• 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...


"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.


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.


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

    Despite the war there was till a considerable number of people who did not favour the prospect of unification. Bismarck used his skilful politics once again by more or less telling the Kings and Dukes of the German states to either unify or be overthrown.

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

    Traditional Marxists would argue that these events demonstrated the working classes growing in strength and potency. Colin Jones also argues that, under the reign of Louis XV, 'the intendancy system was streamlined, and intendants now launched a wide range of social and economic improvements'7.

  1. To what extent was Bismarck in control of the direction Germany's Foreign Policy took ...

    The French recovery was faster that Bismarck had anticipated. The indemnity was paid off by 1873 and they rebuilt their army. The popular French press began to demand the return of Alsace Lorraine. During 1874 and 1875 the French increased their regiment sizes by approximately thirty-five per cent and ordered an extension of the cavalry and armaments division.

  2. Was the role of Bismarck essential to the process of German unification?

    The cost of this proposal met with resistance from the Prussian assembly who blocked the funds. This led to a confrontation between the assembly and the King. Willhelm thought of abdicating, leaving the problem to be resolved by someone else.

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

    This ultimately lost him support and damaged his credibility. Sinn Fein benefited greatly from efficient leadership and organisation. In 1916 Sinn Fein "remodelled itself [to become] a revolutionary party committed to the establishment of the Irish Republic," 7 which was appropriate in Ireland post- Easter Rising.

  2. Was Germany a meaningful concept by 1815?

    In 1806 Napoleon, who saw the Holy Roman Empire as a ?miserable monkey house?, defeated Austria and Prussia and the empire collapsed. However even though the states were humiliated, they were able to retain their rule.

  1. How important were the Zollverein in changing the balance of power between Austria ...

    and also said that, "If Prussia were to see her supremacy assured for so long a time, she would scarcely be persuaded to enter the customs union with Austria." This shows that Austria was quite desperate to join the zollverein as their economy was deteriorating.

  2. Free essay

    Propaganda was a critically important tool used to the control the masses in Nazi ...

    but now entire cities were being destroyed by Allied bombs and Allied planes were flying over the country virtually unmolested21.

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