was
at hand for crushing socialism in Germany completely.

New elections were held, and a Reichstag was returned

Socialism in
the German

feared and




of the social-

State social-

ready to proceed to extremities. Bismarck now entered
upon another campaign of persecution and repression
like that against the Cathohcs, from which he was just
drawing back. In 1878 a drastic law forbade all publica-
tions, all gatherings, all associations having "socialistic
tendencies." Martial law might be used, so that the
government could easily get rid of socialists after remov-
ing from them the protection of the civil courts. This
legislation was temporary, but it was reenacted and re-
mained in force until 1890. During that time it was
sternly applied, a great number of socialist publications
were stopped, and a great many socialists imprisoned or
expelled from the country. But again this whole policy
of repression was a failure. Under persecution, leaders
and their disciples became bolder and more active; and
their doctrines, brought to the attention of more people
because of the very measures taken against them, won
many new converts. The Socialist Party in this time
of degradation became greater than ever before; by 1890
it had gro\\Ti to be thrice as large as in the year when the
persecution began. It was now so clear that the policy
of persecution was a failure that the repressive measures
were dropped. In this again Bismarck had partly failed.
But he was largely successful when he employed another
method against them. He himself became one of the
foremost leaders in social reform in Europe, and undertook
to have the State do all of what he thought best in that
which the socialists were striving to bring about. In effect
he went further than any modern statesman had gone in
reviving state regulation of economic and industrial con-
ditions, so customary in Europe some centuries before.
Thus he established "state socialism" and so left the
socialists with less to fight for. He and the emperor
strongly believed that the best interests of the State lay
in advancing the welfare of the working class, and that
the State should interest itself more than previously in



assisting such of its citizens as needed help. "Give the
workingman the right to employment," said Bismarck,
"assure him care when he is sick, and maintenance when
he is old." If the workers understood that the govern-
ment was interested in their welfare they would cease to
go after socialist leaders. The measures which Bismarck
proposed encountered almost as much opposition as, thirty
years later, the social reforms of Lloyd George in Eng-

Conservatives were alarmed at such innovations, and
socialists denounced them as not touching the root of the
evils which they promised to cure. Graduall3% however,
the programme was carried through. In 1883 a Sickness
Insurance Law was passed, the employer to pay a part
and the employee a larger part of the premiums necessary
to establish the fund. In 1884 and 1885 Accident In-
surance Laws were passed, the employer to insure all his
employees entirely at his o%mi expense. In 1889 came an
Old Age Insurance Law, the premiums to be paid by the
employers, the employees, and the State.

This legislation was revolutionary in the nineteenth
century. It was afterward widely studied, and was
being more and more followed before the Great War
temporarily put an end to social amendment. There can
be no doubt that in Germany it had great success. Not
that the Socialist Party disappeared in consequence. After
1890 that party constantly increased the number of its
adherents, and after 1898 was much the largest party in
the Empire. By that time it had dra\\Ti to itself most of
the artisans and toilers in the cities, and had it not been
for the old and unequal apportionment of representatives,
the socialists would have had a still greater number of
members in the Reichstag. Nevertheless, there can be no
doubt that by 1914 a great many Germans regarded them-
selves as better taken care of by their government than
any other people in the world; and it is probably true

on State
and assist-

and people
in the Ger-
man Empire



Care of the
people by
the gov-

Slow prog-
ress of
in the Em-

that nowhere else had the State been so successful in
getting rid of the \A'orst forms of misery and distress
There were many poor people in Germany, toiling for
scanty wages and working for very long hours, but no-
where in the Empire such fearful poverty and physical
deterioration as visitors could see in the slums of the
English cities, or in the worst quarters of cities in the
United States. The German Government was guar-
anteeing a certain minimum to its people, to make them
content, and providing that the State might not be weak-
ened by losing their services. All this contributed, more-
over, to the centralization of the powers of the government
and the greater supremacy of the State.

