Unification of Germany Bismarck

Unification of Germany
• Although Germany did not exist until 1871, it
had existed as a concept for hundreds of years
• Similar languages and cultures
• Since the middle ages, it was loosely organized
as the Holy Roman Empire
• Strong, independant states, like Prussia had
• Post 1815, German nationalism very strong
• 1815, 300 independant territories were
merged into 39 states
• Zollverein was formed in 1833, promoted free
trade , industrialization, and railroad
• Unified religion - protestant
The Situation in 1862
-Otto Von Bismarck appointed chancellor of
Prussia by King Wilhelm IV
-uses Italian unification to his advantage
-Blood and Iron used to unify Germany, battles,
with Prussia at the helm
• 2 possibilites for german unification – Prussia or Austria as the new
Central State
• hen, 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.
• 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.
• The sheer number of soldiers available made massencirclement and destruction of enemy formations.
The army was still equipped with the "needle-gun"
Dreyse rifle of fame from the Battle of Dresden during
Austro-Prussian War 1866, but by this time was
showing the age of its 25 year old design. The
deficiencies of the needle-gun were more than
compensated for by the famous Krupp 6 pounder (3 kg)
breech-loading cannons being issued to Prussian
artillery batteries. Firing a contact-detonated shell
filled with zinc balls and explosive, the Krupp gun had a
range of 4,500 meters and blistering rate of fire
compared to muzzle loading cannon.
Factors leading to Unification
• Zollverin- Customs union
• Economic unification
• Building of railroads moved resources across
the conferation
• This union excluded Austria, and fueled
German identity
1st War of Unification
1864 – Prussia and Austria vs Denmark
Schleswig and Holstein were two german duchies under Danish rule
Largely german speaking
1840s, danes tried to claim it as theirs instead of letting them be semiindependant
Uproar from german nationalists
Treaty of LONDon – 1863 – they would be under danish rule, but remain outside of
the Danish Nation state
Treaty broken b y Prince
Outcry of “German nationalists
German confederation mobilized its forces
Battle, German confederation wins
Holstein went to |Austria, Schleswig Prussia
Bismarck later provokes Austria
Schleswig-Holstein. Schleswig and Holstein are two German duchies that were
under Danish rule.
• Austrian-Prussian War.
• In 1866
• further arguments about the administration of SchleswigHolstein led to war breaking out between Austria and
• This war lasted 7 weeks and resulted in Prussian victory
over the Austrians.
• In beating the Austrians on the battlefield the Prussians
assumed the role of senior Germanic state. This led to the
smaller states to align themselves alongside the Prussians,
with whom they shared more economic ties due to the
aforementioned Zollverin customs agreement.
• Key to victory, needle gun and Krupp Cannon
The Franco-Prussian War
• Between 1866 and 1870 relations between Prussia and France
• In 1870, A Hollerzollerin, (Prussian Noble Family) was about to take
the throne of Spain
• King of Prussia, sent Ems Dispatch, Bismarck intercepted it,
reworded it to sound harsh
• France declared war on Prussia-prussia wins easily
• Prussian power is clear, other German states rally around them
• Following victory over France in January of 1871, Prussia was able
to persuade her partners within the German confederation that
unification was desirable. As a result, Wilhelm of Prussia was
proclaimed Emperor of Germany on January 18th 1871. The Second
German Reich was born.
• The new German state which doesn’t include
Austria was declared in the Hall of mirrors at
• King Wilhelm I becomes Kaiser
• Pax Germanica
• After 7 weeks war, Bismarck didn’t let troops march
through Vienna – keep Austria an ally
• But he embarrased france at Versailles
• To0k Alsace and Lorraine
• German state strongest power in teh world
• Balance of power destroyed
• Bismarck sets out alliances to isolate France
• Builds super strong navy – rival Britain
• Peace lasted until 1914
• Bismarck replaced in1890