1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Germany
GERMANY (Ger. Deutschland), or, more properly, The German Empire (Deutsches Reich), a country of central Europe. The territories occupied by peoples of distinctively Teutonic race and language are commonly designated as German, and in this sense may be taken to include, besides Germany proper (the subject of the present article), the German-speaking sections of Austria, Switzerland and Holland. But Germany, or the German empire, as it is now understood, was formed in 1871 by virtue of treaties between the North German Confederation and the South German states, and by the acquisition, in the peace of Frankfort (May 10, 1871), of Alsace-Lorraine, and embraces all the countries of the former German Confederation, with the exception of Austria, Luxemburg, Limburg and Liechtenstein. The sole addition to the empire proper since that date is the island of Heligoland, ceded by Great Britain in 1890, but Germany has acquired extensive colonies in Africa and the Pacific (see below, Colonies).
The German empire extends from 47° 16′ to 55° 53′ N., and from 5° 52′ to 22° 52′ E. The eastern provinces project so far that the extent of German territory is much greater from south-west to north-east than in any other direction. Tilsit is 815 m. from Metz, whereas Hadersleben, in Schleswig, is only 540 m. from the Lake of Constance. The actual difference in time between the eastern and western points is 1 hour and 8 minutes, but the empire observes but one time—1 hour E. of Greenwich. The empire is bounded on the S.E. and S. by Austria and Switzerland (for 1659 m.), on the S.W. by France (242 m.), on the W. by Luxemburg, Belgium and Holland (together 558 m.). The length of German coast on the North Sea or German Ocean is 293 m., and on the Baltic 927 m., the intervening land boundary on the north of Schleswig being only 47 m. The eastern boundary is with Russia 843 m. The total length of the frontiers is thus 4569 m. The area, including rivers and lakes but not the haffs or lagoons on the Baltic coast, is 208,830 sq. m., and the population (1905) 60,641,278. In respect of its area, the German empire occupied in 1909 the third place among European countries, and in point of population the second, coming in point of area immediately after Russia and Austria-Hungary, and in population next to Russia.
Political Divisions.—The empire is composed of the following twenty-six states and divisions: the kingdoms of Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg; the grand-duchies of Baden, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Oldenburg and Saxe-Weimar; the duchies of Anhalt, Brunswick, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen; the principalities of Lippe-Detmold, Reuss-Greiz, Reuss-Schleiz, Schaumburg-Lippe, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and Waldeck-Pyrmont; the free towns of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck, and the imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine.
Besides these political divisions there are certain parts of Germany which, not conterminous with political boundaries, retain appellations derived either from former tribal settlements or from divisions of the old Holy Roman Empire. These are Franconia (Franken), which embraces the districts of Bamberg, Schweinfurt and Würzburg on the upper Main; Swabia (Schwaben), in which is included Württemberg, parts of Bavaria and Baden and Hohenzollern; the Palatinate (Pfalz), embracing Bavaria west of the Rhine and the contiguous portion of Baden; Rhineland, applied to Rhenish Prussia, Nassau, Hesse-Darmstadt and parts of Bavaria and Baden; Vogtland, the mountainous country lying in the south-west corner of the kingdom of Saxony; Lusatia (Lausitz), the eastern portion of the kingdom of Saxony and the adjacent portion of Prussia watered by the upper Spree; Thuringia (Thüringen), the country lying south of the Harz Mountains and including the Saxon duchies; East Friesland (Ost Friesland), the country lying between the lower course of the Weser and the Ems, and Westphalia (Westfalen), the fertile plain lying north and west of the Harz Mountains and extending to the North Sea and the Dutch frontier.
Coast and Islands.—The length of the coast-line is considerably less than the third part of the whole frontier. The coasts are shallow, and deficient in natural ports, except on the east of Schleswig-Holstein, where wide bays encroach upon the land, giving access to the largest vessels, so that the great naval harbour could be constructed at Kiel. With the exception of those on the east coast of Schleswig-Holstein, all the important trading ports of Germany are river ports, such as Emden, Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Stettin, Danzig, Königsberg, Memel. A great difference, however, is to be remarked between the coasts of the North Sea and those of the Baltic. On the former, where the sea has broken up the ranges of dunes formed in bygone times, and divided them into separate islands, the mainland has to be protected by massive dikes, while the Frisian Islands are being gradually washed away by the waters. On the coast of East Friesland there are now only seven of these islands, of which Norderney is best known, while of the North Frisian Islands, on the western coast of Schleswig, Sylt is the most considerable. Besides the ordinary waste of the shores, there have been extensive inundations by the sea within the historic period, the gulf of the Dollart having been so caused in the year 1276. Sands surround the whole coast of the North Sea to such an extent that the entrance to the ports is not practicable without the aid of pilots. Heligoland is a rocky island, but it also has been considerably reduced by the sea. The tides rise to the height of 12 or 13 ft. in the Jade Bay and at Bremerhaven, and 6 or 7 ft. at Hamburg. The coast of the Baltic, on the other hand, possesses few islands, the chief being Alsen and Fehmarn off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein, and Rügen off Pomerania. It has no extensive sands, though on the whole very flat. The Baltic has no perceptible tides; and a great part of its coast-line is in winter covered with ice, which also so blocks up the harbours that navigation is interrupted for several months every year. Its haffs fronting the mouths of the large rivers must be regarded as lagoons or extensions of the river beds, not as bays. The Pommersche or Oder Haff is separated from the sea by two islands, so that the river flows out by three mouths, the middle one (Swine) being the most considerable. The Frische Haff is formed by the Nogat, a branch of the Vistula, and by the Pregel, and communicates with the sea by means of the Pillauer Tief. The Kurische Haff receives the Memel, called Niemen in Russia, and has its outlet in the extreme north at Memel. Long narrow alluvial strips called Nehrungen, lie between the last two haffs and the Baltic. The Baltic coast is further marked by large indentations, the Gulf of Lübeck, that of Pomerania, east of Rügen, and the semicircular Bay of Danzig between the promontories of Rixhöft and Brüsterort. The German coasts are well provided with lighthouses.
Surface.—In respect of physical structure Germany is divided into two entirely distinct portions, which bear to one another a ratio of about 3 to 4. The northern and larger part may be described as a uniform plain. South and central Germany, on the other hand, is very much diversified in scenery. It possesses large plateaus, such as that of Bavaria, which stretches away from the foot of the Alps, fertile low plains like that intersected by the Rhine, mountain chains and isolated groups of mountains, comparatively low in height, and so situated as not seriously to interfere with communication either by road or by railway.
Bavaria is the only division of the country that includes within it
any part of the Alps, the Austro-Bavarian frontier running along the
ridge of the Northern Tirolese or Bavarian Alps. The
loftiest peak of this group, the Zugspitze (57 m. S. of
Munich), is 9738 ft. in height, being the highest summit
in the empire. The upper German plain sloping northwards
plateaus. from the Bavarian Alps is watered by the Lech, the Isar and the Inn, tributaries of the Danube, all three rising beyond the limits of German territory. This plain is separated on the west from the Swiss plain by the Lake of Constance (Bodensee, 1306 ft. above sea-level), and on the east from the undulating grounds of Austria by the Inn. The average height of the plain may be estimated at about 1800 ft., the valley of the Danube on its north border being from 1540 ft. (at Ulm) to 920 ft. (at Passau). The plain is not very fertile. In the upper part of the plain, towards the Alps, there are several lakes, the largest being the Ammersee, the Würmsee or Starnberger See and the Chiemsee. Many portions of the plain are covered by moors and swamps of large extent, called Moose. The left or northern bank of the Danube from Regensburg downwards presents a series of granitic rocks called the Bavarian Forest (Bayrischer Wald), which must be regarded as a branch of the Bohemian Forest (Böhmer Wald). The latter is a range of wooded heights on the frontier of Bavaria and Bohemia, occupying the least known and least frequented regions of Germany. The summits of the Bayrischer Wald rise to the height of about 4000 ft., and those of the Böhmer Wald to 4800 ft., Arber being 4872 ft. The valley of the Danube above Regensburg is flanked by plateaus sloping gently to the Danube, but precipitous towards the valley of the Neckar. The centre of this elevated tract is the Rauhe Alb, so named on account of the harshness of the climate. The plateau continuing to the north-east and then to the north, under the name of the Franconian Jura, is crossed by the valley of the winding Altmühl, and extends to the Main. To the west extensive undulating grounds or low plateaus occupy the area between the Main and the Neckar.
The south-western corner of the empire contains a series of better defined hill-ranges. Beginning with the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), we find its southern heights decline to the valley of the Rhine, above Basel, and to the Jura. The summits are rounded and covered with wood, the highest being the Feldberg (10 m. S.E. of Freiburg, 4898 ft.). Northwards the Black Forest passes into the plateau of the Neckarbergland (average height, 1000 ft.). The heights between the lower Neckar and the Main form the Odenwald (about 1700 ft.); and the Spessart, which is watered by the Main on three sides, is nothing but a continuation of the Odenwald. West of this range of hills lies the valley of the upper Rhine, extending about 180 m. from south to north, and with a width of only 20 to 25 m. In the upper parts the Rhine is rapid, and therefore navigable with difficulty; this explains why the towns there are not along the banks of the river, but some 5 to 10 m. off. But from Spires (Speyer) town succeeds town as far down as Düsseldorf. The western boundary of this valley is formed in the first instance by the Vosges, where granite summits rise from under the surrounding red Triassic rocks (Sulzer Belchen, 4669 ft.). To the south the range is not continuous with the Swiss Jura, the valley of the Rhine being connected here with the Rhone system by low ground known as the Gate of Mülhausen. The crest of the Vosges is pretty high and unbroken, the first convenient pass being near Zabern, which is followed by the railway from Strassburg to Paris. On the northern side the Vosges are connected with the Hardt sandstone plateau (Kalmit, 2241 ft.), which rises abruptly from the plain of the Rhine. The mountains south of Mainz, which are mostly covered by vineyards, are lower, the Donnersberg, however, raising its head to 2254 ft. These hills are bordered on the west by the high plain of Lorraine and the coal-fields of Saarbrücken, the former being traversed by the river Mosel. The larger part of Lorraine belongs to France, but the German part possesses great mineral wealth in its rich layers of ironstone (siderite) and in the coal-fields of the Saar. The tract of the Hunsrück, Taunus and Eifel is an extended plateau, divided into separate sections by the river valleys. Among these the Rhine valley from Bingen to Bonn, and that of the Mosel from Trier to Coblenz, are winding gorges excavated by the rivers. The Eifel presents a sterile, thinly-peopled plateau, covered by extensive moors in several places. It passes westwards imperceptibly into the Ardennes. The hills on the right bank of the Rhine also are in part of a like barren character, without wood; the Westerwald (about 2000 ft.), which separates the valleys of the Sieg and Lahn, is particularly so. The northern and southern limits of the Niederrheinische Gebirge present a striking contrast to the central region. In the south the declivities of the Taunus (2890 ft.) are marked by the occurrence of mineral springs, as at Ems on the Lahn, Nauheim, Homburg, Soden, Wiesbaden, &c., and by the vineyards which produce the best Rhine wines. To the north of this system, on the other hand, lies the great coal basin of Westphalia, the largest in Germany. In the south of the hilly duchy of Hesse rise the isolated mountain groups of the Vogelsberg (2530 ft.) and the Rhön (3117 ft.), separated by the valley of the Fulda, which uniting farther north with the Werra forms the Weser. To the east of Hesse lies Thuringia, a province consisting of the far-stretching wooded ridge of the Thuringian Forest (Thüringerwald; with three peaks upwards of 3000 ft. high), and an extensive elevated plain to the north. Its rivers are the Saale and Unstrut. The plateau is bounded on the north by the Harz, an isolated group of mountains, rich in minerals, with its highest elevation in the bare summit of the Brocken (3747 ft.). To the west of the Harz a series of hilly tracts is comprised under the name of the Weser Mountains, out of which above Minden the river Weser bursts by the Porta Westphalica. A narrow ridge, the Teutoburger Wald (1300 ft.), extends between the Weser and the Ems as far as the neighbourhood of Osnabrück.
To the east the Thuringian Forest is connected by the plateau of the Frankenwald with the Fichtelgebirge. This group of mountains, occupying what may be regarded as ethnologically the centre of Germany, forms a hydrographical centre, whence the Naab flows southward to the Danube, the Main westward to the Rhine, the Eger eastward to the Elbe, and the Saale northward, also into the Elbe. In the north-east the Fichtelgebirge connects itself directly with the Erzgebirge, which forms the northern boundary of Bohemia. The southern sides of this range are comparatively steep; on the north it slopes gently down to the plains of Leipzig, but is intersected by the deep valleys of the Elster and Mulde. Although by no means fertile, the Erzgebirge is very thickly peopled, as various branches of industry have taken root there in numerous small places. Around Zwickau there are productive coal-fields, and mining for metals is carried on near Freiberg. In the east a tableland of sandstone, called Saxon Switzerland, from the picturesque outlines into which it has been eroded, adjoins the Erzgebirge; one of its most notable features is the deep ravine by which the Elbe escapes from it. Numerous quarries, which supply the North German cities with stone for buildings and monuments, have been opened along the valley. Therange of the Elbe unites in the east with the low Lusatian group, along the east of which runs the best road from northern Germany to Bohemia. Then comes a range of lesser hills clustering together to form the frontier between Silesia and Bohemia. The most western group is the Isergebirge, and the next the Riesengebirge, a narrow ridge of about 20 miles’ length, with bare summits. Excluding the Alps, the Schneekoppe (5266 ft.) is the highest peak in Germany; and the southern declivities of this range contain the sources of the Elbe. The hills north and north-east of it are termed the Silesian Mountains. Here one of the minor coal-fields gives employment to a population grouped round a number of comparatively small centres. One of the main roads into Bohemia (the pass of Landshut) runs along the eastern base of the Riesengebirge. Still farther to the east the mountains are grouped around the hollow of Glatz, whence the Neisse forces its way towards the north. This hollow is shut in on the east by the Sudetic group, in which the Altvater rises to almost 4900 ft. The eastern portion of the group, called the Gesenke, slopes gently away to the valley of the Oder, which affords an open route for the international traffic, like that through the Mülhausen Gate in Alsace. Geographers style this the Moravian Gate.
The North German plain presents little variety, yet is not absolutely uniform. A row of low hills runs generally parallel to the mountain ranges already noticed, at a distance of 20 to 30 m. to the north. To these belongs the upper Silesian coal-basin, which occupies a considerable area in south-eastern Silesia. North of the middle districts of the Elbe country the heights are called the Fläming hills. Westward lies as the last link of this series the Lüneburger Heide or Heath, between the Weser and Elbe, north of Hanover. A second tract, of moderate elevation, sweeps round the Baltic, without, however, approaching its shores. This plateau contains a considerable number of lakes, and is divided into three portions by the Vistula and the Oder. The most eastward is the so-called Prussian Seenplatte. Spirdingsee (430 ft. above sea-level and 46 sq. m. in area) and Mauersee are the largest lakes; they are situated in the centre of the plateau, and give rise to the Pregel. Some peaks near the Russian frontier attain to 1000 ft. The Pomeranian Seenplatte, between the Vistula and the Oder, extends from S.W. to N.E., its greatest elevation being in the neighbourhood of Danzig (Turmberg, 1086 ft.). The Seenplatte of Mecklenburg, on the other hand, stretches from S.E. to N.W., and most of its lakes, of which the Müritz is the largest, send their waters towards the Elbe. The finely wooded heights which surround the bays of the east coast of Holstein and Schleswig may be regarded as a continuation of these Baltic elevations. The lowest parts, therefore, of the North German plain, excluding the sea-coasts, are the central districts from about 52° to 53° N. lat., where the Vistula, Netze, Warthe, Oder, Spree and Havel form vast swampy lowlands (in German called Brüche), which have been considerably reduced by the construction of canals and by cultivation, improvements due in large measure to Frederick the Great. The Spreewald, to the S.E. of Berlin, is one of the most remarkable districts of Germany. As the Spree divides itself there into innumerable branches, enclosing thickly wooded islands, boats form the only means of communication. West of Berlin the Havel widens into what are called the Havel lakes, to which the environs of Potsdam owe their charms. In general the soil of the North German plain cannot be termed fertile, the cultivation nearly everywhere requiring severe and constant labour. Long stretches of ground are covered by moors, and there turf-cutting forms the principal occupation of the inhabitants. The greatest extent of moorland is found in the westernmost parts of the plain, in Oldenburg and East Frisia. The plain contains, however, a few districts of the utmost fertility, particularly the tracts on the central Elbe, and the marsh lands on the west coast of Holstein and the north coast of Hanover, Oldenburg and East Frisia, which, within the last two centuries, the inhabitants have reclaimed from the sea by means of immense dikes.
Rivers.—Nine independent river-systems may be distinguished: those of the Memel, Pregel, Vistula (Weichsel), Oder, Elbe, Weser, Ems, Rhine and Danube. Of these the Pregel, Weser and Ems belong entirely, and the Oder mostly, to the German empire. The Danube has its sources on German soil; but only a fifth part of its course is German. Its total length is 1750 m., and the Bavarian frontier at Passau, where the Inn joins it, is only 350 m. distant from its sources. It is navigable as far as Ulm, 220 m. above Passau; and its tributaries the Lech, Isar, Inn and Altmühl are also navigable. The Rhine is the most important river of Germany, although neither its sources nor its mouths are within the limits of the empire. From the Lake of Constance to Basel (122 m.) the Rhine forms the boundary between the German empire and Switzerland; the canton of Schaffhausen, however, is situated on the northern bank of the river. From Basel to below Emmerich the Rhine belongs to the German empire—about 470 m. or four-sevenths of its whole course. It is navigable all this distance as are also the Neckar from Esslingen, the Main from Bamberg, the Lahn, the Lippe, the Ruhr, the Mosel from Metz, with its affluents the Saar and Sauer. Sea-going vessels sail up the Ems as far as Halte, and river craft as far as Greven, and the river is connected with a widely branching system of canals, as the Ems-Jade and Dortmund-Ems canals. The Fulda, navigable for 63 m., and the Werra, 38 m., above the point where they unite, form by their junction the Weser, which has a course of 271 m., and receives as navigable tributaries the Aller, the Leine from Hanover, and some smaller streams. Ocean-going steamers, however, cannot get as far as Bremen, and unload at Bremerhaven. The Elbe, after a course of 250 m., enters German territory near Bodenbach, 490 m. from its mouth. It is navigable above this point through its tributary, the Moldau, to Prague. Hamburg may be reached by vessels of 17 ft. draught. The navigable tributaries of the Elbe are the Saale (below Naumburg), the Havel, Spree, Elde, Sude and some others. The Oder begins to be navigable almost on the frontier at Ratibor, 480 m. from its mouth, receiving as navigable tributaries the Glatz Neisse and the Warthe. Only the lower course of the Vistula belongs to the German empire, within which it is a broad, navigable stream of considerable volume. On the Pregel ships of 3000 tons reach Königsberg, and river barges reach Insterburg; the Alle, its tributary, may also be navigated. The Memel is navigable in its course of 113 m. from the Russian frontier. Germany is thus a country abounding in natural waterways, the total length of them being estimated at 7000 m. But it is only the Rhine, in its middle course, that has at all times sufficient volume of water to meet the requirements of a good navigable river.
Lakes.—The regions which abound in lakes have already been pointed out. The Lake of Constance or Bodensee (2043 sq. m.) is on the frontier of the empire, portions of the northern banks belonging severally to Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden. In the south the largest lakes are the Chiemsee (33 sq. m.); the Ammersee and the Würmsee. A good many smaller lakes are to be found in the Bavarian Alps. The North German plain is dotted with upwards of 500 lakes, covering an area of about 2500 sq. m. The largest of these are the three Haffs—the Oder Haff covering 370 sq. m., the Frische Haff, 332, and the Kurische Haff, 626. The lakes in the Prussian and Pomeranian provinces, in Mecklenburg and in Holstein, and those of the Havel, have already been mentioned. In the west the only lakes of importance are the Steinhuder Meer, 14 m. north-west of Hanover, and the Dümmersee on the southern frontier of Oldenburg. (P. A. A.)
