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Lecture notes (week 3) - Imperial Germany

Lecture 2

Power Point Bismarckian Politics Lecture 

Bismarckian Germany (1862-1890)

1861-1888 King Wilhelm I of Prussia (becomes German Kaiser in 1871)

1861 Foundation of the German Progressive Party (left-liberal)

23 Sept. 1862 Bismarck becomes Prussian Minister President

1862-1866 Prussian constitutional conflict over army finance

1863 Foundation of the General German Workers' Union

16 Aug. 1863 Frankfurt Princes' Diet

1 Feb.-1 Aug.1864 2nd Prusso-Danish War (Prussia avenges humiliation of 1848)

30 Oct. 1864 Peace of Vienna

14 Aug. 1865 Gastein Convention on dual administration of Schleswig-Holstein by Prussia & Austria

15 June-26 July1866 Austro-Prussian War manufactured by Bismarck

3 July 1866 Battle of Königgrätz (Sadowa) - Prussia defeats Austria

23 Aug. 1866 Peace of Prague (dissolution of the German Confederation)

3 Sept. 1866 Acceptance of the Indemnity Bill in the Prussian Diet solves ‘constitutional conflict’

20 Sept. 1866 Prussia annexes Hannover, Kurhessen, Nassau, Frankfurt a.M.

1867 Foundation of the National Liberal Party (right-liberal)

1867 Austro-Hungarian Settlement (henceforth Austro-Hungarian Empire)

17 Apr. 1867 Constitution of the North German Confederation

1869 Foundation of the Social Democratic Workers' Party

1870 Foundation of the Centre Party (Catholic)

13 July 1870 Ems Telegram used by Bismarck to create a crisis with France

19 July 1870-

26 Feb. 1871 Franco-Prussian War (in fact includes an alliance of the south German states)

2 Sept. 1870 Battle of Sedan - Prussia inflicts serious defeat on France (anniversary a holiday)

18 Jan. 1871 Wilhelm I proclaimed Kaiser of Germany at Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors

16 Apr. 1871 Constitution of the German Reich

10 May 1871 Peace of Frankfurt with France

July 1871 Kulturkampf (‘cultural conflict’) begins persecution of Catholics

Mar. 1872 School Supervision Law (church control removed in Prussia)

1873 State reserves right to veto appointments of clergy

1875 Civil marriages introduced at registry offices

1878 Death of Pope Pius IX and relaxation of Kulturkampf

1873 Economic crash (lasts until approximately 1896 across Europe)

1875 Foundation of the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany

13 June-13 July

1878 Berlin Congress with Bismarck as Europe's `honest broker'

21 Oct. 1878 Socialist Law which bans Socialist Party for next 12 years

1878 Expulsion of Liberals from civil service

1879 Germany raises import tariffs and abandons free trade

7 Oct. 1879 Dual Alliance between Germany and Austria

18 June 1881 Three Emperors' Agreement (Germany-Austria-Russia)

20 May 1882 Triple Alliance (Germany-Austria-Russia)

1883 Sickness Insurance Law (beginning of the welfare state)

1884 Accident Insurance Law

1884-85 Colonies in Africa & South Pacific

18 June 1887 Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia

9 Mar.-15 June

1888 Kaiser Friedrich interregnum (a potential liberal who dies of throat cancer within months)

1888-1918 Kaiser Wilhelm II - a young man determined to become a ‘people’s Kaiser’

1889 Old Age and Invalidity Insurance Law

20 Mar. 1890 Dismissal of Bismarck by Kaiser Wilhelm


Wilhelmine Germany (1890-1918)

27 Mar. 1890 Non-renewal of the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia

1890/1891 Workers' Protection Law (Wilhelm II wishes to be seen as a ‘people’s Kaiser’)

1890-1894 Reich Chancellor Leo von Caprivi

1891 Foundation of the Pan-German League (name from 1894)

21 Oct. 1891 Erfurt Programme of the SPD (accepting a Marxist platform)

17 Aug. 1892 Franco-Russian military convention

1894-1900 Reich Chancellor Chlodwig Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst

3 Jan. 1896 Wilhelm II's Krüger dispatch upsets the British in South Africa

1897 Kiao-chu a German colony

1898 Foundation of the German Navy League

1898-1900 Navy Laws to start battleship-building programme

18 May-29 July

1900 1st Peace Conference at the Hague

1 Jan. 1900 Civil Code comes into force

1900-1909 Reich Chancellor Bernhard Fürst von Bülow

27 July 1900 Wilhelm II's ‘Hun Speech’/Boxer Uprising

8 Apr. 1904 Anglo-French Entente Cordiale

31 Mar. 1905 Visit by Wilhelm II in Tangier during 1st Morocco Crisis upsets French

15 June-18 Oct.

1907 2nd Peace Conference at the Hague

31 Aug. 1907 Anglo-Russian settlement

1908 Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

28 Oct. 1908 Daily Telegraph Affair

1909-1917 Reich Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg

1 July 1911 Cruiser Panther docks at Agadir during 2nd Morocco Crisis

12 Jan. 1912 SPD becomes strongest party in Reichstag

8-11 Feb 1912 Haldane's mission in Berlin fails to stop Anglo-German naval arms race

1912/1913 Balkan Wars

28 June 1914 Assassination of Arch-Duke Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo

23 July 1914 Austrian ultimatum to Serbia

1/3 Aug. 1914 German declaration of war on Russia and France

23-31 Aug 1914 Battle of Tannenberg in East Prussia (Germany checks Russia)

6-9 Sept. 1914 Battle of the Marne (France checks Germany)

7 May 1915 Sinking of the `Lusitania'

21 Feb.-Dec.

1916 Battle of Verdun

29 Aug. 1916 Supreme Army Command takes control of Reich

1 Feb. 1917 Unlimited U-Boat warfare waged by Germany

6 Apr. 1917 USA enters war after the sinking of the Lusitania by German U-boat

19 July 1917 Reichstag peace resolution

7 Nov. 1917 Outbreak of October Revolution in Russia

8 Jan. 1918 President Wilson's 14 Points

3 Mar. 1918 Peace of Brest-Litovsk when Germany annexes western Russia

21 Mar. 1918 Beginning of the German spring offensive on western front

3/4 Oct. 1918 Prince Max of Baden Reich Chancellor; German armistice offer

26 Oct. 1918 October constitution; dismissal of Ludendorff

29 Oct. 1918 Beginning of the sailors' revolt at Wilhelmshaven

9 Nov. 1918 Abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II; declaration of a republic

11 Nov. 1918 Armistice