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how important was bismark in the unification of germany

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How important was Bismark in the unification of germany Unification in Germany was a long held aspiration. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the German people were looking for an identity as a country and as a united people. This sense of nationalism stemmed from many origins such as Cultural, Economic, Political and Military. Through the Burtschengadens, wars of unification and the Creation of the Zolverein we can see that national sentiments were a wide spread phenomenon within Germany at this time, with growth of nationalism especially predominant in the Prussian area. Germany was aiming for unification, and the one man who brought about change is Otto von Bismark, upon whom the topic of German Unification is often centered on. He was seen as the "smith of the nation" and the force behind the developments of Unity of German states. However, there is a notation that Bismark's role in the unification process is often exaggerated. "His admirer's often exaggerate the extent of the obstacles in his path" - Medlicott. There were other factors that were significant in the Bringing together of Germany, however Bismark was able to manipulate them and bring a rapid expansion of national sentiments throughout the country resulting in the unification of Germany. ...read more.


Bismark garnered the title of an "opportunistic leader, as he also expressed this in the Polish revolt. Thus, it is fair to say Bismark was an opportunist rather than a master planner in completing the unification of Germany. He intended to strengthen the power of Prussia among the Germen states. Facing the threat of Austria, unless Prussia took the leading role in unification process, otherwise, Prussia would never have chance to come up. Bismark achieved the goal by taking advantages in circumstances, to build up friendship with powers, to isolate his enemies and to extend Prussian power in the name of German nationalism. This notation is reinforced by Pflanze - "only under the stimulation provided by Bismark for his own political ends did German Nationalism begin to move the masses. His diplomatic skill made himself as a significant political figure in Prussian politics. As expressed by Mosse -"If he played his hand with great skill, it was a good one in the first place". Only on analyzing other factors influencing the unification of Germany, can we really determine whether or not Bismark role was greatly exaggerated. ...read more.


The French had rearranged the small states into 3 large ones demonstrating that change was possible. They had also introduced liberal laws which removed the power and privileges of the nobility. The spread of liberalism helped develop nationalism as it reinforced the idea that people with a common language, tradition and culture had a right to decide they should be part of one state. Political nationalism hinges on the collective weakness of the German states in the face of the foreign states. The German states faced threats expansionism from powers including Russia threatening Prussia and Austria, France threatening the west bank of the Rhine and Denmark threatened territory in the Duchies of Schleswig. Bismark's role has not been "greatly" exaggerated but it is important that it is kept in context. It is evident that many historical opinions have huge divided. It is clear that Bismark formed Germany in the manner in which it came about. For instance, the type of state that emerged and the timescale in which it emerged. However, it is equally clear that greater German unity was something that had a degree of unavoidability and that as Bismark himself remarked "Marked cannot create the current of events, He can only float with it and steer. ...read more.

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