Geology.—Germany consists of a floor of folded Palaeozoic rocks upon which rest unconformably the comparatively little disturbed beds of the Mesozoic system, while in the North German plain a covering of modern deposits conceals the whole of the older strata from view, excepting some scattered and isolated outcrops of Cretaceous and Tertiary beds. The rocks which compose the ancient floor are thrown into folds which run approximately from W.S.W. to E.N.E. They are exposed on the one hand in the neighbourhood of the Rhine and on the other hand in the Bohemian massif. With the latter must be included the Frankenwald, the Thüringerwald, and even the Harz. The oldest rocks, belonging to the Archaean system, occur in the south, forming the Vosges and the Black Forest in the west, and the greater part of the Bohemian massif, including the Erzgebirge, in the east. They consist chiefly of gneiss and schist, with granite and other eruptive rocks. Farther north, in the Hunsrück, the Taunus, the Eifel and Westerwald, the Harz and the Frankenwald, the ancient floor is composed mainly of Devonian beds. Other Palaeozoic systems are, however, included in the folds. The Cambrian, for example, is exposed at Leimitz near Hof in the Frankenwald, and the important coal-field of the Saar lies on the southern side of the Hunsrück, while Ordovician and Silurian beds have been found in several localities. Along the northern border of the folded belt lies the coal basin of the Ruhr in Westphalia, which is the continuation of the Belgian coal-field, and bears much the same relation to the Rhenish Devonian area that the coal basin of Liége bears to the Ardennes. Carboniferous and Devonian beds are also found south-east of the Bohemian massif, where lies the extensive coal-field of Silesia. The Permian, as in England, is not involved in the folds which have affected the older beds, and in general lies unconformably upon them. It occurs chiefly around the masses of ancient rock, and one of the largest areas is that of the Saar.
Between the old rocks of the Rhine on the west and the ancient massif of Bohemia on the east a vast area of Triassic beds extends from Hanover to Basel and from Metz to Bayreuth. Over the greater part of this region the Triassic beds are free from folding and are nearly horizontal, but faulting is by no means absent, especially along the margins of the Bohemian and Rhenish hills. The Triassic beds must indeed have covered a large part of these old rock masses, but they have been preserved only where they were faulted down to a lower level. Along the southern margin of the Triassic area there is a long band of Jurassic beds dipping towards the Danube; and at its eastern extremity this band is continuous with a synclinal of Jurassic beds, running parallel to the western border of the Bohemian massif, but separated from it by a narrow strip of Triassic beds. Towards the north, in Hanover and Westphalia, the Triassic beds are followed by Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits, the latter being here the more important. As in the south of England, the lower beds of the Cretaceous are of estuarine origin and the Upper Cretaceous overlaps the Lower, lying in the valley of the Ruhr directly upon the Palaeozoic rocks. In Saxony also the upper Cretaceous beds rest directly upon the Palaeozoic or Archaean rocks. Still more to the east, in the province of Silesia, both Jurassic and Cretaceous beds are again met with, but they are to a large extent concealed by the recent accumulations of the great plain. The Eocene system is unknown in Germany except in the foothills of the Alps; but the Oligocene and Miocene are widely spread, especially in the great plain and in the depression of the Danube. The Oligocene is generally marine. Marine Miocene occurs in N.W. Germany and the Miocene of the Danube valley is also in part marine, but in central Germany it is of fluviatile or lacustrine origin. The lignites of Hesse, Cassel, &c., are interstratified with basaltic lava-flows which form the greater part of the Vogelsberg and other hills. The trachytes of the Siebengebirge are probably of slightly earlier date. The precise age of the volcanoes of the Eifel, many of which are in a very perfect state of preservation, is not clear, but they are certainly Tertiary or Post-tertiary. Leucite and nepheline lavas are here abundant. In the Siebengebirge the little crater of Roderberg, with its lavas and scoriae of leucite-basalt, is posterior to some of the Pleistocene river deposits.
A glance at a geological map of Germany will show that the greater part of Prussia and of German Poland is covered by Quaternary deposits. These are in part of glacial origin, and contain Scandinavian boulders; but fluviatile and aeolian deposits also occur. Quaternary beds also cover the floor of the broad depression through which the Rhine meanders from Basel to Mainz, and occupy a large part of the plain of the Danube. The depression of the Rhine is a trough lying between two faults or system of faults. The very much broader depression of the Danube is associated with the formation of the Alps, and was flooded by the sea during a part of the Miocene period. (P. La.)
Climate.—The climate of Germany is to be regarded as intermediate between the oceanic and continental climates of western and eastern Europe respectively. It has nothing in common with the Mediterranean climate of southern Europe, Germany being separated from that region by the lofty barrier of the Alps. Although there are very considerable differences in the range of temperature and the amount of rainfall throughout Germany, these are not so great as they would be were it not that the elevated plateaus and mountain chains are in the south, while the north is occupied by low-lying plains. In the west no chain of hills intercepts the warmer and moister winds which blow from the Atlantic, and these accordingly influence at times even the eastern regions of Germany. The mean annual temperature of south-western Germany, or the Rhine and Danube basins, is about 52° to 54° F., that of central Germany 48° to 50°, and that of the northern plain 46° to 48°. In Pomerania and West Prussia it is only 44° to 45°, and in East Prussia 42° to 44°. The mean January temperature varies between 22° and 34° (in Masuren and Cologne respectively); the mean July temperature, between 61° in north Schleswig and 68° at Cologne. The extremes of cold and heat are, as recorded in the ten years 1895–1905, 7° in Königsberg and 93° in Heidelberg (the hottest place in Germany). The difference in the mean annual temperature between the south-west and north-west of Germany amounts to about 3°. The contrasts of heat and cold are furnished by the valley of the Rhine above Mainz, which has the greatest mean heat, the mildest winter and the highest summer temperature, and the lake plateau of East Prussia, where Arys on the Spirdingsee has a like winter temperature to the Brocken at 3200 ft. The Baltic has the lowest spring temperature, and the autumn there is also not characterized by an appreciably higher degree of warmth. In central Germany the high plateaus of the Erz and Fichtelgebirge are the coldest regions. In south Germany the upper Bavarian plain experiences an inclement winter and a cold summer. In Alsace-Lorraine the Vosges and the plateau of Lorraine are also remarkable for low temperatures. The warmest districts of the German empire are the northern parts of the Rhine plain, from Karlsruhe downwards, especially the Rheintal; these are scarcely 300 ft. above the sea-level, and are protected by mountainous tracts of land. The same holds true of the valleys of the Neckar, Main and Mosel. Hence the vine is everywhere cultivated in these districts. The mean summer temperature there is 66° and upwards, while the average temperature of January does not descend to the freezing point (32°). The climate of north-western Germany (west of the Elbe) shows a predominating oceanic character, the summers not being too hot (mean summer temperature 60° to 62°), and snow in winter remaining but a short time on the ground. West of the Weser the average temperature of January exceeds 32°; to the east it sinks to 30°, and therefore the Elbe is generally covered with ice for some months of the year, as are also its tributaries. The farther one proceeds to the east the greater are the contrasts of summer and winter. While the average summer warmth of Germany is 60° to 62°, the January temperature falls as low as 26° to 28° in West Prussia, Posen and Silesia, and 22° to 26° in East Prussia and upper Silesia. The navigation of the rivers is regularly interrupted by frost. Similarly the upper basin of the Danube, or the Bavarian plain, has a rather inclement climate in winter, the average for January being 25° to 26°.
As regards rainfall, Germany belongs to those regions where precipitation takes place at all seasons, but chiefly in the form of summer rains. In respect to the quantity of rain the empire takes a middle position between the humidity of north-western Europe and the aridity of the east. There are considerable differences between particular places. The rainfall is greatest in the Bavarian tableland and the hilly regions of western Germany. For the Eifel, Sauerland, Harz, Thuringian Forest, Rhön, Vogelsberg, Spessart, the Black Forest, the Vosges, &c., the annual average may be stated at 34 in. or more, while in the lower terraces of south-western Germany, as in the Erzgebirge and the Sudetic range, it is estimated at 30 to 32 in. only. The same average obtains also on the humid north-west coast of Germany as far as Bremen and Hamburg. In the remaining parts of western Germany, on the shores of farther Pomerania, and in East Prussia, it amounts to upwards of 24 in. In western Germany there is a district famous for the scarcity of rain and for producing the best kind of wine: in the valley of the Rhine below Strassburg, in the Palatinate, and also in the valley of the Main, no more than from 16 to 20 in. fall. Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and Lusatia, Saxony and the plateau of Thuringia, West Prussia, Posen and lower Silesia are also to be classed among the more arid regions of Germany, the annual rainfall being 16 to 20 in. Thunderstorms are most frequent in July, and vary between fifteen and twenty-five in the central districts, descending in the eastern provinces of Prussia to ten annually.
Flora.—The flora of Germany comprises 3413 species of phanerogamic and 4306 cryptogamic plants. The country forms a section of the central European zone, and its flora is largely under the influence of the Baltic and Alpine elements, which to a great degree here coalesce. All plants peculiar to the temperate zone abound. Wheat, rye, barley and oats are cultivated everywhere, but spelt only in the south and buckwheat in the north and north-west. Maize only ripens in the south. Potatoes grow in every part of the country, those of the sandy plains in the north being of excellent quality. All the commoner sorts of fruit—apples, pears, cherries, &c.—grow everywhere, but the more delicate kinds, such as figs, apricots and peaches, are confined to the warmer districts. The vine flourishes as far as the 51° N., but only yields good wine in the districts of the Rhine and Danube. Flax is grown in the north, and hemp more particularly in the central districts. Rape can be produced everywhere when the soil permits. Tobacco is cultivated on the upper Rhine and in the valley of the Oder. The northern plain, especially in the province of Saxony, produces beet (for sugar), and hops are largely grown in Bavaria, Württemberg, Alsace, Baden and the Prussian province of Posen.
Speaking generally, northern Germany is not nearly so well wooded as central and southern Germany, where indeed most of the lower mountains are covered with timber, as is indicated by the frequent use of the termination wald affixed to the names of the mountain ranges (as Schwarzwald, Thüringerwald, &c.). Forests.The “Seenplatten” are less wooded than the hill country, but the eastern portion of the northern lowlands is well provided with timber. A narrow strip along the shores of the Baltic is covered with oaks and beeches; farther inland, and especially east of the Elbe, coniferous trees are the most prevalent, the Scotch fir; birches are also abundant. The mountain forests consist chiefly of firs, pines and larches, but contain also silver firs, beeches and oaks. Chestnuts and walnuts appear on the terraces of the Rhine valley and in Swabia and Franconia. The whole north-west of Germany is destitute of wood, but to compensate for this the people have ample supplies of fuel in the extensive stretches of turf.
Fauna.—The number of wild animals in Germany is not very great. Foxes, martens, weasels, badgers and otters are to be found everywhere; bears are found in the Alps, wolves are rare, but they find their way sometimes from French territory to the western provinces, or from Poland to Prussia and Posen. Among the rodents the hamster and the field-mouse are a scourge to agriculture. Of game there are the roe, stag, boar and hare; the fallow deer and the wild rabbit are less common. The elk is to be found in the forests of East Prussia. The feathered tribes are everywhere abundant in the fields, woods and marshes. Wild geese and ducks, grouse, partridges, snipe, woodcock, quails, widgeons and teal are plentiful all over the country, and in recent years preserves have been largely stocked with pheasants. The length of time that birds of passage remain in Germany differs considerably with the different species. The stork is seen for about 170 days, the house-swallow 160, the snow-goose 260, the snipe 220. In northern Germany these birds arrive from twenty to thirty days later than in the south.
The waters of Germany abound with fish; but the genera and species are few. The carp and salmon tribes are the most abundant; after them rank the pike, the eel, the shad, the roach, the perch and the lamprey. The Oder and some of the tributaries of the Elbe abound in crayfish, and in the stagnant lakes of East Prussia leeches are bred. In addition to frogs, Germany has few varieties of Amphibia. Of serpents there are only two poisonous kinds, the common viper and the adder (Kreuzotter).
Population.—Until comparatively recent times no estimate of the population of Germany was precise enough to be of any value. At the beginning of the 19th century the country was divided into some hundred states, but there was no central agency for instituting an exact census on a uniform plan. The formation of the German Confederation in 1815 effected but little change in this respect, and it was left to the different states to arrange in what manner the census should be taken. On the foundation, however, of the German customs union, or Zollverein, between certain German states, the necessity for accurate statistics became apparent and care was taken to compile trustworthy tables. Researches show the population of the German empire, as at present constituted, to have been: (1816) 24,833,396; (1855) 36,113,644; and (1871) 41,058,792. The following table shows the population and area of each of the states included in the empire for the years 1871, 1875, 1900 and 1905:—
|States of the Empire.||Area
|Emery Walker sc.|
The population of the empire has thus increased, since 1871, by 19,582,486 or 47.6%. The increase of population during 1895–1900 was greatest in Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, Saxony, Prussia and Baden, and least in Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Waldeck. Of the total population in 1900, 54.3% was urban (i.e. living in towns of 2000 inhabitants and above), leaving 45.7% to be classified as rural. On the 1st of December 1905, of the total population 29,884,681 were males and 30,756,597 females; and it is noticeable that the male population shows of late years a larger relative increase than the female, the male population having in five years increased by 2,147,434 and the female by only 2,126,666. The greater increase in the male population is attributable to diminished emigration and to the large increase in immigrants, who are mostly males. In 1905, 485,906 marriages were contracted in Germany, being at the rate of 8.0 per thousand inhabitants. In the same year the total number of births was 2,048,453. Of these, 61,300 were stillborn and 174,494 illegitimate, being at the rate, respectively, of 3% and 8.5% of the total. Illegitimacy is highest in Bavaria (about 15%), Berlin (14%), and over 12% in Saxony, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Saxe-Meiningen. It is lowest in the Rhine Province and Westphalia (3.9 and 2.6 respectively). Divorce is steadily on the increase, being in 1904, 11.1 per 10,000 marriages, as against 8.1, 8.1, 9.3 and 10.1 for the four preceding years. The average deaths for the years 1901–1905 amounted to 1,227,903; the rate was thus 20.2 per thousand inhabitants, but the death-rate has materially decreased, the total number of deaths in 1907 standing at 1,178,349; the births for the same year were 2,060,974. In connexion with suicides, it is interesting to observe that the highest rates prevail in some of the smaller and more prosperous states of the empire—for example, in Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Saxe-Altenburg (on a three years’ average of figures), while the Roman Catholic country Bavaria, and the impoverished Prussian province of Posen show the most favourable statistics. For Prussia the rate is 20, and for Saxony it is as high as 31 per 100,000 inhabitants. The large cities, notably Berlin, Hamburg, Breslau and Dresden, show, however, relatively the largest proportion.
In 1900 the German-speaking population of the empire amounted to 51,883,131. Of the inhabitants speaking other languages there were: Polish, 3,086,489; French (mostly in Lorraine), 211,679; Masurian, 142,049; Danish, 141,061; Lithuanian, 106,305; Cassubian, 100,213; Wendish, 93,032; Dutch, 80,361; Italian, 65,961; Moravian, 64,382; Czech, 43,016; Frisian, 20,677; English, 20,217; Walloon, 11,841. In 1905 there were resident within the empire 1,028,560 subjects of foreign states, as compared with 778,698 in 1900. Of these 17,293 were subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, 17,184 of the United States of America and 20,584 of France. The bulk of the other foreigners residing in the country belonged to countries lying contiguous, such as Austria, which claimed nearly the half, Russia and Italy.
Languages.—The German-speaking nations in their various branches and dialects, if we include the Dutch and the Walloons, extend in a compact mass along the shores of the Baltic and of the North Sea, from Memel in the east to a point between Gravelines and Calais near the Straits of Dover. On this northern line the Germans come in contact with the Danes who inhabit the northern parts of Schleswig within the limits of the German empire. A line from Flensburg south-westward to Joldelund and thence northwestward to Hoyer will nearly give the boundary between the two idioms. The German-French frontier traverses Belgium from west to east, touching the towns of St Omer, Courtrai and Maastricht. Near Eupen, south of Aix-la-Chapelle, it turns southward, and near Arlon south-east as far as the crest of the Vosges mountains, which it follows up to Belfort, traversing there the watershed of the Rhine and the Doubs. In the Swiss territory the line of demarcation passes through Bienne, Fribourg, Saanen, Leuk and Monte Rosa. In the south the Germans come into contact with Rhaeto-Romans and Italians, the former inhabiting the valley of the Vorder-Rhein and the Engadine, while the latter have settled on the southern slopes of the Alps, and are continually advancing up the valley of the Adige. Carinthia and Styria are inhabited by German people, except the valley of the Drave towards Klagenfurt. Their eastern neighbours there are first the Magyars, then the northern Slavs and the Poles. The whole eastern frontier is very much broken, and cannot be described in a few words. Besides detached German colonies in Hungary proper, there is a considerable and compact German (Saxon) population in Transylvania. The river March is the frontier north of the Danube from Pressburg as far as Brünn, to the north of which the German regions begin near Olmütz, the interior of Bohemia and Moravia being occupied by Czechs and Moravians. In these countries the Slav language has been steadily superseding the German. In the Prussian provinces of Silesia and Posen the eastern parts are mixed territories, the German language progressing very slowly among the Poles. In Bromberg and Thorn, in the valley of the Vistula, German is prevalent. In West Prussia some parts of the interior, and in East Prussia a small region along the Russian frontier, are occupied by Poles (Cassubians in West Prussia, Masurians in East Prussia). The total number of German-speaking people, within the boundaries wherein they constitute the compact mass of the population, may be estimated, if the Dutch and Walloons be included, at 65 millions.
The geographical limits of the German language thus do not quite coincide with the German frontiers. The empire contains about 31 millions of persons who do not make use of German in everyday life, not counting the resident foreigners.
Apart from the foreigners above mentioned, German subjects speaking a tongue other than German are found only in Prussia, Saxony and Alsace-Lorraine. The following table shows roughly the distribution of German-speaking people in the world outside the German empire:—
|Other European Countries||2,300,000|
According to the census of the 1st of December 1900 there were 51,634,757 persons speaking commonly one language and 248,374 speaking two languages. In the kingdom of Saxony, according to the census of 1900, there were 48,000 Wends, mostly in Lusatia. With respect to Alsace-Lorraine, detailed estimates (but no census) gave the number of French in the territory of Lorraine at about 170,000, and in that of Alsace at about 46,000.
The Poles have increased very much, owing to a greater surplus of births than in the case of the German people in the eastern provinces of Prussia, to immigration from Russia, and to the Polonization of many Germans through clerical and other influences (see History). The Poles are in the majority in upper Silesia (Government district of Oppeln; 55%) and the province of Posen (60%). They are numerous in West Prussia (34%) and East Prussia (14%).
The Wends are decreasing in number, as are also the Lithuanians on the eastern border of East Prussia, Czechs are only found in Silesia on the confines of Bohemia.
Russians flocked to Germany in thousands after the Russo-Japanese War and the insurrections in Russia, and the figures given for 1900 had been doubled in 1907. Males preponderate among the various nationalities, with the exception of the British, the larger proportion of whom are females either in domestic service or engaged in tuition.
Chief Towns.—According to the results of the census of the 1st of December 1905 there were within the empire 41 towns with populations exceeding 100,000, viz.:—
Density of Population.—In respect of density of population, Germany with (1900) 269.9 and (1905) 290.4 inhabitants to the square mile is exceeded in Europe only by Belgium, Holland and England. Apart from the free cities, Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck, the kingdom of Saxony is the most, and Mecklenburg-Strelitz the least, closely peopled state of the empire. The most thinly populated districts are found, not as might be expected in the mountain regions, but in some parts of the plains. Leaving out of account the small centres, Germany may be roughly divided into two thinly and two densely populated parts. In the former division has to be classed all the North German plain. There it is only in the valleys of the larger navigable rivers and on the southern border of the plain that the density exceeds 200 inhabitants per square mile. In some places, indeed, it is far greater, e.g. at the mouths of the Elbe and the Weser, in East Holstein, in the delta of the Memel and the environs of Hamburg. This region is bordered on the south by a densely peopled district, the northern boundary of which may be defined by a line from Coburg via Cassel to Münster, for in this part there are not only very fertile districts, such as the Goldene Aue in Thuringia, but also centres of industry. The population is thickest in upper Silesia around Beuthen (coal-fields), around Ratibor, Neisse and Waldenburg (coal-fields), around Zittau (kingdom of Saxony), in the Elbe valley around Dresden, in the districts of Zwickau and Leipzig as far as the Saale, on the northern slopes of the Harz and around Bielefeld in Westphalia. In all these the density exceeds 400 inhabitants to the square mile, and in the case of Saxony rises to 750. The third division of Germany comprises the basin of the Danube and Franconia, where around Nuremberg, Bamberg and Würzburg the population is thickly clustered. The fourth division embraces the valleys of the upper Rhine and Neckar and the district of Düsseldorf on the lower Rhine. In this last the proportion exceeds 1200 inhabitants to the square mile.
