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

It was 'coal and iron' not 'blood and iron' that unified Germany

Extracts from this document...


It was 'coal and iron' not 'blood and iron' that unified Germany The unification of Germany was not just a matter of the signing a document stating that the many states had become one country. There were problems such as varying languages, currencies, and ethnic minorities to name a few. In the end however one country, Germany was the states as one but how was it unified? 'Coal and iron' refers to economic ties unifying Germany and 'blood and iron' refers to the unification of Germany through force. The role of Bismarck in the unification of Germany was also a key factor however, if he was to be put in one category for having unified Germany 'coal and iron' or 'blood and iron' he would be put into the latter. There were attempted unifications through 'coal and iron' however for various reasons to be discussed it did not occur. Bismarck realised that economy was not going to unify Germany so he used force to achieve this, 'my task is to keep and eye on the currents...and steer my ship in them as best I can' Trade was a big problem between the states and would need to be sorted out if they were to unify. The currency of the states was the same however its value varied between the borders. ...read more.


The first and failed attempt to unify was in 1848. It was in the form of a revolution from the people. They were unsatisfied, as it had become very hard as a peasant to make a living. Many owed feudal dues to landowners; others were landless who worked for Junkers, landowning military aristocracy. Not only were working conditions less than favourable, living conditions were worse. This caused resentful feelings among the peasants. News of the overthrow of King Louis-Philippe in France spread revolution in many small South-West German states which then spread north. From these revolutions, a Vorparlament formed to decide political changes of Germany and to create a 'united Germany'. It failed however as it largely represented one walk of life, that with university degrees. There were only a few who actually represented the majority of Germany therefore voices of a large group in Germany would not be heard as an overall majority. The members who were elected could not even find a majority among themselves. It looked less and less likely that the Frankfurt parliament would be uniting Germany. This was not an attempt at unification however was the first time a wish on the part of Prussia was shown to unify the states. The second and also failed attempt to unify Germany took place in 1851. ...read more.


Political loyalty however still lay with Austria, as was reflected. A seven week's war with Austria took place. Austria had a war on two fronts and with Prussia, their weapons did not match theirs. She was finally defeated at the Battle of Sadowa. Prussia now gained political loyalty as they were to dictate the terms of the peace treaty. Now Prussia had not only economic unity under the Zollverein but political through the treaty. This treaty abolished the Bund and Austria was excluded from the North German Confederation. By this evidence it can be seen that 'blood and iron' was the main factor which unified Germany. It is hard to conclude however that it was only military force. Without economic unity the states might never have united behind Prussia and just seen her as a tyrant, not a leader. The weapons for war with Austria would not have been available and it also created a great sense of nationalism within the states, permitting success in war. Through war Bismarck was able to unite Germany politically under Prussia as well. War with Austria was necessary as Bismarck needed to show that she was weak and should not be supported, so unity under Prussia would be achieved. Solely 'coal and iron' did not succeed in unification but with the help of Bismarck and 'blood and iron' this was possible. Anna McNaughton 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 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 GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. Why has Prussia replaced Austria as the leading Germanic power by 1870?

    With only 61% of its revenue to spend, it is no wonder why Austria did not industrialise or modernise; it could not have, even if it had tried to. In 1815, Prussia looked weak, but it had a brilliant stroke of luck.


    Once Charles Albert freed the press censorship in 1847, Cavour founded the newspaper Il Risorgimento and used it to publish his ideas for the future of Piedmont and Italy. He soon stood for the first Piedmontese Parliament but only got in a few months later after in a by-election.

  1. What contribution did the Zollverein make to the unification of Germany?

    Aside from its role in the economic unity of the German states, the importance of the Zollverein in terms of the type of Germany that emerged is that it was the only Germany wide political arena from which Austria was excluded.

  2. To what extent was the unification of Prussia due to weaknesses of Austria?

    Nonetheless, Austria continued to be the dominant power as at the time, Prussia could not even dream of effectively competing against her, had it not been for Austria's own decline that encouraged her to. For example, the reactionary policies of Metternich such as the Karlsbed Decrees might have been perpetuated

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