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

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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. Between 1830-1835, unprecedented economic growth swept through the German states powered by the newly dominant Prussia. Prior to the construction of the first railroad in 1835, Germany had been an agrarian society that emphasised a class divided between the peasants ( lower class) and nobles ( upper class). This divide had prevented a common thread of nationalism developing between these two vastly different, and enfranchised, sub cultures. However, with the rise of an economic middle class in the 18th and 19th centuries; there was a new pressure on rulers to meet the demands of this new class of citizen. Prussian leaders devised the concept of a Zollverien, or customs union, to fuel trade and growth within not only Prussia but also  the broader German states. This signalled to Germans that there was a concept of being able to self-determine their economic future, and as time went on more German states joined this Prussia union. The economic success of Zollverein resulted in a boom in the economic output of all the German states, providing the industrial might for Germany to become a leading power in Europe,. This drew the German states to the increasingly nationalistic Prussian nation, led by the master statesman Otto von Bismarck, rather than the generational dependence on Austria. The significance of Zollverein is evident simply from a cartographical basis whereby the borders of the Zollverein states corresponded to the borders of the eventual unfired German state.  Therefore, economic nationalism contributed to the unification of Germany by showing the industrial and economic strength of a unified german state and degrading the Austrian, anti unification influence over Germany.

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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 ...

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