Emigration.—There have been great oscillations in the actual emigration by sea. It first exceeded 100,000 soon after the Franco-German War (1872, 126,000), and this occurred again in the years 1880 to 1892. Germany lost during these thirteen years more than 1,700,000 inhabitants by emigration. The total number of those who sailed for the United States from 1820 to 1900 may be estimated at more than 4,500,000. The number of German emigrants to Brazil between 1870 and 1900 was about 52,000. The greater number of the more recent emigrants was from the agricultural provinces of northern Germany—West Prussia, Posen, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Hanover, and sometimes the emigration reached 1% of the total population of these provinces. In subsequent years the emigration of native Germans greatly decreased and, in 1905, amounted only to 28,075. But to this number must be added 284,787 foreigners who in that year were shipped from German ports (notably Hamburg and Bremen) to distant parts. Of the above given numbers of purely German emigrants 26,007 sailed for the United States of America; 243 to Canada; 333 to Brazil; 674 to the Argentine Republic; 7 to other parts of America; 57 to Africa; and 84 to Australia.
Agriculture.—Despite the enormous development of industries and commerce, agriculture and cattle-rearing still represent in Germany a considerable portion of its economic wealth. Almost two-thirds of the soil is occupied by arable land, pastures and meadows, and of the whole area, in 1900, 91% was classed as productive. Of the total area 47.67% was occupied by land under tillage, 0.89% by gardens, 11.02% by meadow-land, 5.01% by pastures, and 0.25% by vineyards. The largest estates are found in the Prussian provinces of Pomerania, Posen and Saxony, and in East and West Prussia, while in the Prussian Rhine province, in Baden and Württemberg small farms are the rule.
The same kinds of cereal crops are cultivated in all parts of the empire, but in the south and west wheat is predominant, and in the north and east rye, oats and barley. To these in some districts are added spelt, buckwheat, millet, rice-wheat, lesser spelt and maize. In general the soil is remarkably well cultivated. The three years’ rotation formerly in use, where autumn and spring-sown grain and fallow succeeded each other, has now been abandoned, except in some districts, where the system has been modified and improved. In south Germany the so-called Fruchtwechsel is practised, the fields being sown with grain crops every second year, and with pease or beans, grasses, potatoes, turnips, &c., in the intermediate years. In north Germany the mixed Koppelwirthschaft is the rule, by which system, after several years of grain crops, the ground is for two or three seasons in pasture.
Taking the average of the six years 1900–1905, the crop of wheat amounted to 3,550,033 tons (metric), rye to 9,296,616 tons, barley to 3,102,883 tons, and oats to 7,160,883 tons. But, in spite of this considerable yield in cereals, Germany cannot cover her home consumption, and imported on the average of the six years 1900–1905 about 41 million tons of cereals to supply the deficiency. The potato is largely cultivated, not merely for food, but for distillation into spirits. This manufacture is prosecuted especially in eastern Germany. The number of distilleries throughout the German empire was, in 1905–1906, 68,405. The common beet (Beta vulgaris) is largely grown in some districts for the production of sugar, which has greatly increased of recent years. There are two centres of the beet sugar production: Magdeburg for the districts Prussian Saxony, Hanover, Brunswick, Anhalt and Thuringia, and Frankfort-on-Oder at the centre of the group Silesia, Brandenburg and Pomerania. Flax and hemp are cultivated, though not so much as formerly, for manufacture into linen and canvas, and also rape seed for the production of oil. The home supply of the former no longer suffices for the native demand. The cultivation of hops is in a very thriving condition in the southern states of Germany. The soil occupied by hops was estimated in 1905 at 98,000 acres—a larger area than in Great Britain, which had in the same year about 48,000 acres. The total production of hops was 29,000 tons in 1905, and of this over 25,000 were grown in Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden and Alsace-Lorraine. Almost the whole yield in hops is consumed in the country by the great breweries.
Tobacco forms a most productive and profitable object of culture in many districts. The total extent under this crop in 1905 was about 35,000 acres, of which 45% was in Baden, 12% in Bavaria, 30% in Prussia, and the rest in Alsace and Hesse-Darmstadt. In the north the plant is cultivated principally in Pomerania, Brandenburg and East and West Prussia. Of late years the production has somewhat diminished, owing to the extensive tobacco manufacturing industries of Bremen and Hamburg, which import almost exclusively foreign leaves.
Ulm, Nuremberg, Quedlinburg, Erfurt, Strassburg and Guben are famed for their vegetables and garden seeds. Berlin is noted for its flower nurseries, the Rhine valley, Württemberg and the Elbe valley below Dresden for fruit, and Frankfort-on-main for cider.
The culture of the vine is almost confined to southern and western Germany, and especially to the Rhine district. The northern limits of its growth extend from Bonn in a north-easterly direction through Cassel to the southern foot of the Harz, crossing 52° N. on the Elbe, running then east some miles to the north of that parallel, and finally turning sharply towards the Vine. south-west on the Warthe. In the valley of the Saale and Elbe (near Dresden), and in lower Silesia (between Guben and Grünberg), the number of vineyards is small, and the wines of inferior quality; but along the Rhine from Basel to Coblenz, in Alsace, Baden, the Palatinate and Hesse, and above all in the province of Nassau, the lower slopes of the hills are literally covered with vines. Here are produced the celebrated Rüdesheimer, Hochheimer and Johannisberger. The vines of the lower Main, particularly those of Würzburg, are the best kinds; those of the upper Main and the valley of the Neckar are rather inferior. The Moselle wines are lighter and more acid than those of the Rhine. The total amount produced in Germany is estimated at 1000 million gallons, of a value of £4,000,000; Alsace-Lorraine turning out 400 millions; Baden, 175; Bavaria, Württemberg and Hesse together, 300; while the remainder, which though small in quantity is in quality the best, is produced by Prussia.
The cultivation of grazing lands in Germany has been greatly improved in recent times and is in a highly prosperous condition. The provinces of Schleswig-Holstein, Pomerania, Hanover (especially the marsh-lands near the sea) and the grand-duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin are particularly remarkable in this respect. The best meadow-lands of Bavaria are in the Live stock. province of Franconia and in the outer range of the Alps, and those of Saxony in the Erzgebirge. Württemberg, Hesse and Thuringia also yield cattle of excellent quality. These large cattle-rearing centres not only supply the home markets but export live stock in considerable quantities to England and France. Butter is also largely exported to England from the North Sea districts and from Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg. The breeding of horses has attained a great perfection. The main centre is in East and West Prussia, then follow the marsh districts on the Elbe and Weser, some parts of Westphalia, Oldenburg, Lippe, Saxony and upper Silesia, lower Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine. Of the stud farms Trakehnen in East Prussia and Graditz in the Prussian province of Saxony enjoy a European reputation. The aggregate number of sheep has shown a considerable falling off, and the rearing of them is mostly carried on only on large estates, the number showing only 9,692,501 in 1900, and 7,907,200 in 1904, as against 28,000,000 in 1860. As a rule, sheep-farming is resorted to where the soil is of inferior quality and unsuitable for tillage and the breeding of cattle. Far more attention is accordingly given to sheep-farming in northern and north-eastern Germany than in Schleswig-Holstein, Westphalia, the Rhineland and south Germany. The native demand for wool is not covered by the home production, and in this article the export from the United Kingdom to Germany is steadily rising, having amounted in 1905 to a value of £1,691,035, as against £742,632 in 1900. The largest stock of pigs is in central Germany and Saxony, in Westphalia, on the lower Rhine, in Lorraine and Hesse. Central Germany (especially Gotha and Brunswick) exports sausages and hams largely, as well as Westphalia, but here again considerable importation takes place from other countries. Goats are found everywhere, but especially in the hilly districts. Poultry farming is a considerable industry, the geese of Pomerania and the fowls of Thuringia and Lorraine being in especial favour. Bee-keeping is of considerable importance, particularly in north Germany and Silesia. On the whole, despite the prosperous condition of the German live-stock farming, the consumption of meat exceeds the amount rendered available by home production, and prices can only be kept down by a steady increase in the imports from abroad.
Fisheries.—The German fisheries, long of little importance, have been carefully fostered within recent years. The deep-sea fishing in the North Sea, thanks to the exertions of the German fishing league (Deutscher Fischereiverein) and to government support, is extremely active. Trawlers are extensively employed, and steamers bring the catches directly to the large fish markets at Geestemünde and Altona, whence facilities are afforded by the railways for the rapid transport of fish to Berlin and other centres. The fish mostly caught are cod, haddock and herrings, while Heligoland yields lobsters, and the islands of Föhr, Amrum and Sylt oysters of good quality. The German North Sea fishing fleet numbered in 1905 618 boats, with an aggregate crew of 5441 hands. Equally well developed are the Baltic fisheries, the chief ports engaged in which are Danzig, Eckernförde, Kolberg and Travemünde. The principal catch is haddock and herrings. The catch of the North Sea and Baltic fisheries in 1906 was valued at over £700,000, exclusive of herrings for salting. The fisheries do not, however, supply the demand for fish, and fresh, salt and dried fish is imported largely in excess of the home yield.
Mines and Minerals.—Germany abounds in minerals, and the extraordinary industrial development of the country since 1870 is largely due to its mineral wealth. Having left France much behind in this respect, it now rivals Great Britain and the United States.
Germany produces more silver than any other European state, and the quantity is annually increasing. It is extracted from the ores in the mines of Freiburg (Saxony), the Harz Mountains, upper Silesia, Merseburg, Aix-la-Chapelle, Wiesbaden and Arnsberg. Gold is found in the sand of the rivers Isar, Inn and Rhine, and also, to a limited extent, on the Harz. The quantity yielded in 1905 was, of silver, about 400 tons of a value of £1,600,000, and gold, about 4 tons, valued at about £548,000.
Lead is produced in considerable quantities in upper Silesia, the Harz Mountains, in the Prussian province of Nassau, in the Saxon Erzgebirge and in the Sauerland. The yield in 1905 amounted to about 153,000 tons; of which 20,000 tons were exported.
Copper is found principally in the Mansfeld district of the Prussian province of Saxony and near Arnsberg in the Sauerland, the ore yielding 31,713 tons in 1905, of which 5000 tons were exported.
About 90% of the zinc produced in Europe is yielded by Belgium and Germany. It is mostly found in upper Silesia, around Beuthen, and in the districts of Wiesbaden and Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1905 no less than 198,000 tons of block zinc were produced, of which 16,500 tons were exported.
Of other minerals (with the exceptions of coal, iron and salt treated below) nickel and antimony are found in the upper Harz; cobalt in the hilly districts of Hesse and the Saxon Erzgebirge; arsenic in the Riesengebirge; quicksilver in the Sauerland and in the spurs of the Saarbrücken coal hills; graphite in Bavaria; porcelain clay in Saxony and Silesia; amber along the whole Baltic coast; and lime and gypsum in almost all parts.
Coal-mining appears to have been first practised in the 14th century at Zwickau (Saxony) and on the Ruhr. There are six large coal-fields, occupying an area of about 3600 sq. m., of which the most important occupies the basin of the Ruhr, its extent being estimated at 2800 sq. m. Here there are more than 60 beds, of a total thickness of 150 to 200 ft. of coal; and the amount Coal. in the pits has been estimated at 45,000 millions of tons. Smaller fields are found near Osnabrück, Ibbenbüren and Minden, and a larger one near Aix-la-Chapelle. The Saar coal-field, within the area enclosed by the rivers Saar, Nahe and Blies (460 sq. m.), is of great importance. The thickness of 80 beds amounts to 250 ft., and the total mass of coal is estimated at 45,400 million tons. The greater part of the basin belongs to Prussia, the rest to Lorraine. A still larger field exists in the upper Silesian basin, on the borderland between Austria and Poland, containing about 50,000 million tons. Beuthen is the chief centre. The Silesian coal-fields have a second centre in Waldenburg, east of the Riesengebirge. The Saxon coal-fields stretch eastwards for some miles from Zwickau. Deposits of less consequence are found in upper Bavaria, upper Franconia, Baden, the Harz and elsewhere.
The following table shows the rapidly increasing development of the coal production. That of lignite is added, the provinces of Saxony and Brandenburg being rich in this product:—
|Mill. Tons.||Mill. Mks.||Mill. Tons.||Mill. Mks.|
|1871||29.4||218.4||. .||8.5||26.2||. .|
This production permits a considerable export of coal to the west and south of the empire, but the distance from the coal-fields to the German coast is such that the import of British coal cannot yet be dispensed with (1905, over 7,000,000 tons). Besides this, from 7,000,000 to 8,000,000 tons of lignite come annually from Bohemia. In north Germany peat is also of importance as a fuel; the area of the peat moors in Prussia is estimated at 8000 sq. m., of which 2000 are in the north of Hanover.
The iron-fields of Germany fall into three main groups: those of the lower Rhine and Westphalia, of which Dortmund and Düsseldorf are the centres; those of Lorraine and the Saar; and those of upper Silesia. The output of the ore has enormously increased of recent years, and the production of pig iron, as given for 1905, amounted to 10,875,000 tons of a value of £28,900,000.
Germany possesses abundant salt deposits. The actual production not only covers the home consumption, but also allows a yearly increasing exportation, especially to Russia, Austria and Scandinavia. The provinces of Saxony and Hanover, with Thuringia and Anhalt, produce half the whole amount. A large salt-work is found at Strzalkowo (Posen), and smaller ones near Dortmund, Lippstadt and Minden (Westphalia). In south Germany salt abounds most in Württemberg (Hall, Heilbronn, Rottweil); the principal Bavarian works are at the foot of the Alps near Freilassing and Rosenheim. Hesse and Baden, Lorraine and the upper Palatinate have also salt-works. The total yield of mined salt amounted in 1905 to 6,209,000 tons, including 1,165,000 tons of rock salt. The production has made great advance, having in 1850 been only 5 million cwts.
Manufactures.—In no other country of the world has the manufacturing industry made such rapid strides within recent years as in Germany. This extraordinary development of industrial energy embraces practically all classes of manufactured articles. In a general way the chief manufactures may be geographically distributed as follows. Prussia, Alsace-Lorraine, Bavaria and Saxony are the chief seats of the iron manufacture. Steel is produced in Rhenish Prussia. Saxony is predominant in the production of textiles, though Silesia and Westphalia manufacture linen. Cotton goods are largely produced in Baden, Bavaria, Alsace-Lorraine and Württemberg, woollens and worsteds in Saxony and the Rhine province, silk in Rhenish Prussia (Elberfeld), Alsace and Baden. Glass and porcelain are largely produced in Bavaria; lace in Saxony; tobacco in Bremen and Hamburg; chemicals in the Prussian province of Saxony; watches in Saxony (Glashütte) and Nuremberg; toys in Bavaria; gold and silver filagree in Berlin and Aschaffenburg; and beer in Bavaria and Prussia.
It is perhaps more in respect of its iron industry than of its other manufactures that Germany has attained a leading position in the markets of the world. Its chief centres are in Westphalia and the Rhine province (auf roter Erde), in upper Silesia, in Alsace-Lorraine and in Saxony. Of the total production of pig iron in 1905 amounting to over 10,000,000 tons, more than the Iron industry. half was produced in the Rhineland and Westphalia. Huge blast furnaces are in constant activity, and the output of rolled iron and steel is constantly increasing. In the latter the greatest advance has been made. The greater part of it is produced at or around Essen, where are the famous Krupp works, and Bochum. Many states have been for a considerable time supplied by Krupp with steel guns and battleship plates. The export of steel (railway) rails and bridges from this part is steadily on the increase.
Hardware also, the production of which is centred in Solingen, Heilbronn, Esslingen, &c., is largely exported. Germany stands second to Great Britain in the manufacture of machines and engines. There are in many large cities of north Germany extensive establishments for this purpose, but the industry is not limited to the large cities. In agricultural machinery Germany is a serious competitor with England. The locomotives and wagons for the German railways are almost exclusively built in Germany; and Russia, as well as Austria, receives large supplies of railway plant from German works. In shipbuilding, likewise, Germany is practically independent, yards having been established for the construction of the largest vessels.
Before 1871 the production of cotton fabrics in France exceeded that in Germany, but as the cotton manufacture is pursued largely in Alsace, the balance is now against the former country. In 1905 there were about 9,000,000 spindles in Germany. The export of the goods manufactured amounted in Cotton and textiles. this year to an estimated value of £19,600,000. Cotton spinning and weaving are not confined to one district, but are prosecuted in upper Alsace (Mülhausen, Gebweiler, Colmar), in Saxony (Zwickau, Chemnitz, Annaberg), in Silesia (Breslau, Liegnitz), in the Rhine province (Düsseldorf, Münster, Cologne), in Erfurt and Hanover, in Württemberg (Reutlingen, Cannstatt), in Baden, Bavaria (Augsburg, Bamberg, Bayreuth) and in the Palatinate.
Although Germany produces wool, flax and hemp, the home production of these materials is not sufficient to meet the demand of manufactures, and large quantities of them have to be imported. In 1895 almost a million persons (half of them women) were employed in this branch of industry, and in 1897 the value of the cloth, buckskin and flannel manufacture was estimated at £18,000,000. The chief seats of this manufacture are the Rhenish districts of Aix-la-Chapelle, Düren, Eupen and Lennep, Brandenburg, Saxony, Silesia and lower Lusatia, the chief centres in this group being Berlin, Cottbus, Spremberg, Sagan and Sommerfeld.
The manufacture of woollen and half-woollen dress materials centres mainly in Saxony, Silesia, the Rhine province and in Alsace. Furniture covers, table covers and plush are made in Elberfeld and Chemnitz, in Westphalia and the Rhine province (notably in Elberfeld and Barmen); shawls in Berlin and the Bavarian Vogtland; carpets in Berlin, Barmen and Silesia. In the town of Schmiedeberg in the last district, as also in Cottbus (Lusatia), oriental patterns are successfully imitated. The chief seats of the stocking manufacture are Chemnitz and Zwickau in Saxony, and Apolda in Thuringia. The export of woollen goods from Germany in 1905 amounted to a value of £13,000,000.
Although linen was formerly one of her most important articles of manufacture, Germany is now left far behind in this industry by Great Britain, France and Austria-Hungary. This branch of textile manufacture has its principal centres in Silesia, Westphalia, Saxony and Württemberg, while Hirschberg in Silesia, Bielefeld in Westphalia and Zittau in Saxony are noted for the excellence of their productions. The goods manufactured, now no longer, as formerly, coarse in texture, vie with the finer and more delicate fabrics of Belfast. In the textile industry for flax and hemp there were, in 1905, 276,000 fine spindles, 22,300 hand-looms and 17,600 power-looms in operation, and, in 1905, linen and jute materials were exported of an estimated value of over £2,000,000. The jute manufacture, the principal centres of which are Berlin, Bonn, Brunswick and Hamburg, has of late attained considerable dimensions.
Raw silk can scarcely be reckoned among the products of the empire, and the annual demand has thus to be provided for by importation. The main centre of the silk industry is Crefeld and its neighbourhood; then come Elberfeld and Barmen, Aix-la-Chapelle, as well as Berlin, Bielefeld, Chemnitz, Stuttgart and the district around Mülhausen in Alsace.
The manufacture of paper is prosecuted almost everywhere in the empire. There were 1020 mills in operation in 1895, and the exports in 1905 amounted to more than £3,700,000 sterling, as against imports of a value of over £700,000. The manufacture is carried on to the largest extent in the Rhine province, in Paper. Saxony and in Silesia. Wall papers are produced chiefly in Rhenish Prussia, Berlin and Hamburg; the finer sorts of letter-paper in Berlin, Leipzig and Nuremberg; and printing-paper (especially for books) in Leipzig, Berlin and Frankfort-on-Main.
The chief seat of the leather industry is Hesse-Darmstadt, in which Mainz and Worms produce excellent material. In Prussia large factories are in operation in the Rhine province, in Westphalia and Silesia (Brieg). Boot and shoe manufactures are carried on everywhere; but the best goods are produced Leather. by Mainz and Pirmasens. Gloves for export are extensively made in Württemberg, and Offenbach and Aschaffenburg are renowned for fancy leather wares, such as purses, satchels and the like.
Berlin and Mainz are celebrated for the manufacture of furniture; Bavaria for toys; the Black Forest for clocks; Nuremberg for pencils; Berlin and Frankfort-on-Main for various perfumes; and Cologne for the famous eau-de-Cologne.
The beetroot sugar manufacture is very considerable. It centres mainly in the Prussian province of Saxony, where Magdeburg is the chief market for the whole of Germany, in Anhalt, Brunswick and Silesia. The number of factories was, in 1905, 376, and the amount of raw sugar and molasses produced amounted Sugar. to 2,643,531 metric tons, and of refined sugar 1,711,063 tons.
Beer is produced throughout the whole of Germany. The production is relatively greatest in Bavaria. The Brausteuergebiet (beer excise district) embraces all the states forming the Zollverein, with the exception of Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden and Alsace-Lorraine, in which countries the excise duties are Beer. separately collected. The total number of breweries in the beer excise district was, in 1905–1906, 5995, which produced 1017 million gallons; in Bavaria nearly 6000 breweries with 392 million gallons; in Baden over 700 breweries with 68 million gallons; in Württemberg over 5000 breweries with 87 million gallons; and in Alsace-Lorraine 95 breweries with about 29 million gallons. The amount brewed per head of the population amounted, in 1905, roughly to 160 imperial pints in the excise district; to 450 in Bavaria; 280 in Württemberg; 260 in Baden; and 122 in Alsace-Lorraine. It may be remarked that the beer brewed in Bavaria is generally of darker colour than that produced in other states, and extra strong brews are exported largely into the beer excise district and abroad.
