German Society during the Second Reich

German Society during the Second Reich

German politics had been dominated by the middle classes and the aristocracy in the Second Reich. Whilst there was Universal Suffrage for men aged above 25 the real political power was very firmly in the hands of the nobility. Economic prosperity and growth led to increased urbanisation within Germany, 60% of the populace lived in towns and cities by 1910. This led to the emergence of a stronger socialist movement during the latter stages of the 19th century, though this was controlled initially by Bismarck via the introduction of welfare legislation and later through anti-socialist legislation. Much of Germany could be considered to have a military tradition at this time. The Military was of great importance to the Second Reich throughout its inception and was much loved by many of those with political power, particularly the Prussian aristocracy. Generally speaking, the Second Reich was therefore a conservative society, as illustrated by these electoral results:

Party 1887 1890 1893 1898 1903 1907 1912
German conservatives 80 73 72 56 54 60 43
Free conservatives 41 20 28 23 21 24 14
National Liberals 99 42 53 46 51 54 45
Centre 98 106 96 102 100 105 91
Left Liberals 32 76 48 49 36 49 42
Social Democrats 11 35 44 56 81 43 110
Minorities 33 38 35 34 32 29 33
Right Wing Splinter Parties 3 7 21 31 22 33 19
Total 397 397 397 397 397 397 397
Source: European History for AS Level, Edited by Steve Lancaster, Causeway Press.


Weimar Germany Lessons and Teachers Resources

Rise of Hitler revision chart 1-9 GCSE Exam Preparation. Usefulness of Sources: the SA and Nazi methods of control.
Revision exercises@ Life in Nazi Germany 1-9 GCSE History Revision Guide Weimar and Nazi Germany
Teaching resource: How did the Nazi’s rise to power?

German History Homepage

The Second Reich
Unification of Germany Political systems within the Second Reich
German Society during the Second Reich Collapse of the Second Reich

Weimar Republic

Interim Government Founding of the Weimar Republic
Impact of the First World War on Germany The Treaty of Versailles and its impact on Germany
Weimar Constitution 1919-1923: Years of Crisis?
Spartacist Uprising Kapp Putsch
The Munich Putsch Hyperinflation in Germany, 1923
Reparations Did the Economic Crisis of 1923 help the Nazi’s?
Origins of the Nazi Party 1924-1928: A Golden Era?
Gustav Stresemann German Foreign Relations 1919-1932
Germany in the Great Depression Rise of the Nazi Party
Failings of the Weimar Republic Totalitarian Regime in Nazi Germany
How did Hitler consolidate power? Mein Kampf
Nazi methods of control Opposition to the Nazi Regime
Organisation of the Nazi Party Fuhrerprinzip
Kristallnacht Youth and Education
Goering and the 2nd 4 Year Plan Anti-Jewish Boycott, 1933
Nazi Anti-Semitism DAF (The German Labour Front)
Propaganda in Germany 1919-39 Economic Policy of the Nazi Party
Weimar Germany Our sister site provides in depth coverage of many aspects of life in Germany at the time of the Weimar Republic
Resistance and Opposition to the Nazi Regime A wide ranging series of articles on the different opposition and resistance movements in Nazi Germany.
Lesson plans, resources and ideas on Nazi Germany A range of lesson plans, teaching resources and links of use in the classroom
Economy under Nazi rule Articles, Resources and Documentation relating to the Economy under Nazi rule
The Holocaust History Teachers’ Resources

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the outset? To what extent did Germany recover under Stresemann?
The Nazi Party up to 1929 How did Hitler become Chancellor of Germany?
Who gained from Nazi rule?

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start? |To what extent did Weimar recover under Stresemann?
How did the Nazi Party develop up to 1929? How did Hitler become Chancellor?
How did Hitler become Chancellor? How did the Nazi’s create a Totalitarian State?