Over the course of your studies for the upcoming AP European History exam you’ve probably come across countless key historical figures and numerous important dates. So much that you may not be entirely certain who or what to focus your studies on.
Well, one thing’s for certain: Otto Von Bismarck is someone you are going to want to get to know during your AP Euro review sessions. He was a central figure in the unification of modern Germany as we know it today. But that’s not all. His entire political career represented the ongoing political changes and national unifications swept through the entirety of Europe during the 19th century.
We’ve built this AP European History Crash Course review around everything you’ll need to know for the AP Euro exam. That means we are not only going to cover the most important dates and events of Otto Von Bismarck’s life, but we are going to guide you through the ways that the AP exam itself is most likely going to approach this topic.
A Quick Note on Otto Von Bismarck and the AP European History Exam
You’re gonna want to use this AP World History Crash Course on Otto Von Bismarck by thinking about him in relation to what else was taking place in Europe at the time.
Bismarck was around in Germany during the 19th century, smack-dab in the middle of growing nationalist movements spreading throughout Europe. Not just the German-speaking lands.
In other words, Bismarck acts as a perfect example of Key Concept 3.4 How European States Struggled to Maintain International Stability in an Age of Nationalism and Revolutions from the College Board’s AP European Course and Exam Description. But he was not alone. Similar events were taking place in Italy, Austria, etc. So, always remember this information in its historical context.
Who was Otto Von Bismarck?
Otto Van Bismarck was one of the most influential political leaders in German history. He was born to a wealthy Prussian family in 1815 and very quickly went into the political arena as he grew older. He became an extremely popular political leader who believed in unifying all of the different German states into a single nation.
He was so popular, in fact, that he would be appointed as Minister President of Prussia (kind of like a Prime Minister) by the king in 1862. Eventually he would get his wish and managed to force what had once been the independent states of Germany into a single nation, the German Empire. He accomplished this by 1871. Germany fast became one of the most influential powers in Europe.
But how did he accomplish all of this?
Bismarck and German Nationalism
Bismarck helped to create a unified Germany through two key processes: the exploitation of German nationalism and warfare.
When the Holy Roman Empire collapsed in 1806, the various German peoples formed different states as a way to create political stability. Unification of those different states was often discussed, but ultimately infighting kept them all separate.
But following Napoleon’s reign over the region, ideas about national pride kept getting stronger and stronger. That and a growing hatred the German peoples had towards the French. The French kept invading, after all.
Bismarck used these two things to his advantage when he was Minister President of Prussia. He began to start a series of wars with France, Denmark, and with Austria in order to talk all of the German states in to banding together and fighting under one flag.
It actually worked!
Bismarck used his political smarts to get everyone on the same side. And he was pretty sneaky about it. He constantly fought his own parliament, even illegally collecting taxes in order to fund his growing army. What for? Well, he was preparing himself for war.
The first thing Bismarck wanted was Austria out of the picture. Prussia and Austria both wanted control of the northern German states, which made Bismarck nervous enough to start a war with Austria.
Ultimately, he got both Prussia and Austria to invade Denmark but instead of sharing the victory, Bismarck created a new Northern German Confederation with Prussia in charge. Instead of working together, he decided to invade Austria. He defeated Austria without too much effort (mostly because he went behind the Parliament’s back and was funding the military very early on in his political career).
But Bismarck also knew that a war with France would be a guaranteed way to get the southern states to join the confederation. He also knew that the new king of Spain might end up being a distant relative of both William I of Prussia and Napoleon II of France. This could potentially disrupt the balance of powers, so Bismarck used this as an excuse to start a war with France. This would become known as the Franco-Prussian War.
If this all sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Bismarck was a master of using politics and warfare to his advantage.
To make a long story short, the German states all fought together and defeated France in 1871 and to celebrate, they all decided to join one another and create the German Empire in the same year.
Bismarck and Realpolitik
Otto Von Bismarck did more than just help to create a unified Germany. He also helped to start a political philosophy that has been called Realpolitik.
Realpolitik is a word that every AP European history student should associate with Bismarck. This was the form of politics he followed during his time in power. It pretty much means to be realistic in politics. Work on the task at hand. That sort of thing.
Basically, he did what was practical for the German states not necessarily what was moral or what followed a certain ideology. Most often, this meant putting the state before all else. But it also meant that he could be a bit of a brutal and stubborn leader.
Ultimately, Bismarck’s used the Realpolitik political philosophy to make and break alliances throughout Europe in the late 19th century. But he also helped to create some very powerful alliances, including
• The Three Emperor’s League:
An alliance between Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary.
• The Triple Alliance:
An alliance between Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary.
• The Reinsurance Treaty:
An alliance created with Russia after a war broke the Three Emperor’s League.
His version of political pragmatism defined the entire political landscape of Europe during his time in office. The continent had a new powerhouse to deal with: Germany.
