Essay on Germany in 1871-1990

Date:  2021-06-26 09:28:44
7 pages  (1694 words)
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Introduction

Germany known as the Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic located in the Central-western Europe, and it contains 16 states. Its population is approximately 82 million. Germany became an independent nation in 1871, and after the reunification in 1990, it became the Federal Republic of Germany. Between 1871 and 1990 Germany underwent incredible economic growth, changes in social mobilization and political participation.

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Economic Growth

Germany state was created towards the end of two decades of swift economic expansion when Germany states outshined France in railway building, coal, and steel production. Germany became the second industrial giant by 1915 after the United States of America. Germany saw sustained economic expansion between 1890 and 1914, with the growth rate hitting 7-8 percent. The economic growth was as a result of containing elevating production in primary industrialization areas including heavy engineering, coal, iron, and textile. Additionally, the diversification of the economy into sophisticated manufacturing for example chemicals, steel and electrics facilitated the growth (Berghahn, 2005).

Germany banks played a significant role in the financing of the Germany industry. Various banks created cartels in different industries. The Germany courts accepted the cartel contracts as legal and binding. The cartelization process began in 1870, but after 1873 it is when the cartel movement gained popularity. Cartelization commenced in the heavy industry and spread to other sectors. By 1875 there were eight operational cartels, in 1890 they rose to 210, in 1900 they were 275 cartels, and by 1908 the cartels increased to 500. The most prevailing cartels of the time included the Ruhr coal syndicate and the Rhenish Steel Syndicate. The cartels played a significant role not only in the economic growth of the country but also influenced politics (Berghahn, 2005).

Starting 1929, the great depression stuck Germany leading to declining in economy and rise of unemployment (Baten, 2016). There were no Loans from America. Unemployment rose particularly in the larger cities resulting in violence and extremism as the political spectrum center weakened. The failure of Germany's major banks in 1931 worsened the situation. The great depression several affected the economy of the country since it financed the recovery as well as rationalization its leading industries by unsustainable foreign lending. Additionally, the war-reparation obligations decreased investment prosperity, and most significantly the government put into operation a rigid austerity policy which led to deflation (Baten, 2016). As unemployment rose to greater heights, the national socialists formulated a trade policy which consisted of autarkic policy regime with the purpose to cancel all the imports which the domestic substitutes would replace for consumer-oriented industries. The government allowed only iron ore and related items imports since German aimed at strengthening military products production (Baten, 2016). Despite the great depression, the economic growth of Germany proved immense. The Germany landowners, producers, aristocrats and bankers created the German economic miracle.

Between 1933 and 1945 during Hitler's reign, the Germany economy prospered with support from the government as the Germany government provided subsidies to the sectors which tended to provide military power as well as economic autarky to the country; economic independence. Conquered territories and people exploitation sustained the German economy during the war. The war destroyed the physical capital in the conquered territories, but German's industrial capacity significantly increased despite the massive bombing. However, after the war, this substantial capacity was useless as Baten (2016) notes since it specialized in the production of armament. During the same period, there was increase in employment among the urbanized workers due to rearmament programs and public work schemes with the Nazi barring trade unions as well as the ability to strike. As the Nazi expanded the Germany industry to prepare for the war, it furthered the growth of the working class population (Baten, 2016).

Germany overtook Britain in 1950s in comparable levels of productivity for the whole economy following trends in the services instead of trends in the industry. Germany adopted the Marshall Plan as a strategy of modernizing business procedures as well as utilizing the best practices. Due to rapid mechanization in German in the 1950s, farm employment significantly reduced facilitating the development of service industry. The quick increase in physical and human capital accumulation and government policy aided the development of the service sector further facilitated by effective education sector utilization to establish a productive workforce (Broadberry, 2004).

The rail system rapidly developed under the German states government promotion. The rail system raised the demand for coal and steel. The Ruhr Valley coalfields were fully developed making Germany the largest producer of coal in Europe. By 1990 the output from coal rose to 280, 000 tons and its employment increased to approximately 1, 400 (Berghahn, 2005). Also, the steel industry significantly developed and together with coal development they led to the expansion of the banking and capital markets in Germany. By mid-1870s, there were seven operational banks including Reichsbank that dominated commerce. The banks arranged private loans to the industry as well as public loans to the state facilitating the development of other new industries including electrical and chemicals in the 19th century. The chemical industry in Germany became the most advanced worldwide allowing significant advancement of science in Germany such as Robert Koch's work (Baten, 2016). Overall, the railroad, coal and steel production, banking industry, cartels, chemical industry, and service industry facilitated economic growth of Germany rapidly during the 1871-1990 period.

