Bismarck and The German Military
The tenure of Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of the North German Confederation and later as Chancellor of German Reich is characterized by a struggle for funding to allow the military to expand and modernize. The military, and especially the Junker dominated officer corps, was extremely suspicious of the financial control over military affairs exercised by the Reichstag, and believed that their primary allegiance lay directly with the Kaiser and not with an elected legislature.In your research paper on Bismarch and his relationship with the German Military, be sure to cover the following topics:
- Bismarck, while supporting the army objectives, was a consummate politician who recognized the necessity of extending at least the illusion of control over the military affairs to an elected body in order to maintain the still-fragile unity of the German states.
- Although Bismarck was personally a militarist and advocated the benefits of establishing a superior military force for Germany, political necessity often forced him to adopt positions that the General Staff believed were contrary to the best interests of the army.
In general, the German military developed the paradigm of allegiance and subordination to the Kaiser alone during the Imperial period, which was an extension of Prussian allegiance of the Junker class to the king. It was an authoritarian model based on a hierarchical chain of command. The political and social changes of the nineteenth century, however, introduced an element of civilian involvement with military affairs, which was resented by many of the traditionalists in the officer corps. Bismarck was faced with the task of reconciling the political and social necessities of his times with the conservative views of the military.