But he wasn’t the only one to use this style of political thinking. It was very much in fashion during turn of the 20th-century European political affairs. In particular, Conte de Cavour in Italy used similar tactics of practical militarism, nationalism, and even exploitation to help unify the Kingdom of Italy.
But the alliances that Bismarck and others worked to create actually served to create both unity and anxiety in Europe’s international affairs.
In 1871, the southern states joined with the northern ones to create a unified Germany. This new country had a terrifyingly powerful army, and the nationalist feelings inspired by the Austro-Prussian and the Franco-Prussian wars was unshakable.
Bismarck, and everyone else in Europe, knew that Germany was among the strongest countries between them all. This conflicted with the balance of power throughout Europe, and Bismarck tried hard to uphold the balance. He succeeded in doing this through a complex system of alliances, including the Three Emperor’s League, the Triple Alliance, and the Reinsurance Treaty.
The alliances Bismarck created to maintain the balance of power were key to keeping peace throughout Europe. In 1890, Wilhelm II, the new German Emperor, dismissed Bismarck from his role as the Chancellor of Germany. When Bismarck left, so did his foreign policy. After Bismarck’s dismissal, Germany grew more hostile with their alliances and provoked tension between the great powers of Europe.
This tension eventually led to what has been termed the “Powder Keg” and the beginnings of World War I.
Bismarck on the AP European History Exam
As we have mentioned throughout this AP European History Crash Course, Otto Von Bismarck can stand in for a series of very significant events in the modern history of Europe. That also means as a key historical figure in European history, he can pop up on the AP European History Exam in a number of contexts.
When studying for the AP European History Exam, it’s going to be necessary that you understand Bismarck’s role in a greater European context. For example, he was not the only leader enacting political change and national solidification in the 19th century. Think about him in relation to what’s going on in Italy at that point in time. The creation of these two modern European nation-states shifted the political environment—an environment that’s been feeling effects to this day.
Speaking of political environments, keep in mind all of the political maneuvers that we’ve covered in this AP European History Crash Course. Always remember the ways that Bismarck used the Realpolitik system to manipulate and maneuver the state’s power.
Just remember Key Concept 3.4 from the College Board’s AP European Course and Exam Description and you’ll be golden.
These are the types of things you’re going to want to keep in mind when studying for the AP World History Exam. But why take our word for it? Let’s take a look at an example from the College Board’s AP European Course and Exam Description. On page 171, you can find this question:
The political condition of Germany described in the passage did not change until
1. A) 1789
2. B) 1815
3. C) 1871
4. D) 1945
The passage in question is the one on page 168:
“Assume, O men of the German lands, that ancient spirit of yours with which you so often confounded and terrified the Romans and turn your eyes to the frontiers of Germany…”
Just by glancing through the quote, two major ideas should be popping up in your head. First, it was written in 1492 and that it’s generally discussing German feelings towards national identity.
We already know that this was an era of intense national pride throughout Europe at this time, but that did not indicate national unity. That came later. We do know, however, after reading this AP World History Crash Course that Otto Von Bismarck helped to unify the German peoples into a single nation beginning in 1871. This is why the answer should most clearly be C.
Even if you aren’t entirely sure about when Bismarck took over the German political scene, your general knowledge concerning not only the history of German nationalism, but that of Italy, Hungary, Austria should tell you that the late 19th century comes out as the most realistic answer.
Remember this and the other advice provided to you in this AP World History Crash Course review on Otto Von Bismarck and you will definitely be one step closer to scoring that 5 on your upcoming AP World History Exam. Good luck!
