• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

“Popular nationalist sentiment; military superiority; economic power; the genius of Bismarck.” Which of these factors seems to you to be the most important in the eventual unification of Germany between 1863 and 1871?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Popular nationalist sentiment; military superiority; economic power; the genius of Bismarck." Which of these factors seems to you to be the most important in the eventual unification of Germany between 1863 and 1871? 'Germany' came into existence in 1871, unified by a number of different influences and it is difficult to pinpoint a solitary cause. All of the above factors are significant in their own way and played a major role in the events leading up to the unification of the German states. Popular nationalist feelings are proposed to be one of the major reasons for the unification of Germany. German national feeling revived after the war scare of 1859, a development which was reflected in the establishment of the Nationalverein. This organised expression of national consciousness led the way in the 1860s in calling for German unification under the leadership of Prussia. The weakness of the Nationalverein was that its support was limited; at its height it only had 25,000 members, mostly from the middle class professions. ...read more.

Middle

However, France and Austria were also notably expanding economically therefore economic strength alone does not explain the victories of Prussia's armies in those wars. This suggests that there was in fact something distinct about the Prussian army, as the wars of 1864, 1866 and 1870-1 all resulted in decisive victories. The victories were not due to the Prussian army out numbering the French forces or the Danish army but organisation and planning. The Prussian Chief of Staff, Von Moltke, made a major contribution to Prussia's military victories through the preparation and planning which he had instigated since the early 1860s. The technological gap between the Prussian army and its adversaries also played a part in the victories. On particular importance in this context was the quality of the weaponry deployed by the respective armies. Prussia had introduced the breech-loading Dreyse gun in 1843 when other armies were still using the musket. They also used artillery with rifled barrels, which had far larger range and accuracy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The war of 1866, with Austria left the Prussian Empire stronger than ever, in hindsight it seems that the war was in fact planned step by step by Bismarck and he was successful in this policy. The new balance of power in Europe made the French vary and this led to diplomatic tensions. War with France was the final step on the road to German unification. Bismarck exploited the tensions between the two powers to arouse national feeling in Germany and to persuade the southern states to accept closer military co-operation with Prussia. To conclude all of the above elements are important in their own ways, all of which are inter-linked to create the conditions of 1871 for the states of Germany to unite under the leadership of Prussia. The weaknesses of the other states of Germany and the unconcern of the rest of Europe also played an important role. However, the economic and military strength of Prussia was the most significant reason for German unification and without Prussia's strength a German state could not have been achieved. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. How significant was Bismarck in securing the unification of Germany 1862-71?Bismarck's significance in securing ...

    Napoleon also expected the war to be long and costly so he could step in and impose his own peace terms on the two exhausted powers. With the position of France assured, Bismarck had to assure all other international relations were favourable.

  2. To what extent do the economic factors account for the unification of Germany between ...

    For no other nation is a railway of such incalculable values as a means to arouse and sustain the national spirit and to increase the defensive strength of the nation". In a summary of the national benefits of the railway, he included the hope that it would destroy the "evils

  1. "To What Extent Can Bismarck Claim The Credit For German Unification".

    The introduction of railways and the telegram helped transporting troops and supplies quicker giving them the upper hand in any conflict, with the ability to communicate quickly over large distances. This also brought Germany closer. The Prussian army was also a powerful fighting machine equipped with the best weapons such

  2. To what extent was the contribution of Bismarck to German unification the most important ...

    Already he sees the duchies as a way to rid Prussia of Austria- to become closer to being independent. Even when control was decided for the duchies he has out smarted the Austrians and gained control of both duchies even though he officially he only controls Schleswig.

  1. How Effectively Did Irish Catholic and Nationalist Leaders Advance Their Cause 1801-1921 ?

    This led to success in the election of 1917 when they won two by elections and in the general election of 1918 where they won 73 seats. "Sinn Fein could now realistically claim to represent the will of the Irish majority," 8 and so have a large influence on the

  2. Why did Prussia rather than Austria lead the unification of Germany?

    the Treaty of London, 1852.4 Bismarck saw an opportunity to strengthen Prussian power in north Germany by annexing the two states himself, however outwardly he allied with Austria and together they issued an ultimatum to the Danish King. Refusing to withdraw, the German armies advanced and Denmark surrendered in July 1864.

  1. 'In the context of the period 1715-1815 to what extent were economic factors the ...

    Alfred Cobban was one of the first people to disagree with the widely accepted Marxist view, arguing that, actually, the revolution was not instigated or led by the 'proletariat' at all.6 There is fair evidence to back up this theory.

  2. How far did the reforms during the period 1826-39 contribute to the eventual fall ...

    As Cunningham notes, 'years later a British general watched with his own eyes as the Sultan supervised workmen striking the Janissary bonnets off gravestones in a Pera burial-ground'.xviii Goodwin substantiating Cunningham's argument states: 'Janissary headstones, topped by the cocky turban of the order, were knocked over'.xix Claims of acts of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work