After the foundation of the German Reich in 1871 German patriotism waned. The economical crisisThe Panic of 1873 was a financial crisis that triggered a depression in Europe and North America that lasted from 1873 until 1879 in 1873 initiated a change in the high spirits concerning the German unity. This was especially reflected in the so called “KulturkampfThe policy of Kulturkampf reduced the role and power of the Roman Catholic Church in Prussia from 1871 to 1878” in which Bismarck converted political oppositions into enemies of the Empire to consolidate his power.
Catholicism and the Centre PartyThe German Centre Party was a lay Catholic political party in the German Empire representing it were the first victims of Bismarck’s politics; he slandered them as enemies of the Empire. In this relation he was supported by the Liberals as they plead for the segregation of churches and state. As measures Bismarck introduced civil marriage and prohibited the clerical administration of schools1.
Change of course in 1878
As the growth of the German economy receded slightly in the 1870s Bismarck put economical processes under strict state control. Moreover he abolished free trade and introduced protectionism, thus averting himself from the National Liberal Party in 1878 and introducing a change as national liberals where henceforth considered national enemies. The labour movement had gained a considerable increase in votes over the previous years. In addition to that two attempted assassination on Wilhelm I.Wilhelm I. was the first German Emperor from 18 January 1871 to 9 March 1888 led to the dissolution of the Reichstag and the introduction of new elections in which the centre party and the conservatives were the strongest parties. Furthermore Bismarck aimed to politically isolate the social democrats by imposing the Anti-Socialist LawsThe Anti-Socialist Laws were passed on October 19, 1878 by the German Reichstag. The laws' main proponent was Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who feared the outbreak of a socialist revolution. However the following years showed that they managed to gain an increasing number of votes and would later on play an important role in politics2.
Within the German empire the military obtained a special prestige in society due to the victory in the German-French war. The noblesse possessed social power over their peasants as ensured by the concept of large scale land-holding. For superior officials social descent and political sympathies played an important part while the bourgeoisie was and important pillar of economic processes.
Emperor Wilhelm the second
The new emperor, Wilhelm II.Wilhelm II. was the German Emperor from 1888 to 1918 introduced a new era in the German empire when ascending to the throne in 1888 as he wanted to reach more decisions by himself and leave less influence to the Reich Chancellor. The dismissal of Bismarck in 1890 was Wilhelm’s first step to a new domestical order.
Through increasing industrialisation the German empire developed into an imperial major power3.