To what extent was Germany a parliamentary democracy in the years 1900-1914?

I'm writing an essay with this title, and I can argue against germany being a parliamentary democracy, but I'm struggling with reasons why it could be argued that it was.I know that the fact that males over 25 could vote was good, and also von Bulow's attempts at political reforms, but I'm confused at what else could be said?Any answers greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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4 Answers to “To what extent was Germany a parliamentary democracy in the years 1900-1914?”

  1. Lepidurus says:

    I’m not sure how you can get an essay out of this subject because the simple answer is that Germany wasn’t a parliamentary democracy in any shape or form. Under the Kaiser, Germany was an autocracy, a political system governed by a single person, himself. I am not sure how long you have before you put your essay in, but if you have the time, I would strongly recommend that you try and get your hands on a copy of – Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power by Christopher Clark. Everything you need to know about the years in Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm leading up to the war, and even beyond, is in this book.This is what you are looking for – [external link] …Sorry I can’t be any more helpful then this.

  2. initvar says:

    A bit about Kaiser William the second:Third Kaiser after the unification of the germanic kingdoms in 1871. Bismarck his chancellor and architect of the Germanic unification, came on collision course with William after the Social Democrats in 1890 won the majority vote. Bismarck a noted anti socialist, immediately advise the kaiser to instigate Et Coup D’e'tat, This the Kaiser categorically refused to do, saying to Bismach: that he would not have his reign, splattered in blood. After which he strongly advised Bismarck to tender in resignation, this Bismarck did, but under strong protest. But protest as he would, the Kaiser was set-firm on relieving him of his post. Bismarck would never again be given a post in government. So it can be assumed that the Kaiser was a firm believer and protector of the democratic process.I hope this helps in understanding the attitudes and moods of the political environment of those days.Edit: This is an interesting question as it verges on the coming of a more democratic frame of mind within Europa. Parliamentary disciplines were established in more that one country. Lots of information here [external link] … [external link] … [external link] … [external link] …

  3. Mahdist says:

    I agree with you that Germany wasn’t a democracy. You could argue that it had some of the features of a democracy- the Reichstag, political parties, a Constitution and fairly widespread voting (for men)- but actually the kaiser had alot of power to rule personally and sack his ministers (who exercised power delegated by the Kaiser), to declare war and conduct foreign policy. Whereas the powers of the Reichstag were quite limited.(They had no formal right to appoint or get rid of a government)- they could pass legislation with the consent of the Bundesrat (council of heads of german states- ie aristocrats)The army were not under democratic control at all (and the aristocracy were in charge of the army)I can’t think of anything else, hope this helps a bit.

  4. musar says:

    Germany since 1871 was a constitutional monarchy similar to the British Empire. The Reichstag was the elected Parliament, the legislative. The Emperor or in German “Kaiser” was the head of the state but had no legislative power. He was representing the Reich in matters of international law. The government was appointed and/or dismissed by the Kaiser and was not directly chosen by voters. That however is the case in not one single state of the world. Nobody votes for the “Minister of Defence” or single Secretaries of State. The government was obliged to follow strictly the law. The Kaiser normally appointed a chancellor as head of the government who then built his government. That chancellor preferrably came out of the Reichstag’s party having the majority. Without the support of the Reichstag ruling was impossible for any government. The Reichstag was able to block any government simply by releasing laws. The “Bundesrat”was the convention of the nobles, similar to the British “House of Lords”. It only had to be involved in law making when the new law specificly was aimed to one of the “Laender”. That construction was a perfect division of power. It failed in the so called Weimar Repblic when on initiative of Pres. Wilson the Kaiser was replaced by a President. The Republic was impossible to be ruled because one chancellor after the other was appointed and a few weeks later dismissed. For this reason and because of the civil war the President ruled on emergency decrees, not requiring the confirmation of the Reichstag. When the row was on the next one to become a 10-days-successles chancellor of a minority government and this next one was Adolf Hitler a few days after his appointment the President died. Suddenly Hitler was chancellor and President in one, ruling by emergency decrees over a powerless Parliament, disabled by his predecessor as President. To make the chancellor become President in case of the original President being “unavailable”of course was meant for a limited time only. Hitler had his own interpretation of “temporarily”however. The rest was strictly according the Weimar constitution.With the one from 1871 this would have been impossible, Hitler never could have become “Kaiser”, even not temporarily. Voting age was 25. Who cares. What is better in voting at the age of 16? Women had no right to vote. That came in 1919 (France: 1944, parts of Switzerland: 2008).