Essays On Bismarck And German Unification

Bismarck's Unification Of Germany, 1862 1871 Essay

A.) The Situation in 1862

When OTTO VON BISMARCK was appointed chancellor of Prussia by King Wilhelm IV. in 1862, the liberal democratic attempt to unify Germany had failed (1848/49). There was a widespread sentiment among the Germans, especially among the urban and protestant Germans, in favor of unification. Under similar conditions, COUNT CAMILLO CAVOUR had engineered Italy's unification in 1859/60. As in Italy's case, there were a number of obstacles to Germany's unification. Among them were foreign powers' interests in Germany:

Foreign Interests in Member Territories of the German Confederation, 1815-1870

Denmark The Netherlands Britain Holstein, Lauenburg (Duchies) Luxemburg (Duchy), Limburg (County) Hannover (on the British throne ruled the Hanover Dynasty)

Then, there was Austria, an Empire German by tradition and character (administration), but in which Germans accounted for only about 12 % of the population and which was a multinational state. The GREATER GERMAN SOLUTION would mean the dissolution of the Habsburg Empire and was out of the question. So, the only option would be unification according to the SMALLER GERMAN SOLUTION, without the German territories held by Austria, under the leadership of Prussia. Still, Austria was against this model; Austria still held the presidency in the GERMAN CONFEDERATION, and many of the smaller state administrations, fearing Prussia's dominance, leant on Austria.

Then, Prussia, leading the unification, faced, to a lesser extent, Austria's dilemma. The Prussian provinces of Posen, West Prussia and East Prussia were not part of the German Federation, West Prussia and Posen having a Polish population majority. Other regions located outside of the German confederation, such as the Danish Duchy of SCHLESWIG, the French province of ALSACE and large parts of SWITZERLAND, had a German speaking majority.

B.) The Man

Otto von Bismarck was a nobleman, raised in the spirit of Prussian Bureaucracy, in loyalty to Prussia and the Hohenzollern Dynasty. He had been Prussia's ambassador to Russia (1859-62) and to France (1862) before having been appointed chancellor in 1862. He kept distance to Prussia's diet and baffled everybody by stating that Germany's unification would have to be achieved by BLOOD AND IRON. He expanded the military budget, knowing that the recently invented NEEDLE GUN would give Prussia's army an advantage in the field - it could be reloaded 3 times as fast as the hitherto used guns. Bismarck was regarded an outsider.

In 1871, unification being accomplished, sceptical criticism and mockery gave way to admiration. Bismarck had turned the dream of many into reality and, by defeating the French, turned lack of confidence (as a political nation) into pride tending towards overconfidence.

C.) The Wars Leading to Unification

In 1863, during the Polish uprising in Russian Poland, Bismarck supported the Russians, while public...

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The Importance of Bismarck to German Unification Essay

723 Words3 Pages

The Importance of Bismarck to German Unification

When Bismarck became chancellor of Prussia in 1862 nationalism had already started 47 years ago in 1815. Although Bismarck greatly helped the move towards unification there were also many other factors involved. These factors included things such as the economic power of the Zollverein and the fact that having a strong country would make them safer, and they all shared the same enemy: France. It is necessary to compare these factor with each other in order to asses the importance of Bismarck to German unification.

Historians such as Frank Eyck believe that unification of Germany 'was a natural and desirable development.' In many ways this is true.…show more content…

The German nationalists called a National Assembly in Frankfurt to prepare the unification of Germany. The people all wanted a unified Germany and this was their first attempt at it.

''Coal and iron' not 'blood and iron' were the Prussian power base' (Stiles the unification of Germany 1815 - 1890) Economic power, and especially the Zollverein, was of course one of the biggest factors contributing to German unification. After 1850 Germanys industries really began to take off. Factories were built at a spectacular rate, railroads grew connecting different parts of the country and Prussia had one of the best education rates to be seen in a long time. Along with industrialization came a steep up rise in population and huge numbers of people moving into the cities. The result of the railways, education and urbanization was that ideas began to spread and before 1871 Germany was already culturally and economically unified.

Although all of these factors were pointing Germany in the right direction for unification there was one man who 'forged the Reich' (Adolf Hitler): this man was Bismarck. One of the first things that he did was to increase Prussia's popularity, and he did so in the war against Denmark. When Denmark attempted to make Schleswig and Holstein an integral part of Denmark, Austria and Prussia fought side by side in order to keep them as part of the German

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