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Hello and welcome to this lesson three of six in our inquiry, did the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand lead to the outbreak of World War I? Now, this lesson is entitled Germany: A New Nation.

For this lesson, you will need a pen and something to write on and you'll need to make sure that you're free from any distractions.

I'll give you a moment to write down that title.

Germany: A New Nation.

And then when you're ready, we'll move on.

Hello, it's me, Mr. Hewitt again.

And I'm very excited because by the end of today, we'll be halfway through our inquiry on the causes of the First World War.

It's fantastic to see so many of you back here again and enjoying this inquiry.

And if you're here for the first time, well done, you're very welcome.

But you might want to go back and complete the earlier two lessons of this inquiry.

Now, let's move on to the story of German history and how Germany came to be a country in 1871.

This is the Proclamation of the German Empire 1871 in the French palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris.

In the background, we can see mirrors reflecting windows on the other side of the room.

That's because we're in the famous Hall of Mirrors, where in 1919, and it was no coincidence, the French would force the defeated Germans, at the end of the First World War, to come back and sign the Treaty of Versailles partly to undo this humiliation that had been done to France by the Germans when during the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, the German states invaded France, or really I should say repelled French invasion of Germany and having done so successfully, declared the new unified German Empire inside of France's most famous royal palace.

But what was so significant about this story of the origins of Germany, quite a recent nation state, only 1871 that it came into existence to the outbreak of the First World War? Well, at the heart of Germany was this state, Prussia.

I'll get my head out of the way so that you can see that illustration of Prussian soldiers.

Now, I need you to understand that Prussia became the dominant power within the German Empire.

That is the large state of Prussia.

And that is for two reasons.

First of all, because the Prussian army was militarised and powerful, they had helped the German states to defeat France in the Franco-Prussian War and so through that, become the dominant power in Germany.

A second reason why Prussia became so powerful within the new nation of Germany was that it was their royal family who was chosen to become the royal family of the new German Empire.

Now, when I talk about Prussia's militaristic culture and Germany becoming militaristic as a result of it, what I'm referring to is the word military because a country with a militaristic culture is one that puts a lot of pride and emphasis and importance on having a powerful and well-respected army.

And it was in this culture that Kaiser Wilhelm II became German Emperor in 1888.

Wilhelm was actually the grandson of Queen Victoria and by this relation, he was a cousin of both the English King George V and the Russian Tsar Nicolas II, whose countries Germany and the Kaiser would end up fighting during the First World War.

Understanding the challenges that Germany faced as a new nation is best done in many ways by thinking about the challenges that Wilhelm himself faced in winning respect from the other European powers.

And I'm going to come back to Wilhelm's personality and identity in detail later in the lesson.

But first, I want to think about one thing that Germany crucially lacked and really wanted, which drove them to conflict with the other European powers.

Take a look at that map of the world.

It shows the extent of the French and British Empires before the war.

I want you to pause the video and answer the questions on the left.

Which colour represents countries colonised by France and which by Britain? And using this map, can you identify one British colony in Africa and one French colony in Africa? Pause the video now, then when you're done, unpause it and we can share our thoughts.


The French Empire is shown in blue and the British in red.

An example of a French colony in Africa could be Algeria in the north of Africa.

Whilst an example of a British colony in Africa could be Botswana in the south of Africa.

Fantastic work.

Both France and Britain had really large empires before the First World War and these empires were extremely exploitative.

They took advantage of the people who lived in them.

For example, the British would take raw materials, valuable resources from India and they would leave Indians suffering in poverty and famine.

Empire was a horrible thing for the countries that were ruled over.

But it made nations like Britain and France wealthy.

And sadly, it also gave them status among the other European powers.

And so Germany wanted an empire just like Britain and France's.

But look there.

The German Empire was really just a collection of German states.

Germany controlled almost no territories outside of newly unified Germany in Europe.

Yes, they had a powerful industry and large army but no empire.

And for somebody like the Kaiser, who wanted the respect of Britain and France and Russia and was also a very militaristic and hot-tempered person, an empire was the right way in his opinion to win prosperity and respect.

Take a look at the image on the right.

It shows the different sizes of the European armies in 1914.

Russia's is clearly the largest with just under six million.

Then Germany, then France and then Britain with a very small army indeed, just under one million.

But Britain had a powerful navy.

A navy is your forces at sea, such as a battleship.

And this created a strange problem for the Germans.

Whilst their army, the Kaiser knew this, could easily defeat France or Britain on land, the German army was no use in building up an empire outside of Europe because the British navy would stop it getting out to sea.

And so the Kaiser actually understood that a war in Europe might be the only way of Germany using its army to get what the Kaiser so desperately wanted, an empire.

This is von Bulow.

He was the German Foreign Secretary, speaking 1897.

And he says to rapturous applause when speaking to other German politicians, "We," he's referring to Germany, "are happy to respect the interests "of other powers in China.

"In short, we do not want to put anyone in our shadow, "but we also demand our place in the sun." Now, this specific quote relates to attempts by Germany to expand their power in China.

