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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Retaining the stamp with the Bavarian lion


Prussia and the Empire.

In addition to the political strife and anxiety due to this fundamental cleavage within the nation, Germany was troubled during the first decade of the 20th century by friction and jealousies arising out of the federal constitution of the Empire and the preponderant place in it of Prussia. In the work of pressing on the national and international expansion of Germany the interests and views of the lesser constituent states of the Empire were apt to be overlooked or overridden; and in the southern states there was considerable resentment at the unitarian tendency of the north, which seemed to aim at imposing the Prussian model on the whole nation. This resentment was especially conspicuous in Bavaria, which clings more tenaciously than the other states to its separate traditions. When, on the 1st of April 1902, a new stamp, with the superscription "Deutsches Reich," was issued for the Empire, including Wurttemberg, Bavaria refused to accept it, retaining the stamp with the Bavarian lion, thus emphasizing her determination to retain her separate postal establishment. On the 23rd of October 1903 Baron Podevils, the new premier, addressing the Bavarian diet, declared that his government "would combat with all its strength" any tendency to assure the future of the Empire on any lines other than the federative basis laid down in the imperial constitution.

Personal intervention of the emperor.

style="text-align: justify;">This protest was the direct outcome of an instance of the tendency of the emperor to interfere in the affairs of the various governments of the Empire. In 1902 the Clerical majority in the Bavarian diet had refused to vote L20,000 asked by the government for art purposes, whereupon the emperor had telegraphed expressing his indignation and offering to give the money himself, an offer that was politely declined. Another instance of the emperor's interference, constitutionally of more importance as directly affecting the rights of the German sovereigns, was in the question of the succession to the principality of Lippe (see LIPPE). The impulsive character of the emperor, which led him, with the best intentions and often with excellent effect, to interfere everywhere and in everything and to utter opinions often highly inconvenient to his ministers, was the subject of an interpellation in the Reichstag on the 20th of January 1903 by the Socialist Herr von Vollmar, himself a Bavarian. Count Bulow, in answer to his criticisms, declared that "the German people desired, not a shadow, but an emperor of flesh and blood." None the less, the continued "indiscretions" of the emperor so incensed public opinion that, five years later, the chancellor himself was forced to side with it in obtaining from the emperor an undertaking to submit all his public utterances previously to his ministers for approval (see WILLIAM II., German emperor).

The non-German nationalities.


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