Bismarck’s system in decline 1879–1890
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Bismarck’s system in decline 1879–1890 book
The turn towards conservatism seen in the socialist law of 1878 and the tariffs of 1879 did not solve any of the underlying problems of a rapidly changing German society, nor did it enable Bismarck to find the docile majority he wanted in the Reichstag. The ideal solution in his mind would have been to do away with the Reichstag altogether. The threats of a constitutional coup which he made more or less openly from time to time were, however, never carried out and perhaps even he did not think they seriously could be. He tried by one means and another to reduce the importance of the Reichstag, curtailment of sessions, of budgetary control and so on. Alternatively he tried to make the parties more amenable and in the case of the Socialists to suppress them. He wanted to end the Kulturkampf, but the process of turning the Centre into a governmental party was to be long drawn out and Bismarck could not rely on Centre party support for the remainder of his time in office. Their support for the tariff law did not extend to other matters and they remained suspicious of the state and of Bismarck’s manipulations.