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

How significant was Bismarck in securing the unification of Germany 1862-71?Bismarck's significance in securing the unification of Germany can be measured by looking at his individual role

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

AS Coursework How significant was Bismarck in securing the unification of Germany 1862-71? Bismarck's significance in securing the unification of Germany can be measured by looking at his individual role and all other factors that contributed to unification. Through his influence over King William, his control over the media and the people of Prussia, and his engineering of the famous Ems telegram there is no doubt that Bismarck had an enormous part to play in German unification. However, other factors such as the fortunate international situation, strength of Prussia (economically & militarily), increasing nationalism, and the decline of Austria show that Bismarck was in no way the sole contributing factor as to why German unification occurred. My view is that because of the existing forces for unification, Bismarck's role can be limited to how much he manipulated the main driving forces for an arguably inevitable unification. With the ever-changing international situation, it can be safely said that Bismarck never had complete control over the events securing the unification of Germany. With Austrian power open to question after her defeat in Italy, Bismarck's aim for Prussian expansion came at a perfect time when Austria's power was declining and Prussia's was on the rise. In August 1863, when the Austrian emperor called all the German princes to a congress at Frankfurt, to discuss a possible loose unification, Prussia was nearly lured into unity. ...read more.

Middle

This is a clear showcase of Bismarck preparing the way internationally, and due to the strength of Prussia militarily and Bismarck's aggressive statesmanship the North German confederation was formed. He had succeeded in uniting a large part of Germany under a Prussian Monarchy through force of arms. Bismarck is very significant here in the type and timing of unification. Perhaps Bismarck's most significant role towards securing the unification of Germany was his tactical manoeuvring in the summer of 1870. With Napoleon seeking territory on the West bank of the Rhine. Bismarck was able to use his demands to pressurise the south German states into signing secret military alliances with the North German Confederation. Effectively Bismarck had set the base for political unification by integrating the militaries of the North & South of Germany. With France isolated, war with Prussia was looking like a very distinct possibility. The event which turned out to be the spark for the Franco-Prussian war was the engineering of the Ems Telegram by Bismarck. When a demand was made to Prince Leopold (a relative of King William of Prussia), the French decided this was unacceptable. Fearing that it would place a Prussian puppet on the throne of their southern neighbour and this would further shift the balance of power in Europe to Frances disadvantage, Napoleon demanded assurances from William that he would never accept the candidacy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Bismarck influenced many situations, there are many examples where he relied on luck and chance. The Polish revolt is a clear example where Bismarck was reacting to events rather than controlling them. Due to sheer luck, after the Polish revolt a coalition between France-Austria-Russia was now unlikely, meaning these 3 threats to German unification could not work together. Another example of luck was the marginalisation of Russia. With Russia being such a potentially powerful country and a major power in Europe, if they had a strong economy and a stable social position, it is safe to say they would have prevented Prussia expanding and ultimately German unification. There is no doubt that Bismarck had a huge part to play in German Unification. This is obvious through his aggressive statesmanship, and his excellent political manoeuvring in such instances as the Austro-Prussian war, the Schleswig-Holstein affair, and the Hohenzollern Candidacy the result of which was the Franco-Prussian war which ultimately led to German Unification on 18th January 1871. However, Bismarck's significance can be measured by looking at certain circumstances surrounding German Unification. It can be said that Prussian strengths both militarily and economically coupled with a fortunate international situation meant that the foundations for some sort of unification were already set. Through his utilisation of Prussian strengths in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars, his pragmatic approach, strong conviction and excellent diplomatic skills, Bismarck merely solidified the cause of German Unification in its final form and timing (under Prussia). ...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. Assess the view that the failures of the Congress of Vienna outweighed the successes.

    achieved, therefore suggesting that the view holds weight and the failures of the settlement did outweigh the successes. On the other hand, Tim Chapman argues that a 'balance of power of sorts was achieved by the Vienna meeting,'53 The fact that a general European war was avoided for a century,

  2. Bismarck did not plan the unification of Germany. He merely reacted to events.

    After years of revolutions in Europe, Bismarck turned up right in the middle of the commotion and used his Realpolitik's policies to raise Prussia's name. The feeling of nationalism had never eroded from the Prussians' heart and Bismarck used his influential and manipulative approach by taking this advantage.

  1. How far did the Zollverein play a apart in the Unification of Germany?

    12th October 1864 Bavaria, Wurrtemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt and Nassau all agreed toPrussia's conditions for renewal of the Zollverein. And once again Austria was excluded, despite unrealistic promises to look into the matter in 1872, allowing Prussia to have a stronger power-base than it had ever had before.

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

    Russia was trying to expand her interests in the Ottoman Empire to the strong disapproval of Britain and France; and despite a tradition of cooperation with one another, Austria showed open hostility by mobilising her army along the Danube. In this way Austria lost her most powerful and consistent ally,

  1. Bismarcks appointment of Minister President of Prussia (1862) was the most important turning point ...

    This can be seen as a retrospective step because it actually excluded areas of both Austria and Prussia, as well as making many of the smaller states much larger. The Congress of Vienna was not a turning point in German nationalism, but without it the nature of Germany could have

  2. How Serious Was The Threat Posed To Henry VII By Pretenders To The Throne

    Suffolk was persuaded by Henry to return to England and he remained outwardly loyal until 1501. He left the Kingdom of England again in 1501 seeking the help of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. Henry knew that Suffolk was gaining support from strong people and therefore he paid Maximilian the sum of �10,000 to expel Suffolk.

  1. 'Stalin's leadership was the most significant reason for Soviet victory over Germany in the ...

    For example, the People?s Militia were only volunteers, but on occasions they were asked to help in battles and skirmishes. The army became overstretched and the front was weak. This was because the USSR did not plan for any specific type of war.

  2. How significant was foreign influence in shaping Italian political and social development in the ...

    Thus, it was through the influence of France that political gains towards unity were increased. Napoleon III's "participation in the war against Austria?had served Piedmont's cause rather than his own"[7] according to Robert Pearce. This evokes the extent that France aided Italy in political progress, that victory against the Austrians benefited Italy more than France.

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