Commerce.—The rapid development of German trade dates from the Zollverein (customs union), under the special rules and regulations of which it is administered. The Zollverein emanates from a convention originally entered into, in 1828, between Prussia and Hesse, which, subsequently joined by the Bavarian customs-league, by the kingdom of Saxony and the Thuringian states, came into operation, as regards the countries concerned, on the 1st of January 1834. With progressive territorial extensions during the ensuing fifty years, and embracing the grand-duchy of Luxemburg, it had in 1871, when the German empire was founded, an area of about 209,281 sq. m., with a population of 40,678,000. The last important addition was in October 1888, when Hamburg and Bremen were incorporated. Included within it, besides the grand-duchy of Luxemburg, are the Austrian communes of Jungholz and Mittelberg; while, outside, lie the little free-port territories of Hamburg, Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven and Geestemünde, Heligoland, and small portions of the districts of Constance and Waldshut, lying on the Baden Swiss frontier. Down to 1879 Germany was, in general, a free-trade country. In this year, however, a rigid protective system was introduced by the Zolltarifgesetz, since modified by the commercial treaties between Germany and Austria-Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, of the 1st of February 1892, and by a customs tariff law of the 25th of December 1902. The foreign commercial relations of Germany were again altered by the general and conventional customs tariff, which came into force on the 1st of March 1906. The Zolltarifgesetz of the 15th of July 1879, while restricting the former free import, imposed considerable duties. Exempt from duty were now only refuse, raw products, scientific instruments, ships and literary and artistic objects; forty-four articles—notably beer, vinegar, sugar, herrings, cocoa, salt, fish oils, ether, alum and soda—were unaffected by the change, while duties were henceforth levied upon a large number of articles which had previously been admitted duty free, such as pig iron, machines and locomotives, grain, building timber, tallow, horses, cattle and sheep; and, again, the tariff law further increased the duties leviable upon numerous other articles. Export duties were abolished in 1865 and transit dues in 1861. The law under which Great Britain enjoyed the “most favoured nation treatment” expired on the 31st of December 1905, but its provisions were continued by the Bundesrat until further notice. The average value of each article is fixed annually in Germany under the direction of the Imperial Statistical Office, by a commission of experts, who receive information from chambers of commerce and other sources. There are separate valuations for imports and exports. The price fixed is that of the goods at the moment of crossing the frontier. For imports the price does not include customs duties, cost of transport, insurance, warehousing, &c., incurred after the frontier is passed. For exports, the price includes all charges within the territory, but drawbacks and bounties are not taken into account. The quantities are determined according to obligatory declarations, and, for imports, the fiscal authorities may actually weigh the goods. For packages an official tax is deducted. The countries whence goods are imported and the ultimate destination of exports are registered. The import dues amounted in the year 1906, the first year of the revised tariff, to about £31,639,000, or about 10s. 5d. per head of population.
Statistics relating to the foreign trade of the Empire are necessarily confined to comparatively recent times. The quantities of such imported articles as are liable to duty have, indeed, been known for many years; and in 1872 official tables were compiled showing the value both of imports and of exports. But when the results of these tables proved the importation to be very much greater than the exportation, the conviction arose that the valuation of the exports was erroneous and below the reality. In 1872 the value of the imports was placed at £173,400,000 and that of the exports at £124,700,000. In 1905 the figures were—imports, £371,000,000, and exports, £292,000,000, including precious metals.
Table A following shows the classification of goods adopted before the tariff revision of 1906. From 1907 a new classification has been adopted, and the change thus introduced is so great that it is impossible to make any comparisons between the statistics of years subsequent to and preceding the year 1906. Table B shows imports and exports for 1907 and 1908 according to the new classification adopted.
Table A.—Classes of Imports and Exports, 1905.
|Cotton and cottons||23,488,750||22,949,600|
|Lead and by-products||996,300||979,400|
|Brush and sieve makers’ goods||102,400||515,450|
|Drugs, chemists’ and oilmen’s colours||15,896,900||23,196,250|
|Iron and iron goods||3,156,500||33,126,400|
|Ores, precious metals, asbestos, &c.||28,834,050||9,899,450|
|Flax and other vegetable spinning|
|materials except cotton||6,794,100||1,235,700|
|Grain and agricultural produce||59,136,200||7,496,500|
|Hair, feathers, bristles||3,218,600||1,848,150|
|Wood and wooden wares||16,940,850||6,056,150|
|Instruments, machines, &c.||4,351,500||17,898,250|
|Clothes, body linen, millinery||739,900||7,321,050|
|Copper and copper goods||8,273,400||10,307,050|
|Leather and leather goods||3,567,950||9,665,300|
|Literary and works of art||3,066,050||9,025,500|
|Groceries and confectionery||41,446,400||17,585,000|
|Fats and oils||12,510,600||2,631,600|
|Silks and silk goods||9,523,300||8,889,000|
|Soap and perfumes||151,600||768,200|
|Coal, lignite, coke and peat||10,136,800||15,096,450|
|Straw and hemp goods||561,650||262,100|
|Tar, pitch, resin||2,504,400||834,100|
|Animals, and animal products||9,926,200||590,700|
|Wools and woollen textiles||25,290,200||21,562,900|
|Zinc and zinc goods||682,250||2,413,600|
|Tin and japanned goods||1,770,550||744,100|
|Goods insufficiently declared||. .||806,300|
Table B.—Classes of Imports and Exports, 1907 and 1908.
|Groups of Articles.||Imports.||Exports.|
|Value in £1000.||Value in £1000.|
|Agricultural and forest produce||215,532||205,512||45,796||50,324|
|Colonial produce and substitutes for the same||12,151||12,328||84||108|
|Southern fruit and fruit peel||3,214||3,262||20||23|
|Animals and animal products||63,283||61,794||9,607||9,676|
|Hides and skins||16,920||17,699||5,383||5,453|
|Meat, oil, sugar, beverages||21,523||20,404||20,284||20,048|
|Mineral and fossil raw materials, mineral oils||47,575||45,540||26,166||26,208|
|Earths and stones||6,541||7,542||3,250||3,006|
|Ores, slag, cinders||16,465||15,451||1,407||1,206|
|Mineral oils and other fossil raw materials||7,168||7,209||558||491|
|Coal-tar, coal-tar oils||506||428||1,506||1,485|
|Chemical and pharmaceutical products, colours||14,784||14,850||28,116||26,845|
|Chemical primary materials, acids, salts||9,226||9,550||9,661||9,832|
|Colours and dyeing materials||951||879||11,630||10,518|
|Ether, alcohol not included elsewhere,|
|essential oils, perfumery and cosmetics||1,979||1,918||1,118||1,004|
|Explosives of all kinds||86||74||1,612||1,269|
|Other chemical and pharmaceutical products||1,361||1,270||2,586||2,765|
|Animal and vegetable textile|
|materials and wares thereof||98,540||92,105||78,086||70,343|
|Silk and silk goods||13,533||13,704||13,324||11,364|
|Wares of spun wool||8,660||6,925||20,668||18,964|
|Other vegetable textile materials||10,783||10,411||3,777||3,471|
|Leather and leather wares, furriers’ wares||6,695||6,657||16,778||17,835|
|Wares of soft caoutchouc||670||735||1,694||1,723|
|Hardened caoutchouc and wares thereof||24||19||634||602|
|Wares of animal or vegetable material for|
|carving or moulding||2,448||2,068||4,260||4,131|
|Paper, cardboard and wares thereof||1,349||1,205||9,342||9,111|
|Books, pictures, paintings||1,992||2,036||4,667||4,765|
|Glass and glassware||747||728||5,671||5,149|
|Precious metals and wares thereof||13,281||21,243||18,629||6,858|
|Base metals and wares thereof||26,035||26,398||57,146||58,895|
|Iron and iron wares||5,903||4,472||38,899||40,162|
|Pig iron (including non-malleable alloys)||1,601||912||966||905|
|Aluminium and aluminium wares||546||453||368||273|
|Lead and lead wares||1,438||1,484||945||985|
|Raw lead (including waste)||1,427||1,470||525||568|
|Zinc and zinc wares||727||847||2,433||2,489|
|Raw zinc (including waste)||706||825||1,631||1,784|
|Tin and tin wares||2,405||2,629||1,380||1,236|
|Raw tin (including waste)||2,357||2,581||787||688|
|Nickel and nickel wares||400||540||246||298|
|Raw nickel||375||527||160||233 |
|Copper and copper wares||13,803||15,088||7,998||8,470|
|Raw copper (including copper coin, brass,|
|Instruments of precision||813||885||4,877||4,982|
|Vehicles and vessels||2,562||1,587||5,849||4,862|
|Firearms, clocks, musical instruments, toys||1,732||1,424||8,704||7,505|
|Clocks and watches||1,382||1,134||1,296||1,210|
The following table shows the commercial intercourse in imports and exports, exclusive of bullion and coin, between Germany and the chief countries of the world in 1905, 1906 and 1907.
| Value in
| Value in
| Value in
|British South Africa||1,769||0.5||1,766||0.4||2,258||0.5|
|Dominion of Canada||481||0.1||463||0.1||483||0.1|
|British West Africa||2,562||0.7||2,731||0.7||3,601||0.8|
|Commonwealth of Australia||7,690||2.2||8,619||2.2||11,209||2.6|
| Value in
| Value in
| Value in
|British South Africa||1,687||0.6||1,607||0.5||1,422||0.4|
|Dominion of Canada||1,071||0.4||1,203||0.4||1,456||0.4|
|Commonwealth of Australia||2,264||0.8||2,863||0.9||3,004||0.9|
The commerce of Germany shows an upward tendency, which progresses pari passu with its greatly increased production. The export of ships from the United Kingdom to the empire decreased during two years, 1903 (£305,682) and 1904 (£365,062), almost to a vanishing point, German yards being able to cope with the demands made upon them for the supply of vessels of all classes, including mercantile vessels and ships of war. In 1905 and subsequent years, however, the degree of employment in German yards increased to such an extent, principally owing to the placing of the Admiralty contracts with private builders, that the more urgent orders for mercantile vessels were placed abroad.
The following tables give the value of trade between the United Kingdom and Germany in 1900 and 1905:—
| Staple Imports into the United Kingdom
|Glass and manufactures||1,078,648||1,108,117|
|Cottons and yarn||992,244||1,476,385|
|Woollens and yarn||1,312,671||1,984,475|
|Iron and steel and manufactures||1,012,376||379,479|
|Zinc and manufactures||461,023||673,602|
|Wood and manufactures||1,470,839||1,109,584|
| Principal Articles exported by
Great Britain to Germany.
|Cottons and yarn||3,843,917||4,941,917|
|Woollens and yarn||3,743,842||3,795,591|
|Alpaca, &c., yarn||1,022,259||1,325,519|
Navigation.—The seamen of Frisia are among the best in the world, and the shipping of Bremen and Hamburg had won a respected name long before a German mercantile marine, properly so called, was heard of. Many Hamburg vessels sailed under charter of English and other houses in foreign, especially Chinese, waters. Since 1868 all German ships have carried a common flag—black, white, red; but formerly Oldenburg, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, Mecklenburg and Prussia had each its own flag, and Schleswig-Holstein vessels sailed under the Danish flag. The German mercantile fleet occupies, in respect of the number of vessels, the fourth place—after Great Britain, the United States of America and Norway; but in respect of tonnage it stands third—after Great Britain and the United States only.
The following table shows its distribution on the 1st of January of the two years 1905 and 1908:—
|Baltic Ports.||North Sea Ports.||Total Shipping.|
In 1905, 2136 vessels of 283,171 tons, and in 1908, 2218 vessels of 284,081 tons, belonged to Prussian ports, and the number of sailors of the mercantile marine was 60,616 in 1905 and 71,853 in 1908.
The chief ports are Hamburg, Stettin, Bremen, Kiel, Lübeck, Flensburg, Bremerhaven, Danzig (Neufahrwasser), Geestemünde and Emden; and the number and tonnage of vessels of foreign nationality entering and clearing the ports of the empire, as compared with national shipping, were in 1906:—
The ports of Hamburg and Bremen, which are the chief outlets for emigration to the United States of America, carry on a vast commercial trade with all the chief countries of the world, and are the main gates of maritime intercourse between the United Kingdom and Germany.
The inland navigation is served by nearly 25,000 river, canal and coasting vessels, of a tonnage of about 4,000,000.
Railways.—The period of railway construction was inaugurated in Germany by the opening of the line (4 m. in length) from Nuremberg to Fürth in 1835, followed by the main line (71 m.) between Leipzig and Dresden, opened throughout in 1839. The development of the railway system was slow and was not conceived on any uniform plan. The want of a central government operated injuriously, for it often happened that intricate negotiations and solemn treaties between several sovereign states were required before a line could be constructed; and, moreover, the course it was to take was often determined less by the general exigencies of commerce than by many trifling interests or desires of neighbouring states. The state which was most self-seeking in its railway politics was Hanover, which separated the eastern and western parts of the kingdom of Prussia. The difficulties arising to Prussia from this source were experienced in a still greater degree by the seaports of Bremen and Hamburg, which were severely hampered by the particularism displayed by Hanover.
The making of railways was from the outset regarded by some German states as exclusively a function of the government. The South German states, for example, have only possessed state railways. In Prussia numerous private companies, in the first instance, constructed their systems, and the state contented itself for the most part with laying lines in such districts only as were not likely to attract private capital.
The development of the German railway system falls conveniently into four periods. The first, down in 1840, embraces the beginnings of railway enterprise. The next, down to 1848, shows the linking-up of various existing lines and the establishment of inter-connexion between the chief towns. The third, down to 1881, shows the gradual establishment of state control in Prussia, and the formation of direct trunk lines. The fourth begins from 1881 with the purchase of practically all the railways in Prussia by the government, and the introduction of a uniform system of interworking between the various state systems. The purchase of the railways by the Prussian government was on the whole equably carried out, but there were several hard cases in the expropriation of some of the smaller private lines.
The majority of the German railways are now owned by the state governments. Out of 34,470 m. of railway completed and open for traffic in 1906, only 2579 m. were the property of private undertakings, and of these about 150 were worked by the state. The bulk of the railways are of the normal 4 ft. 8½ in. gauge. Narrow-gauge (2½ ft.) lines—or light railways—extended over 1218 m. in 1903, and of these 537 m. were worked by the state.
The board responsible for the imperial control over the whole railway system in Germany is the Reichseisenbahnamt in Berlin, the administration of the various state systems residing, in Prussia, in the ministry of public works; in Bavaria in the ministry of the royal house and of the exterior; in Württemberg in the ministry of the exterior; in Saxony in the ministry of the interior; in Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt in commissions of the ministry of finance; and in Alsace-Lorraine in the imperial ministry of railways.
The management of the Prussian railway system is committed to the charge of twenty “directions,” into which the whole network of lines is divided, being those of Altona, Berlin, Breslau, Bromberg, Danzig, Elberfeld, Erfurt, Essen a.d. Ruhr, Frankfort-on-Main, Halle a.d. Saale, Hanover, Cassel, Kattowitz, Cologne, Königsberg, Magdeburg, Münster, Posen, Saarbrücken and Stettin. The entire length of the system was in 1906 20,835 m., giving an average of about 950 m. to each “direction.” The smallest mileage controlled by a “direction” is Berlin, with 380 m., and the greatest, Königsberg, with 1200 m.
The Bavarian system embraces 4642 m., and is controlled and managed, apart from the “general direction” in Munich, by ten traffic boards, in Augsburg, Bamberg, Ingolstadt, Kempten, Munich, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Rosenheim, Weiden and Würzburg.
The system of the kingdom of Saxony has a length of 1616 m., and is controlled by the general direction in Dresden.
The length of the Württemberg system is 1141 m., and is managed by a general direction in Stuttgart.
Baden (state) controls 1233, Oldenburg (state) 382, Mecklenburg-Schwerin 726 and Saxe-Weimar 257 m. respectively. Railways lying within the other smaller states are mostly worked by Prussia.
Alsace-Lorraine has a separate system of 1085 m., which is worked by the imperial general direction in Strassburg.
By the linking-up of the various state systems several grand trunk line routes have been developed—notably the lines Berlin-Vienna-Budapest; Berlin-Cologne-Brussels and Paris; Berlin-Halle-Frankfort-on-Main-Basel; Hamburg-Cassel-Munich and Verona; and Breslau-Dresden-Bamberg-Geneva. Until 1907 no uniform system of passenger rates had been adopted, each state retaining its own fares—a condition that led to much confusion. From the 1st of May 1907 the following tariff came into force. For ordinary trains the rate for first class was fixed at 11d. a mile; for second class at .7d.; for third class at 1d., and for fourth class at 1d. a mile.
For express trains an extra charge is made of 2s. for distances exceeding 93 m. (150 kils.) in the two superior classes, and 1s. for a lesser distance, and of 1s. and 6d. respectively in the case of third class tickets. Fourth class passengers are not conveyed by express trains. The above rates include government duty; but the privilege of free luggage (as up to 56 ℔) has been withdrawn, and all luggage other than hand baggage taken into the carriages is charged for. In 1903 371,084,000 metric tons of goods, including animals, were conveyed by the German railways, yielding £68,085,000 sterling, and the number of passengers carried was 957,684,000, yielding £29,300,000.
The passenger ports of Germany affording oversea communications to distant lands are mainly those of Bremen (Bremerhaven) and Hamburg (Cuxhaven) both of which are situate on the North Sea. From them great steamship lines, notably the North German Lloyd, the Hamburg-American, the Hamburg South American and the German East African steamship companies, maintain express mail and other services with North and South America, Australia, the Cape of Good Hope and the Far East. London and other English ports, French, Italian and Levant coast towns are also served by passenger steamboat sailings from the two great North Sea ports. The Baltic ports, such as Lübeck, Stettin, Danzig (Neufahrwasser) and Königsberg, principally provide communication with the coast towns of the adjacent countries, Russia and Sweden.
Waterways.—In Germany the waterways are almost solely in the possession of the state. Of ship canals the chief is the Kaiser Wilhelm canal (1887–1895), 61 m. long, connecting the North Sea and the Baltic; it was made with a breadth at bottom of 72 ft. and at the surface of 213 ft., and with a depth of 29 ft. 6 in., but in 1908 work was begun for doubling the bottom width and increasing the depth to 36 ft. In respect of internal navigation, the principal of the greater undertakings are the Dortmund-Ems and the Elbe-Trave canals. The former, constructed in 1892–1899, has a length of 150 m. and a mean depth of 8 ft. The latter, constructed 1895–1900, has a length of 43 m. and a mean depth of about 71 ft. A project was sanctioned in 1905 for a canal, adapted for vessels up to 600 tons, from the Rhine to the Weser at Hanover, utilizing a portion of the Dortmund-Ems canal; for a channel accommodating vessels of similar size between Berlin and Stettin; for improving the waterway between the Oder and the Vistula, so as to render it capable of accommodating vessels of 400 tons; and for the canalization of the upper Oder.
On the whole, Germany cannot be said to be rich in canals. In South Germany the Ludwigs canal was, until the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, the only one of importance. It was constructed by King Louis I. of Bavaria in order to unite the German Ocean and the Black Sea, and extends from the Main at Bamberg to Kelheim on the Danube. Alsace-Lorraine had canals for connecting the Rhine with the Rhone and the Marne, a branch serving the collieries of the Saar valley. The North German plain has, in the east, a canal by which Russian grain is conveyed to Königsberg, joining the Pregel to the Memel, and the upper Silesian coalfield is in communication with the Oder by means of the Klodnitz canal. The greatest number of canals is found around Berlin; they serve to join the Spree to the Oder and Elbe, and include the Teltow canal opened in 1906. The canals in Germany (including ship canals through lakes) have a total length of about 2600 m. Navigable and canalized rivers, to which belong the great water-systems of the Rhine, Elbe and Oder, have a total length of about 6000 m.
Roads.—The construction of good highways has been well attended to in Germany only since the Napoleonic wars. The separation of the empire into small states was favourable to road-making, inasmuch as it was principally the smaller governments that expended large sums for their network of roads. Hanover and Thuringia have long been distinguished for the excellence of their roads, but some districts suffer even still from the want of good highways. The introduction of railways for a time diverted attention from road-making, but this neglect has of late been to some extent remedied. In Prussia the districts (Kreise) have undertaken the charge of the construction of the roads; but they receive a subsidy from the public funds of the several provinces. Turnpikes were abolished in Prussia in 1874 and in Saxony in 1885. The total length of the public roads is estimated at 80,000 m.
