What was the second German empire

German Empire / German Empire

1) D. R. is the official name of the German state from 1871 to 1945. A distinction must be made between: the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1918–1933) and the period of National Socialism (so-called Third Reich, 1933–1945).

2) The German Empire was founded in 1871 as the successor to the North German Confederation. With the accession of the southern German states, the empire was created under the exclusion of Austria (AUT) as a so-called "small German solution". It was dissolved by the abdication of the emperor in 1918. The basis of the empire was the imperial constitution of 1871, which established a federal state structure and left the 25 federal states and the realm of Alsace-Lorraine extensive independence. At the head was the German Kaiser (the kings of Prussia: Wilhelm I, Friedrich III and Wilhelm II), who appointed the Chancellor. This exercised his office as the responsible sole minister of the Reich and superior of the heads of the Reich offices (not ministers) and was at the same time chairman of the Federal Council. The legislation was exercised by the Bundesrat and the Reichstag. The (more important) Federal Council consisted of delegates from the member states; Of the 58 (since 1911: 61) votes, 17 went to Prussia. The Reichstag was elected in a general, equal, direct and secret ballot (elections) (in one-man constituencies with an absolute majority) by all male Germans over 25 years of age. It had to be convened every year by the emperor; the Kaiser could dissolve the Reichstag with the consent of the Bundesrat. The Reich Chancellor was not politically responsible to the Reichstag because he was appointed (or dismissed) by the Kaiser and determined the guidelines of politics in consultation with him. The most important parties of the empire were among others: the Social Democratic Party (workers), the National Liberal Party (bourgeoisie), the German Center Party (Catholics), the German Liberal Party (later: Liberal Association or Liberal People's Party; trade and banks) and the German Conservative Party (Prussian landowners and rural people in the east).

The empire was founded by the first chancellor, O. v. Bismarck (until 1890) coined. Its conservative-authoritarian regiment opposed bourgeois liberalism and parliamentary democracy (including the ban on social democracy in 1878), but at the same time founded the German social security system (social security). This contributed to the relaxation of the social situation of the workers, but ultimately (until the end of the First World War) the necessary social and political change (from an agricultural to an industrial society) was delayed. In terms of foreign policy, Bismarck pursued a policy of equilibrium in Europe, which was not continued under Wilhelm II. led to the First World War (1914–1918). The outbreak of war initially united the diverging social forces (including the Reichstag). With increasing tiredness of war and finally with the surrender, however, the pent-up political and social problems broke out again. Revolutionary movements in DEU and the war defeat led to the end of the German Empire.
See also:
Weimar Republic
National Socialism
Austria (AUT)
Political party
Social security
Industrial society
World war

Source: Schubert, Klaus / Martina Klein: Das Politiklexikon. 7th, updated and exp. Edition Bonn: Dietz 2020. Licensed edition Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education.