But actually, much of the rivalry and focus of imperial rivalry, which by the way, we'll cover in more detail next lesson, was on Africa.

In any case, what von Bulow is saying is that Germany as a new nation expects, feel entitled to overseas territory.

And Bulow is using a metaphor.

So just look at that again.

"We don't want to put anyone in our shadow, but we also demand our place in the sun." What exactly do you think von Bulow meant by Germany's place in the sun? Was he being literal as in talking about a specific place, like for example, a part of a continent or a country? Or was he being figurative? For example, was the place in the sun somewhere nice to be, which could make Germany wealthy? Or do you think von Bulow meant to mean both? Pause the video and when you're ready, unpause the video and we can share our answers.

Well, I'm really impressed with some of the thinking that you must have done there.

Von Bulow was being literal and figurative.

When he said Germany demands its place in the sun, what he meant was that the new nation of Germany deserved to be seen in the same bright light and powerful way, speaking figuratively, that other European nations were and that the way that Germany wanted to do this was by having an empire, just like Britain and France did.

Literally, von Bulow was talking about places overseas in the kinds of tropical and hot climates that the French and British empires had expanded into.

What you really need to remember is that Germany, because it was a new nation, had not expanded its territories overseas the way that other European nations had.

And that this frustrated the Kaiser.

So in what ways then were the Kaiser's character features linked to the nature of Germany as a new nation? And the way it related to other European powers? Well, as I mentioned before, the Kaiser was closely related to both the Russian tsar and the English king.

He was, in fact, a cousin of both, and a grandson of Queen Victoria.

But the Kaiser often felt rejected and left out of mainstream European politics.

For example, the Kaiser, rightly, suspected that France and Britain were conspiring together behind his back to prevent him from getting territory in Africa.

This compounded the Kaiser's paranoia, his fear of other European nations and his sense of isolation and with it, Germany's isolation from France, Britain and Russia.

From a very young age, the Kaiser had had a keen interest in the military.

He would dress in military uniforms as a boy and he had a hot temper also, flying into rages with his assistants and ministers over the smallest of disputes.

The Kaiser also lived with a disability.

His left arm had been permanently disabled during an accident at birth.

Sadly, this made the Kaiser feel slightly insecure about his identity and the perception of him as a powerful man.

Sometimes the Kaiser would try to compensate for this by dressing in military uniform, attending military parades and trying to give off the impression of a very traditional, simplistic, militaristic masculine individual.

All of these character features were tied to how the Kaiser instructed German politics and the relationship between Germany and other European powers.

And they were tied to the nature of Germany as a new nation because of course, the Kaiser was only the third German emperor to come to the throne since the foundation of Germany in 1871.

Well done.

We're almost halfway through that inquiry.

Now, I'd like you to complete these comprehension questions on what we just learned and then when you're done, you can unpause the video, come back and look at some of the answers, which you could have got.

That's really impressive.

You've completed the questions.

Now let's take a look at some of the answers.

So here we go.

Question number one, who was the leader of Germany in 1914? If you had Kaiser Wilhelm II, you've done a fantastic job.

You're absolutely right.

You could have gone a little bit further and said Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power in 1888 and of course, he led Germany into World War I.

Question number two there, who had the larger navy, that's forces at sea, Britain or Germany? Now, if you said Britain, fantastic answer, that's correct.

If you said Britain had the larger navy, which meant that Germany would find it difficult to expand its territory abroad, then you've got a really developed answer and I'm extremely impressed.

Number three there, what size was the Russian army in 1914? Now, if you have around six million as in soldiers, you're doing a fantastic job.

That's quite right.

You could develop that answer a little further and said something like there were around six million soldiers in the Russian army and you could have said this was the largest of Europe's armies.

That question there, number four.

What did von Bulow claim, that's the Foreign Secretary of Germany at the time, that Germany demanded in 1897? Now, if you used that quotation, their place in the sun, you were clearly paying attention and I'm extremely impressed.

And that's of course, right.

You could have gone even further and said well, speaking on behalf of the German government, von Bulow was demanding an empire for Germany overseas.

And of course, he was using the metaphor "our place in the sun" to express this.

What about this question? What role did Prussia play in the new German empire of 1871? Well, a simple but nonetheless very good answer would be the Kaiser was chosen from the Prussian royal family.

Or in other words, Prussia was the dominant power within Germany but you could have qualified that even further and said the Prussian royal family became Germany's imperial family and crucially, Prussian militarism, that militaristic culture became the dominant political force in Germany after 1871.

That's so impressive, you completed all of the questions and there is even a little bit of extension work for you on the next slide.

Now, let's take a look at that.

So there we go.

Return to the inquiry.

If you'd like to, you can answer the question what role might the Kaiser's personal character have played in developing tensions in Europe? Several key words there and a couple of sentence starters.

Now, I'm not going to run through the answer for this one but I would love to see what you come up with.

So if you've got a parent or carer who uses Twitter, you can get them to share your fantastic work with us using the details below.

See you again next time.