history essay german unification

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History Essay

In what way and to what extent between 1862 and 1871 was Germany unified under Prussia?

Liselotte Meijer

1st essay • ISH  • 2nd of November 2007

        In this essay I am going to discuss and answer the following question; in what way and to what extent between 1862-1871 was Germany unified under Prussia? The question makes me look at how the German states and Prussia were united as Germany and what was left of the German states culture and principles. Was the new German only a bigger Prussia or did they really unite shared culture and principles and also did they become a stronger nation? First I will set the scene in 1862; Otto von Bismarck was appointed Chancellor of Prussia by Wilhelm IV in 1862. Otto had tried to unify Germany before in 1848 but that failed, because the map of central Europe stood in 1850, Prussia competed with Austria for dominance over a series of small states fiercely keen on maintaining their independence. Prussia stretched from modern-day Lithuania to central Germany. Prussia also controlled the German lands around the Rhine River in the west. In between, from Denmark to Switzerland, lay small provinces that Bismarck needed to incorporate under the Prussian crown to create a successful and complete German Empire.  First I will look at the military side of the unification; which battles were fought to create the German empire, how were they fought and won ? Did these areas like the fact that they were now included in the empire? Then I will look at how the economy was being controlled? What did the new German states contribute to the empires economy? The last thing I will discuss is the influence of Bismarck, did he want a greater prussia or a unified Germany and did the way he planned the unification had a good or negative effect on the unification?

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        In 1862 Bismarck choose to act without the consent of the parliament, he did not want all the talking, speeches and majority decisions but and wanted action or what he called ‘blood and iron’. I think he only used those words to make sure everyone new he was very seriuous and wanted action, but he did not really use a lot of blood and iron. He started with Schleswig-Holstein, which is a reasonably small state. It seems as if Bismarck only wanted this to create tension between Prussia and Austria. He uses Austria as an ally to attack Schleswig-Holstein, and ...

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