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Chapter 25: The Age of Nationalism
- Napoleon III in France
- The Second Republic and Louis Napoleon
- Louis Napoleon Bonaparte’s victory in the December 1848 elections against General Cavaignac of June Days fame was probably due to the Napoleonic legend; another explanation stressed the fears of middle-class and peasant property owners in the face of the socialist challenge of urban workers (classes wanted protection)
- In 1848 Louis Napoleon had a positive “program” for France, which guided him throughout most of his long reign (Napoleonic Ideas and The Elimination of Poverty)
- Louis Napoleon believed government should represent the people (economically)
- When politicians ran a parliamentary government, they stirred up class hatred because they were not interested in helping the poor and Louis believed that the answer was a strong, authoritarian, national leader, who would serve the people
- The leader would be linked by direct democracy and universal male suffrage
- These ideas accompanied his vision of national unity and social progress
- Elected to a four-year term, President Louis Napoleon had to share power with a conservative National Assembly; Louis also signed a bill to increase greatly the role of the Catholic church in primary and secondary education
- Louis also signed another law depriving many poor people of the right to vote because he wanted the Assembly to vote funds to pay his personal debts and he wanted it to change the constitution so he could run for a second term
- In 1851 Louis Napoleon began to organize a conspiracy and on December 2, 1851, he illegally dismissed the Assembly and seized power in a coup d’etat
- Restoring universal male suffrage Louis Napoleon called on the French people to legalize his actions (92 %) and a year later, 97 % agreed in a national plebiscite to make him hereditary emperor and Louis Napoleon was elected to lead France
- Napoleon III’s Second Empire
- Emperor Napoleon III experienced both success and failure between 1852 and 1870
- His greatest success was with the economy, particularly in the 1850s
- His government encouraged the new investment banks and massive railroad construction that were at the heart of the Industrial Revolution on the Continent
- The government fostered general economic expansion through a program of public works, which included the rebuilding of Paris to improve the environment
- Napoleon III’s regulation of pawnshops and his support of credit unions and better housing for the working class showed why he had support and in the 1860s, he granted workers the right to form unions and the right to strike (denied earlier)
- Political power remained in the hands of the emperor; Napoleon III chose his ministers and restricted but did not abolish the Assembly and members were elected by universal male suffrage every six years (parliamentary elections handled seriously)
- Government used its officials and appointed mayors to spread the word that the election of the government’s candidates was the key to roads, schools, and tax rebates
- In 1857 and in 1863, Louis Napoleon’s system worked brilliantly; he won electoral victories but in the 1860s, France’s problems in Italy and the rising power of Prussia led to increasing criticism from Catholic and nationalist supporters back home
- The middle-class liberals wanted a less authoritarian regime (denounced his rule)
- In the 1860s, he progressively liberalized his empire by giving the Assembly greater powers and the opposition candidates greater freedom and in 1870, Louis Napoleon granted France a new constitution, which combined a basically parliamentary regime with a hereditary emperor as chief of state
- In a final plebiscite on the eve of a disastrous war with Prussia, 7.5 million Frenchmen voted in favor of the new constitution and only 1.5 million opposed it
- The Second Republic and Louis Napoleon
- Nation Building in Italy and Germany
- Italy to 1850
- The Italian peninsula was divided in the Middle Ages into competing city-state, which led the commercial and cultural revival of the West with amazing creativity
- Sought after 1494, Italy was reorganized in the 1815 at the Congress of Vienna
- Between 1815 and 1848, the goal of a unified Italian nation captured the imaginations of increasing numbers of Italians and there were three approaches
- The radical program of the idealistic Guiseepe Mazzini stated that Italy become a centralized democratic republic based on universal suffrage and will of the people
- Vincenzo Gioberti, a Catholic priest, called for a federation of existing states under the presidency of a progressive pope
- The third was the program of those who looked for leadership toward the autocratic kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont, as Germans looked toward Prussia
- The third alternative was strengthened by the failures of 1848, when Austria smashed and discredited Mazzini’s republicanism and Sardinia’s monarch, Victor Emmanuel, retained the liberal constitution granted under duress in March 1848
- The constitution provided for a fair degree of civil liberties and real parliamentary government complete with elections and parliamentary control of taxes
- To the Italian middle classes, Sardinia appeared to be a liberal progressive state ideally suited to achieve the goal of national unification but Mazzini seemed quixotic
- As for the papacy, the initial support by Pius IX for unification had given way to fear and hostility after he was driven from Rome during the upheavals of 1848
- The papacy opposed socialism, separation of church and state, and religious liberty
- Cavour and Garibaldi in Italy
- Cavour was the dominant figure in the Sardinian government (1850-1861)
- Cavour’s personal development was an early sign of coming tacit alliance between the aristocracy and the middle class under a strong nation-state
- Cavour turned toward industry and entered the world of politics after 1848 and became chief minister in the liberalized Sardinian monarchy in 1852
- Cavour’s national goals were limited and realistic and until 1859, he sough unity only for the states of northern Italy (moderate nationalist and aristocratic liberal)
