The ‘Stopgap’ System: Domestic Policy after 1881
H. von Bismarck hoped and believed that with the aid of some clever tactics, some heavily preferential treatment during the forthcoming election and a clearly defined policy in line with the demands of both parties it might be possible to change the situation before too long. Despite the rapidly gathering clouds on the foreign policy horizon, then, after the 1884 election the Chancellor felt positively invigorated. Since the change of course in domestic policy in 1878–1879 Bismarck had in fact made several attempts to hit upon a modus vivendi that would make possible a gradual reconciliation with Catholic interests. In the ranks of the Centre Party it nourished many a secret doubt about Ludwig Windthorst’s confrontation and coalition policy, even with regard to the Polish groups. Windthorst immediately recognized the dangers that the implied for himself and for his policy.