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University of Toronto Scarborough
Neville Panthaki

1. Hereditary foes and uncertain allies at heart of Europes conflict was mutual fear of hereditary foes, France and Germany, around which, other countries lined up on one side or the other, every local regional conflict that might have been settled as before by limited war, threatening to engulf the whole of Europe, until it finally did so imperial Germany symbolised successcreated in 3 victorious wars, it had replaced France as first military power in Europe; Prussian spirit was seen to be matched by astonishing progress in other directions; in all branches of education and scientific discovery, German Empire stood second to non; secret of its success seemed to lie in Prussian genius for organisation and in orderliness and self-discipline of its hard-working people by turn of century Germany had become predominantly industrial nation with large cities rd once far behind Britain in coal production, by 1914 Germany had almost closed the gap and, after the US and Britain, was 3 power in world coal, iron, and steel produced in ever larger quantities, provided for Germanys leap forward, challenging Britains role as Europes leader between 1871 and 1914 the value of Germanys agricultural output doubled, the value of its industrial production quadrupled and its overseas trade more than tripled, which aroused anxieties among its neighbours, but there was also cooperation and a recognition that the progress of one European nation would, in fact, enrich the others Germany was catching up with Britain, pioneer of industrial revolution, but Britain and Germany were also important trading partners unlike Britain, German Empire was transformed in relatively short time from well-ordered, mainly rural country to modern industrial nation in contrast with its industrial progress, pace of Germanys political development was slow, deliberately retarded by its ruling men Otto von Bismarckaware of dangers facing recently unified country at home and abroad and juggled opposing forces and contradictions with manipulative brilliance but ultimately without success; internal unification was successful; Prussia was by far most powerful of all 25 states (chancellor of Germany was usually also PM of Prussia); English system of representative government was abhorrence to Bismarck; appointed by emperor, not dependent on Reichstag; first a free trader, than a protectionist; persecuted Catholic Church and its political Centre party, then made his peace with them; tried to destroy Social Democratic party, but failed; with accession of Wilhelm II to emperor strains of Bismarcks system began to show and by 1912 Social Democratic Party won majority in Reichstag Social Democratic Partydenounced as revolutionary, its members as enemies of the state; extraordinary and unwarranted attack on party operating fully within law; defeat of social democracy was main purpose of Conservatives and men surrounding the Kaiser, who could not conceive of including Social Democrats within fabric of political state; more understandable while Social Democratic Party was indeed Marxist and revolutionary, but as 20dvanced, great majority of party members in 1913, led by pragmatic Friedrich Ebert, had become democratic socialists working for gradual reform one consequence of narrow outlook of Conservatives was that they would never consent to constitutional change that would have made chancellor and his ministers responsible to Reichstag as government in Britain was to Parliament, meaning that Conservatives had to leave power, in theory at least, ultimately in the hands of the Kaiser Kaiser Wilhelm IIdid not have strength to lead Germany in right direction; intelligent man of warm and generous impulse at times; highly emotional and unpredictable; felt unsure of his fitness for his divine calling and posed and play-acted; did not act unconstitutionally, leaving control of policy to his ministers and military men; occasionally played decisive role; manipulated by others usually, his vanity making him easy victim of such tactics; wanted to be known as peoples Kaiser and Kaiser of peace, also as emperor during whose reign German Empire became equal of worlds greatest powers; contradictory aims mirrored a personality whose principal traits were not in harmony with each other Social Democrats, Progressives and Centre, who had won majority in 1912 elections, demanded constitutional monarchy responsible to Reichstag in 1888, at time of accession of Wilhelm II, Germany appeared not only secure but on threshold of new expansion of power, world power contrast of mood and expectations between then and 1914 could not have been greater Bismarck spoke of his recurring nightmare of coalitions, meaning that Germanys neighbours would combine, surround, and threaten Germany dangers stemmed from fatal error he had made in his primitive treatment of defeated France, which was forced to pay a war indemnity and a large slice of territory, the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine reason is that Bismarck believed that a genuine reconciliation with France, hereditary enemy, was impossible and at heart of his diplomacy lay need to keep France weak and to isolate it, which succeeded but with increasing difficulty and contradictions Bismarcks genius was to bind nations in rivalry together in a web of alliances at the pivot of which lay Germany, while isolating France, but this construction was beginning to come apart at the seams just before and after Bismarcks dismissal from office in 1890, Germany did not renew the Reinsurance Alliance that had bound Germany and Russia, making Russia isolated creating the conditions for France and Russia to come together in a military pact 4 years later Germany added to its problems by being blinded by a vision of Weltpolitik, worldwide power Germany foreign policy swung from apprehension at growing menace of French-Russian alliance with vision of Russian army of millions marching into East Prussia while French massed in West, to bold strokes making its weight felt when it came to sharing out remaining dishes of imperialist dinner st in 1913, needs of army became 1ity; bill passed by Reichstag increased the fairly static standing army by calling up additional 136 000 conscripts this measure was designed to bring the peacetime strength of the army to nearly 800 000 men by the autumn of 1914 prefectsstates representatives and administrators in each of the 90 geographical departments into which France was divided; appointed, and could be transferred or dismissed, by Ministry of Interior; dealt directly with each ministry and on whole kept aloof from politics; hand-picked administrators who carried out decrees of state; had his own administration which could be appealed against only by putting the case to the Council of State in Paris; deliberately did not grow local roots but represented, in theory at least, an impersonal www.notesolution.com
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