The Navy Law

Der konkrete Ausdruck dieses Doppelkampfes der industriell-agrarianischen Koalition gegen die Nachba Kehr here asserts that the Navy Law of 1900 and the 1902 tolls were the result of a conflict waged simultaneously against neighbouring states and the proletariat by a coalition of the industrial bloc and the agrarian bloc. This bloc was accused by Kehr of isolating Germany by conflict with neighbouring states. Cheap Russian grain scared the conservative agrarians' livelihood, whilst the Tsarist regime scared the liberal industrialists.

Equally, the British democracy and industrialism scared the agrarians, whilst the British economic power scared the industrialists. This is the conflict with the Nachbarstaaten referred to by Kehr. The conflict against the proletariat was another aspect of the coalition's activity. Blackbourne and Ely saw Germany as a primarily middle classed society by this time and so support in suppressing the wants of the proletariat would have been forthcoming.

The rush to increase the size of the army was a result of the desire for a subservient society that recognised the overriding rights of the monarchy above all else, and conscripted soldiers were taught as much about which way to vote as about warfare during their terms, a course which ended in time for them to begin voting appropriately when they reached 25. The buergerlich army was there to defend the united interests of the Buergertum (who constructed, in Kehr's opinion, the ideology of the Nation-State that they defended).

These two interests that Kehr saw as uniting the wealthy industrialist and agrarian classes had their ultimate expression in the tolls of 1902 and the Navy Law of 1900. The Navy Law of 1900 was supported through the Reichstag by the agrarian bloc as a token of support for their industrialist partners, in return for which the 1902 tolls would compensate the German farming community. The Navy Law of 1900 provided for a battle fleet aimed at Weltpolitik as opposed to a blockade busting fleet.

Once again, a concession to the industrialists who would be more than happy to build such a fleet, the Navy Law was to build a fleet unsuitable for Germany's position as an easily blockaded state and pander instead to the wants of the coalition. Thus it can be said that the Navy Law was passed as part of the agenda of the coalition as it was not only fundamentally self-interested, but also an important part of the capability of the country to maintain hostility to Great Britain.

It was also hoped that in building a mighty battle fleet, the proletariat would lend their support to the nation, feeling pride for such an achievement. The 1902 toll which had the effect of enriching and protecting the agrarians and its interest in keeping foreign grain out of Germany reflected the coalition's foreign policy, and in enriching the countryside, the urbanisation might slow or end, so reducing the power of the proletariat.