- Cavour in the 1850s wishing to consolidate Sardinia as a liberal constitutional state introduced a program of highways and railroads, of civil liberties and opposition to clerical privilege, increasing support for Sardinia throughout northern Italy
- Cavour worked for a secret diplomatic alliance with Napoleon III against Austria and in July 1858, he succeeded and provoked Austria into attacking Sardinia
- Napoleon III came to Sardinia’s defense and after the victory of the combined Franco-Sardinian forces, Napoleon III did a complete turn around
- Criticized by French Catholics for supporting the pope’s declared enemy, Napoleon III abandoned Cavour and made a compromise peace with the Austrians at Villafranca in July 1859 (Sardinia received Lombardy, around Milan)
- Cavour’s plans were salvaged by popular revolts and Italian nationalism; while war against Austria had raged in the north, nationalists in central Italy and driven out their rulers and nationalist fervor seized the urban masses (called for fusion of Sardinia)
- The other Great Powers opposed this but the nationalists held firm and Cavour returned to power when the people of central Italy voted to join Sardinia
- For patriots such as Garibaldi, the job of unification was only half done
- Garibaldi personified the romantic, revolutionary nationalism of Mazzini (1848)
- Sentenced to death in 1834 for his part in an uprising in Genoa, Garibaldi escaped to South American where he led a guerrilla band in Uruguay’s independence
- Returning to Italy to find fight in 1848, he led a corps of volunteer against Austria and in 1860, Garibaldi had emerged as a powerful force in Italian politics
- Cavour secretly supported Garibaldi’s bold plan to liberate the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (to use him and to get rid of him) and in May 1860, Garibaldi’s band of thousand “Red Shirts” outwitted the twenty-thousand royal army of Austria
- Garibaldi then prepared to attack Rome and the pope but Cavour sent Sardinian forces to occupy most of the Papal Sates (to intercept Garibaldi)
- Cavour realized that an attack on Rome would bring about war with France and immediately organized a plebiscite in the conquered territories; Garibaldi did not oppose Cavour and the people of the south voted to join Sardinia
- When Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel rode through Naples, they sealed the union of the north and south, of the monarch and the people of Italy
- Cavour had controlled Garibaldi and turned popular nationalism into conservatism; the parliamentary monarchy under Victor Emmanuel with the liberal Sardinian constitution of 1848, only a small minority of Italian males had the right to vote (gap)
- Cavour was the dominant figure in the Sardinian government (1850-1861)
- Germany Before Bismarck
- The German states were locked in a political stalemate
- With Russian diplomatic support, Austria had blocked the attempt of Frederick William IV of Prussia to unify Germany “from above” (German Confederation)
- This action contributed to a growing tension between Austria and Prussia
- Modern industry growth within the German customs union (Zollverein); developed under Prussian lead, the exclusion of Austria contributed to Austro-Prussian rivalry
- Tariff duties were reduced so that Austria’s high, protected industry couldn’t join
- Austria tried to destroy the Zollverein by inducing the southern German states to leave the union, but without success (by 1853, only Austria had not joined)
- William I of Prussia, replacing Frederick William IV as regent in 1858, becoming king himself in 1861, wanted to double the size of the highly disciplined army; he also wanted to reduce the importance of the reserve militia (need defense budget)
- Prussia emerged from 1848 with a parliament, which was in the hands of the liberal middle class by 1859; but the landed aristocracy, greatly represented in the Prussia electoral system, wanted society to be less, nor more, militaristic
- The Parliament rejected the military budget in 1862 and King William considered abdicating in favor of his more liberal son but in the end, William called on Count Otto von Bismarck to head a new ministry and defy the parliament
- The German states were locked in a political stalemate
- Bismarck Takes Command
- Otto von Bismarck was one of the most important figures in German history; he was born a Junker, Bismarck had a strong personality and unbounded desire for power
- Bismarck became a diplomat and acquiring a reputation as an ultraconservative in the Prussian assembly, he fought against Austria as the Prussian ambassador to the German Confederation from 1851 to 1859 (wanted to build up Prussia’s strength)
- Bismarck was convinced that Prussia had to control completely the northern part of the German Confederation and saw three possible paths open before him
- He could work with Austria to divide up the smaller German states
- He might combine with foreign powers (France, Italy, or even Russia)
- He might ally with forces of German nationalism to defeat and expel Austria
- He explored each possibility but ultimately choose the last option
- Bismarck would join with the forces of German nationalism to increase Prussia’s power seemed unlikely when he took chief minister in 1862; he declared that the government would rule with parliament consent and lashed at middle-class opposition
- Bismarck had the Prussian bureaucracy go right on collecting taxes without parliament consent, reorganized the army, and from 1862 to 1866 voters continued to express their opposition be sending large liberal majorities to the parliament
- The Austro-Prussian War, 1866
- When the Danish king tried to incorporate Schleswig-Holstein, Prussia joined Austria in a short and successful war against Denmark in 1864
- Both agreed to joint administration of the German land; now Bismarck could force Austria into peacefully accepting Prussian domination in the north or starting a war
- Bismarck had to be certain the Prussian expansion would not provoke a mighty armed coalition and Bismarck had already gained Alexander II’s gratitude by supporting Russia’s repression of a Polish uprising in 1863
- Considering Napoleon III, Bismarck had charmed Napoleon into neutrality with vague promises of territory along the Rhine and he was in position to declare war
- The Austro-Prussian War of 1866 lasted only seven weeks
