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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler

WILHELMINE GERMANY 1890-1918

Once Bismarck had been dismissed by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890, Germany's Foreign Policy took a distinct turn to what, in the end, became the policy of Weltpolitik, that is world politics; the attempt to transform Germany into a World Power. In 1897 the German Foreign Minister, Von Bulow, talked of Germany gaining its 'place in the sun'. It would end in the loss of its former colonies, much resisted by Bismarck, and military defeat in a world war.


At home, however, Germany was advancing in this period as an industrial, economic, socially innovative, and artistic powerhouse. Yet it was a schizophrenic country; because politically Wilhelm II and his Ministers wished for greater autocracy and the containment of democracy. Arguably this period marks the start of Germany's political roller coaster, which only ends with German Unification in1990.


This specific period of German history, Wilhelmine Germany, came to a disastrous end in the winter of 1918. The Kaiser abdicated, Germany itself was in economic and political crisis, all played out against a background of food shortages.


You might well ask, 'Bismarck where are you at this hour?', and receive no answer.

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