Posts and Telegraphs.—With the exception of Bavaria and Württemberg, which have administrations of their own, all the German states belong to the imperial postal district (Reichspostgebiet). Since 1874 the postal and telegraphic departments have been combined. Both branches of administration have undergone a surprising development, especially since the reduction of the postal rates. Germany, including Bavaria and Württemberg, constitutes with Austria-Hungary a special postal union (Deutsch-Österreichischer Postverband), besides forming part of the international postal union. There are no statistics of posts and telegraphs before 1867, for it was only when the North German union was formed that the lesser states resigned their right of carrying mails in favour of the central authority. Formerly the prince of Thurn-and-Taxis was postmaster-general of Germany, but only some of the central states belonged to his postal territory. The seat of management was Frankfort-on-Main.
The following table shows the growth in the number of post offices for the whole empire:—
|Year.||Post Offices.||Men employed.|
In 1872 there were 2359 telegraph offices; in 1880, 9980; in 1890, 17,200; and in 1907, 37,309. There were 188 places provided with telephone service in 1888, and 13,175 in 1899. The postal receipts amounted for the whole empire in 1907 to £33,789,460, and the expenditure to £31,096,944, thus showing a surplus of £2,692,516.
Constitution.—The constitution of the German empire is, in all essentials, that of the North German Confederation, which came into force on the 7th of June 1867. Under this the presidency (Praesidium) of the confederation was vested in the king of Prussia and his heirs. As a result of the Franco-German war of 1870 the South German states joined the confederation; on the 9th of December 1870 the diet of the confederation accepted the treaties and gave to the new confederation the name of German Empire (Deutsche Reich), and on the 18th of January 1871 the king of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor (Deutscher Kaiser) at Versailles. This was a change of style, not of functions and powers. The title is “German emperor,” not “emperor of Germany,” being intended to show that the Kaiser is but primus inter pares in a confederation of territorial sovereigns; his authority as territorial sovereign (Landesherr) extends over Prussia, not over Germany.
The imperial dignity is hereditary in the line of Hohenzollern, and follows the law of primogeniture. The emperor exercises the imperial power in the name of the confederated states. In his office he is assisted by a federal council (Bundesrat), which represents the governments of the individual states of Germany. The members of this council, 58 in number, are appointed for each session by the governments of the individual states. The legislative functions of the empire are vested in the emperor, the Bundesrat, and the Reichstag or imperial Diet. The members of the latter, 397 in number, are elected for a space of five years by universal suffrage. Vote is by ballot, and one member is elected by (approximately) every 150,000 inhabitants.
As regards its legislative functions, the empire has supreme and independent control in matters relating to military affairs and the navy, to the imperial finances, to German commerce, to posts and telegraphs, and also to railways, in so far as these affect the common defence of the country. Bavaria and Württemberg, however, have preserved their own postal and telegraphic administration. The legislative power of the empire also takes precedence of that of the separate states in the regulation of matters affecting freedom of migration (Freizügigkeit), domicile, settlement and the rights of German subjects generally, as well as in all that relates to banking, patents, protection of intellectual property, navigation of rivers and canals, civil and criminal legislation, judicial procedure, sanitary police, and control of the press and of associations.
The executive power is in the emperor’s hands. He represents the empire internationally, and can declare war if defensive, and make peace as well as enter into treaties with other nations; he also appoints and receives ambassadors. For declaring offensive war the consent of the federal council must be obtained. The separate states have the privilege of sending ambassadors to the other courts; but all consuls abroad are officials of the empire and are named by the emperor.
Both the Bundesrat and the Reichstag meet in annual sessions convoked by the emperor who has the right of proroguing and dissolving the Diet; but the prorogation must not exceed 60 days, and in case of dissolution new elections must be ordered within 60 days, and the new session opened within 90 days. All laws for the regulation of the empire must, in order to pass, receive the votes of an absolute majority of the federal council and the Reichstag.
Alsace-Lorraine is represented in the Bundesrat by four commissioners (Kommissäre), without votes, who are nominated by the Statthalter (imperial lieutenant).
The fifty-eight members of the Bundesrat are nominated by the governments of the individual states for each session; while the members of the Reichstag are elected by universal suffrage and ballot for the term of five years. Every German who has completed his twenty-fifth year is prima facie entitled to the suffrage in the state within which he has resided for one year. Soldiers and those in the navy are not thus entitled, so long as they are serving under the colours. Excluded, further, are persons under tutelage, bankrupts and paupers, as also such persons who have been deprived of civil rights, during the time of such deprivation. Every German citizen who has completed his twenty-fifth year and has resided for a year in one of the federal states is eligible for election in any part of the empire, provided he has not been, as in the cases above, excluded from the right of suffrage. The secrecy of the ballot is ensured by special regulations passed on the 28th of April 1903. The voting-paper, furnished with an official stamp, must be placed in an envelope by the elector in a compartment set apart for the purpose in the polling room, and, thus enclosed, be handed by him to the presiding officer. An absolute majority of votes decides the election. If (as in the case of several candidates) an absolute majority over all the others has not been declared, a test election (Stichwahl) takes place between the two candidates who have received the greatest number of votes. In case of an equal number of votes being cast for both candidates, the decision is by lot.
The subjoined table gives the names of the various states composing the empire and the number of votes which the separate states have in the federal council. Each state may appoint as many members to the federal council as it has votes. The table also gives the number of the deputies in the Reichstag.
|States of the Empire.||No. of
|Kingdom of Prussia||17||236|
|Kingdom of Bavaria||6||48|
|Kingdom of Saxony||4||23|
|Kingdom of Württemberg||4||17|
|Grand duchy of Baden||3||14|
|Grand duchy of Hesse||3||9|
|Grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin||2||6|
|Grand duchy of Saxe-Weimar||1||3|
|Grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz||1||1|
|Grand duchy of Oldenburg||1||3|
|Duchy of Brunswick||2||3|
|Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen||1||2|
|Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg||1||1|
|Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha||1||2|
|Duchy of Anhalt||1||2|
|Principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen||1||1|
|Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt||1||1|
|Principality of Waldeck||1||1|
|Principality of Reuss-Greiz||1||1|
|Principality of Reuss-Schleiz||1||1|
|Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe||1||1|
|Principality of Lippe||1||1|
|Free town of Lübeck||1||1|
|Free town of Bremen||1||1|
|Free town of Hamburg||1||3|
|Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine||. .||15|
The Reichstag must meet at least once in each year. Since November 1906 its members have been paid (see Payment of Members).
The following table shows its composition after the elections of 1903 and 1907:—
|Alsatians, Guelphs and Danes||18||5|
|Wirtschaftliche Vereinigung (Reform Partei)||12||21|
|Wilde (no party)||9||5|
|Bund der Landwirte||3||6|
All the German states have separate representative assemblies, except Alsace-Lorraine and the two grand-duchies of Mecklenburg. The six larger states have adopted the two-chamber system, but in the composition of the houses great differences are found. The lesser states also have chambers of representatives numbering from 12 members (in Reuss-Greiz) to 48 members (in Brunswick), and in most states the different classes, as well as the cities and the rural districts, are separately represented. The free towns have legislative assemblies, numbering from 120 to 200 members.
Imperial measures, after passing the Bundesrat and the Reichstag, must obtain the sanction of the emperor in order to become law, and must be countersigned, when promulgated, by the chancellor of the empire (Reichskanzler). All members of the federal council are entitled to be present at the deliberations of the Reichstag. The Bundesrat, acting under the direction of the chancellor of the empire, is also a supreme administrative and consultative board, and as such it has nine standing committees, viz.: for army and fortresses; for naval purposes; for tariffs, excise and taxes; for trade and commerce; for railways, posts and telegraphs; for civil and criminal law; for financial accounts; for foreign affairs; and for Alsace-Lorraine. Each committee includes representatives of at least four states of the empire.
For the several branches of administration a considerable number of imperial offices have been gradually created. All of them, however, either are under the immediate authority of the chancellor of the empire, or are separately managed under his responsibility. The most important are the chancery office, the foreign office and the general post and telegraph office. But the heads of these do not form a cabinet.
The Chancellor of the Empire (Reichskanzler).—The Prussian plenipotentiary to the Bundesrat is the president of that assembly; he is appointed by the emperor, and bears the title Reichskanzler. This head official can be represented by any other member of the Bundesrat named in a document of substitution. The Reichskanzler is the sole responsible official, and conducts all the affairs of the empire, with the exception of such as are of a purely military character, and is the intermediary between the emperor, the Bundesrat and the Reichstag. All imperial rescripts require the counter-signature of the chancellor before attaining validity. All measures passed by the Reichstag require the sanction of the majority of the Bundesrat, and only become binding on being proclaimed on behalf of the empire by the chancellor, which publication takes place through the Reichsgesetzblatt (the official organ of the chancellor).
Government Offices.—The following imperial offices are directly responsible to the chancellor and stand under his control:—
1. The foreign office, which is divided into three departments: (i.) the political and diplomatic; (ii.) the political and commercial; (iii.) the legal. The chief of the foreign office is a secretary of state, taking his instructions immediately from the chancellor.
2. The colonial office (under the direction of a secretary of state) is divided into (i.) a civil department; (ii.) a military department; (iii.) a disciplinary court.
3. The ministry of the interior or home office (under the conduct of a secretary of state). This office is divided into four departments, dealing with (i.) the business of the Bundesrat, the Reichstag, the elections, citizenship, passports, the press, and military and naval matters, so far as the last concern the civil authorities; (ii.) purely social matters, such as old age pensions, accident insurance, migration, settlement, poor law administration, &c.; (iii.) sanitary matters, patents, canals, steamship lines, weights and measures; and (iv.) commercial and economic relations—such as agriculture, industry, commercial treaties and statistics.
4. The imperial admiralty (Reichsmarineamt), which is the chief board for the administration of the imperial navy, its maintenance and development.
5. The imperial ministry of justice (Reichsjustizamt), presided over by a secretary of state. This office, not to be confused with the Reichsgericht (supreme legal tribunal of the empire) in Leipzig, deals principally with the drafting of legal measures to be submitted to the Reichstag.
6. The imperial treasury (Reichsschatzamt), or exchequer, is the head financial office of the empire. Presided over by a secretary of state, its functions are principally those appertaining to the control of the national debt and its administration, together with such as in the United Kingdom are delegated to the board of inland revenue.
7. The imperial railway board (Reichseisenbahnamt), the chief official of which has the title of “president,” deals exclusively with the management of the railways throughout the empire, in so far as they fall under the control of the imperial authorities in respect of laws passed for their harmonious interworking, their tariffs and the safety of passengers conveyed.
8. The imperial post office (Reichspostamt), under a secretary of state, controls the post and telegraph administration of the empire (with the exception of Bavaria and Württemberg), as also those in the colonies and dependencies.
9. The imperial office for the administration of the imperial railways in Alsace-Lorraine, the chief of which is the Prussian minister of public works.
10. The office of the accountant-general of the empire (Rechnungshof), which controls and supervises the expenditure of the sums voted by the legislative bodies, and revises the accounts of the imperial bank (Reichsbank).
11. The administration of the imperial invalid fund, i.e. of the fund set apart in 1871 for the benefit of soldiers invalided in the war of 1870-71; and
12. The imperial bank (Reichsbank), supervised by a committee of four under the presidency of the imperial chancellor, who is a fifth and permanent member of such committee.
The heads of the various departments of state do not form, as in England, the nucleus of a cabinet. In so far as they are secretaries of state, they are directly responsible to the chancellor, who represents all the offices in his person, and, as has been said, is the medium of communication between the emperor and the Bundesrat and Reichstag.
Colonies.—The following table gives some particulars of the dependencies of the empire:—
|Total in Africa||910,150||11,700,000|
|In the Pacific—|
|German New Guinea||1884||70,000||110,000(?)|
|Caroline, Pelew and Mariana Islands||1899||800||41,600|
|Total in Pacific||96,145||432,600|
Except Kiao-chow, which is controlled by the admiralty, the dependencies of the empire are under the direction of the colonial office. This office, created in 1907, replaced the colonial department of the foreign office which previously had had charge of colonial affairs. The value of the trade of the colonies with Germany in 1906 was: imports into Germany, £1,028,000; exports from Germany, £2,236,000. For 1907 the total revenue from the colonies was £849,000; the expenditure of the empire on the colonies in the same year being £4,362,000. (See the articles on the various colonies.)
Local Government.—In the details of its organization local self-government differs considerably in the various states of the German empire. The general principle on which it is based, however, is that which has received its most complete expression in the Prussian system: government by experts, checked by lay criticism and the power of the purse, and effective control by the central authorities. In Prussia at least the medieval system of local self-government had succumbed completely to the centralizing policy of the monarchy, and when it was revived it was at the will and for the purposes of the central authorities, as subsidiary to the bureaucratic system. This fact determined its general characteristics. In England the powers of the local authorities are defined by act of parliament, and within the limits of these powers they have a free hand. In Germany general powers are granted by law, subject to the approval of the central authorities, with the result that it is the government departments that determine what the local elected authorities may do, and that the latter regard themselves as commissioned to carry out, not so much the will of the locality by which they are elected, as that of the central government. This attitude is, indeed, inevitable from the double relation in which they stand. A Bürgermeister, once elected, becomes a member of the bureaucracy and is responsible to the central administration; even the headman of a village commune is, within the narrow limits of his functions, a government official. Moreover, under the careful classification of affairs into local and central, many things which in England are regarded as local (e.g. education, sanitary administration, police) are regarded as falling under the sphere of the central government, which either administers them directly or by means of territorial delegations consisting either of individuals or of groups of individuals. These may be purely official (e.g. the Prussian Regierung), a mixture of officials and of elected non-official members approved by the government (e.g. the Bezirksausschuss), or may consist wholly of authorities elected for another purpose, but made to act as the agents of the central departments (e.g. the Kreisausschuss). That this system works without friction is due to the German habit of discipline; that it is, on the whole, singularly effective is a result of the peculiarly enlightened and progressive views of the German bureaucracy.
The unit of the German system of local government is the commune (Gemeinde, or more strictly Ortsgemeinde). These are divided into rural communes (Landgemeinden) and urban communes (Stadtgemeinden), the powers and functions of which, though differing widely, are based upon the same general principle of representative local self-government. The higher organs of local government, so far as these are representative, are based on the principle of a group or union of communes (Gemeindeverband). Thus, in Prussia, the representative assembly of the Circle (Kreistag) is composed of delegates of the rural communes, as well as of the large landowners and the towns, while the members of the provincial diet (Provinziallandtag) are chosen by the Kreistage and by such towns as form separate Kreise.
In Prussia the classes of administrative areas are as follows: (1) the province, (2) the government district (Regierungsbezirk), (3) the rural circle (Landkreis) and urban circle (Stadtkreis), (4) the official district (Amtsbezirk), (5) the town commune (Stadtgemeinde) and rural commune (Landgemeinde). Of these areas the provinces, circles and communes are for the purposes both of the central administration and of local self-government, and the bodies by which they are governed are corporations. The Regierungsbezirke and Amtsbezirke, on the other hand, are for the purposes of the central administration only and are not incorporated. The Prussian system is explained in greater detail in the article Prussia (q.v.). Here it must suffice to indicate briefly the general features of local government in the other German states, as compared with that in Prussia. The province, which usually covers the area of a formerly independent state (e.g. Hanover) is peculiar to Prussia. The Regierungsbezirk, however, is common to the larger states under various names, Regierungsbezirk in Bavaria, Kreishauptmannschaft in Saxony, Kreis in Württemberg. Common to all is the president (Regierungspräsident, Kreishauptmann in Saxony), an official who, with a committee of advisers, is responsible for the oversight of the administration of the circles and communes within his jurisdiction. Whereas in Prussia, however, the Regierung is purely official, with no representative element, the Regierungsbezirk in Bavaria has a representative body, the Landrat, consisting of delegates of the district assemblies, the towns, large landowners, clergy and—in certain cases—the universities; the president is assisted by a committee (Landratsausschuss) of six members elected by the Landrat. In Saxony the Kreishauptmann is assisted by a committee (Kreisausschuss).
Below the Regierungsbezirk is the Kreis, or Circle, in Prussia, Baden and Hesse, which corresponds to the Distrikt in Bavaria, the Oberamt in Württemberg and the Amtshauptmannschaft in Saxony. The representative assembly of the Circle (Kreistag, Distriktsrat in Bavaria, Amtsversammlung in Württemberg, Bezirksversammlung in Saxony) is elected by the communes, and is presided over by an official, either elected or, as in the case of the Prussian Landrat, nominated from a list submitted by the assembly. So far as their administrative and legislative functions are concerned the German Kreistage have been compared to the English county councils or the Hungarian comitatus. Their decisions, however, are subject to the approval of their official chiefs. To assist the executive a small committee (Kreisausschuss, Distriktsausschuss, &c.) is elected subject to official approval. The official district (Amtsbezirk), a subdivision of the circle for certain administrative purposes (notably police), is peculiar to Prussia.
Rural Communes.—As stated above, the lowest administrative area is the commune, whether urban or rural. The laws as to the constitution and powers of the rural communes vary much in the different states. In general the commune is a body corporate, its assembly consisting either (in small villages) of the whole body of the qualified inhabitants (Gemeindeversammlung), or of a representative assembly (Gemeindevertretung) elected by them (in communes where there are more than forty qualified inhabitants). At its head is an elected headman (Schulze, Dorfvorsteher, &c.), with a small body of assistants (Schöffen, &c.). He is a government official responsible, inter alia, for the policing of the commune. Where there are large estates these sometimes constitute communes of themselves. For common purposes several communes may combine, such combinations being termed in Württemberg Bürgermeistereien, in the Rhine province Amtsverbände. In general the communes are of slight importance. Where the land is held by small peasant proprietors, they display a certain activity; where there are large ground landlords, these usually control them absolutely.
Towns.—The constitution of the towns (Städteverfassung) varies more greatly in the several states than that of the rural communes. According to the so-called Stein’sche Städteverfassung (the system introduced in Prussia by Stein in 1808), which, to differentiate between it and other systems, is called the Magistratsverfassung (or magisterial constitution), the municipal communes enjoy a greater degree of self-government than do the rural. In the magisterial constitution of larger towns and cities, the members of the Magistrat, i.e. the executive council (also called Stadtrat, Gemeinderat), are elected by the representative assembly of the citizens (Stadtverordnetenversammlung) out of their own body.
In those parts of Germany which come under the influence of French legislation, the constitution of the towns and that of the rural communes (the so-called Bürgermeistereiverfassung) is identical, in that the members of the communal executive body are, in the same way as those of the communal assembly, elected to office immediately by the whole body of municipal electors.
The government of the towns is regulated in the main by municipal codes (Städteordnungen), largely based upon Stein’s reform of 1808. This, superseding the autonomy severally enjoyed by the towns and cities since the middle ages (see Commune), aimed at welding the citizens, who had hitherto been divided into classes and gilds, into one corporate whole, and giving them all an active share in the administration of public affairs, while reserving to the central authorities the power of effective control.
The system which obtains in all the old Prussian provinces (with the exception of Rügen and Vorpommern or Hither Pomerania) and in Westphalia is that of Stein, modified by subsequent laws—notably those of 1853 and 1856—which gave the state a greater influence, while extending the powers of the Magistrat. In Vorpommern and Rügen, and thus in the towns of Greifswald, Stralsund and Bergen, among others, the old civic constitutions remain unchanged. In the new Prussian provinces, Frankfort-on-Main received a special municipal constitution in 1867 and the towns of Schleswig-Holstein in 1869. The province of Hanover retains its system as emended in 1858, and Hesse-Nassau, with the exception of Frankfort-on-Main, received a special corporate system in 1897. The municipal systems of Bavaria, Württemberg and Saxony are more or less based on that of Stein, but with a wider sphere of self-government. In Mecklenburg there is no uniform system. In Saxe-Coburg, the towns of Coburg and Neustadt have separate and peculiar municipal constitutions. In almost all the other states the system is uniform. The free cities of Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen, as sovereign states, form a separate class. Their constitutions are described in the articles on them.
Where the “magisterial” constitution prevails, the members of the Magistrat, i.e. the executive council (also called variously Stadtrat, Gemeindevorstand, &c.), are as a rule elected by the representative assembly of the burgesses (Stadtverordnetenversammlung; also Gemeinderat, städtischer Ausschuss, Kollegium der Bürgervorsteher, Stadtältesten, &c.). The Magistrat consists of the chief burgomaster (Erster Bürgermeister or Stadtschultheiss, and in the large cities Oberbürgermeister), a second burgomaster or assessor, and in large towns of a number of paid and unpaid town councillors (Ratsherren, Senatoren, Schöffen, Ratsmänner, Magistratsräte), together with certain salaried members selected for specific purposes (e.g. Baurat, for building). Over this executive body the Stadtverordneten, who are elected by the whole body of citizens and unpaid, exercise a general control, their assent being necessary to any measures of importance, especially those involving any considerable outlay. They are elected for from three to six years; the members of the Magistrat are chosen for six, nine or twelve years, sometimes even for life. In the large towns the burgomasters must be jurists, and are paid. The police are under the control of the Magistrat, except in certain large cities, where they are under a separate state department.