- Using railroads to mass troops and the need gun to achieve maximum firepower, the reorganized Prussian army overran northern Germany
- The Prussians defeated Austria decisively at the Battle of Sadowa in Bohemia
- Bismarck offered Austria realistic, generous, peace terms in which Austria paid no reparations, lost no territory to Prussia, although Venice was given to Italy
- The German Confederation dissolved; Austria agreed to leave from German affairs
- The new North German Confederation was led by an expanded Prussia
- The Taming of the Parliament
- Bismarck believed that because of the event so f1848, the German middle class could be led to prefer the reality of national unity under conservative leadership
- After the victory, Bismarck fashioned a federal constitution for the new North German Confederation where each state retained its local government, but the king of Prussia became president of the confederation and the chancellor was under president
- The federal government (William I, Bismarck) controlled the army and foreign affairs and there was a legislature consisting of two houses that shared equally in the making of laws; delegates to the upper house were appointed by the different states, but members of the lower house were elected by universal, single category, male suffrage
- Bismarck had opened the door to popular participation (right over middle class)
- After the victory, the landed nobility and the ultraconservatives expected Bismarck to suspend the Prussian constitution and asked the parliament to pass a special indemnity bill to approve after the fact all of the government’s spending (1862-1866)
- For four long years, liberals opposed and criticized Bismarck’s “illegal” measures
- At the end, Bismarck, the king, and the army with its aristocratic leadership had persevered and these conservative forces had succeeded above the middle class
- In 1866, German unity was in sight and many liberals repented their “sins” and none repented more ardently or more typically than Hermann Baumgarten, a member of the liberal opposition, repented in his essay, “A Self-Criticism of German Liberalism”
- The German middle class was bowing respectfully before Bismarck and the monarchial authority and aristocratic superiority he represented
- The Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871
- Four south German states were added into the Zollverein (customs parliament) 1867
- Bismarck realized that a war with France would drive the south German states into his arms; the pretext was diplomatic involving whether a distant relative of Prussia’s William I (and France’s Napoleon II) might become king of Spain
- By 1870 the French leaders of the Second Empire decided on war to teach Prussia and as soon as war began in 1870, Bismarck had the support of German states
- With the other governments standing still, German forces under Prussian leadership defeated Louis Napoleon’s armies at Sedan on September 1, 1870 and three days later, French patriots proclaimed another French republic but after five months, Paris surrendered and France accepted Bismarck’s harsh peace terms
- By this time, the south German estates agreed to join a new German empire and William was proclaimed the emperor of Germany in Versailles
- The Franco-Prussian War released a surge of patriotic feeling in Germany
- The weakest of the Great Powers in 1862, Prussia with fortification by the other German states became the most powerful state in Europe
- Semi-authoritarian nationalism and a “new conservatism” based on an alliance of the propertied classes and sought the active support of the working classes triumphed
- Italy to 1850
- The Modernization of Russia
- The “Great Reforms”
- In the 1850s Russia was an agrarian society, industry was little developed, and almost 90 percent of the population lived on the land (ancient open-field system existed)
- Serfdom was still the basic social institution; serfs were bound to the lord on a hereditary basis, serfs were sold, serfs were obliged to furnish labor services or money payments and the lord could choose for army recruits (serve for 25 years)
- The Crimean War of 1853 to 1856 caused reforms by the government
- Began over a dispute with France over who should protect certain Christian shrines in the Ottoman Empire (fighting concentrated in Crimean peninsula)
- Russia’s transportation network failed to supply the Russian armies and France and Great Britain, aided by Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire, defeated Russia
- The Russian state had been built on the military and Russia had not lost a major war for 150 years and showed Russia it had fallen behind industrialized nations
- Russia needed railroads, better armaments, and reorganization of the army; but war had caused hardship and raised the specter of massive peasant rebellion
- Alexander II (1855-1881) was forced along the path of rapid social change
- Human bondage was abolished forever in 1861 and the emancipated peasants received, on average, about half of the land (villages responsible for payments)
- In 1864, government established a new institution of local government (zemstvo) where members of the local assembly were elected by a three-class system of towns, peasant villages, and noble landowners (dealt with local problems)
- The establishment of zemstvos marked a step toward popular participation but the local zemstvo remained subordinated to the traditional bureaucracy and the local nobility, which were heavily favored by the property-based voting system
- Reform of the legal system, which established independent courts and equality before the law; education was also liberalized and censorship was relaxed
- The Industrialization of Russia
- Russia’s industry and transport were transformed in two industrial surges
- After 1860, the government encouraged and subsidized private railway companies
- The resulting railroads enabled agricultural Russia to export grain and earn money for further industrialization; domestic manufacturing was stimulated, and by the end of the 1870s, Russia had a well-developed railway-equipment industry
- Industrial development strengthened Russia’s military forces and gave rise to territorial expansion to the south and east (nationalists supported the government)
- In 1881, Alexander II was assassinated by a small group of terrorists and the new tsar, Alexander III was a reactionary; Russia experience hard times economically in 1880s
