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

Was Nationalism the most Important cause of German Unification? Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Alex Mansfield 13/2 Was Nationalism the most Important cause of German Unification? Discuss Many historians have disputed how important Nationalism was in the unification of Germany. Some believe that nationalism was the most important cause, others believe that it was Prussia's economic power that caused eventual unification. However, other historians believe that it was a combination of factors that led to the unification of Germany in 1871. Nationalism was part of the cause for German unification. In 1848 revolutions that swept through Europe established the first elected parliament, the Vorparliament although this did discuss the possibility of unity through the declaration of Heidelberg it should not be overemphasised. Indeed, it was the diverging ideologies of Nationalists that contributed to the collapse of the Vorparliament in late 1848. Hence nationalism was not the most important cause of German Unification. The principal goal of all German Nationalists was to unite "Germany". However there were two contrasting parties, Kleindeutschland and Grossdeutschland. ...read more.

Middle

However, the main cause of German unification was Prussia's economic dominance of the confederation. In 1818 at the behest of the industries in the Rhineland the Prussian Tariff reform law was initiated. This removed all domestic trade barriers and increased railway production, bringing the scattered German states closer together, thus increasing the chances of national unity. Although the Zollverein brought economic unity it should not be over emphasised as a force for political unity as many people at the time still saw this as undesirable. The basis of Prussian power, to a great extent was its domination of the Zollverein and its rapidly developing economy, Prussia was an established economic power in Europe outstripping both Austria and France economically. Perhaps recognising the need to unify Germany by force Prussia's military chiefs saw the potential in the railways to mobilise their troops. The Zollverein, although not directly responsible for the unification of Germany played an important part in Prussia's victory over Austria in 1866 and France in 1870, eventually leading to national unity. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, it is clear that in the war against France in 1870 he used nationalism to his advantage. Bismark doctored the Ems telegram to incite the French public opinion against Prussia, many "Germans" still viewed France as the "old enemy" so when France declared war on Prussia the Nationalistic feeling in the southern German states led them to fight alongside Prussia. However, these states were already obliged to fight for Prussia due to their military alliances Bismark, implied that the war was not an attack on Prussia, but on the Fatherland, on all Germans. He persuaded the southern states that to join with Prussia would ensure their safety against an aggressive France. Although Nationalism contributed to German unification it would be incorrect to say that it was the most important cause. The historian EJ Feuchtwanger pointed out "1848 demonstrated crushingly the impotence of ideas without power". Prussian Patriotism was the driving force behind unification combined with Prussia's growing economy ensured national unity under Prussian leadership. Otto Von Bismark described it best "Germany doesn't look to Prussia's Liberalism, but to its power." ...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. How and why did Piedmont-Sardinia play an important part in Italian Unification

    However the Italian failures of 1848-9 convinced had Cavour that Italy would not be able to achieve independence or unity without foreign help. Cavour was provided the perfect opportunity to ask for help during the Crimean War of 1854. Piedmont sent troops to assist England and France in their fight.

  2. To what extent was Austria the main obstacle to the unification of Italy in ...

    In contrast the Sicilians were revolting due to the King's failure to grant them independence and neglecting the Island. There was a similar contrast in aims in the 1848-1849 revolutions where Sicilians and the Neapolitans were essentially at war against each other since Sicily wanted independence from Naples and did

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

    It is not hard to see how the Austrians were easily beaten by the Prussians in 1866; their old-fashioned, Imperial army did not progress at all throughout the 19TH century, whereas Prussia's reforms, like Moltke's War Academy, and economic growth helped to modernise their army to produce the desired effects.

  2. Unification Movements - Italian unification

    * Garibaldi did not want to have a civil war. He surrendered his army to Cavour. * Up to this moment, most of the Italian states were unified except Venetia (in the northern part of Italy, controlled by Austria) and Rome (in the central part of Italy, controlled by France).

  1. Describe the Different Stages to Italian unification between 1856 - 1871.

    Garibaldi, from a sense of patriotic duty, retired from his political escapades. At Gaeta Francis 11, the former King of Naples was capitulated. Except for Rome and Venice the Italian peninsula was now united. Garibaldi's 2nd attempt to seize Rome in August 1862 was stopped at Aspromonte.

  2. "Popular Nationalist Sentiment; Military Superiority; Economic Power; The Genius of Bismark." Which of these ...

    The 'Peace of Prague' Treaty was then signed which achieved Bismark's main aims of Prussian domination. Bismark's third war came over the issue of the succession of the Spanish throne in 1870. Napoleon III feared the encirclement of France if a Hohenzollern became king and demanded that Prince Leopold withdraw.

  1. Italian Unification

    What they needed was an operation to provoke Austria into war, making them look like the aggressors. "In April 1859 Austria issued an ultimatum demanding unilateral demobilization by 4 Piedmont. The Austrians had mobilized a large army in northern Italy, but could not afford the expense of maintaining it for long"3.

  2. The most important aim of wartime propaganda was to encourage hatred of the enemy. ...

    This source is reliable as it?s produced during the time in 1916; therefore it?s first hand experience and because Philip Gibbs interviewed soldiers from the battle of Somme. On the other hand, it is also unreliable as it is bias, because a British newspaper, journalists illustrates British soldiers as moral and forgiving.

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