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HIST2086 Bismarck: The Iron Chancellor Bismarck’s economic and social policies, 1878-90 Lecture 16 9 November 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "HIST2086 Bismarck: The Iron Chancellor Bismarck’s economic and social policies, 1878-90 Lecture 16 9 November 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 HIST2086 Bismarck: The Iron Chancellor Bismarck’s economic and social policies, Lecture 16 9 November 2010

2 Economy, (1) ‘Founder years’ (Gründerjahre) after unification, : Rapid expansion of industry, commerce, great banks → 1,018 new firms founded Further heating up by F’s war reparations of 5,000 million gold francs Economic crisis, 1873: Criticism of free trade, UK competition, cheap US grain imports → Rising demands for protective laws

3 Economy, (2) = Transition to protective tariffs supported by Bismarck to obtain financial means for Reich without Reichstag consent = Forging of alliance of heavy industry & large land-owning interests vs. commerce, shipping & consumer interests

4 Negative Integration Target groups: 1)Catholics + Centre Party → Kulturkampf 2)Poles / Danes / Alsatians → Language discrimination 3)Socialists + SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) → ‘Anti-Socialist Law’, 1878

5 Early Working-class Political Parties in Europe Initially clandestine, conspiratorial, illegal cells - later mass political parties Chartism: Mass meetings & petitions for political & social reform ► UK General German Workers’ Union, 1863 → German Social Democratic Party (SPD), 1875/90 ► Model party for North EU, NL, B, I, East EU

6 Socialist Party 1869 Social Democratic Workers’ Party: Marxist 1875 Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Reformist + Revolutionary Aimed … To change existing order To employ legal means in political struggle To nationalise banks, industry, To fight for social equality = Growing support of industrial workers until 1914

7 Anti-Socialist Bill (1) 1878 Assassination attempts on William I: → Bismarck reaction … predicted ‘red anarchy’ blamed National Liberals for not supporting anti-socialist bill dissolved Reichstag for new election: Huge losses for SPD + National Liberals = Anti-socialist bill passed (Oct 1878)

8 Anti-Socialist Bill (2) SPD organisations, trade unions, meetings, publications banned 1,500 SPD members imprisoned + many emigrated But: SPD parliamentary party still legal = Underground activity of SPD organisations = Election campaigns & parliamentary work continued = Strengthened SPD in its political beliefs ► Unsuccessful policy of Bismarck !

9 State Socialism (1) Welfare measures = State socialism Reasons: Bismarck’s Christianity / morality Paternalist tradition in Prussia / Germany: State regarded as responsible for well-being of citizens Bismarck’s hope to win workers’ support vs. growing support for SPD

10 State Socialism (2) Bills: Sickness Insurance Act, 1883 Accident Insurance Act, 1884 Old Age and Disability Act, 1889

11 State Socialism (3) Benefits modest, no state subsidies No interference in employers’ rights (‘Masters in their own house’) No substitute for real political rights No weakening of SPD + Left Liberals Not successful for winning working class But: Germany most advanced in social legislation worldwide (a model)


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