As time went on it was not only the socialists who de-
manded change. With a great many people there was
increasing desire that the government should be altered
so as to make it more democratic and bring it more largely
into the hands of representatives of the people. Usually,
in other states, the progress of industrialism, which caused
large numbers of people to come together in manufactur-
ing centers, and the spread of education, which made the
masses of the people more capable of self-government
at the same time that they were more interested in govern-
ing themselves, had brought about larger participatior
by the people in their government and constantly in
creasing desire to have larger share. So it had been for
a long time in England and in France, in the Scandinavian
countries, in Belgium and Holland, and there had long
been persistent efforts made by a few people in Russia.
But in Germany, where one of the widest and most effec-
tive systems of education had prevailed throughout the
nineteenth century, and where for fifty years there had
been unceasing drift of people from the farms to the cities,
the rise of democracy had been slow, and democracy al-
ways seemed to make very scant headway before the dis-
asters of the years of the Great War.


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Scale of Miles
20 40 60 80






Grand Duchies




M eck len burg-Strelitz

















Free Cities









This was partly because of the old associations and tradi-
tions of the German people. In England self-government
and democracy grew up slowly and i)ainfully during a
long course of time. They were inherited })y the English
colonists of America and there developed under more
favorable conditions. In France they were violently
established at the time of the French Rev^olution, and then
after repeated failures subsequent to that time they were
gradually established among the French people. Ger-
mans, too, had sought these things and tried to bring them
about; but for a great while they were confronted with the
more pressing problem of unification, which England and
France had long ago achieved, before they began to
develop self-government and democratic institutions.
When finally German unity was effected, it was brought
about under the leadership of Prussia, whose rulers and
people had always been far less influenced by democratic
tendencies than the people of Bavaria or Baden. The
ideas of Bismarck and the conservatives predominated
in making the constitution of the German Empire, and
their ideas continued potent in its governance. To some
it seemed a pity that the unification of Germany could
not have been accomplished by the liberal and peaceful
Germans instead of through conquest and force. In
1870 Emile Ollivier, French premier, who strove so hard
to avert war with Prussia, urged his coimtrymen not to
oppose "the natural movement of Germany unity."
"If," he said, "we allow it to complete itself quietly by
successive stages, it will not give supremacy to the bar-
barous and sophistical Germany, it will assure it to the
Germany of intellect and culture. War, on the other
hand, would establish, during a time impossible to cal-
culate, the domination of the Germany of the Junkers
and the pedants." So it was. The greatness of Ger-
many's success strengthened the conservatives who had
brought it about, and disarmed their opponents. And


The Empire
by the con-
and the mili-



The estab-
lished sys-
tem deemed
and good

The govern-
ment resists

as it had seemed necessary to many that the miity and
prosperity of Germany should be achieved through force,
so afterward it seemed to them that Germany, sur-
rounded as she was by older powers and, perhaps, by
enemies, could only keep her position by being strong
and ever on guard. All through Bismarck's period, there-
fore, the central government, which gave Germany success
and prosperity, but allowed itself to be affected little by
the mass of the people, retained its power and its hold
on the affection of most of the people. As conditions
altered and a larger number desired some change, it was
always possible for the ruling class to divert their attention
or thwart their wishes. So long as the immense prosperity
and expansion of the German Empire continued, there
were not a great many who would oppose the rulers; and
generally the prosperity continued.