- Political modernization remained frozen until 1905, but economic modernization sped forward in the massive industrial surge of the 1890s
- Nationalism under leader, Sergei Witte, minister of finance from 1892-1903
- Witte, having read the writings of Friedrich List, believed that the railroads were a powerful weapon for the direction of economic development of the country
- Following List’s advice, Witte established high protective tariffs to build Russian industry and the country on gold standard in order to strengthen Russian finances
- Witte used the West to catch up with the Test and encouraged foreigners to use their capital and advanced technology to build great factories in backward Russia
- The policy was successful, especially in southern Russia where foreign capitalists built steal and coal industry and Russia’s steel and petroleum industry boomed
- Witte, once approached by a leading foreign businessman demanding that the Russian government fulfill a contract it had signed and pay certain debts; Witte asked to see the contract then tore it to pieces and trashed it without explanation
- Russia’s industry and transport were transformed in two industrial surges
- The Revolution of 1905
- By 1903, Russia had established a sphere of influence in Chinese Manchuria and cast their eyes on northern Korea; imperialistic Japan launched a surprise attack in 1905 and Asian Japan scored repeated victories, forcing Russia to accept defeat (Feb-Aug)
- Military disaster abroad brought political upheaval at home
- Business and professional classes wanted to turn the last of Europe’s absolutist monarchies into a liberal, representative regime (political modernization)
- Factory workers were organized into a radical and still illegal labor movement
- Peasants had gained little from the era of reforms and suffered from poverty
- Nationalist sentiment was emerging among the empire’s minorities
- Separatist nationalism was strongest among the Poles and Ukrainians
- The beginning of the revolution of 1905 pointed up incompetence of the government
- In a Sunday in January 1905, a massive crowd of workers and families converged peacefully on the Sinter Palace in St. Petersburg to present a petition to the tsar
- Led by a trade-unionist priest named Father Gapon, who had been supported by the police, as a preferable alternative to more radical unions
- Nicholas II had fled the city and suddenly troops opened fire, killing and wound-ing hundreds; the “Bloody Sunday” massacre turned workers against the tsar
- Outlawed political parties came out into the open, and by the summer of 1905 strikes, peasant uprisings, revolts among minority nationalities, and troop mutinies appeared
- The revolutionary surge culminated in October 1905 in a paralyzing general strike, which forced the government to surrender and the tsar issued the October Manifesto
- The manifesto granted full civil rights and promised a popularly elected dum (parliament) with real legislative power; the manifesto split the opposition
- It satisfied most moderate and liberal demands, but Social Democrats rejected it and led a bloody worker’s uprising in Moscow in December 1905; frightened middle-class leaders helped the government survive as a constitutional monarchy
- On the eve of the opening of the first Duma in May 1906, the government issued the new constitution, the Fundamental Laws in which the tsar retained great powers but the Duma, elected indirectly by universal male suffrage, and a large upper house could debate and pass laws, but the tsar had an absolute veto (minister system)
- The disappointed, predominately middle-class liberals, the largest group in the newly elected Duma, saw the Fundamental Laws as a step backward
- The tsar dismissed the Duma only to find a more hostile and radical opposition elected in 1907 in the second Duma, which was dismissed after three months
- The tsar and his reactionary advisers rewrote the electoral law to increase greatly the weight of the propertied classes at the expense of workers, peasants, and minorities
- The government secured a loyal majority in 1907 and again in 1912
- The armed, tough chief minister, Peter Stolypin, pushed through important agrarian reforms designed to break down collective village ownership of land and to encourage the more enterprising peasants -- “wager on the strong”
- The “Great Reforms”
- The Responsive National State, 1871-1914
- The German Empire
- European politics after 1871 had a common framework of a established national state; the emergence of mass politics and growing mass loyalty toward the national state
- The new German Empire was a federal union of Prussia and 24 smaller states
- Everyday business of government was conducted by separate states but there was a national government (chancellor) and popularly elected parliament (Reichstag)
- Bismarck refused to be bound by a parliamentary majority and gave the political parties opportunities (Bismarck relied mainly on the National Liberals, who supported legislation useful for further economic and legal unification until 1878)
- The National Liberals Bismarck’s attack on the Catholic church (Kulturkampf, or “struggle for civilization”) – Pius IX’s declaration of papal infallibility in 1870; the dogma seemed to ask German Catholics to put loyalty to church above their nation
- Catholics throughout the country generally voted for the Catholic Center party and finally in 1878 Bismarck abandoned his attack and entered an alliance (economic)
- After a worldwide financial bust in 1873, European agriculture was in a difficult position as wheat prices plummeted as cheap grain poured in from North America
- Many peasants, especially in western/southern Germany, could not compete and the Catholic Center party relied on higher tariffs to protect the economic interests
- The Protestant Junkers embraced the cause of higher tariffs and Bismarck went along with protective tariff in 1879, winning supports in the Reichstag, the Center part of the Catholics and the Conservative party of the Prussian landowners
- The 1880s and 1890s saw a widespread return to protectionism (led to trade wars)
- Bismarck tried to stop socialism growth in Germany because he feared its revolutionary language and allegiance to a movement transcending the nation-state
