The Political Alignment of the Centre Party in Wilhelmine Germany: A Study of the Party's Emergence in Nineteenth-Century Württemberg
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CitationBlackbourn, David. 1975. The political alignment of the Centre Party in Wilhelmine Germany: A study of the party's emergence in nineteenth-century Württemberg. Historical Journal 18(4): 821-850.
AbstractLess than a month before Bismarck's dismissal as German chancellor, the Reichstag elections of February 1890 destroyed the parliamentary majority of the Kartell parties - National Liberals and Conservatives - with whose support he had governed. The number of Reichstag seats held by diese parties fell from 221 to 140, out of the total of 397; they never again achieved more than 169. To the multitude of problems left by Bismarck to his successors was therefore added one of parliamentary arithmetic: how was the chancellor to organize a Reichstag majority when the traditional governmental parties by themselves were no longer large enough, and the intransigently anti-governmental SPD was constantly increasing its representation? It was in this situation that the role of the Centre party in Wilhelmine politics became decisive, for between 1890 and 1914 the party possessed a quarter of the seats in the Reichstag, and thus held the balance of power between Left and Right.
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