The 2nd Reich was governed by the personal rule of the Kaiser. How far do you agree with this statement?
During the period of the second Reich, the Kaiser managed to keep a huge amount of power within it. With the ability to dismiss the chancellor and the Reichstag, it can be seen that the Kaiser could manipulate the governing powers until they became a united power which had the same views as him. However, it can be argued that this power that the Kaiser had could not be used freely, as he was limited by how popular he was with both the population and the army. It was this constraint of popularity which meant that the Kaiser had to control what he did in order to keep both the army and the people on his side, meaning that he didn’t have absolute personal rule. With the ability to dissolve the Reichstag or dismiss the Chancellor at his leisure, it can be seen that the Kaiser holds a lot of power within the Reich. This meant that if any of the ministers within the Reich went against what the Kaiser believed or if the chancellor himself went again the Kaiser, he could simply dismiss the chancellor or dismiss the Reich and remove the opposition all together. This type of personal rule is shown within the daily telegraph affair in which a telegraph showing the Kaiser’s negative views for Britain was sent ahead and caused outrages within Britain. The consequences of this event was that the Kaiser blamed the chancellor for letting the telegraph go ahead without checking to make sure what message was conveyed within it. Ultimately, the Kaiser decided to dismiss the Chancellor (Bulow) and when the Reich had the opportunity to challenge the Kaiser over this dismissal, they did not take it up and this showed just how much control the Kaiser had over the second Reich. This control was shown once again through the Zabern affair, in which soldiers of the German army caused serious outrage when they attacked a disabled man in public and when the population thought that they...
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