Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Stephen G. Fritz

Committee Members

Henry J. Antkiewicz, Brian J. Maxson


Throughout the Second Reich’s short life, military affairs were synonymous with those of the state. Indeed, it was the zeal and blood of Prussian soldiers that allowed the creation of a unified German empire. After solidifying itself as a major power, things grew more complicated as the Reich found itself increasingly surrounded by hostile rivals. To the west, French humiliation over their catastrophic defeat in 1870-71 continued to fester while, in the east, Russian sympathies for the new empire waned. The finalization of a Franco-Russian alliance in 1894 meant Germany faced formidable adversaries along her eastern and western borders. That unsettling realization dictated the empire’s military policy until its downfall in 1918. Drawing from the writings and speeches of Wilhelmine Germany’s military and political leaders, this work seeks to examine and analyze the Second Reich’s military policies and decision-making processes over the three decades preceding the First World War.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.