The Age of Steel

Examines the effects of the second industrial revolution on Europe.

The rise of the second industrial revolution in Europe signaled the beginning of the age of modernity and the end of physical power. Industrial progress, rather than population, area, and the size of a nation’s army, now measured political and even national power. A process of strengthening and centralization became the major process of the governments of this time. This paper shows that there is no easy comparison in history for this revolutionary change. It studies the impact and repercussions that the second industrial revolution had on Europe, as a whole, and Germany in particular.
Germany experienced an economic boom immediately after unification. For the first time, the country was a single economic entity, and the so-called red tape was cut and internal trade could occur. A uniform currency was established, and the money France had to pay Germany for losing the war provided capital for railroad construction and building projects. A boom occurred within the economy, characterized by large-scale formation of joint-stock companies and investment practices. This period of intense financial gain and investment practices became to be known as the Grunderzeit. So despite a crash in the economy the previous years and subsequent years of economic depression, Germany’s economy grew rapidly. ?By 1900 it rivaled the more-established British economy as the world’s largest.?