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Left Liberals, the State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany$
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Alastair Thompson

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205432.001.0001

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Left Liberals in National Politics, 1907–1912

Left Liberals in National Politics, 1907–1912

(p.158) 5 Left Liberals in National Politics, 1907–1912
Left Liberals, the State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany

Alastair P. Thompson

Oxford University Press

How did the government and left liberals, after more than two decades of dispute focused on ‘national’ issues, come to be fighting a nationalistic Reichstag election campaign on the same side in December 1906? And what did the resultant ‘Bülow Bloc’, the uneasy collection of Conservatives, anti-Semites, National Liberals, and left liberals called upon to provide a government majority, mean both for the course of German politics in general, and left liberal integrity and influence in particular? The Bloc brought a new emphasis to relations between government, public, press, and political parties. The 1909 finance reform has long been recognized as a significant event in Wilhelmine history. It was the first time a Chancellor, Bernhard von Bülow, had been forced to resign as a result of a parliamentary vote. The finance reform was also a major ingredient in the SPD's dramatic rise from forty-three to 110 seats in the Reichstag elections of January 1912.

Keywords:   Reichstag, elections, left liberals, politics, Bülow Bloc, SPD, political parties, press, finance reform, Bernhard von Bülow

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