Thursday, February 16, 2012

2011-2012 Challenges.Number 20

Otto Von Bismarck, the "Iron chancellor", had an important role not only in the unification of Germany, but in the history of Europe during the last decades of the 19th century. Here you have some questions to learn something more about his policy in different fields: 

What was Kulturkampf in Germany?

Why is Bismarck considered to be the ruler who put the basis of the Welfare State? What did this policy have to do with Bismarck´s policy against the Socialists?

What type of economic foreign policy did Germany follow under Bismarck´s rule? What differences did this policy have with the principles on which Zollverein was based?

What was Bismarck´s opinion on colonialism? Why did he change his mind?

What colonies did the German Empire seize in the last decades of the 19th century? What international conference was called on by Bismarck to organize the colonization of Africa?

What was the main objective of the Bismarckian diplomatic system? Can you remember a similar policy we studied in the Modern Age period?

What does this cartoon refer to?

Dropping the pilot, 1890


Javier Alberca said...

Question 1:
It was a conflict between the chancellor Otto von Bismarck and the Church and the Catholic Party (Zemtrum). It was a political conflict.

Question 2:
He created the modern Welfare State. In 1880s he introduced old age pensions, accident insurance, medical care and unemployment insurance. It formed the basis of the actual European Welfare State. Bismarck won the conservative support, because Bismarck promised them to undercut the appeal of Socialists. The Socialists have always voted against him because they thought that doing this they would stop the grievances of the workers.

Question 3:
Germany went into an economic crisis, for that reasons the chancellor avoided free trade and put tariffs. Zollverein was based on free trade between the countries that formed the confederation.

Question 4:
He said that it would create economic problems because they had to get, maintain and defend the colonies and it wouldn’t provide any benefits. Historians have debated the reason why he changed his opinion. It probably would be because the people demanded an empire to improve German prestige.

Question 5:
They got some colonies in the Pacific. Bismarck organized the Berlin Conference to avoid wars between the countries of Europe and to organize the conquest of Africa.

Question 6:
He used a balanced power diplomacy to maintain peace in Europe. I can’t remember it…

Question 7:
It’s a drawing that represents the retirement of Otto von Bismarck. It’s called Dropping the Pilot. In the literally translation from German it means “The pilot leaves the ship”.


Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Javi,

Here you have my comments:


The Kulturkampf was a series of decisions made by Bismarck in order to reduce the influence of the Catholic Church in Germany. It belongs to the advance of the secularizatoon process in Germany. It had also a political dimension, because it meant the confrontation with the Zentrum, a Catholic party opposed to the unification of Germany under Prussian hegemony.


Another of the reasons Bismarck had against colonialism was that it would create conflicts between nations and it could lead to war between European countries. Hamburg merchants and traders had an important role in Bismarck´s change of opinion about having an empire.


The German colonies were New Guinea, Togoland (present Togo and Ghana), Cameroon, German East Africa (present Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania), German South-West Africa (present Namibia).


The main objective of the Bismarckian diplomatic systems was isolating France. Bismarck designed different alliances to isolate France, such as the League of the Three Emperors (Germanay, Austria and Russia), but the problem was that Austria and Russia had similar interests in the Balkans and this alliance couldn´t be renewed and Russia approached France anf the United Kingdom. Bismarck´s goal was the same the Catholic Monarchs had in the 15th century.


Kaiser Wilhem II didn´t like Bismarck and he forced his resignation. The cartoons shows the moment in which Bismarck left his post of chancellor.

Good work.