본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Social Democratic Party and the Reichstag in Wilhelm Germany (1890-1914)

Gyu-Jung Park 1

1경희대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to illustrate the attitude of the Social Democrats toward the Reichstag in Imperial Germany. Imperial Germany consisted of the Bismarck(1808-1890) and the Wilhelm period(1890-1914). In the Bismarck period, the Social Democrats were passive and negative in the Reichstag, but the Wilhelm period, they showed active and positive activities. Namely, the attitude of the Social Democrats was changed in time. Which factors determined their attitude in this period? They were an entrance of reformist line in the Social Democratic Party and their expansion, the growth of trade unions, the improvement of status of a German Parliament(Reichstag), and the existence and activities of a catholic party(Zentrum). In Bismarck period, only small number of the Social Democrats was elected to the Reichstag, but Wilhelm period, a member of Reichstag from Social Democratic Party was increased greatly. In this situation, he reformist line of the Social Democrats had advocated that the Social Democratic Party didn't stir up yet a revolutionary upheaval, but should be a practical party which could represent the interests of the working class in Reichstag, and it was accepted in time. The trade unions that supported, were organized after 1890 and expanded greatly in the Wilhelm period. They demanded the social policy that could improve a life chance of working class. Only active and positive activities of the Social Democrats in the Reichstag could satisfy this demand. In the Bismarck period, the Reichstag had week political power. Therefore, even if a party became a majority party, he couldn't play an important political role in imperial policy. So the Social Democrats didn't take interest in the Reichstag at that time. But a political situation was changed in the Wilhelm period, and the Reichstag became one of most important constitutional institution in Imperial Germany. So the Social Democrats that held many seats couldn't give up an active and positive activities in this institution. The Zentrum as a catholic party was one of most important parties in the Wilhelm period that determined an imperial policy. At that the Zentrum tried to improve the life of worker, so a part of worker was supporting this party. Because of this situation, the Social Democratic Party as a labor party had to compete against the Zentrum in election for the Reichstag. In order to gain the support of working class, the Social Democrats had to bend over backward to meet the worker's demand, and the demand was active and positive activities in the Reichstag.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.