The second system mentioned above (Bürgermeistereiverfassung) prevails in the Rhine province, the Bavarian Palatinate, Hesse, Saxe-Weimar, Anhalt, Waldeck and the principalities of Reuss and Schwarzburg. In Württemberg, Baden and Hesse-Nassau the system is a compromise between the two; both the town and rural communes have a mayor (Bürgermeister or Schultheiss, as the case may be) and a Gemeinderat for administrative purposes, the citizens exercising control through a representative Gemeindeausschuss (communal committee).
Justice.—By the Judicature Act—Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz—of 1879, the so-called “regular litigious” jurisdiction of the courts of law was rendered uniform throughout the empire, and the courts are now everywhere alike in character and composition; and with the exception of the Reichsgericht (supreme court of the empire), immediately subject to the government of the state in which they exercise jurisdiction, and not to the imperial government. The courts, from the lowest to the highest, are Amtsgericht, Landgericht, Oberlandesgericht and Reichsgericht. There are, further, Verwaltungsgerichte (administrative courts) for the adjustment of disputes between the various organs of local government, and other special courts, such as military, consular and arbitration courts (Schiedsgericht). In addition to litigious business the courts also deal with non-litigious matters, such as the registration of titles to land, guardianship and the drawing up and custody of testamentary dispositions, all which are almost entirely within the province of the Amtsgerichte. There are uniform codes of criminal law (Strafgesetzbuch), commercial law and civil law (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch), the last of which came into force on the 1st of January 1900. The criminal code, based on that of Prussia anterior to 1870, was gradually adopted by all the other states and was generally in force by 1872. It has, however, been frequently emended and supplemented.
The lowest courts of first instance are the Amtsgerichte, each presided over by a single judge, and with jurisdiction in petty criminal and civil cases, up to 300 marks (£15). They are also competent to deal with all disputes as to wages, and letting and hiring, without regard to the value of the object in dispute. Petty criminal cases are heard by the judge (Amtsrichter) sitting with two Schöffen—assessors—selected by lot from the jury lists, who are competent to try prisoners for offences punishable with a fine, not exceeding 600 marks (£30) or corresponding confinement, or with imprisonment not exceeding three months. The Landgerichte revise the decisions of the Amtsgerichte, and have also an original jurisdiction in criminal and civil cases and in divorce proceedings. The criminal chamber of the Landgericht is composed of five judges, and a majority of four is required for a conviction. These courts are competent to try cases of felony punishable with a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years. The preliminary examination is conducted by a judge, who does not sit on the bench at the trial. Jury courts (Schwurgerichte) are not permanent institutions, but are periodically held. They are formed of three judges of the Landgericht and a jury of twelve; and a two-thirds majority is necessary to convict. There are 173 Landgerichte in the empire, being one court for every 325,822 inhabitants. The first court of second instance is the Oberlandesgericht, which has an original jurisdiction in grave offences and is composed of seven judges. There are twenty-eight such courts in the empire. Bavaria alone has an Oberstes Landesgericht, which exercises a revising jurisdiction over the Oberlandesgerichte in the state. The supreme court of the German empire is the Reichsgericht, having its seat at Leipzig. The judges, numbering ninety-two, are appointed by the emperor on the advice of the federal council (Bundesrat). This court exercises an appellate jurisdiction in civil cases remitted, for the decision of questions of law, by the inferior courts and also in all criminal cases referred to it. It sits in four criminal and six civil senates, each consisting of seven judges, one of whom is the president. The judges are styled Reichsgerichtsräte (counsellors of the imperial court).
In the Amtsgericht a private litigant may conduct his own case; but where the object of the litigation exceeds 300 marks (£15), and in appeals from the Amtsgericht to the Landgericht, the plaintiff (and also the defendant) must be represented by an advocate—Rechtsanwalt.
A Rechtsanwalt, having studied law at a university for four years and having passed two state examinations, if desiring to practise must be admitted as “defending counsel” by the Amtsgericht or Landgericht, or by both. These advocates are not state officials, but are sworn to the due execution of their duties. In case a client has suffered damage owing to the negligence of the advocate, the latter can be made responsible. In every district of the Oberlandesgericht, the Rechtsanwälte are formed into an Anwaltkammer (chamber of advocates), and the council of each chamber, sitting as a court of honour, deals with and determines matters affecting the honour of the profession. An appeal lies from this to a second court of honour, consisting of the president, three judges of the Reichsgericht and of three lawyers admitted to practice before that court.
Criminal prosecutions are conducted in the name of the crown by the Staatsanwälte (state attorneys), who form a separate branch of the judicial system, and initiate public prosecutions or reject evidence as being insufficient to procure conviction. The proceedings in the courts are, as a rule, public. Only in exceptional circumstances are cases heard in camera.
Military offences come before the military court and serious offences before the Kriegsgericht. The court-martial is, in every case, composed of the commander of the district as president, and four officers, assisted by a judge-advocate (Kriegsgerichtsrat), who conducts the case and swears the judges and witnesses. In the most serious class of cases, three officers and two judge-advocates are the judges. The prisoner is defended by an officer, whom he may himself appoint, and can be acquitted by a simple majority, but only be condemned by a two-thirds majority. There are also Kaufmanns- and Gewerbegerichte (commercial and industrial courts), composed of persons belonging to the classes of employers and employees, under the presidency of a judge of the court. Their aim is the effecting of a reconciliation between the parties. From the decision of these courts an appeal lies to the Landgericht where the amount of the object in dispute exceeds 100 marks (£5).
The following table shows the number of criminal cases tried before the courts of first instance, with the number and sex of convicted persons, and the number of the latter per 10,000 of the civil population over twelve years of age:—
|Year.||Cases tried.||Persons convicted.||Total.|| Convictions |
Of those convicted in 1904, 225,326 had been previously convicted.
Poor Law.—A law passed by the North German Confederation of the 6th of June 1870, and subsequently amended by an imperial law of the 12th of March 1894, laid down rules for the relief of the destitute in all the states composing the empire, with the exception of Bavaria and Alsace-Lorraine. According to the system adopted, the public relief of the poor is committed to the care of local unions (Ortsarmenverbände) and provincial unions (Landarmenverbände), the former corresponding, generally, to the commune, and the latter to a far wider area, a circle or a province. Any person of eighteen years, who has continuously resided with a local union for the space of two years, there acquires his domicile. But any destitute German subject must be relieved by the local union in which he happens to be at the time, the cost of the relief being defrayed by the local or provincial union in which he has his domicile. The wife and children have also their domicile in the place where the husband or father has his.
Relief of the poor is one of the chief duties of the organs of local self-government. The moneys for the purpose are mainly derived from general taxation (poor rates per se being but rarely directly levied), special funds and voluntary contributions. In some German states and communes certain dues (such as the dog tax in Saxony), death duties and particularly dues payable in respect of public entertainments and police court fines, are assigned to the poor-relief chest. In some large towns the Elberfeld system of unpaid district visitors and the interworking of public and private charity is in force. The imperial laws which introduced the compulsory insurance of all the humbler workers within the empire, and gave them, when incapacitated by sickness, accident and old age, an absolute right to pecuniary assistance, have greatly reduced pauperism and crime.
Workmen’s Insurance.—On June 15, 1883, the Reichstag, as the result of the policy announced by the emperor William I. in his speech from the throne in 1881, passed an act making insurance against sickness, accident, and incapacity compulsory on all workers in industrial pursuits. By further laws, in 1885 and 1892, this obligation was extended to certain other classes of workers, and the system was further modified by acts passed in 1900 and 1903. Under this system every person insured has a right to assistance in case of sickness, accident, or incapacity, while in case of death his widow and children receive an annuity.
1. Insurance against sickness is provided for under these laws partly by the machinery already existing, i.e. the sick benefit societies, partly by new machinery devised to meet the new obligation imposed. The sick-funds (Krankenkassen) are thus of seven kinds: (1) free assistance funds (Freie Hilfskassen), either registered under the law of 1876, as modified in 1884 (Eingeschriebene Hilfskassen), or established under the law of the separate states (landesrechtliche Hilfskassen); (2) Betriebs- or Fabrikkrankenkassen, funds established by individual factory-owners; (3) Baukrankenkasse, a fund established for workmen engaged on the construction (Bau) of particular engineering works (canal-digging, &c.), by individual contractors; (4) gild sick funds (Innungskrankenkassen), established by the gilds for the workmen and apprentices of their members; (5) miners’ sick fund (Knappschaftskasse); (6) local sick fund (Ortskrankenkasse), established by the commune for particular crafts or classes of workmen; (7) Gemeindekrankenversicherung, i.e. insurance of members of the commune as such, in the event of their not subscribing to any of the other funds. Of these, 2, 3, 6 and 7 were created under the above-mentioned laws.
The number of such funds amounted in 1903 to 23,271, and included 10,224,297 workmen. The Ortskrankenkassen, with 4,975,322 members, had the greatest, and the Baukrankenkassen, with 16,459, the smallest number of members. The Ortskrankenkassen, which endeavour to include workmen of a like trade, have to a great extent, especially in Saxony, fallen under the control of the Social Democrats. The appointment of permanent doctors (Kassenärzte) at a fixed salary has given rise to much difference between the medical profession and this local sick fund; and the insistence on “freedom of choice” in doctors, which has been made by the members and threatens to militate against the interest of the profession, has been met on the part of the medical body by the appointment of a commission to investigate cases of undue influence in the selection.
According to the statistics furnished in the Vierteljahreshefte zur Statistik des deutschen Reiches for 1905, the receipts amounted to upwards of £10,000,000 for 1903, and the expenditure to somewhat less than this sum. Administrative changes were credited with nearly £600,000, and the invested funds totalled £9,000,000. The workmen contribute at the rate of two-thirds and the employers at the rate of one-third; the sum payable in respect of each worker varying from 11-3% of the earnings in the “communal sick fund” to at most 11-4% in the others.
2. Insurance against old age and invalidity comprehends all persons who have entered upon their 17th year, and who belong to one of the following classes of wage-earners: artisans, apprentices, domestic servants, dressmakers, charwomen, laundresses, seamstresses, housekeepers, foremen, engineers, journeymen, clerks and apprentices in shops (excepting assistants and apprentices in chemists’ shops), schoolmasters, schoolmistresses, teachers and governesses, provided the earnings do not exceed £100 per annum. The insured are arranged in five classes, according to the amount of their yearly earnings: viz. £17, 10s.; £27, 10s.; £47, 10s.; £57, 10s.; and £100. The contributions, affixed to a “pension book” in stamps, are payable each week, and amount, in English money, to 1.45d., 2.34d., 2.82d., 3.30d. and 4.23d. Of the contribution one half is paid by the employer and the other by the employee, whose duty it is to see that the amount has been properly entered in the pension book. The pensions, in case of invalidity, amount (including a state subsidy of £2, 10s. for each) respectively to £8, 8s.; £11, 5s.; £13, 10s.; £15, 15s.; and £18. The old-age pensions (beginning at 70 years) amount to £5, 10s.; £7; £8, 10s.; £10; and £11, 10s. The old-age and invalid insurance is carried out by thirty-one large territorial offices, to which must be added nine special unions. The income of the forty establishments was, in 1903, £8,500,000 (including £1,700,000 imperial subsidy). The capital collected was upwards of £50,000,000.
It may be added that employees in mercantile and trading houses, who have not exceeded the age of 40 years and whose income is below £150, are allowed voluntarily to share in the benefits of this insurance.
3. Accident Insurance (Unfallversicherung).—The insurance of workmen and the lesser officials against the risks of accident is effected not through the state or the commune, but through associations formed ad hoc. These associations are composed of members following the same or allied occupations (e.g. foresters, seamen, smiths, &c.), and hence are called “professional associations” (Berufsgenossenschaften). They are empowered, subject to the limits set by the law, to regulate their own business by means of a general meeting and of elected committees. The greater number of these associations cover a very wide field, generally the whole empire; in such cases they are empowered to divide their spheres into sections, and to establish agents in different centres to inquire into cases of accident, and to see to the carrying out of the rules prescribed by the association for the avoidance of accidents. Those associations, of which the area of operations extends beyond any single state, are subordinate to the control of the imperial insurance bureau (Reichsversicherungsamt) at Berlin; those that are confined to a single state (as generally in the case of foresters and husbandmen) are under the control of the state insurance bureau (Landesversicherungsamt).
So far as their earnings do not exceed £150 per annum, the following classes are under the legal obligation to insure: labourers in mines, quarries, dockyards, wharves, manufactories and breweries; bricklayers and navvies; post-office, railway, and naval and military servants and officials; carters, raftsmen and canal hands; cellarmen, warehousemen; stevedores; and agricultural labourers. Each of these groups forms an association, which within a certain district embraces all the industries with which it is connected. The funds for covering the compensation payable in respect of accidents are raised by payments based, in agriculture, on the taxable capital, and in other trades and industries on the earnings of the insured. Compensation in respect of injury or death is not paid if the accident was brought about through the culpable negligence or other delict of the insured. In case of injury, involving incapacity for more than thirteen weeks (for the earlier period the Krankenkassen provide), the weekly sum payable during complete or permanent incapacity is fixed at the ratio of two-thirds of the earnings during the year preceding the accident, and in case of partial disablement, at such a proportion of the earnings as corresponds to the loss through disablement. In certain circumstances (e.g. need for paid nursing) the sum may be increased to the full rate of the previous earnings. In case of death, as a consequence of injury, the following payments are made: (1) a sum of at least £2, 10s. to defray the expenses of interment; (2) a monthly allowance of one-fifth of the annual earnings as above to the widow and each child up to the age of 15.
Life Insurance.—There were forty-six companies in 1900 for the insurance of life. The number of persons insured was 1,446,249 at the end of that year, the insurances amounting to roughly £320,000,000. Besides these are sixty-one companies—of which forty-six are comprised in the above life insurance companies—paying subsidies in case of death or of military service, endowments, &c. Some of these companies are industrial. The transactions of all these companies included in 1900 over 4,179,000 persons, and the amount of insurances effected was £80,000,000.
Religion.—So far as the empire as a whole is concerned there is no state religion, each state being left free to maintain its own establishment. Thus while the emperor, as king of Prussia, is summus episcopus of the Prussian Evangelical Church, as emperor he enjoys no such ecclesiastical headship. In the several states the relations of church and state differ fundamentally according as these states are Protestant or Catholic. In the latter these relations are regulated either by concordats between the governments and the Holy See, or by bulls of circumscription issued by the pope after negotiation. The effects of concordats and bulls alike are tempered by the exercise by the civil power of certain traditional reserved rights, e.g. the placetum regium, recursus ab abusu, nominatio regia, and that of vetoing the nomination of personae minus gratae. In the Protestant states the ecclesiastical authority remains purely territorial, and the sovereign remains effective head of the established church. During the 19th century, however, a large measure of ecclesiastical self-government (by means of general synods, &c.) was introduced, pari passu with the growth of constitutional government in the state; and in effect, though the theoretical supremacy of the sovereign survives in the church as in the state, he cannot exercise it save through the general synod, which is the state parliament for ecclesiastical purposes. Where a sovereign rules over a state containing a large proportion of both Catholics and Protestants, which is usually the case, both systems coexist. Thus in Prussia the relations of the Roman Catholic community to the Protestant state are regulated by arrangement between the Prussian government and Rome; while in Bavaria the king, though a Catholic, is legally summus episcopus of the Evangelical Church.
According to the religious census of 1900 there were in the German empire 35,231,104 Evangelical Protestants, 20,327,913 Roman Catholics, 6472 Greek Orthodox, 203,678 Christians belonging to other confessions, 586,948 Jews, 11,597 members of other sects and 5938 unclassified. The Christians belonging to other confessions include Moravian Brethren, Mennonites, Baptists, Methodists and Quakers, German Catholics, Old Catholics, &c. The table on following page shows the distribution of the population according to religious beliefs as furnished by the census of 1900.
Almost two-thirds of the population belong to the Evangelical Church, and rather more than a third to the Church of Rome; the actual figures (based on the census of 1900) being (%) Evangelical Protestants, 62.5; Roman Catholics, 36.1; Dissenters and others, .043, and Jews, 1.0. The Protestants have not increased proportionately in number since 1890, while the Roman Catholics show a small relative increase. Three states in Germany have a decidedly predominant Roman Catholic population, viz. Alsace-Lorraine, Bavaria and Baden; and in four states the Protestant element prevails, but with from 24 to 34% of Roman Catholics; viz. Prussia, Württemberg, Hesse and Oldenburg. In Saxony and |the eighteen minor states the number of Roman Catholics is only from 0.3 to 3.3% of the population.
From the above table little can be inferred as to the geographical distribution of the two chief confessions. On this point it must be borne in mind that the population of the larger towns, on account of the greater mobility of the population since the introduction of railways and the abolition of restrictions upon free settlement, has become more mixed—Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, &c., showing proportionally more Roman Catholics, and Cologne, Frankfort-on-Main, Munich more Protestants than formerly. Otherwise the geographical limits of the confessions have been but little altered since the Thirty Years’ War. In the mixed territories those places which formerly belonged to Roman Catholic princes are Roman Catholic still, and vice versa. Hence a religious map of South Germany looks like an historical map of the 17th century. The number of localities where the two confessions exist side by side is small. Generally speaking, South Germany is predominantly Roman Catholic. Some districts along the Danube (province of Bavaria, Upper Palatinate, Swabia), southern Württemberg and Baden, and in Alsace-Lorraine are entirely so. These territories are bordered by a broad stretch of country on the north, where Protestantism has maintained its hold since the time of the Reformation, including Bayreuth or eastern upper Franconia, middle Franconia, the northern half of Württemberg and Baden, with Hesse and the Palatinate. Here the average proportion of Protestants to Roman Catholics is two to one. The basin of the Main is again Roman Catholic from Bamberg to Aschaffenburg (western upper Franconia and lower Franconia). In Prussia the western and south-eastern provinces are mostly Roman Catholic, especially the Rhine province, together with the government districts of Münster and Arnsberg. The territories of the former principality of Cleves and of the countship of Mark (comprising very nearly the basin of the Ruhr), which went to Brandenburg in 1609, must, however, be excepted. North of Münster, Roman Catholicism is still prevalent in the territory of the former bishopric of Osnabrück. In the east, East Prussia (Ermeland excepted) is purely Protestant. Roman Catholicism was predominant a hundred years ago in all the frontier provinces acquired by Prussia in the days of Frederick the Great, but since then the German immigrants have widely propagated the Protestant faith in these districts. A prevailingly Roman Catholic population is still found in the district of Oppeln and the countship of Glatz, in the province of Posen, in the Polish-speaking Kreise of West Prussia, and in Ermeland (East Prussia). In all the remaining territory the Roman Catholic creed is professed only in the Eichsfeld on the southern border of the province of Hanover and around Hildesheim.
The adherents of Protestantism are divided by their confessions into Reformed and Lutheran. To unite these the “church union” has been introduced in several Protestant states, as for example in Prussia and Nassau in 1817, in the Palatinate in 1818 and in Baden in 1822. Since 1817 the distinction Protestant Church. has accordingly been ignored in Prussia, and Christians are there enumerated only as Evangelical or Roman Catholic. The union, however, has not remained wholly unopposed—a section of the more rigid Lutherans who separated themselves from the state church being now known as Old Lutherans. In 1866 Prussia annexed Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein, where the Protestants were Lutherans, and Hesse, where the Reformed Church had the preponderance. The inhabitants of these countries opposed the introduction of the union, but could not prevent their being subordinated to the Prussian Oberkirchenrat (high church-council), the supreme court of the state church. A synodal constitution for the Evangelical State Church was introduced in Prussia in 1875. The Oberkirchenrat retains the right of supreme management. The ecclesiastical affairs of the separate provinces are directed by consistorial boards. The parishes (Pfarreien) are grouped into dioceses (Sprengel), presided over by superintendents, who are subordinate to the superintendent-general of the province. Prussia has sixteen superintendents-general. The ecclesiastical administration is similarly regulated in the other countries of the Protestant creed. Regarding the number of churches and chapels Germany has no exact statistics.
There are five archbishoprics within the German empire: Gnesen-Posen, Cologne, Freiburg (Baden), Munich-Freising and Bamberg. The twenty bishoprics are: Breslau (where the bishop has the title of “prince-bishop”), Ermeland (seat at Frauenburg, East Prussia), Kulm (seat at Pelplin, West Prussia), Fulda, Roman Catholic Church. Hildesheim, Osnabrück, Paderborn, Münster, Limburg, Trier, Metz, Strassburg, Spires, Würzburg, Regensburg, Passau, Eichstätt, Augsburg, Rottenburg (Württemberg) and Mainz. Apostolic vicariates exist in Dresden (for Saxony), and others for Anhalt and the northern missions.
