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The Great War
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A Place in the Sun - A German Need
Robert Wohl
"A vital nation was a nation that was growing in size, and the way that nations grew in size in the last decade of the 19th Century was through the creation of empire.

"'A place in the sun' actually is a very evocative concept because it reminds us that the Germans perceived themselves, and their leader, Kaiser Wilhelm himself, in the 1890s, as not having achieved everything that they should have achieved. In other words, there was unfinished business.

"Germany was the strongest military power in Europe. It had overtaken, or was about to overtake, Britain as the strongest economic power. Its population was growing very rapidly. Its culture was vibrant. But the Germans did not feel that they had achieved the respect from other European peoples that they thought they had earned. And you have to remember also, that this was an age of imperialism.

"Nations judged themselves according to whether they were growing and expanding or remaining stable. Because to remain stable as Germany was, in the eyes of people influenced by Darwinian ideas, was to be on the verge of decline."

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