With the founding of the empire at the turn of the year 1870/71, Germany developed from an agricultural into an industrial state. This resulted in a profound transformation of social structures and, with it, antagonistic political aims. Domestic social tensions were to be intercepted in foreign policy.
Thus, under Wilhelm II (1888-1918). Germany began to strive towards greater foreign political importance, so as to place Germany on an equal footing next to the great world powers England, France and the United States. The result was an intensified nationalism which had a marked impact on the Wilhelminian era. The fateful fluctuations of German politics and the personal rule of Wilhelm II became a characteristic of the epoch.