Summary of Bismarck’s domestic policy in Germany, 1871-90


-In Berlin, there were 10,000 homeless people in 1871



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-In Berlin, there were 10,000 homeless people in 1871.

-Typically an urban German working class family had to spend 25% of their income on often unsafe and cramped accommodation.

-12 hour working days (for children and adults alike), six days per week constituted a normal weekly working pattern.

-In many of Germany’s largest cities the average life expectancy was less than 40 throughout the 1880s.

Although, like the Krupps of Essen, there were some philanthropic industrialists who helped their factory workers, the majority really only sought to look after one thing: profit.
-Unsurprisingly, all this suffering led to a growth in support for the socialists. Similarly, a new political group called the Mittelstand emerged, which was made up of independent farmers, skilled craftsmen and small shopkeepers, many of whom had been put out of business by the industrialisation and 1873 depression. A more worrying trend, however, was the anti-Semitism it began to encourage by the 1880s. This was allowed to happen partly because 45% of the German banking system (who demanded back loans from bankrupt farmers and labourers) and many of the big chain stores putting small shopkeepers etc. out of business were owned by Jewish people. Newspapers and political parties played on the prejudices concerning Jews deliberately profiteering from the agricultural depression, one Catholic newspaper in Wurttemberg, for example, printing in bold the names of any Jewish people convicted of crimes…


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