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How two men forged the German Empire

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    Posted: 25 Jan 2015 at 05:15
To what extent do you agree with the "strong man" theory of history, where certain individuals are responsible for major events? This article argues that two men, Otto von Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II were primarily responsible for the rise and eventual collapse of the German Empire:

http://theglobalstate.com/history/how-two-men-forged-the-german-empire/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2015 at 01:25
Interesting and very good article. I am concordant with the opinion, that these 2 persons were founders of German Empire
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2015 at 17:00
William 2. was hardly responsible for the Foundation of the German "Empire" in 1871, since that happened long before he had any influence or power. The German possessions overseas never became that extensive, more like leftovers from the great colonial powers, Britain, France and the Netherlands.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fintan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2015 at 11:07
I think about the Kaiser that his world was other than this, maybe Jupiter, the same as the Zar and other monarchies that past to the History Books in all Europe at those times.
About Bismark as an iron man was good untill he die, cause system past the power to Wilhem, that use to make all the oposite to Bismark thinks (in special the Russian alliance with France). He really don't make the 2ºReich, Prussia make that and Prussia is the army of Frederick the Great. maybe  Bismark with his panic to the alliances that no control makes the commercial and industrial mentality of quality as a way to have not empire cause the English and French has and empire to sell and to fight. That is the reason Germans are better in industry and commerce that the empires cause they rivals have an Empire  for selling and they sell cheaper ad better (Like in the film " The Bridge on the River Kwai", but with german, no british as example).
I think was Frederick who said that If Prussia don't have the Perú as Spain, the way to be Great was the work, or something like.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2015 at 15:07
Great man (or strong man) theory of history is one way to approach history, but they say, "there is more than one way to skin a cat." (which is hard on cats, but the point is still relevant).  Interesting article, Bismark makes it, and Wilhelm II breaks it.  It's a useful way of looking at it, but not the only useful way of looking at it.
From what I understand, Germany had a problem with food production, and it didn't have the same overseas Empire that Britain, France, or even Spain, Belgium, USA or Russia (in the East) had.  However, with all those little principalities, each one (in the age of Enlightenment) had to have its own university and orchestra for prestige sake.  A lot of Universities meant a lot of scientists working on the problem.  In trying to come up with artificial fertilizers, various artificial dies were made.  Ironically, a German came up with nitrate fertilizer (in the 18th century??), but was a Brit who patented it.  Also another invention by the Germans was the thermos bottle, which if you introduce a few changes, becomes the liquid propelled rocket.  But Germans had a lot of scientists because of the universities, and they needed scientists, because of the food shortage, and so it is not surprising that German scientists dominated the early Nobel prizes.  So yes, the strong man theory is one approach, but as the Buddha says, "there are many paths up the mountain of Enlightenment (different Enlightenment)."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fintan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2015 at 15:42
A theory but much more solid you can find in this book:

http://www.amazon.com/German-Empire-1871-1918-Hans-Ulrich-Wehler/dp/090758232X

With the alliances system of Bismark, France was the bank of Rusia, and Germany buy the grain to Rusia, this was an equilibrium that affect negatively to the Prussian Aristocrace that Bismark can control.
With Wilhem this equilibrium dissapear because the kaiser gave in with this aristocrace. This circunstance make closer France and Russia (that from Napoleon times have this sympathy, France, althought Napoleón destroy it with his invasion)

The other circunsatnces are like but not the same.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2015 at 17:45
Germany does not have that bad conditions for agriculture, compared to other countries, especially the industrialised parts of Western Europe, where countries like Britain gor much of their food from elsewhere (a country like Denmark was mainly a food supplier, since it did not have so much else for export).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2015 at 09:51
No, I wasn't saying that Germany had bad problems with agriculture, it is just my humble understanding, that they had potential problems in the area of food production that other European countries (especially those with colonies) did not.  But also, other countries could import fertilizer (bird guano), from colonies whereas Germany could not.  Britain actually used mummified Egyptian cats for fertilizer.  I guess at one time there must have been a lot of them.  Think about that when some country waxes poetic about protecting world cultural heritage.

Don't misunderstand me, when I say "theory," I am saying that any kind of interpretation you choose is going to be a theory.  One never has just "pure" facts, there is always some kind of selection process which says which facts are relevant and which are not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2015 at 17:16
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

No, I wasn't saying that Germany had bad problems with agriculture, it is just my humble understanding, that they had potential problems in the area of food production that other European countries (especially those with colonies) did not.  But also, other countries could import fertilizer (bird guano), from colonies whereas Germany could not.  Britain actually used mummified Egyptian cats for fertilizer.  I guess at one time there must have been a lot of them.  Think about that when some country waxes poetic about protecting world cultural heritage.

Don't misunderstand me, when I say "theory," I am saying that any kind of interpretation you choose is going to be a theory.  One never has just "pure" facts, there is always some kind of selection process which says which facts are relevant and which are not.
If You takes the colonial empires into account I to some degree can follow that. But even then I wonder how big difference that may have done in peacetime. At that time the U.S.of A and Argentina were amongst the biggest exporters of agricultural products (I think they are still so), and those countries were not parts of any colonial empires. There was also several other parts of Europe with even worse conditions regarding food supplies, though most of those did not have military or other means to force anything through. Like Italy (It would surprise me if the contributions of its colonies were but negligible, and they probably were uneconomical as well), the AH-empire, northern Scandinavia, Switzerland, and I am not sure about Spain at that time. But then when war broke out Germany and its allies were in a worse position than the western powers, regarding food supply, since minor european food producers could not replace the vast production and export from overseas. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2015 at 17:23
More to this thread: Since movements for german nationhood and unification started well before William 2. or Bismarch had any influence it is hard to see them as the only "makers of Germany".
On the other hand it is at least open to discussion wether a German nation withoutm them could have developed in an entirely different way. So 19.thy century question aboout Germany was not so much wether or not it would become a mayor player in Europe, but what kind of "player" (or force, nation).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fintan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Aug 2015 at 14:59
When the German Empire fight his first wars, It was not a coincidence that France and Austria lost the war (between others). Simply the in the past the weak and medieval Holly-Roman-Empire, divided in numerous principlaties have two ways of unification. The austrian and the Prussian.The new Empire wants to take to France the place of firt european power, that comes from population. Now the 1er Reich have much more population than france and better "Industrial Revolution". Julio Caesar maybe save from germans the gauls, but now Germany became in head and maybe all was due to Bismark, but Prussia was made by Frederick. The bad look of germans is that the USA was ready to inherit the world... from England, I mean the imperialist european english way. But they didn't know it, as the french or the europeans so   absorbed were by theirself. Then, thinking to conquest Europe, is conquest the world, the German has received two big hits, by the American new world industrial potence like with Napoleón was for England the roll to save Europe from tirany (an english tradition). And American has made of Japanese and German something more danger still although they think they know what they are doing. Only Germans can control Germany, and they have not freedom to make it. Hitler is by now the last monster europeans have created. And this is  a theory plenty of real facts.
Who have convert a sanctuary for Europeans that run away from a militarist Europe to an Imperialist Power?William McKinley , Woodrow Wilson,  Franklin D. Roosevelt, mainly. Why? For Germany in part, in part because was inevitable, as  Dwight D. Eisenhower sense.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Dec 2015 at 20:59
read the article from the first post, really interesting
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