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Kaiser Wilhelm II -||- Wilhelm's Chancellors -||- Admiral von Tirpitz and the Naval Race -||- Alliance with Austria-Hungary -||- Relations with Europe -||- Internal Discontent and new Social Orders -||- Industry and Economy -||- The Schlieffin Plan -||- World War I

~~~~~-To Imperial Germany-~~~~~

The German Empire

The first German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck is credited for creating the first German Empire.  His advice to his Kaiser unified the different German States, and his constitution made Prussia their head.  This was perhaps one of his mistakes as particularism (loyalty to one's state) tended to disunite the Empire at times.  It also created some conflicts abroad.  

Foreign policy with France suffered the most, as the Germans seized the mineral rich French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.  These would later be combined to be Alsace-Lorraine under Germany.  In addition, Germany demanded that France pay a compensation of 200,000,000.  These actions ensured French alliance with any enemy of Germany.  A quote that explains French feelings of this time was by Victor Hugo who said "France will have one thought: to reconstitute her forces, gather her energy, nourish her sacred anger, raiser her generation to form an army of the whole people, to work without cease, to study the methods and skills of our enemies, to become again a great France, the France of 1792, the France of an idea with a sword.  Then one day she will be irresistible.  Then she will take back Alsace-Lorraine."

Another empire that suffered from German unification was Austria.  It lost valuable lands and had to accept that it would not play a major controlling role in German politics.  Instead, Austria-Hungary would become Germany's 'only halfway reliable ally', and would drag the new Empire into their Serbian conflict.  Due to this, Austria-Hungary has been blamed by some as the main cause of the first World War.

The other powers had mixed feelings about Germany's sudden rise.  Some were overjoyed, such as the Englishman Thomas Carlye, who said "That noble, patient, deep, pious and solid Germany should be at length welded into a nation and become Queen of the continent instead of vapouring, vainglorious, gesticulating, quarrelsome and over-sensitive France, seems to me the hopefullest public fact that has occurred in my time."
This opinion however, was not reflective of all Britain.  Many were wary of the new shifts in power and started to make (what they considered) appropriate changes to their policies.

The Russian Empire was also wary of their new neighbor.  They desired Poland (as Germany did) and was busy enough with their own domestic problems.  However, when Tsar Nicolas II came to rule, the personal friendship (if not the politics) between he and the Kaiser increased.  This was simply because Wilhelm had convinced his cousin Alixandra to marry Nicolas.

The new spirit and strength of Germany inspired Italy to unite once and for all.  The German defeat of France took away the troops who guarded the Pope at Rome.  This enabled Rome to be taken as the capital of new Italy, and also led to internal conflicts between politics and religion.  Italy would start to fight to be a world power, living on dreams of the Roman Empire of the Caesars.

The Ottoman Empire was crumbling, and was known as the 'sick man of Europe'.  She kept watch on her European neighbors who were eagerly waiting for an opportunity to take the lands she was losing.  This would cause the Balkan wars.

Bismarck's foreign policy was meant to isolate France and set Germany up as the future great power of Europe.  He created the Dreikaiserbund (League of three Emperors) which consisted of the Russian Tsar, Austrian Emperor, and the German Kaiser.  It crumbled due to Austrian and Russian rivalries over the Balkans, but Bismarck managed to maintain separate alliances to the two Empires. Bismarck ignored colonization of Africa, believing that only Europe mattered.  

He was fired when Wilhelm II came to power, and from then on, the Kaiser and his chosen Chancellors would determine the fate of Germany and Europe.

 

Kaiser Wilhelm II -||- Wilhelm's Chancellors -||- Admiral von Tirpitz and the Naval Race -||- Alliance with Austria-Hungary -||- Relations with Europe -||- Internal Discontent and new Social Orders -||- Industry and Economy -||- The Schlieffin Plan -||- World War I