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

German Nationalism

Extracts from this document...


German Nationalism Word count: 1400 At the end of the Napoleonic wars the area now known as Germany comprised of 39 separate states of different sizes. At the congress of Vienna, the international gathering that reshaped Europe after Napoleon's defeat, the Great Powers created a new framework for the region, the German Confederation. The Confederation excluded parts of the largest German states Austria and Prussia and included within its borders members of other nationalities, such as Danes in the north and Czechs in the south. The governing body of the new structure was the Federal Diet meeting in Frankfurt, which contained one representative nominated by the government of each member of state. The Diet's presidency was permanently held by Austria. In Germany support for ideas of national unity came mainly from a relatively small, educated middle class, composed of uni professors and students, who formed academic guilds or unions known as Burschenschaften. To the ultra-conservative Metternich, nationalism was no less dangerous for being the creed of a minority. Carlsbad decrees stemmed from the murder of an anti liberal writer Kotzebue, banned the Burschenschaften and introduced extensive curbs on free political discussions. In spite of these police state measures Metternich did not succeed in holding back the tide of change and the Burschenschaften simply went underground. ...read more.


Bismarck feared the Catholic Church, with its links to Polish nationalism as a threat to German unity. The Prussian king was also the German Kaiser or emperor. He controlled the armed forces and determined crucial issues of war and peace without reference to the elected representative of the people. Germany's new ruler took national unity as an established fact and aimed unreservedly to expand his country's power. He had Bismarck's intolerance of minority groups with the more aggressive, Social Darwinian spirit of German nationalism. From 1897, Wilhelm's Germany pursued a strategy known as Weltpolitik (world policy), in an attempt to acquire an overseas empire alongside its British and French rivals. Under the guidance of Admiral Tirpitz (secretary of state for the Navy 1897-1916), the building of a large battle fleet became an integral part of this approach. Nationalism was therefore important as ideological 'cement' holding together a progovernment coalition of forces. Nationalism in the Wilhelmine period was a substitute for the imperial system's failure to integrate the competing political parties. The national unity induced by the outbreak of war in 1914 - the so-called 'spirit of August' proved impermanent. The nature of Germany's war aims became a source of conflict within the political system. The army supreme command wanted extensive territorial gains for Germany at the end of the war, while a majority in the Reichstag voted in July 1917 for a compromise peace without forced annexations. ...read more.


Clearly, there was a close relationship between Prussia's economic modernisation and its role in German unification. Bismarck possessed the political will to use these resources coupled with the diplomatic skill to exploit the new balance of forces in Europe. When the Reichstag refused to grant more taxes to pay for the 1862 Army Bill reforms, Bismarck simply ignored it collecting taxes illegally to 4 years. Bismarck had no intentions of maintaining cooperation with Austria. From 1862-1871 Bismarck achieved what is usually described as German unification, though he himself aimed only to expand Prussia's frontiers and ensure it's security. He despised nationalists, though he was to harness the idea to his own ends. Bismarck was indeed a Junker and a Prussian. Bismarck had taken care to appear to act legally against Denmark. He claimed that Austria and Prussia were merely upholding the 1852 Treaty of London which had settled the duchies' future. In 1866 he again claimed to be acting legally as the injured party when he claimed the Austrians had breach their treaty obligations over the duchies and launched the Austro-Prussian war. The Prussian advance was so quick that Bismarck had difficulty in preventing the now enthusiastic king and his generals from ordering a march on Vienna. Austria had to accept defeat under the Treaty of Prague. ...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. What were the obstacles to German Unification immediatly before the 1848 Revolutions

    Princes and Rulers were an obstacle to unification in 1848 because they were reluctant to lose power, they had lost it when Napoleon conquered them but they regained it and they did not want to lose it again. This made unification extremely difficult because in order to unify Germany 38

  2. To what extent was German Unification driven by primarily economic forces?

    Also the Prussian government could afford the proposed army reforms formulated by General Albrecht von Roon. Von Roon proposed to increase the armies annual recruitment by 63000, he also proposes to change the amount of service required by soldiers and conscripts.

  1. Why was Prussia able to win the war with Austria in 1866?

    Iron and Coal are needed to make weapons, locomotives, steel and a great many other things, with these in abundance in Prussia, they would have the advantage over others.

  2. Hitlers Germany

    Schleicher considered Papen a person who could easily be controlled from behind the scenes. He hoped that Papen, a dedicated right-winger, would win back conservative support for the presidential government. Schleicher negotiated with Hitler to gain Nazi toleration of a Papen government.

  1. How far has nationalism changed over the last hundred years?

    position only, Germany forced various consequences of the change in the policy. By lapsing the Reinsurance treaty, Russia was driven to create an alliance with France and by dismissing the alliance with Britain, caused them to negotiate their problems with France and Russia.

  2. The Role of Bismarck in the German Confederation

    The next vital factor to German unification is the economic success during the 1850's and 1860's. The key to this success lay in the Prussian Customs Union and the Zollverein, which had been created by the Prussian government to improve trade quality and the availability of goods.

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