- Bismarck used a national outcry to introduce and pass a law that controlled socialist meetings and publications and outlawed the Social Democratic party
- Bismarck’s nation-state pioneered with social measures to win support of workers
- The laws of 1883 and 1884 established national sickness and accident insurance
- The law of 1889 established old-age pensions and retirement benefits
- The national social security system, paid for through compulsory contributions by wage earners and employers as well as grants from the state was a first of its kind
- The system gave workers a small stake in the system and protected them from the urban industrial world; this development was a produce of competition
- The great issues in German domestic politics were socialism and the Marxian Social Democratic party; William II opposed Bismarck’s attempt to renew the law outlawing the Social Democratic party and eager to please, forced Bismarck to resign in 1890
- Socialist ideas spread rapidly and more and more Social Democrats were elected to the Reichstag in the 1890s; after a colonial war in Southwest Africa in 1907 that led to important losses in the general elections of 1907, the party broadened its base
- After the elections of 1912, the party became the single largest party in the Reichstag shocking aristocrats and middle-class (revolutionary socials lessened before WW I)
- Republican France
- In 1871, the patriotic republicans who proclaimed the Third Republic in Paris after the military disaster at Sedan, refused to admit defeat, defended Paris for weeks but were eventually starved into submission by the German armies in January 1871
- When national elections send a majority of conservatives and monarchies to the National Assembly, the Parisians exploded and proclaimed the Paris Commune
- In March 1871, the leaders wanted to govern without the conservative peasants
- The National Assembly led by Adolphe Thiers ordered the French army into Paris and crushed the Commune; twenty thousand people died in the fighting
- The monarchists could not agree who should be king and the compromise Bourbon candidate refused to rule except under the white flag of his ancestors (unacceptable)
- President Thiers showed the Third Republic might be moderate/socially conservative
- Another stabilizing factor was the skill and determination of the moderate republicans
- The most famous was Leon Gambetta who preached a republic of truly equal opportunity; Gambetta was instrumental in establishing absolute parliamentary supremacy between 1877 and 1879, when deputies forced MacMahon to resign
- By 1879, the majority of members of both the upper and lower houses of the National Assembly were republics, the Third Republic had firm foundations
- Trade unions were fully legalized and France acquired a colonial empire; under the leadership of Jules Ferry, the moderate republicans passed a series of laws between 1879-1886 establishing free compulsory elementary education for children
- The government expanded the state system of public tax-supported schools; free compulsory elementary education in France became secular republican education
- Unlike most western countries, the Third Republic encouraged young teachers to marry and guaranteed that both partners would teach in the same location
- Married female and male teachers with their own children provide a vivid contrast to celibate nuns and priests, who had taught generations primary education
- Republican leaders believed that married women and men would better cope with the potential loneliness and social isolation of unfamiliar towns and villages
- French politicians worried continually about France’s low birthrate after 1870
- French Catholics rallied to the republic in the 1890s after the educational reforms
- Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish captain in the French army, was falsely convicted of treason
- His family fought to reopen the case and the case was split in 1898 into two sides of which was the army, joined by anti-Semites, and the other side which stood the civil libertarians and most of the more radical republicans
- After Dreyfus was declared innocent, it revived republican feeling against the church and between 1901 and 1905, the government severed all ties between the state and the Catholic church (Catholic schools lost a third of their students)
- Great Britain and Ireland
- Great Britain was under an effective two-party parliament that skillfully guided the country from classical liberalism to full-fledged democracy
- The right to vote was granted to males of the solid middle class in 1832 but people, like John Stuart Mill (On Liberty), were uncertain about future extension
- In 1867, Disraeli and the Conservatives extended the vote to all middle-class males and best-paid workers in order to gain new supporters
- Third Reform Bill of 1884 gave the vote to almost every adult male
- While the House of Commons drifted toward democracy, the House of Lords, between 1901-1910 ruled against labor unions in two important decisions
- After the Liberal party came to power in 1906, the Lords vetoed several measures passed by the Commons, including the People’s Budget (Lords finally gave in)
- Extensive social welfare measures were passed in a rush between 1906 and 1914
- The Liberal party between those years, inspired by David Lloyd George, raised taxes on the rich as part of the People’s Budget and this income helped the government pay for national health insurance, unemployment benefits, and old-age pensions
- On the eve of World War One, the question of Ireland brought Great Britain to the brink of civil war; after the Great Famine, English slowly granted concessions
- Liberal prime minister William Gladstone introduced bills to give Ireland self-government in 1886 and 1893 but both failed to pass
- Irish nationalists saw their change and supported the Liberals in their battle of the People’s Budget and received a home-rule bill for Ireland in return for their support
- Irish achieved self-government but Ireland was composed of two people
- The Irish Catholic majority in the southern counties wanted home rule as much as the Irish Protestants of the northern counties of Ulster came to oppose it
- The Ulsterites vowed to resist home rule in northern Ireland and by December 1913, they had raised 100,000 armed volunteers (supported by English public)
