Does the Kaiser have personal rule in Germany?
Kaiser Wilhelm II had personal rule to an extent, however most historians generally believe that in fact, he did not. Wilhelm had an enormous influence over the chancellor’s he chose. Mainly because he believed that they would do as he told and abide by what he said. This control over his chancellor’s allowed him to set the agenda and manipulate them into doing exactly what he wanted. In 1892, Caprivi proposed legislation that would restore some of the church’s privileges over education, effectively reversing an important aspect of the Kulturkampf. However, Wilhelm had no intention of relying on the Centre Party to pass the bill therefore forced the withdrawal of the proposed legislation. The fact Wilhelm had such control over his chancellor’s shows that he had personal rule to an extent as he could basically propose what policies he wanted. If they failed in doing so, they could be easily replaced. The constitution gave Wilhelm the right to conduct foreign policy and personally deal with military affairs. By controlling foreign policy, the Kaiser had the right to declare and conclude war, make treaties and form alliances. This essentially, ensured that the Kaiser always had 50% of rule. Wilhelm, having a passion for militarism used this to his advantage and in the process used his chancellor’s as well. The Zabern affair in 1913 defined the divide between the Kaiser and the Reichstag. The immediate cause of the clash occurred when German soldiers insulted national feelings of the people of Alsace. In response to repressive measures taken by the military authorities against the angry citizens of Zabern, protest demonstrations were held in Alsace. Regardless of a national outcry against militarism, Wilhelm condoned the action. The Reichstag was furious but Hollweg refused to side with them and supported the Kaiser and the military. This shows that the Kaiser did have personal rule as he controlled his chancellor...
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