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To what extent did German nationalism contribute to the unification of Germany in 1871

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Introduction

To what extent did German nationalism contribute to the unification of Germany in 1871 German nationalism contributed to the unification of Germany in 1871 by showing the strength of a united Germany economically, politically and militarily. Nationalism has often served as a motivating factor for a hopeful revolution; across Europe it had unseated ruling monarchs since the French Revolution. The ideas of the Enlightenment stressed that a nation ruled by its natural people and united by its common culture and experiences could stand as a strong nation; the Germans had seen this through the Napoleonic conquest of Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. From the time of the Congress of Vienna, where the nationalist aspirations of the German volk were quashed, right until 1871; Germans were motivated by the idea of being a patriotic German. German nationalism fuelled the growth for the desire of a national economy where goods could be traded with ease, once the Germans experienced the good that economic nationalism could bring they were increasingly convinced of the good that unification brought. ...read more.

Middle

Otto Von Bismarck was a political giant of his time and supported political nationalism as a way for Germany to become, and remain, the foremost political power in Europe. Bismarck was a statesman who was considered not only opportunist but also a staunch supporter of the Prussian dynasty. He saw the future for Prussia as closely aligned with a future Germany who followed the traditions, and commands, of Prussia. He achieved German unification, and preserving Prussian control, by using a campaign of political nationalism to win over supporters and crush detractors. For example, in 1864 he went to war with Denmark over Schleswig-Holstein, a small territory, but one that Bismarck knew would afford him a political upper hand with the Austrians. He was able to show the German people that through his aggressive, but calculated, nationalist political agenda he would deliver them a united and strong nation. His most stunning political move to achieve unification was the war with Austria in 1866 which resulted in the establishment of the north German confederation in 1866. ...read more.

Conclusion

This common enemy of France, due to the Napoleonic invasions earlier in the century, provided a nationalistic rallying cry that paved the way for unification. The defeat of this common Franco enemy would help strengthen the bonds between the southern Germanic states such as Baden and Bavaria and Prussia. Bismarck?s ?unorthodox? tactic of editing a telegram between the German and French leaders prompted the French to perceive the Prussians as eager for a war to protect their succession in Spain. However, since the French declared the war, Bismarck preserved the image of a nationalist Germany protecting itself from interfering foreign powers. This war of national unification proved to be the final card needed for German unification and thus resulting in Bismarck achieving his militarily goal of defeating Austria, France and Denmark in addition to also ruling over a unified Germany. In closing, German unification was achieved through economic, political and militaristic nationalism, which, through the driving force of Otto von Bismarck, led to the creation of one of the world?s most powerful nations from a small and divided consortium of autocratic princely states. ...read more.

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