The extent to which Germany can be regarded as a parliamentary democracy In the years 1900 to 1914 is an enquiry under much debate, the fact that all men over twenty five could vote towards a selection of different party that represented the people no matter their class or color shows an obvious willingness to democracy however aspects such as the nature of the constitution, the constitution was created in 1871 by Chancellor Bismarck a leader who was effectively the ruler of Germany molding the constitution around him.
He formed a constitution that heavily relied n his character and a relatively dormant Kaiser which in 1900 was far from the case. The Reichstag itself was a base of democracy, to pass laws there had to be a two thirds majority in favor of it, If necessary the Reichstag could veto a law If it disagreed showing that the voice of the public was heard, the Reichstag was also In control of how national budget was spent which was significant as in times of economic struggle money could be diverted from less domestic elements such as military expenditure and Instead for Infrastructure.
The people also enjoyed a society f free voting and free press this can be represented with the Lundeberg scandal in 1 907 where by a close advisor to the Kaiser was exposed after alleged homosexual affair to which one Maximize Harden printed a shocking story about also after the anti-socialist laws lapsed there was no sign of oppression by higher authority as they became a more prominent party in the 1912 election. The chancellor’s power could also be greatly boosted with the support of the Reichstag, Blows block of the 1907 election allowed the apparent threat of socialism to be extinguished however the
Reichstag also had underline elements that could be considered as undemocratic for example party In the Reichstag had very narrow views, the army league had very little opinion on domestic affairs that didn’t involve their military interests this caused a fragmented parliament, these pressure groups rarely came to a clear decision resulting In the largest or most Kaiser pleasing party (centre party) getting there way suggesting these predominantly rich right wing party often had a large biased effect on legislation and budget, this advantage to the right wing can be seen again n the Below block, a large socialist party was pushed out of the Reichstag which would not seem as overly democratic furthermore without the social democrats much working class pollen Is diluted which can only suggest much decision favored the upper class and mentalities. In the case of 1913 and the Saber affair the Reichstag power was undermined after a vote of no confidence in Below went seemingly unpunished and unnoticed.
In practice laws devised by the Kaiser would follow a system by which the proposal would reach government, the Reichstag (people) and mom cases the Bundestag in order to filter what could be an unfair decree however representatives in government were appointed not elected non surprisingly by the Kaiser and the Chancellor, the chancellor himself could have conflicting opinion with Wilhelm II yet that was unlikely as evidently the this Kaiser would not tolerate a chancellor who took credit away from him and be more of a agreeable character to say the least. Bismarck lack of autocratic vision saw him removed within a year more 1 OFF so rater Below Deigns to make nana way In gallon Adventurously In ten Reluctant ten
Daily telegraph affair provided sufficient to make the chancellor disappear therefore any decisions made by the Kaiser did not follow usual democratic procedure and may not have to be in the interests of the people. The Kaisers influence did not stop there, on the surface the Bundestag with representatives from every state in Germany could be a force not to be ignored however Prussia dominated the Bundestag capable of 17 votes when only 1 5 were needed to reach an agreement consequently Prussia referred to as the army with a state’ had control, the reason for his name is because the army were based in Prussia a quite powerful political force close to Wilhelm II which had no fixed role within the constitution.
In 1912 along with Naval figures the Army staff exclusively attended the war council where by the decisions of these few counted significantly setting a deadline for war and it the whole constitution was effectively by-passed, the Kaiser himself was more interested in the lavish social perks of being monarch setting sail away from Berlin taking part in military maneuvers, it’s fair to say his nature in itself was undemocratic and given rowers to dissolve the Reichstag as an when it suited. The unseen and overwhelming influence the Kaiser and the Army possess can be seen clearly in the events of the Saber affair, armed forces dealt with Alsatians (French citizens of an annexed area) brutally after Lieutenant Von Forester caused a revolt after insulting them, forces locked up twenty eight citizens and beat a disabled cobbler into submission.
The army clearly had infringed civil liberties and claimed they were responsible only to the Kaiser after protest reached far beyond Saber. In my opinion the fact the Kaiser supported the army subsequently and Bateman-Hollows kept his job after a vote of no confidence proves the Kaiser ultimately controlled policy. In conclusion it is my view that Germany was not a parliamentary democracy only taking aspects such as voting and political bodies (upper and lower houses) to blind the public when the Kaiser and the army were merely controlling Germany in an autocratic fashion distorting key legislation however working within the framework of the ‘democratic constitution’.