The Old Catholics (q.v.), who seceded from the Roman Church in consequence of the definition of the dogma of papal infallibility, number roughly 50,000, with 54 clergy.
It is in the towns that the Jewish element is chiefly to be found. They belong principally to the mercantile class, and are to a very large extent dealers in money. Their wealth has grown to an extraordinary degree. They are increasingly numerous in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfort-on-Main, Breslau, Königsberg, Jews. Posen, Cologne, Nuremberg and Fürth. As a rule their numbers are proportionately greater in Prussia than elsewhere within the empire. But, since 1871, the Jewish population of Germany shows a far smaller increase than that of the Christian confessions, and even in the parts of the country where the Jewish population is densest it has shown a tendency to diminish. It is relatively greatest in the province of Posen, where the numbers have fallen from 61,982 (39.1 per thousand) in 1871 to 35,327 (18.7 per thousand) in 1900. The explanation is twofold—the extraordinary increase (1) in their numbers in Berlin and the province of Brandenburg, and (2) in the number of conversions to the Christian faith. In this last regard it may be remarked that the impulse is less from religious conviction than from a desire to associate on more equal terms with their neighbours. Though still, in fact at least, if not by law, excluded from many public offices, especially from commands in the army, they nevertheless are very powerful in Germany, the press being for the most part in their hands, and they furnish in many cities fully one-half of the lawyers and the members of the corporation. It should be mentioned, as a curious fact, that the numbers of the Jewish persuasion in the kingdom of Saxony increased from 3358 (1.3 per thousand) in 1871 to 12,416 (3 per thousand) in 1900.
Education.—In point of educational culture Germany ranks high among all the civilized great nations of the world (see Education: Germany). Education is general and compulsory throughout the empire, and all the states composing it have, with minor modifications, adopted the Prussian system providing for the establishment of elementary schools—Volksschulen—in every town and village. The school age is from six to fourteen, and parents can be compelled to send their children to a Volksschule, unless, to the satisfaction of the authorities, they are receiving adequate instruction in some other recognized school or institution.
The total number of primary schools was 60,584 in 1906–1907; teachers, 166,597; pupils, 9,737,262—an average of about one Volksschule to every 900 inhabitants. The annual expenditure was over £26,000,000, of which sum £7,500,000 was provided by state subvention. There were also in Germany in the same year 643 private schools, giving instruction similar to that of the elementary schools, with 41,000 pupils. A good criterion of the progress of education is obtained from the diminishing number of illiterate army recruits, as shown by the following
|Years.|| Number of
|Unable to Read or Write.|
|Total.|| Per 1000 |
Of the above 131 illiterates in 1900–1901, 114 were in East and West Prussia, Posen and Silesia.
Universities and Higher Technical Schools.—Germany owes its large number of universities, and its widely diffused higher education to its former subdivision into many separate states. Only a few of the universities date their existence from the 19th century; the majority of them are very much older. Each of the larger provinces, except Posen, has at least one university, the entire number being 21. All have four faculties except Münster, which has no faculty of medicine. As regards theology, Bonn, Breslau and Tübingen have both a Protestant and a Catholic faculty; Freiburg, Munich, Münster and Würzburg are exclusively Catholic; and all the rest are Protestant.
The following table gives the names of the 21 universities, the dates of their respective foundations, the number of their professors and other teachers for the winter half-year 1908–1909, and of the students attending their lectures during the winter half-year of 1907–1908:
Not included in the above list is the little academy—Lyceum Hosianum—at Braunsberg in Prussia, having faculties of theology (Roman Catholic) and philosophy, with 13 teachers and 150 students. In all the universities the number of matriculated students in 1907–1908 was 46,471, including 320 women, 2 of whom studied theology, 14 law, 150 philosophy and 154 medicine. There were also, within the same period, 5653 non-matriculated Hörer (hearers), including 2486 women.
Ten schools, technical high schools, or Polytechnica, rank with the universities, and have the power of granting certain degrees. They have departments of architecture, building, civil engineering, chemistry, metallurgy and, in some cases, anatomy. These schools are as follows: Berlin (Charlottenburg), Munich, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Hanover, Dresden, Stuttgart, Aix-la-Chapelle, Brunswick and Danzig; in 1908 they were attended by 14,149 students (2531 foreigners), and had a teaching staff of 753. Among the remaining higher technical schools may be mentioned the three mining academies of Berlin, Clausthal, in the Harz, and Freiberg in Saxony. For instruction in agriculture there are agricultural schools attached to several universities—notably Berlin, Halle, Göttingen, Königsberg, Jena, Poppelsdorf near Bonn, Munich and Leipzig. Noted academies of forestry are those of Tharandt (in Saxony), Eberswalde, Münden on the Weser, Hohenheim near Stuttgart, Brunswick, Eisenach, Giessen and Karlsruhe. Other technical schools are again the five veterinary academies of Berlin, Hanover, Munich, Dresden and Stuttgart, the commercial colleges (Handelshochschulen) of Leipzig, Aix-la-Chapelle, Hanover, Frankfort-on-Main and Cologne, in addition to 424 commercial schools of a lesser degree, 100 schools for textile manufactures and numerous schools for special metal industries, wood-working, ceramic industries, naval architecture and engineering and navigation. For military science there are the academies of war (Kriegsakademien) in Berlin and Munich, a naval academy in Kiel, and various cadet and non-commissioned officers’ schools.
Libraries.—Mental culture and a general diffusion of knowledge are extensively promoted by means of numerous public libraries established in the capital, the university towns and other places. The most celebrated public libraries are those of Berlin (1,000,000 volumes and 30,000 MSS.); Munich (1,000,000 volumes, 40,000 MSS.); Heidelberg (563,000 volumes, 8000 MSS.); Göttingen (503,000 volumes, 6000 MSS.); Strassburg (760,000 volumes); Dresden (500,000 volumes, 6000 MSS.); Hamburg (municipal library, 600,000 volumes, 5000 MSS.); Stuttgart (400,000 volumes, 3500 MSS.); Leipzig (university library, 500,000 volumes, 5000 MSS.); Würzburg (350,000 volumes); Tübingen (340,000 volumes); Rostock (318,000 volumes); Breslau (university library, 300,000 volumes, 7000 MSS.); Freiburg-im-Breisgau (250,000 volumes); Bonn (265,000 volumes); and Königsberg (230,000 volumes, 1100 MSS.). There are also famous libraries at Gotha, Wolfenbüttel and Celle.
Learned Societies.—There are numerous societies and unions, some of an exclusively scientific character and others designed for the popular diffusion of useful knowledge. Foremost among German academies is the Academy of Sciences (Akademie der Wissenschaften) in Berlin, founded in 1700 on Leibnitz’s great plan and opened in 1711. After undergoing various vicissitudes, it was reorganized by Frederick the Great on the French model and received its present constitution in 1812. It has four sections: physical, mathematical, philosophical and historical. The members are (1) ordinary (50 in number, each receiving a yearly dotation of £30), and (2) extraordinary, consisting of honorary and corresponding (foreign) members. It has published since 1811 a selection of treatises furnished by its most eminent men, among whom must be reckoned Schleiermacher, the brothers Humboldt, Grimm, Savigny, Böckh, Ritter and Lachmann, and has promoted philological and historical research by helping the production of such works as Corpus inscriptionum Graecarum; Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum; Monumenta Germaniae historica, the works of Aristotle, Frederick the Great’s works and Kant’s collected works. Next in order come (1) the Academy of Sciences at Munich, founded in 1759, divided into three classes, philosophical, historical and physical, and especially famous for its historical research; (2) the Society of Sciences (Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften) in Göttingen, founded in 1742; (3) that of Erfurt, founded 1758; (4) Görlitz (1779) and (5) the “Royal Saxon Society of Sciences” (Königliche sächsische Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften), founded in Leipzig in 1846. Ample provision is made for scientific collections of all kinds in almost all places of any importance, either at the public expense or through private munificence.
Observatories.—These have in recent years been considerably augmented. There are 19 leading observatories in the empire, viz. at Bamberg, Berlin (2), Bonn, Bothkamp in Schleswig, Breslau, Düsseldorf, Gotha, Göttingen, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, Kiel, Königsberg, Leipzig, Munich, Potsdam, Strassburg and Wilhelmshaven.
Book Trade.—This branch of industry, from the important position it has gradually acquired since the time of the Reformation, is to be regarded as at once a cause and a result of the mental culture of Germany. Leipzig, Berlin and Stuttgart are the chief centres of the trade. The number of booksellers in Germany was not less than 10,000 in 1907, among whom were approximately 6000 publishers. The following figures will show the recent progress of German literary production, in so far as published works are concerned:
Newspapers.—While in England a few important newspapers have an immense circulation, the newspapers of Germany are much more numerous, but on the whole command a more limited sale. Some large cities, notably Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden, Leipzig and Munich, have, however, newspapers with a daily circulation of over 100,000 copies, and in the case of some papers in Berlin a million copies is reached. Most readers receive their newspapers through the post office or at their clubs, which may help to explain the smaller number of copies sold.
Fine Arts.—Perhaps the chief advantage which Germany has derived from the survival of separate territorial sovereignties within the empire has been the decentralization of culture. Patronage of art is among the cherished traditions of the German princes; and even where—as for instance at Cassel—there is no longer a court, the artistic impetus given by the former sovereigns has survived their fall. The result has been that there is in Germany no such concentration of the institutions for the encouragement and study of the fine arts as there is in France or England. Berlin has no practical monopoly, such as is possessed by London or Paris, of the celebrated museums and galleries of the country. The picture galleries of Dresden, Munich and Cassel still rival that at Berlin, though the latter is rapidly becoming one of the richest in the world in works of the great masters, largely at the cost of the private collections of England. For the same reason the country is very well provided with excellent schools of painting and music. Of the art schools the most famous are those of Munich, Düsseldorf, Dresden and Berlin, but there are others, e.g. at Karlsruhe, Weimar and Königsberg. These schools are in close touch with the sovereigns and the governments, and the more promising pupils are thus from the first assured of a career, especially in connexion with the decoration of public buildings and monuments. To this fact is largely due the excellence of the Germans in grandiose decorative painting and sculpture, a talent for the exercise of which plenty of scope has been given them by the numerous public buildings and memorials raised since the war of 1870. Perhaps for this very reason, however, the German art schools have had no such cosmopolitan influence as that exercised by the schools of Paris, the number of foreign students attending them being comparatively small. It is otherwise with the schools of music, which exercise a profound influence far beyond the borders of Germany. Of these the most important are the conservatoires of Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin, Munich and Frankfort-on-Main. The fame of Weimar as a seat of musical education, though it possesses an excellent conservatoire, is based mainly on the tradition of the abbé Liszt, who gathered about him here a number of distinguished pupils, some of whom have continued to make it their centre. Music in Germany also receives a great stimulus from the existence, in almost every important town, of opera-houses partly supported by the sovereigns or by the civic authorities. Good music being thus brought within the reach of all, appreciation of it is very wide-spread in all classes of the population. The imperial government maintains institutes at Rome and Athens which have done much for the advancement of archaeology. (P. A. A.)
Army.—The system of the “nation in arms” owes its existence to the reforms in the Prussian army that followed Jena. The “nation in arms” itself was the product of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, but it was in Prussia that was seen the systematization and the economical and effective application of the immense forces of which the revolutionary period had demonstrated the existence (see also Army; Conscription; French Revolutionary Wars, &c.). It was with an army and a military system that fully represented the idea of the “nation in arms” that Prussia created the powerful Germany of later days, and the same system was extended by degrees over all the other states of the new empire. But these very successes contained in themselves the germ of new troubles. Increased prosperity, a still greater increase in population and the social and economic disturbances incidental to the conversion of an agricultural into a manufacturing community, led to the practical abandonment of the principle of universal service. More men came before the recruiting officer than there was money to train; and in 1895 the period of service with the colours was reduced from three to two years—a step since followed by other military powers, the idea being that with the same peace effective and financial grants half as many men again could be passed through the ranks as before.
In 1907 the recruiting statistics were as follows:
|Number of young men attaining service age (including those who had voluntarily enlisted before their time)||556,772|
|Men belonging to previous years who had been put back for re-examination, &., still borne on the lists||657,753|
|Physically unfit, &c.||35,802|
|Voluntarily enlisted in the army and navy, on or before attaining service age||57,739|
|Assigned as recruits to the navy||10,374|
|Put back, &c.||684,193|
|Available as army recruits, fit||425,557|
|(a) Assigned to the active army for two or three years’ service with the colours||212,661|
|(b) Assigned to the Ersatz-Reserve of the army and navy||
|(c) Assigned to the 1st levy of Landsturm||123,019|
Thus only half the men on whom the government has an effective hold go to the colours in the end. Moreover few of the men “put back, &c.,” who figure on both sides of the account for any one year, and seem to average 660,000, are really “put back.” They are in the main those who have failed or fail to present themselves, and whose names are retained on the liability lists against the day of their return. Many of these have emigrated.
By the constitution of the 16th of April 1871 every German is liable to service and no substitution is allowed. Liability begins at the age of seventeen, and actual service, as a rule, from the age of twenty. The men serve in the active army and army reserve for seven years, of which two years (three in the case of cavalry and horse artillery recruits) are spent with the colours. During his four or five years in the reserve, the soldier is called out for training with his corps twice, for a maximum of eight weeks (in practice usually for six). After quitting the reserve the soldier is drafted into the first ban of the Landwehr for five years more, in which (except in the cavalry, which is not called out in peace time) he undergoes two trainings of from eight to fourteen days. Thence he passes into the second ban and remains in it until he has completed his thirty-ninth year—i.e. from six to seven years more, the whole period of army and Landwehr service being thus nineteen years. Finally, all soldiers are passed into the Landsturm, in the first ban of which they remain until the completion of their forty-fifth year. The second ban consists of untrained men between the ages of thirty-nine and forty-five. Young men who reach a certain standard of education, however, are only obliged to serve for one year in the active army. They are called One-Year Volunteers (Einjährig-Freiwilligen), defray their own expenses and are the chief source of supply of reserve and Landwehr officers. That proportion of the annual contingents which is dismissed untrained goes either to the Ersatz-Reserve or to the 1st ban of the Landsturm (the Landwehr, it will be observed, contains only men who have served with the colours). The Ersatz consists exclusively of young men, who would in war time be drafted to the regimental depots and thence sent, with what training circumstances had in the meantime allowed, to the front. Some men of the Ersatz receive a short preliminary training in peace time.
In 1907 the average height of the private soldiers was 5 ft. 6 in., that of the non-commissioned officers 5 ft. 6½ in., and that of the one-year volunteers 5 ft. 9½ in. A much greater proportion of the country recruits were accepted as “fit” than of those coming from the towns. Voluntary enlistments of men who desired to become non-commissioned officers were most frequent in the provinces of the old Prussian monarchy, but in Berlin itself and in Westphalia the enlistments fell far short of the number of non-commissioned officers required for the territorial regiments of the respective districts. Above all, in Alsace-Lorraine one-eighth only of the required numbers were obtained.
Peace and War Strengths.—German military policy is revised every five years; thus a law of April 1905 fixes the strength and establishments to be attained on March 31, 1910, the necessary augmentations, &c., being carried out gradually in the intervening years. The peace strength for the latter date was fixed at 505,839 men (not including officers, non-commissioned officers and one-year volunteers), forming—
|574||batteries field and horse artillery.|
|40||battalions foot artillery.|
|12||battalions communication troops.|
|23||train battalions, &c.|
The addition of about 25,000 officers and 85,000 non-commissioned officers, one-year men, &c., brings the peace footing of the German army in 1910 to a total of about 615,000 of all ranks.
As for war, the total fighting strength of the German nation (including the navy) has been placed at as high a figure as 11,000,000. Of these 7,000,000 have received little or no training, owing to medical unfitness, residence abroad, failure to appear, surplus of annual contingents, &c., as already explained, and not more than 3,000,000 of these would be available in war. The real military resources of Germany, untrained and trained, are thus about 7,000,000, of whom 4,000,000 have at one time or another done a continuous period of service with the colours. This is of course for a war of defence à outrance. For an offensive war, only the active army, the reserve, the Ersatz and the 1st levy of the Landwehr would be really available.
A rough calculation of the number of these who go to form or to reinforce the field armies and the mobilized garrisons may be given:
|Cadres of officers and non-commissioned officers||100,000|
|From 7 annual contingents of recruits (i.e. active army and reserve)||1,200,000|
|From 5 contingents of Landwehr (1st ban)||600,000|
|From 7 classes of Ersatz reserve called to the depots, able-bodied men||400,000|
|One-year volunteers recalled to the colours or serving as reserve and Landwehr officers||100,000|
These again would divide into a first line army of 1,350,000 and a second of 1,050,000. It is calculated that the field army would consist, in the third week of a great war, of 633 battalions, 410 squadrons and 574 batteries, with technical, departmental and medical troops (say 630,000 bayonets, 60,000 sabres and 3444 guns, or 750,000 men), and that these could be reinforced in three or four weeks by 350 fresh battalions. Behind these forces there would shortly become available for secondary operations about 460 battalions of the 1st ban Landwehr, and 200 squadrons and about 220 batteries of the reserve and Landwehr. In addition, each would leave behind depot troops to form the nucleus on which the 2nd ban Landwehr and the Landsturm would eventually be built up. The total number of units of the three arms in all branches may be stated approximately at 2200 battalions, 780 squadrons and 950 batteries.
Command and Organization.—By the articles of the constitution the whole of the land forces of the empire form a united army in war and peace under the orders of the emperor. The sovereigns of the chief states are entitled to nominate the lower grades of officers, and the king of Bavaria has reserved to himself the special privilege of superintending the general administration of the three Bavarian army corps; but all appointments are made subject to the emperor’s approval. The emperor is empowered to erect fortresses in any part of the empire. It is the almost invariable practice of the kings of Prussia to command their forces in person, and the army commands, too, are generally held by leaders of royal or princely rank. The natural corollary to this is the assignment of special advisory duties to a responsible chief of staff. The officers are recruited either from the Cadet Corps at Berlin or from amongst those men, of sufficient social standing, who join the ranks as “avantageurs” with a view to obtaining commissions. Reserve and Landwehr officers are drawn from among officers and selected non-commissioned officers retired from the active army, and one-year volunteers who have passed a special examination. All candidates, from whatever source they come, are subject to approval or rejection by their brother officers before being definitively commissioned. Promotion in the German army is excessively slow, the senior subalterns having eighteen to twenty years’ commissioned service and the senior captains sometimes thirty. The number of officers on the active list is about 25,000. The under-officers number about 84,000.
The German army is organized in twenty-three army corps, stationed and recruited in the various provinces and states as follows: Guard, Berlin (general recruiting); I. Königsberg (East Prussia); II. Stettin (Pomerania); III. Berlin (Brandenburg); IV. Magdeburg (Prussian Saxony); V. Posen (Poland and part of Silesia); VI. Breslau (Silesia); VII. Münster (Westphalia); VIII. Coblenz (Rhineland); IX. Altona (Hanse Towns and Schleswig-Holstein); X. Hanover (Hanover); XI. Cassel (Hesse-Cassel); XII. Dresden (Saxony); XIII. Stuttgart (Württemberg); XIV. Karlsruhe (Baden); XV. Strassburg (Alsace); XVI. Metz (Lorraine); XVII. Danzig (West Prussia); XVIII. Frankfurt-am-Main (Hesse Darmstadt, Main country); XIX. Leipzig (Saxony); I. Bavarian Corps, Munich; II. Bavarian Corps, Würzburg; III. Bavarian Corps, Nuremberg. The formation of a XX. army corps out of the extra division of the XIV. corps at Colmar in Alsace, with the addition of two regiments from Westphalia and drafts of the XV. and XVI. corps, was announced in 1908 as the final step of the programme for the period 1906–1910. The normal composition of an army corps on war is (a) staff, (b) 2 infantry divisions, each of 2 brigades (4 regiments or 12 battalions), 2 regiments of field artillery (comprising 9 batteries of field-guns and 3 of field howitzers, 72 pieces in all), 3 squadrons of cavalry, 1 or 2 companies of pioneers, a bridge train and 1 or 2 bearer companies; (c) corps troops, 1 battalion rifles, telegraph troops, bridge train, ammunition columns, train (supply) battalion, field bakeries, bearer companies and field hospitals, &c., with, as a rule, one or two batteries of heavy field howitzers or mortars and a machine-gun group. The remainder of the cavalry and horse artillery attached to the army corps in peace goes in war to form the cavalry divisions. Certain corps have an increased effective; thus the Guard has a whole cavalry division, and the I. corps (Königsberg) has three divisions. Several corps possess an extra infantry brigade of two 2-battalion regiments, but these, unless stationed on the frontiers, are gradually absorbed into new divisions and army corps. In war several army corps, cavalry divisions and reserve divisions are grouped in two or more “armies,” and in peace the army corps are divided for purposes of superior control amongst several “army inspections.”
