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How important was the development of the Zollverein to the unification of Germany?

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Introduction

How important was the development of the Zollverein to the unification of Germany? Economic theory tells us that if internal and external barriers to entry are removed and a state of free trade is allowed then that economy or economies within the free trade market will benefit from this. In the history of German unification there are key points that were essential to the unification process, the importance of a good strong economy was vital. Therefore it can be argued that the development and even establishment of the zollverein was very important in the development of Germany. The Zollverein was established in 1834, it replaced a system of barriers and obstacles to trade. ...read more.

Middle

This dominance was encouraging to the liberals and nationalists within Prussia and as well as other German states. There was a stable element within the German states and this meant that many felt there was hope of politically unity. One of the most important causes of the zollvereins' success was that it enabled the building of railways within the German states. Not only did this mean that Prussia was one of the first countries to employ the use of railways on a large scale but it also equipped them well military; allowing rapid movement of troops that would be very important in the war against Austria in 1866. The other important factor in the building of the railways was that it linked the German states. ...read more.

Conclusion

The effects of the zollverein were just as important as the actual zollverein itself. However there is an alternative view to that expressed above. It can be argued that the zollverein in fact played a very small role in the unification of Germany. There are several examples where we can see that the zollverein did not unite the German states as it has been suggested. In 1866 when Prussia did go to war with Austria, every member of the zollverein was opposed to the action of Prussia, although many could take little action as Prussia's army had hemmed them in. another example of the lack of unity was in 1834 when Prussia deliberately used aggressive policies to enrich them. A trade war was the outcome with rival trade zones such as the Mid-German Customs Union. ...read more.

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