Social mobilization

Social mobilization in Germany between 1871 and 1990 emerged with the socialists forming the Social Democratic Party (SDP) focusing on improving social conditions in Germany (Brown, n.d.). Between 1875and 1933, the SDP extracted concessions in areas including education as well as social policy. It was also able to raise wages as well as improving the municipal laborers' working conditions such as improving the miners' safety. Additionally, the social democratic movement helped a majority of the Germans in securing their legal rights, particularly in social security. Also, the dynamic educational movement comprised of many courses and lectures, a central school for education for workers, libraries, and theater performances thereby the SDP delivered necessary tools for social struggle and cultural movement (Potthoff & Miller, 2005).

Further, the SDP steered the introduction of a binding state arbitration of the labor conflicts, established the councils of workers in the major industrial companies as well as opened the path to rural laborers unionization. Under Weimar between 1918 and 1933, the SDP put social justice ideas into practice through influencing progressive social changes. They reintroduced the Bismarkian welfare state giving protection to the disadvantaged, aged, the young, and the unemployed. In 1918, SDP introduced the unemployment insurance benefits, recognition of the trade unions and the eight-hour workday and the municipalities under the control of SDP control established health clinics, expanded the educational as well as job training opportunities (Potthoff & Miller, 2005)

By 1920s, SDP pushed the expansion of the social welfare programs and most importantly the idea of citizens having the right to have basic needs met by the society. The protective measures for the workers rapidly improved under SDP's influence and facilitated positive changes in unemployment insurance, municipal housing building, and maternity benefits. In 1945, the socialists focused in carrying out reforms at the local level (Potthoff & Miller, 2005). SDP led to local labor exchanges establishment and the introduction of the unemployment benefits. The socialists organized educational courses, sports club, choral societies, and ran welfare clinics, and organized festivals. They facilitated the rising of various social progressive reforms. Additionally, the party enabled the formation of legislations incorporating the social reforms, improving the wages and the working conditions and outlawing child labor. In the subsequent decades, SDP focused on improving the social situation of the Germany (Potthoff & Miller, 2005).

Political Participation

Germany became a nation state in 1871 following the unification of most states into a Prussian-dominated Germany empire after three successful wars by Prussia, and Otto Von Bismarck became the first Chancellor of Germany and governed between 1871 and 1890 (Feuchtwanger, 2014). The parliamentary Weimar Republic replaced the Germany Empire after the 1918-1919 German Revolution. The seizure of power by Nazi in 1933 led to the creation of the Nazi Germany built upon the dictatorship of Hitler and led to World War II. After the war in 1945, Germany was dived into two; West and East Germany. In 1990, West and East Germany reunited resulting the creating of the Federal Republic of Germany (Berghahn, 2005).

Since the origin, Germany as governed under the constitution that Otto Von Bismarck, the North German Confederation's Prussian prime minister. The constitution reflected Germany's rural nature in 1867 as well as Bismarck's authoritarian proclivities. There were two houses including the Reichstag which represented the people and the Bundesrat which represented the 25 states. The Bundesrat received a legislative proposal, and the Reichstag received the proposal only if the upper house approved them. The emperor chose the imperial ministers, and they were answerable to them and not to the legislature (Berghahn, 2005). Following the unification of Germany, the nation came up with the rule of law.

In the period 18971-1990, the rule of law in Germany existed within the hierarchical societies and authoritarian governments framework dominated by the land-owning aristocracies. The Third Reich destroyed the rule of law which had evolved within Germany's confederal states and the first and second Republics. The Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945, under Hitler, created a state of lawlessness where the violence and terror ruled and imposed by brutal, repressive agencies of Nazi control, the Gestapo and SS (Democracy Web, n.d.). After the war, the rule of law became apparent. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) established a stable democracy with a solid foundation for the rule of law which protected the citizens' rights. The East Germany created a communist dictatorship which robbed citizens of the rule of law in all respects as well as kept the society under control through constant surveillance and pervasive repression. The reunification of the West and East Germany in 1990, the East Germany accepted the Federal Republics constitution (Democracy Web, n.d).

The rule of law (basic law) adopted in 1949 governed the United Federal Republic of Germany (Berghahn, 2005). Even though the well-defined federal structure illustrated the American influence, the legal and political system reflected Germany's history and most outstandingly the barbarism of Nazi rule rejection by the post-war political parties of Federal Republic as well as other representative institutions in Germany such as the trade union movement whose leaders resisted Nazism. Preserving human dignity by respecting and protecting by state authority is the most significant princip...

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