Steam Subsidy Template

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The steam subsidy bill was a submission about the establishment of imperial mail steamer lines to overseas countries, which led to violent disputes in the German Reichstag in the second half of 1884.

The subsidization of regular ships of the line to East Asia, Australia and Africa provided for in the bill was not only a question of 'transport policy', but played into the colonial policy of Bismarck and the German Empire. The background to the discussion was the non-clearly defined foreign policy objectives of the German Empire at the time of imperialism. The subsidization of 'means of transport to open up new, possible territories' raised the question of what global scope Imperial Germany should have in the future. The political dimension that was hidden behind this template was shaped by claims to power and competitive thinking within the European sea powers.

After a very controversial discussion in the first reading before the German Reichstag, the conditions for granting subsidies were initially determined within two days at the second reading in December 1884, including details such as berthing in Belgian or Dutch ports, to secure export opportunities for the southern and western parts of the country. On the second day, the question was discussed whether all of the lines proposed by the bill or only a few would be approved, with the German Center Party , among others, only advocating the East Asian line, as this did not serve colonial policy. Otto von Bismarck endorsed the proposal in its entirety in a final speech, although he was otherwise rather hostile to the colonization plans.

In December 1884 a heated discussion began in the ranks of the SAPD within the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic parliamentary group about this legislative proposal. " The draft of a law on post-steam shipping connections with overseas countries " of November 20, 1884 threatened to split the faction because parts of the faction wanted to put themselves above the party. Long arguments in the Social Democrat finally led to the rejection of the bill by the parliamentary group on April 23, 1885.


  • Ursula Mittmann: The postulate of inner-party democracy. The steamship subsidy dispute of 1884/1884 . In: International Scientific Correspondence on the History of the German Labor Movement, 1975, Issue 1, pp. 1 ff.
  • In the struggle for the revolutionary character of the proletarian party. Letters from leading German worker functionaries December 1884 to July 1885 . Dietz Verlag, Berlin 1977 126 letters, 107 of which were published for the first time