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

Prussia and Austria

Extracts from this document...


29/04/07 Why was Germany united under Prussia and not Austria? In the 19th century Prussia and Austria were rivals for the domination of Germany. In 1815, Austria seemed to be vastly superior to Prussia "on paper" and wished to adopt its usual dominant role over German affairs. However, gradually over time certain key events led to Prussia overtaking Austria in the balance of power. In this essay I will be looking at the reasons why Prussia overtook Austria and why Germany was finally united under Prussia and not Austria. Finally I will draw a conclusion based on these facts. In 1815 the Vienna Settlement took place. This acted to strengthen Prussia and weaken Austria. Prussia was strengthened by the territorial land settlement which provided Prussia with potentially enormous strength, also the land given to her, the Rhine, was rich in resources and it also was populated by many German people. This made Prussia a more German nation in itself. ...read more.


The Zollverein brought 25 German states together and was seen as the first steps towards economic and political unity in Germany. It strengthened Prussia because it was Prussia who controlled this customs union and this gave her major influence over the 25 German states, and this was seen as the first steps towards the unity of Germany under Prussia. The Zollverein also granted Prussia further economic development. This customs union weakened Austria because when Austria was invited to join in the early years it declined because Austria supported high tariffs. In doing this Austria handed over valuable economic areas to Prussia and lost more ground in the balance of power which would decide which country Germany would be united under. Another factor which strengthened Prussia was the effects of the 1848-49 revolution. The failure of the middle class liberals to unite Germany from below showed that Germany would need to be united from above, Germany would need a powerful country to bring it together. ...read more.


During this period Austria's diplomatic position weakened. In 1854, Austria failed to support Russia during the Crimean war, Russia had previously helped Austria crush insurgents during the 1848 revolutions and cower Prussia. As a result of this, the "holy alliance" was destroyed and Austria lost an important ally. Also, Austria's poor performance in the war against the French in Italy (Solferino and Magenta) in 1859 signaled to Prussia that Austria's army was no longer to be feared. The 1866 Austro-Prussian war showed that the balance of power between Austria and Prussia decisively swung into Prussia's favour. This war completely excluded Austria from German affairs and left the field totally open for Prussia to deal with Germany. With Austria out of the equation, Bismarck waited for the perfect time to unite Germany. This came in 1870 when Bismarck accumulated German nationalism and had Germany accept the Prussian king as leader of Germany. In conclusion, the key factors expressed above show that Germany was united under Prussia due to its immense build up of strength compared to Austria who was gradually weakened and could not cover the gap in the balance of power between itself and 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 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. To what extent was Austria the main obstacle to the unification of Italy in ...

    If we look deeper we can see that someone like D'Azelgio, being a liberal conservative believed in peaceful reform and modernisation compared to Mazzini who believed in popular revolution through propaganda and insurrection.

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

    had his fall of power not occurred in the midst of the 1848 French Revolution. Therefore, Austria also lost ground from a political aspect as well considering that the fall of their own minister did not only heighten the Germans' revolutionary conflagration but also impeded her from exerting her customary

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

    He started his reforms by having 63,000 men called up every year for a total period of seven years, meaning the army had suitable back-up, and could be enlarged in times of emergency. This meant that the standing army was now 180,000 strong, with 175,000 men as back-up.

  2. The Congress of Vienna

    * B. Unified themselves to compete with other countries. * C. Asked the government to protect their interests especially the merchants (middle class). - However, later nationalism developed to be militarism. - Usually, people needed to use force/war to succeed unification. - Therefore gradually they believed that problems should be solved by using force/war.

  1. Piedmont for a leader in establishing unity.

    Initially his forces were successful, capturing the fortress of Peschiera and winning the battle of Goito. However, he failed to pursue his advantage, which gave the Austrians time to consolidate their position and to gain reinforcements. Austria defeated Piedmont decisively on the following two occasions, at Custozza (25th July 1848).

  2. Why Did The Revolutions of 1848 / 1849 Fail?

    This movement, or the Risorgimento (resurgence), was led by Guiseppe Mazzini, who, in 1832, started Young Italy, which was a patriotic society that advocated and was ready to fight for the unification of Italy if necessary. In 1848, revolts broke out in several Italian states.

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