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Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Term for the Centre Party which, after the creation of the german empire in 1871, emerged to champion Catholic interests (see catholicism ). Initially it played a key role in the kulturkampf , organizing resistance to the anti-Catholic legislation of Adalbert Falk and bismarck . However, it also became a rallying point for all those minorities that felt unfairly disadvantaged within the new Germany. By the 1880s, when the Kulturkampf was over, Bismarck was prepared to collaborate with the Zentrum in the Reichstag, despite his strong personal dislike of its dominant figure, windthorst . The party soon featured as an element in most of the significant parliamentary coalitions, and played a pivotal role after 1918 in governing the weimar republic . Despite its hostility to nazism , the Zentrum agreed to compromise with hitler and vote for the enabling act of March 1933 in return for guarantees of Catholic rights. However, under the pressures of Nazi gleichschaltung , the party dissolved itself early the following July. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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