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Aber Die Grundlage War Noch Nicht Oekonomischer, Sondern Sozialer Natur Essay, Research Paper

“Aber die Grundlage der ersten grossen Ruestungswelle

der achtziger und Anfang der neunziger Jahre war noch nicht

oekonomischer, sondern sozialer Natur” ? Kehr believed that as the middle classes of the 1880s felt the

pressure of the Socialist threat, it allied itself with the

monarchy and aristocracy in a mutually beneficial alliance built

on the common ground of property ownership.? This feudal middle

class’s domestic concern and support for the Crown began to

show itself in the form of the growth of the Reserve

Officers’ Corps.? The 1888 army law’s increase of the

maximum age of national service to 45 and the 23% growth in the

standing army was a reaction not to an economic circumstance, but

the need to ward off the socialist menace.? Increasing the

recruiting quota to 30% and service time to two years risked

diluting the army with democratic ideas, but this was viewed as a

necessary danger in the cause of protecting the middle class.? As

the army grew from 750,000 to 1.2 million men between 1875 and

1888, the praetorian air of the army was gone, and the officer

corps had to be maintained at an artificially low level because

the need to keep democracy out of the army was paramount and only

aristocrats were viewed as having adequate incentive to maintain

the commissioned posts with the required line.? There was a

massive shortage of officers as 56 Prussian regiments in 1902

received no applicants for commissions, and the middle-classed

officers were restricted in number not only by middle classed

liberalism, but also by the snobbery of the selections

procedure. The social issues referred to by Kehr were the fall of the

aristocracy and the rise of socialism.? The 1880s and 1890s were

a time of great trauma for the aristocracy and monarchy.?

Political parties had come into existence as a powerful medium

for middle classed beliefs and the labour movements were rapidly

experiencing great growth.? The agrarian conservative Junker

parties that had been backed in the 1870s by peasants under

duress by their landowners. ?The Kulturkampf isolated the

Catholics from supporting the agrarian conservatives, and the

process of industrialisation led to deruralisation –

population growth and urbanisation both eroded the power of the

agrarian sector at the ballot box.? This social change diminished

the power of the landowners and threatened the middle classes as

the old status quo fell to the socialists, and as the majority of

the population became industrial and urban, the army did so too,

therefore reducing its potency, as the conscripts could have been

seen to have had leftist urban leanings. An agricultural depression in the 1870s and 1880s did have an

effect on the power of the aristocracy, but Kehr sees this

economic factor as no greatly important factor in the growth of

the army.? The German government came to see itself as owing more

to its supporters than to its critics and in Liebknecht’s

words, the state’s policies became “a princely

insurance policy against democracy.”? The failure of the

1890 anti-Socialist laws vindicates not only the view that the

power of the Socialists was becoming prohibitive to their lords,

but also indicates the power of sentiment regarding the threat of

the Left.? Investigations into the legality of force against

insurgent towns under the 1851 ‘State of Siege Act’

by the army indicate a high level of fear at the highest

levels. ?The possibility of an 1866-style war that would empower the

nationalists in any election through jingoism was an avenue being

investigated by the rightist bloc, but the prestige of a large

army, as it happened was all that they would be content to get in

this timeframe.

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