- In 1914, the Liberals in the House of Lords introduced a compromise home-rule bill that did not apply to the northern counties but was rejected and in September the original home-rule bill was passed but simultaneously suspended for hostility
- The momentous Irish question had been overtaken by world war in August 1914
- Great Britain was under an effective two-party parliament that skillfully guided the country from classical liberalism to full-fledged democracy
- The Austro-Hungarian Empire
- In 1849 Magyar nationalism had driven Hungarian patriots to declare an independent Hungarian republic which was savagely crushed by Russian and Austrian armies
- Throughout the 1850s, Hungary was ruled as a conquered territory and Emperor Francis Joseph and his bureaucracy tried hard to centralize the state
- In wake of defeat by Prussia in 1866, Austria was forced to strike a compromise and establish the dual monarchy in which the empire was divided in two and the nationalistic Magyars gained virtual independence for Hungary (shared monarch)
- In Austria ethnic Germans were only one-third of the population and by 1895, many Germans saw their traditional dominance threatened by Czechs, Poles, and Slavs
- From 1900 to 1914, the parliament ruled instead by decree and endeavors that led to the introduction of universal male suffrage in 1907 proved to be largely unsuccessful
- Conservatives and socialists tried to defuse national antagonisms with issues
- Anti-Semitism was particularly virulent in Austria and when extremists charged the Jews with controlling the economy and corrupting German culture with alien ideas and ultramodern art, anxious Germans of all classes tended to listen
- Dr. Karl Lueger combined anti-Semitic rhetoric with calls for “Christian socialism” and municipal ownership of basic services (appealed to Hitler)
- In Hungary the Magyar nobility in 1867 restored the constitution of 1848 and used to dominate both the Magyar peasantry and the minority populations until 1914
- The parliament was the creature of the Magyar elite and laws promoting use of the Hungarian language in schools and government were bitterly resented
- While Magyar extremists campaigned loudly for total separation from Austria, radical leaders of the subject nationalities dreamed in turn of independence from Hungary
- The German Empire
- Marxism and the Socialist Movement
- The Socialist International
- Socialism appealed to working men and women in the late nineteenth century
- By 1912, socialism was the largest party in the Reichstag (most successful, Germany)
- In France, various socialist parties re-emerged in the 1880s after the carnage of the Commune and were unified in 1905 in the French Section of Workers International
- Marxian socialist parties were linked together in an international organization; Marx had laid out his intellectual system in the Communist Manifesto (1848) and urged proletarians of all nations to unite against their governments (Capital, 1867)
- Marx played an important role in founding the First International of socials—the International Working Men’s Association (1864) and used it to spread doctrines
- Marx embraced patriotism of the Paris Commune, seeing it as step toward socialist revolution, and more moderate British labor leaders left (First International collapsed)
- In 1889, socialist leaders from many individual parties came together to form the Second International, delegates met to interpret Marxian doctrines (ended 1914)
- May 1st (May Day) was declared an annual international one-day strike day
- Unions and Revisionism
- Socialist parties looked toward gradual change and steady improvement for the working class and less and less toward revolution (workers won tangible benefits)
- Workers were progressively less inclined to follow radical programs
- Workers gained the right to vote and to participate politically in the nation-state
- Their attention focused more on elections than on revolutions
- Workers responded positively to parades and aggressive foreign policy as they loyally voted for socialists but workers were not a unified social group
- Worker’s standard of living rose gradually but substantially after 1850; workers tended more and more to become militantly moderate demanding gains, but they were less likely to take to the barricades in pursuit of their demanding gains
- The growth of labor unions reinforced this trend toward moderation and in the early states of industrialization, modern unions were generally prohibited by law
- Great Britain led the way in 1824 when unions won the right to exist, but not to strike
- After Owen’s attempt to form one big union in the 1830s, new and more practical kinds of unions appeared, limited to highly skilled workers (avoided radical politics)
- In Britain in the 1870s, unions won the right to strike without being held legally liable for financial damage on employers; unions for unskilled workers developed (1890)
- Germany was the most industrialized, socialized, and unionized continental country
- German unions were not granted important rights until 1869 and until the antisocialist law was repealed in 1890, they were frequently called socialist fronts
- Socialist leaders believed in iron law of wages and need for political revolution
- Increasingly, unions in Germany focused on bread-and-butter issues—wages, hours, working conditions—rather than dissemination of socialist doctrine
- Genuine collective bargaining was recognized as desirable by the German Trade Union Congress in 1899 and between 1906 and 1913, successful collective bargaining gained place in German industrial relations (gradual improvement)
- Revisionism was an effort by various socialists to update Marxian doctrines to reflect the realities of the time (Edward Bernstein, Evolutionary Socialism)
- In France, socialist leader Jean Jaures formally repudiated revisionist doctrines to establish a unified socialist party (socialist leaders supported their governments)
- The Socialist International
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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 25: The Age of Nationalism" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 04 Jan. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/european-history/outlines/chapter-25-the-age-of-nationalism/>.