Moreover, many believed that even though Bismarck's
work was thoroughly established, old dangers lasted on
for other reasons. Germany of the twentieth century
had mighty ambitions, which were constantly taught to
her people. These ambitions alarmed other European
powers, and in the years 1904-7 a combination of France,
Russia, and England was effected. To the inhabitants of
these countries this agreement seemed necessary because
of probable danger from the German Empire; but German
leaders easily persuaded the people that neighboring
powers had combined to encircle and crush the Father-
land, which could be saved only if the army remained
powerful and the government strong. These arguments
were ridiculed by socialists, and they became less effective
in time. It was partly because of the increasing demand
for more democratic control that the Social-Democratic
Party increased so greatly. In 1912 it received more than
4,000,000 votes, getting its support not only from social-
ists but from liberals who did not greatly favor socialist
doctrines. Nevertheless, nothing was really accom-



plished. State socialism, which made Germany a leader
in social reform, strengthened the central government as
it was, much more than it assisted the tendency toward
democratic reform. "This must be done by the State
and not by the people," said William II in 1894. For all
these reasons the movement to make ministers responsible
to the Reichstag, though urgently sought for on several
occasions, always came to nothing. The demand that
representation be re-apportioned in accordance with
changes of population went unheeded year after year.
The antiquated Prussian Constitution continued to keep
power and privilege for the few. In the midst of the
Great War — when the government, failing in its design of
getting a grand victory quickly, was compelled to seek
the utmost assistance from its people in a long and ex-
hausting contest — the beginning of reform was made at
last, and promise was given that after the war something
more would be done. But all this came too late; for
presently Germany went down in defeat, and the old sys-
tem was then swept away completely. Whether the old
system was better suited to the Germans, whether they
really desire to establish a democracy, can only be kno^Ti
in the future.

It was the same with militarism and the army. By
war, it seemed, Prussia had risen, and the army had been
the foundation of the Empire. Furthermore, Prussian
universal military service had created a national army
in which most of the young men had some part. For these
reasons the army was cherished and generally held high
In esteem. And it was so entrenched in the organization
of the State that it seemed to have impregnable position.
Its officers and leaders, drawn mostly from the aristocratic
class, constituted a military caste, and on occasion as-
sumed such privileges that they seemed to be above the
law. From time to time officers treated civilians with
violence or with the utmost contempt, and it was always

The Kaiser,

not the
in control




The Zabern

of subject

difficult in such instances to get any redress from the
courts. A notorious instance, known abroad better than
any of the others, was the Zabern Affair. In 1913 a certain
Lieutenant von Forstner at Zabern in Alsace spoke con-
temptuously of the citizens there, and declared that in-
stead of punishing a soldier who had stabbed an Alsatian,
he would have given him a reward for his trouble. The
townsmen, already weary of the conduct of the soldiers,
showed their dislike, and presently the lieutenant in his
wrath struck a lame cobbler on the forehead with his
sword. Against such militarism public sentiment in Ger-
many was aroused and the matter went to the Reichs-
tag, where it was bitterly condemned. Von Forstner was
tried by court martial, but no punishment followed.
There were mass meetings in Germany to protest, and
much feeling was aroused; but that year the government
was teaching the people that great danger threatened the
country, especially from the Russians, and the German
army was increased to greater size than ever before.

Essentially autocratic rule associated with militarism
caused the treatment accorded to the alien subjects in the
Empire. The English-speaking peoples had grown great
partly by attracting others to themselves, and such as-
similation as there was came largely from generous tolera-
tion. French Canadians were never troubled about their
religion or their language, and the Boers within the British
Empire kept all the rights they had fought to defend.
Even in Ireland, where England's greatest failure had
been, Irishmen were never coerced into abandoning the
Gaelic language, though in the course of time most of them
of their own accord adopted English. But in countries
like Russia and Germany, of the regime before the Great
War, it seemed to the rulers all-important that all their
subjects should be respectively Russian or German.
Accordingly, in Russia the Poles and the Finns were
subjected to grievous persecution. In the German Em-



pire Frenchmen of Alsace-Lorraine, Danes in Schleswig,
and the Poles of Posen, were treated as inferiors and sub-
jected to discriminations in the hope of making tliem
thoroughly German.

When in 1871 Alsace-Lorraine was annexed to the
Empire the inluibitants, though most of them were more
German than French by race, were strongly attached to

Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerEurope since 1870 → online text (page 14 of 49)