The failure of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf: Catholicism and state power in Imperial Germany, 1871-
- One of Bismarck’s los...
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The failure of bismarck’s kulturkampf - social


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Failure of Bismarck's Kulturkampf

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  1. 1. The failure of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf: Catholicism and state power in Imperial Germany, 1871- 1887 - One of Bismarck’s lost battles is the Kulturkampf which was a church-state conflict in 1871-87 - Prussia and Germany’s political authority had the ability to implement and enforce government policies in the face of the concerted and often imaginative opposition of German Catholics and the Vatican. - There are two major inter-related issues: 1. The Kulturkampf battle fronts 2. The nature of the Bismarckian authoritarian state - Ronald J. Ross suggests that deeply-rooted Reichtsstaat traditions frustrated the realization of the government’s political agenda - A successful enforcement of government policies depend on public support which the Kulturkampf did not constitute a majority of non-Catholic Germans and some would critic and actively oppose it. - State officials suffered from “arrogance of power.” They were certain of eventual success and refused to reassess their battle plans and weaponry even when the Catholics wouldn’t surrender. - The price of the Kulturkapf and the destruction of religion was high. - Abolition of some church religious orders impaired the education and the health services run by priest or members of the clergy. - Attacks on the church strengthened the chief political arm of German Catholicism, the center party and other mass Catholic organization. - Rebelliousness and sedition broke out and state officials were helpless and concerned that further coercion would intensify lawlessness - Government officials were unable to silence the Catholic press. The weaknesses of the Bismarckian authoritarian state: - Administrative machinery had not kept pace with the growth of its economic and military power - Prussian civil servants continued to be guided by traditions, customs and the Reichtsstaat mentality of the mid-19th century. - Olds means and structures were assumed to still be effective - Bismarck was unwilling to alter his fighting forces - The price of modernization would have been too high - The new Reich and Bismarck’s dominant position was created through labor - Competing interests had to be carefully balances - Modernization was needed to win the Kulturkampf and it would endanger the existence of the new Reich - The Kulturkampf affected the opposite of what Bismarck intended to. It inhibited the hoped-for process of consolidation and actually intensified divisions