I hope people are reading these posts, because no one is leaving any comments!!
I am now on page 102. Slow going primarily because of the Thanksgiving holiday. On page 95 we are in the middle of discussing how Bismark inspired and unified the people into the Second Reich. Much has been discussed about the ideals of Bismark up to this point, but the next quotes have to do with the mentality of German politics at the time.
"Despite the democratic facade put up by the establishment of the Reichstag, whose members were elected by universal manhood suffrage, the German Empire was in reality a militarist autocracy ruled by the King of Prussia, who was also Emperor. The Reichstag possessed few powers; it was little more that a debating society where the representatives of the people let off steam or bargained for shoddy benefits for the classes they represented. The throne had the power---by divine right. As late as 1910 Wilhelm II could proclaim that the royal crown had been "granted by Gods Grace alone and not by parliaments, popular assemblies and popular decision...Considering myself an instrument of the Lord," he added, "I go my own way."
"He was not impeded by Parliament. The Chancellor he appointed was responsible to him, not to the Reichstag. The assembly could not overthrow a Chancellor nor keep him in office. That was the prerogative of the monarch."
"The middle classes, grown prosperous by the belated but staggering development of the industrial revolution and dazzled by the success of Bismark's policy of force and war, had traded for material gain any aspirations for political freedom they may have had.* They accepted the Hohenzollern autocracy. They gladly knuckled under to the Junker bureaucracy and they fervently embraced Prussian militarism."
" * In a sense, the German working class made a similar trade. To combat socialism Bismark put through, between 1883 and 1889, a program for social security far beyond anything known in other countries. It included compulsory insurance for workers against old age, sickness, accident and incapacity and though organized by the state, it was financed by employers and employees. It cannot be said that it stopped the rise of the Social Democrats or the trade unions, but it did have a profound influence on the working class in that it gradually made them value security over political freedom and caused them to see the State, however conservative, as a benefactor and a protector. Hitler, as we shall see, took full advantage of this state of mind. In this, as in other matters, he learned much from Bismark. "I studied Bismark's socialist legislation," Hitler remarks in Mein Kampf (p. 155), "in its intention, struggle and success.""
Congress as of today has as little or less influence in what goes on in our countries policy making and implementation than that of the Reichstag. The Bush administration may not have done all of the damage, but they sure have seized the opportunity to reap the benefits. The Bush administration has admitted over live national television that the legislative branch of our government holds no power over the executive branch. Also quoted as saying, "if congress does not pass the bill, we will still implement it and enforce the laws in said bill as if they were laws." Therefore, the throne in this analogy would be the presidential seat.
Also, the Chancellor position would go to the Vice President. Going on the record to state that his position as Vice President and the President of the Senate results in a quasi-hybrid title whereas neither have any jurisdiction over your position.
The middle class here is in a sense, the middle class of the 80's. And the industrial revolution could be equated with the dot com revolution. Those who made their money via the internet and stock market. Notice how the middle class has been slowly drifting away from the working class? They became so focused on making money and retirement that they have not even seen the freedoms being taken from them.
The working class is the same here. And this is probably the most striking quote to date from my read. Social Security. If this is not a total blueprint for the American mindset of today. Never have I seen the impact of our social security system laid out so well, and it is not even about ours....it is Germany's.
Please post comments if you have read this. Like I said before, I welcome comments and really want to continue to post here. It is hard going though, so some support would help. Thanks
Technical Communication in Chillicothe Ohio
2 years ago