The cavalry is organized in regiments of cuirassiers, dragoons, lancers, hussars and mounted rifles, the regiments having four service and one depot squadrons. Troopers are armed with lance, sword and carbine (for which in 1908 the substitution of a short rifle with bayonet was suggested). In peace time the highest permanent organization is the brigade of two regiments or eight squadrons, but in war and at manœuvres divisions of three brigades, with horse artillery attached, are formed.
The infantry consists of 216 regiments, mostly of three battalions each. These are numbered, apart from the eight Guard regiments and the Bavarians, serially throughout the army. Certain regiments are styled grenadiers and fusiliers. In addition there are eighteen chasseur or rifle battalions (Jäger). The battalion has always four companies, each, at war strength, 250 strong. The armament of the infantry is the model 1898 magazine rifle and bayonet (see Rifle).
The field (including horse) artillery consists in peace of 94 regiments subdivided into two or three groups (Abteilungen), each of two or three 6-gun batteries. The field gun in use is the quick-firing gun 96/N.A. (see Ordnance: Field Equipments).
The foot artillery is intended for siege and fortress warfare, and to furnish the heavy artillery of the field army. It consists of forty battalions. Machine gun detachments, resembling 4-gun batteries and horsed as artillery, were formed to the number of sixteen in 1904–1906. These are intended to work with the cavalry divisions. Afterwards it was decided to form additional small groups of two guns each, less fully horsed, to assist the infantry, and a certain number of these were created in 1906–1908.
The engineers are a technical body, not concerned with field warfare or with the command of troops. On the other hand, the pioneers (29 battalions) are assigned to the field army, with duties corresponding roughly to those of field companies R.E. in the British service. Other branches represented in Great Britain by the Royal Engineers are known in Germany by the title “communication troops,” and comprise railway, telegraph and airship and balloon battalions. The Train is charged with the duties of supply and transport. There is one battalion to each army corps.
Remounts.—The peace establishment in horses is approximately 100,000. Horses serve eight to nine years in the artillery and nine to ten in the cavalry, after which, in the autumn of each year, they are sold, and their places taken by remounts. The latter are bought at horse-fairs and private sales, unbroken, and sent to the 25 remount depots, whence, when fit for the service, they are sent to the various units, as a rule in the early summer. Most of the cavalry and artillery riding horses come from Prussia proper. The Polish districts produce swift Hussar horses of a semi-eastern type. Hanover is second only to East Prussia in output of horses. Bavaria, Saxony and Württemberg do not produce enough horses for their own armies and have to draw on Prussia. Thirteen thousand four hundred and forty-five young horses were bought by the army authorities during 1907. The average price was about £51 for field artillery draught horses, £65 for heavy draught horses, and £46 for riding horses.
The military expenditure of Germany, according to a comparative table furnished to the House of Commons by the British war office in 1907, varied between £36,000,000 and £44,000,000 per annum in the period 1899–1902, and between £42,000,000 and £51,000,000 per annum in that of 1905–1909.
Colonial Troops.—In 1906 these, irrespective of the brigade of occupation then maintained in north China and of special reinforcements sent to S.W. Africa during the Herrero war, consisted of the German East Africa troops, 220 Europeans and 1470 natives; the Cameroon troops, 145 European and 1170 natives; S.W. African troops, entirely European and normally consisting of 606 officers and men active and a reserve of ex-soldier settlers; the Kiao-Chau garrison (chiefly marines), numbering 2687 officers and men; and various small police forces in Togo, New Guinea, Samoa, &c.
Fortresses.—The fixed defences maintained by the German empire (apart from naval ports and coast defences) belong to two distinct epochs in the military policy of the state. In the first period (roughly 1871–1899), which is characterized by the development of the offensive spirit, the fortresses, except on the French and Russian frontiers, were reduced to a minimum. In the interior only Spandau, Cüstrin, Magdeburg, Ingolstadt and Ulm were maintained as defensive supporting points, and similarly on the Rhine, which was formerly studded with fortresses from Basel to Emmerich, the defences were limited to New Breisach, Germersheim, Mainz, Coblenz, Cologne and Wesel, all of a “barrier” character and not organized specially as centres of activity for field armies. The French frontier, and to a less extent the Russian, were organized offensively. Metz, already surrounded by the French with a girdle of forts, was extended and completed (see Fortification and Siegecraft) as a great entrenched camp, and Strassburg, which in 1870 possessed no outlying works, was similarly expanded, though the latter was regarded an instrument of defence more than of attack. On the Russian frontier Königsberg, Danzig, Thorn, Posen, Glogau (and on a smaller scale Boyen in East Prussia and Graudenz on the Vistula) were modernized and improved.
From 1899, however, Germany began to pay more attention to her fixed defences, and in the next years a long line of fortifications came into existence on the French frontier, the positions and strength of which were regulated with special regard to a new strategic disposition of the field armies and to the number and sites of the “strategic railway stations” which were constructed about the same time. Thus, the creation of a new series of forts extending from Thionville (Diedenhofen) to Metz and thence south-eastward was coupled with the construction of twelve strategic railway stations between Cologne and the Belgian frontier, and later—the so-called “fundamental plan” of operations against France having apparently undergone modification in consequence of changes in the foreign relations of the German government—an immense strategic railway station was undertaken at Saarburg, on the right rear of Thionville and well away from the French frontier, and many important new works both of fortification and of railway construction were begun in Upper Alsace, between Colmar and Basel.
The coast defences include, besides the great naval ports of Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea and Kiel on the Baltic, Danzig, Pillau, Memel, Friedrichsort, Cuxhaven, Geestemünde and Swinemünde. (C. F. A.)
Navy.—The German navy is of recent origin. In 1848 the German people urged the construction of a fleet. Money was collected, and a few men-of-war were fitted out; but these were subsequently sold, the German Bundestag (federal council) not being in sympathy with the aspirations of the nation. Prussia however, began laying the foundations of a small navy. To meet the difficulty arising from the want of good harbours in the Baltic, a small extent of territory near Jade Bay was bought from Oldenburg in 1854, for the purpose of establishing a war-port there. Its construction was completed at enormous expense, and it was opened for ships by the emperor in June 1869 under the name of Wilhelmshaven. In 1864 Prussia, in annexing Holstein, obtained possession of the excellent port of Kiel, which has since been strongly fortified. From the time of the formation of the North German Confederation the navy has belonged to the common federal interest. Since 1st October 1867 all its ships have carried the same flag, of the national colours—black, white, red, with the Prussian eagle and the iron cross.
From 1848 to 1868 the increase of the navy was slow. In 1851 it consisted of 51 vessels, including 36 small gunboats of 2 guns each. In 1868 it consisted of 45 steamers (including 2 ironclads) and 44 sailing vessels, but during the various wars of the period 1848–1871, only a few minor actions were fought at sea, and for many years after the French War the development of the navy did not keep pace with that of the empire’s commercial interests beyond the seas, or compete seriously with the naval power of possible rivals. But towards the end of the 19th century Germany started on a new naval policy, by which her fleet was largely and rapidly increased. Details of this development will be found in the article Navy (see also History below, ad fin.). It will be sufficient here to give the statistics relating to the beginning of the year 1909, reference being made only to ships effective at that date and to ships authorized in the construction programme of 1907:
|Modern battleships||20 effective, 4 approaching completion.|
|Old battleships and coast defence ships||11 effective (4 non-effective).|
|Armoured cruisers||9 effective, 1 approaching completion.|
|Protected cruisers||31 effective, 2 approaching completion.|
|Torpedo craft of modern types||130 effective, 3 approaching completion.|
Administration.—In 1889 the administration was transferred from the ministry of war to the imperial admiralty (Reichsmarineamt), at the head of which is the naval secretary of state. The chief command was at the same time separated from the administration and vested in a naval officer, who controls the movements of the fleet, its personnel and training, while the maintenance of the arsenals and dockyards, victualling and clothing and all matters immediately affecting the matériel, fall within the province of the secretary of state. The navy is divided between the Baltic (Kiel) and North Sea (Wilhelmshaven) stations, which are strategically linked by the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal (opened in 1895), across the Schleswig-Holstein peninsula. Danzig, Cuxhaven and Sonderburg have also been made naval bases.
Personnel.—The German navy is manned by the obligatory service of the essentially maritime population—such as sailors, fishermen and others, as well as by volunteers, who elect for naval service in preference to that in the army. It is estimated that the total seafaring population of Germany amounts to 80,000. The active naval personnel was, in 1906, 2631 officers (including engineers, marines, medical, &c.) and 51,138 under-officers and men, total 53,769. In addition, there is a reserve of more than 100,000 officers and men. (P. A. A.)
Finance.—The imperial budget is voted every year by the Reichstag. The “extraordinary funds,” from which considerable sums appear annually in the budget, were created after the Franco-German War. Part of the indemnity was invested for definite purposes. The largest of these investments served for paying the pensions of the invalided, and amounted originally to £28,000,000. Every year, not only the interest, but part of the capital is expended in paying these pensions, and the capital sum was thus reduced in 1903 to £15,100,000, and in 1904 to £13,200,000. Another fund, of about £5,200,000, serves for the construction and armament of fortresses; while £6,000,000, known as the Reichskriegsschatz—or “war treasure fund”—is not laid out at interest, but is stored in coined gold and bullion in the Juliusturm at Spandau. In addition to these, the railways in Alsace-Lorraine, which France bought of the Eastern Railway Company for £13,000,000, in order to transfer them to the control of Germany, are also the property of the empire.
During the years 1908 and 1909 considerable public discussion and political activity were devoted to the reorganization of German imperial finance, and it is only possible here to deal historically with the position up to that time, since further developments of an important nature were already foreshadowed.
In 1871 the system accepted was that the imperial budget should be financed substantially by its reliance on the revenue from what were the obvious imperial resources—customs and excise duties, stamp duties, post and telegraph receipts, and among minor sources the receipts from the Alsace-Lorraine railways. But it was also provided that, for the purpose of deficits, the states should, in addition, if required by the imperial minister of finance, contribute their quotas according to population—Matrikular Beiträge. It was not expected that these would become chronic, but in a few years, and emphatically by the early ’eighties, they were found to be an essential part of the financial system, owing to regular deficits. It had been intended that, in return for the Matrikular Beiträge, regular assignments (Überweisungen) should be returned to the states, in relief of their own taxation, which would practically wipe out the contribution; but instead of these the Überweisungen were considerably less. Certain reorganizations were made in 1887 and 1902, but the excess of the Matrikular Beiträge over the Überweisungen continued; the figures in 1905 and 1908 being as follows (in millions of marks):—
These figures show how natural it was to desire to relieve the states by increasing the direct imperial revenue.
Meanwhile, in spite of the “matricular contributions,” the calls on imperial finance had steadily increased, and up to 1908 were continually met to a large extent by loans, involving a continual growth of the imperial debt, which in 1907 amounted to 3643 millions of marks. The imperial budget, like that of most European nations, is divided into two portions, the ordinary and the extraordinary; and the increase under both heads (especially for army and navy) became a recurrent factor. A typical situation is represented by the main figures for 1905 and 1906 (in millions of marks):
|Expenditure.||Revenue|| Raised by |
The same process went on in 1907 and 1908, and it was necessarily recognized that the method of balancing the imperial budget by a regular increase of debt could not be satisfactory in a country where the general increase of wealth and taxable capacity had meanwhile been conspicuous. And though the main proposals made by the government for new taxation, including new direct taxes, resulted in a parliamentary deadlock in 1909, and led to Prince von Bülow’s resignation as chancellor, it was already evident that some important reorganization of the imperial financial system was inevitable.
Currency.—The German empire adopted a gold currency by the law of the 4th of December 1871. Subsequently the old local coinages (Landesmünzen) began to be called in and replaced by new gold and silver coins. The old gold coins, amounting to £4,550,000, had been called in as early as 1873; and the old silver coins have since been successively put out of circulation, so that none actually remains as legal tender but the thaler (3s.). The currency reform was at first facilitated by the French indemnity, a great part of which was paid in gold. But later on that metal became scarcer; the London gold prices ran higher and higher, while silver prices declined. The average rate per ounce of standard silver in 1866–1870 was 605d., in January 1875 only 571d., in July 1876 as low as 49d. It rose in January 1877 to 571d., but again declined, and in September 1878 it was 505d. While the proportion of like weights of fine gold and fine silver in 1866–1870 averaged 1 to 15.55, it was 1 to 17.79 in 1876, 1 to 17.18 in 1877, and, in 1902, in consequence of the heavy fall in silver, the ratio became as much as 1 to 39. By the currency law of the 9th of July 1873, the present coinage system was established and remains, with certain minor modifications, now in force as then introduced. The unit is the mark (1 shilling)—the tenth part of the imperial gold coin (Krone = crown), of which last 1391 are struck from a pound of pure gold. Besides these ten-mark pieces, there are Doppelkronen (double crowns), about equivalent in value to an English sovereign (the average rate of exchange being 20 marks 40 pfennige per £1 sterling), and, formerly, half-crowns (halbe Kronen = 5 marks) in gold were also issued, but they have been withdrawn from circulation. Silver coins are 5, 2 and 1 mark pieces, equivalent to 5, 2 and 1 shillings respectively, and 50 pfennige pieces = 6d. Nickel coins are 10 and 5 pfennige pieces, and there are bronze coins of 2 and 1 pfennige. The system is decimal; thus 100 pfennige = 1 mark, 1000 pfennige = the gold krone (or crown), and 1d. English amounts roughly to 8 pfennige.
Banking.—A new banking law was promulgated for the whole empire on the 14th of March 1875. Before that date there existed thirty-two banks with the privilege of issuing notes, and on the 31st of December 1872, £67,100,000 in all was in circulation, £25,100,000 of that sum being uncovered. The banking law was designed to reduce this circulation of notes; £19,250,000 was fixed as an aggregate maximum of uncovered notes of the banks. The private banks were at the same time obliged to erect branch offices in Berlin or Frankfort-on-Main for the payment of their notes. In consequence of this regulation numerous banks resigned the privilege of issuing notes, and at present there are in Germany but the following private note banks, issuing private notes, viz. the Bavarian, the Saxon, the Württemberg, the Baden and the Brunswick, in addition to the Imperial Bank. The Imperial Bank (Reichsbank) ranks far above the others in importance. It took the place of the Prussian Bank in 1876, and is under the superintendence and management of the empire, which shares in the profits. Its head office is in Berlin, and it is entitled to erect branch offices in any part of the empire. It has a capital of £9,000,000 divided into 40,000 shares of £150 each, and 60,000 shares of £50 each. The Imperial Bank is privileged to issue bank-notes, which must be covered to the extent of 1s. 3d. in coined money, bullion or bank-notes, the remainder in bills at short sight. Of the net profits, a dividend of 31% is first payable to the shareholders, 20% of the remainder is transferred to the reserve until this has reached a total of £3,000,000, and of the remainder again a quarter is apportioned to the shareholders and three-quarters falls to the imperial exchequer. If the net profits do not reach 31%, the balance must be made good from the reserve. Private note banks are not empowered to do business outside the state which has conceded them the privilege to issue notes, except under certain limitations. One of these is that they agree that their privilege to issue private notes may be withdrawn at one year’s notice without compensation. But this condition has not been enforced in the case of such banks as have agreed to accept as binding the official rate of discount of the Reichsbank after this has reached or when it exceeds 4%. At other times they are not to discount at more than 1% below the official rate of the Reichsbank, or in case the Reichsbank itself discounts at a lower rate than the official rate, at more than 1% below that rate.
The following table shows the financial condition of the note-issuing banks, in thousands of marks, over a term of years:
|Notes of State
and other Banks.
The total turnover of the Imperial Bank was, in the first year of its foundation, 13 milliards pounds sterling; and, in 1899, 90 milliards. Eighty-five per cent of its bank-notes have been, on the average, covered by metal reserve.
The total value of silver coins is not to exceed 10 marks, and that of copper and nickel 21 marks per head of the population. While the coinage of silver, nickel and copper is reserved to the state, the coinage of gold pieces can be undertaken by the state for the account of private individuals on payment of a fixed charge. The coinage takes place in the six mints belonging to the various states—thus Berlin (Prussia), Munich (Bavaria), Dresden (in the Muldenerhütte near Freiberg, Saxony), Stuttgart (Württemberg), Karlsruhe (Baden) and Hamburg (for the state of Hamburg). Of the thalers, the Vereinsthaler, coined until 1867 in Austria, was by ordinance of the Bundesrat declared illegal tender since the 1st of January 1903. No one can be compelled to accept more than 20 marks in silver or more than 1 mark in nickel and copper coin; but, on the other hand, the Imperial Bank accepts imperial silver coin in payment to any amount.
The total value of thalers, which, with the exception of the Vereinsthaler, are legal tender, was estimated in 1894 at about £20,000,000.
Bibliography.—Cotta, Deutschlands Boden (2 vols., 1853); H. A. Daniel, Deutschland (1896); J. Kutzen, Das deutsche Land (Breslau, 1900); Von Klöden, Geographisches Handbuch, vol. ii. (1875); G. Neumann, Das deutsche Reich (2 vols., 1874); O. Brunckow, Die Wohnplätze des deutschen Reiches—auf Grund der amtlichen Materialien bearbeitet (new ed., Berlin, 1897); Handbuch der Wirtschaftskunde Deutschlands (4 vols., Leipzig, 1901–1905); Gothaischer genealogischer Hofkalender auf das Jahr 1907 (Gotha); A. von W. Keil, Neumanns Ortslexikon des deutschen Reiches (3rd ed., Leipzig, 1894); Meyer, Konversations-Lexikon (1902 seqq.); Brockhaus, Konversations-Lexikon (1900 seqq.); J. Kürschner, Staats- Hof- und Kommunal-handbuch des Reiches und der Einzelstaaten (Leipzig, 1900); P. Hage, Grundriss der deutschen Staats- und Rechtskunde (Stuttgart, 1906), and for Statistical matter chiefly the following: Centralblatt für das deutsche Reich. Herausgegeben im Reichsamt der Innern (Berlin, 1900); Die deutsche Armee und die kaiserliche Marine (Berlin, 1889); Gewerbe und Handel im deutschen Reich nach der gewerblichen Betriebszählung, vom 14. Juni 1895 (Berlin, 1899); Handbuch für das deutsche Reich auf das Jahr 1900, bearbeitet im Reichsamt der Innern (Berlin); Handbuch für die deutsche Handelsmarine auf das Jahr 1900; Statistik des deutschen Reichs, published by the Kaiserliches Statistisches Amt (including trade, navigation, criminal statistics, sick insurance, &c.); Statistisches Jahrbuch für das deutsche Reich (Berlin, 1906) and Vierteljahrshefte für Statistik des deutschen Reichs (including census returns, commerce and railways). See also among English publications on geographical and statistical matter: Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom with Foreign Countries and British Possessions for the Year 1899 (London, 1900); and G. G. Chisholm, Europe, being vols. i. and ii. of Stanford’s Compendium of Geography and Travel (London, 1899 and 1900). The fullest general account of the geology of Germany will be found in R. Lepsius, Geologie von Deutschland und den angrenzenden Gebieten (Stuttgart, first volume completed in 1892). Shorter descriptions will be found in E. Kayser, Lehrbuch der geologischen Formationskunde (Stuttgart, English edition under the title Text-book of Comparative Geology), and H. Credner, Elemente der Geologie (Leipzig).
- i.e. the territory once under the jurisdiction of an imperial Vogt or advocatus (see Advocate).
- The question, much disputed between Germans and Danes, is exhaustively treated by P. Lauridsen in F. de Jessen’s La Question de Sleswig (Copenhagen, 1906), pp. 114 et seq.
- Provisional figures only.
- Excluding vegetable and animal textile materials.
- Excluding vegetable textile materials.
- See the comparative study in Percy Ashley’s Local and Central Government (London, 1906).
- The Kreis in Württemberg corresponds to the Regierungsbezirk elsewhere.
- The system of compulsory registration, which involves a notification to the police of any change of address (even temporary), of course makes it easy to determine the domicile in any given case.
- Actually between 1883 and 1908 over five million recruits passed through the drill sergeant’s hands, as well as perhaps 210,000 one-year volunteers.
- These last have a curious history. They were formed from about 1890 onwards, by individual squadrons, two or three being voted each year. Ostensibly raised for the duties of mounted orderlies, at a time when it would have been impolitic to ask openly for more cavalry, they were little by little trained in real cavalry work, then combined in provisional regiments for disciplinary purposes and at last frankly classed as cavalry.