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Prologue

  • Marius S. OstrowskiEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The German Kaiserreich of the Hohenzollern collapsed. The power that had acted as midwife for its rise, the policy of blood and iron [Blut und Eisen], was its gravedigger. It had grown to a prodigiously powerful position [Machtstellung]. Its political unity, the tearing-down of all economic-political boundaries in its interior, and an only temporarily-interrupted policy of trade agreements with a most-favoured-nation clause had proved themselves extremely beneficial to the development of its industry and trade. From a poor Germany, it had become, as its national economists proudly calculated precisely in the years 1912, 1913, 1914, a “rich Germany”. The Helfferichs, the Steinmann-Buchers and their colleagues demonstrated that Germany’s national wealth had in numerical terms partly reached and partly even outstripped that of the Western powers England and France, who were once so far ahead of Germany in this regard. It appeared no less dominant [machtgebietend] in the military domain. It had hothoused its naval fleet to a height that was only exceeded by the island empire Great Britain, and its land forces were surpassed, though in numbers by those of Russia, in their true potential capability [Leistungsfähigkeit] by those of no other country. Hence, with a certain right, so far at least as Central and Western Europe were concerned, could the third of the Hohenzollern Kaisers one day utter the proud statement that without Germany’s say-so “no shot would ring out in Europe”. Yet this consciousness of his own power [Machtbewußtsein] became his doom.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.All Souls CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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