I made two visits to the doctor’s this week. The first was on Monday when we settled down to read about the dominance of Bismark on the German scene, his use of expediency to unite the German territories excluding Austria, and about the Kulturkampf waged between the German state and the Roman Catholic Church, 1871-1878.
Until the mid-19th century, the Catholic Church was still also a political power. The Papal States were supported by France but ceased to exist as an indirect result of the Franco-Prussian War. The Catholic Church still had a strong influence on many parts of life, though, also in Bismarck’s Protestant Prussia. In the newly founded German Empire, Bismarck sought to bolster the power of the secular state and reduce the political and societal influence of the Catholic Church by instituting political control over Church activities.
Because the German Empire had descended from the 1866 North German Confederation, Bismarck saw the addition of the southern German states (especially Catholic Bavaria) as a possible threat to the Empire’s stability. Tensions were also increased by the 1870 Vatican Council proclamation on papal infallibility.
In March 1872 religious schools were forced to undergo official government inspection and in June religious teachers were banned from governements schools. In addition, the state began to closely monitor the education of clergy, created a secular court for cases involving the clergy, and required notification of all clergy employment. In 1872 the Jesuits were banned (and remained banned in Germany until 1917) and in December the German government broke off diplomatic relations with the Vatican. In 1875, marriage became a mandatory civil ceremony, removed from the control of the Church.
Bismarck’s attempts to restrict the power of the Catholic Church, represented in politics by the Catholic Centre Party, were not successful. In the 1874 elections, these forces doubled their representation in the parliament. Needing to counter the Social Democratic Party, Bismarck softened his stance, especially with the election of the new Pope Leo XIII in 1878.
The general ideological enthusiasm among the liberals for the Kulturkampf was in contrast to Bismarck’s pragmatic attitude towards the measures and growing disquiet from the Conservatives.
A lasting result of Kulturkampf was a heightened alienation of the church and the state, and the formation of the catholic Centre Party, without which it became difficult for Bismark to form a government. Another cleft widened between the ultramontane-oriented Catholics and the evangelisch part of the people.
I returned to the Mogami household on Wednesday evening for this month’s mahjong session. Doctor M jr had told me on Monday that he intended to win this month, having had a bit of a mauling last month.
The very first hand of the evening was a lively affair with everybody Tenpai but nobody completing a hand. It boded well for an entertaining evening, and indeed there was a lot of action even though only three games were played.
The first game went to Mrs M sr, in the North seat. Both the doctors had been relatively quiet during this game, and that trend continued into the next, especially for Dr M jr, who seemed to be having trouble getting any of his hands to turn into anything.
Dr M sr began to get some results towards the end of this game and by the end of the second game DH had wiped out his small deficit from the first game, taking second place in the black.
We drew tiles for the seating of the third game, and the two doctors exchanged places, with DH remaining in the West Seat and Mrs M sr remaining in the North seat.
It was in the third game that everything really came together for DH, who filled up his points tray with a nice pile of score-sticks over several hands until the last quarter of the game with a variety of aggressive plays. (One hand I had never built before was an open Tanyao using a mixture of Pon and Chi as that is disallowed in the Three Player game as it is only a 1 Yaku hand – oh, and Chi does not exist in 3-Player.)
Eager to finish of the game, DH actually began to give away tiles – once two Mrs M, and then immediately after to Dr M jr. Dr M sr declared Riichi as last Oya and DH needed to chuck one of his three 5-Bamboo Dora tiles in order to declare Okake-Riichi and, as time was getting on and as a few beers had slipped down the hatch, and as all had hitherto gone pleasantly, and thinking that if it worked… the game might be over quite quickly with DH out in front… he threw it…
“Ron!” cried Dr M sr, who thereby came roaring back into the game, while DH felt himself sinking down from a great height…
Then the machine got jammed as tiles that had not been cleared away fell into the crevices as the table opened to raise the next set of tiles… We pulled the blue-backed tiles out of the crevices and tipped them from a tray into the middle drum and then rearranged the new set of tiles back on the racks before shutting the table and starting again. It is important to note, considering what happened next, that some of the tiles had been moved to different locations – for it is on such small variations that huge differentials in results can occur (along, of course with awareness of the situation and skillful play)…
I had two pairs of dragons, Haku and Hatsu in his hand from the get-go and drew a single Chun on the second or third turn. I claimed a Hatsu Pon from Mrs M, then drew a second Chun and claimed a Chun Pon from Dr M jr. When it came around to Dr M jr’s next turn he looked across at my two sets of open Dragons and said “It is too early,” i.e. he did not think I’d go Pon on the white Dragon – so he discarded it.
I now had Daisangen and Dr M jr would have to pay out 36,000 plus extras not only if he gave away the winning tile, but if anybody else gave away the winning tile instead of him!!
I happened to have another pair, 2 x 5-Coins and a couple of Bamboo which swiftly became 3 & 4-Bamboo. Then Dr M sr threw a 2-Bamboo….
Although Dr M sr had given away the tile poor old Dr M jr had to pay a total of 36,000, which effectively emptied his tray and brought me sailing back into top position and brought the game to a resounding finish.
Dr M sr
Dr M jr
A fine evening’s entertainment indeed!