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

Resignation of Prince von Bulow


Meanwhile,

the attempt to complete the Germanization of the frontier provinces of the Empire by conciliation or repression continued. In this respect progress was made especially in Alsace-Lorraine. In May 1902, in return for the money granted by the _Reichslander_ for the restoration of the imperial castle of Hohekonigsburg in the Vosges, the emperor promised to abolish the _Diktaturparagraphen_; the proposal was accepted by the Reichstag, and the exceptional laws relating to Alsace-Lorraine were repealed. Less happy were the efforts of the Prussian government at the Germanization of Prussian Poland and Schleswig. In the former, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the attempt to crush the Polish language and spirit, the Polish element continuously increased, reinforced by immigrants from across the frontier; in the latter the Danish language more than held its own, for similar reasons, but the treaty signed on the 11th of January 1907 between Prussia and Denmark, as to the status of the Danish "optants" in the duchies, removed the worst grievance from which the province was suffering (see SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN QUESTION).

Resignation of Prince von Bulow.

Of more serious import were the yearly and increasing deficits in the imperial budget, and the consequent enormous growth of the debt. This was partly due to the commercial and industrial depression of the early years of the century, partly was another outcome of the federal

constitution, which made it difficult to adjust the budget to the growing needs of the Empire without disarranging the finances of its constitutent states. The crisis became acute when the estimates for the year 1909 showed that some L25,000,000 would have to be raised by additional taxes, largely to meet the cost of the expanded naval programme. The budget presented to the Reichstag by Prince Bulow, which laid new burdens upon the landed and capitalist classes, was fiercely opposed by the Agrarians, and led to the break-up of the Liberal-Conservative _bloc_ on whose support the chancellor had relied since the elections of 1906. The budget was torn to pieces in the committee selected to report on it; the Liberal members, after a vain protest, seceded; and the Conservative majority had a free hand to amend it in accordance with their views. In the long and acrimonious debates that followed in the Reichstag itself the strange spectacle was presented of the chancellor fighting a coalition of the Conservatives and the Catholic Centre with the aid of the Socialists and Liberals. The contest was from the first hopeless, and, but for the personal request of the emperor that he would pilot the Finance Bill through the House in some shape or other, Prince Bulow would have resigned early in the year. So soon as the budget was passed he once more tendered his resignation, and on the 14th of July a special edition of the _Imperial Gazette_ announced that it had been accepted by the emperor. The post of imperial chancellor was at the same time conferred on Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the imperial secretary of state for the interior.[9] (W. A. P.)

_Bibliography of German History._--Although the authorities for the history of Germany may be said to begin with Caesar, it is Tacitus who is especially useful, his _Germania_ being an invaluable mine of information about the early inhabitants of the country. In the dark and disordered centuries which followed there are only a few scanty notices of the Germans, mainly in the works of foreign writers like Gregory of Tours and Jordanes; and then the 8th and 9th centuries, the time of the revival of learning which is associated with the name of Charlemagne, is reached. By the end of this period Christianity had been firmly established among most of the German tribes; the monks were the trustees of the new learning, and we must look mainly, although not exclusively, to the monasteries for our authorities. The work of the monks generally took the form of _Annales_ or _Chronica_, and among the numerous German monasteries which are famous in this connexion may be mentioned Fulda, Reichenau, St Gall and Lorsch. For contemporary history and also for the century or so which preceded the lifetimes of their authors these writings are fairly trustworthy, but beyond this they are little more than collections of legends. There are also a large number of lives of saints and churchmen, in which the legendary element is still more conspicuous.


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