One of the significant developments that have changed the course of history was the unification of Germany under the leadership of Prussia. Paradoxically, it was Napoleon who took the first step towards German unity. After overrunning the various German states and defeating the combined armies of Austria and Russia at Austerlitz, Napoleon formed a political union of German states called the “Confederation of the Rhine.” Hence Napoleon first gave the idea of national unity. He gave them a system of unity and efficiency such as they had never seen before. The next step towards Germany unity was taken in the direction of commerce. Led by Prussia, the German states entered into a Zollverein or Customized Union to avoid the tariff duties levied by each member of the Confederation on another. This commercial unity led to the political unity of Germany. Finally, it was Otto Von Bismarck, the prime minister of Germany who unified Germany with his policy of “Blood and Iron.” SLIDE 3
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, simply known as Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck was responsible for transforming a collection of small German states into the German empire, and was its first chancellor. In 1851, King Frederick Wilhelm IV appointed Bismarck as Prussian representative to the German Confederation. He then served as ambassador to Russia and France. In 1862, he returned to Prussia and was appointed prime minister by the new king, William I. Bismarck was well-known because of his philosophy. People of Germany were impressed on the Bismarck's spirit of nationalism. The people of Germany felt the increase of nationalism because of the Bismarck's philosophy. In 1862, he returned to Prussia and was appointed Prime Minister by the new king, William I. SLIDE 4
* 1862 – King William I makes Otto von Bismarck Prime Minister of Prussia and he’s going to give a speech to which he declares Prussia needs to build up its forces based on blood and iron. * On 30 September 1862, Bismarck made a speech to the Budget Committee of the Prussian Chamber of Deputies, which included Bismarck’s emphasis on using “iron and blood” – that is, military power – to achieve his goals. SLIDE 5
Problem: The legislature in Prussia will pay for this. So he uses his money that was supposed to go to some other places to build up the Prussian army. He wants to pursue an aggressive foreign policy meaning he’s going to expand the German empire. He is going to start a few wars
These wars will be Denmark first then Austria and then France. SLIDE 6
1864 – Austria and Prussia become allies and they’re going to go to war with Denmark and seize the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein, located just north of Germany. Brief war – Schleswig and Holstein are “liberated” by Austria and Germany. Austria would control Holstein and Prussia would control Schleswig. 1866 – Bismarck invents an excuse to invade Austria. The war lasts for seven weeks. The Austrians are defeated by the Prussians. So he used the Prussians to help him take the provinces then he turns against them. 1870 – Rivalry has grown between Prussia and France. Napoleon III (who is in charge of France) was angered by Prussia beating Austria. Also all the way back to the Napoleon early in 1800 when Napoleon marched into Germany, taken German lands and occupied German lands.
The Austro-Prussian War, 1866
Bismarck instinctively knew that the answer to opposition at home was success abroad. The opportunity presented itself when the King of Denmark tried to annex the provinces of Schleswig-Holstein into a centralized German state against the will of the German Prussia joined Austria in a brief successful war against Denmark. Bismarck, however, was convinced that Prussia needed to completely dominate the northern German confederation, which meant expelling Austria from German affairs. Bismarck’s first task was to make sure there was no alliance against him. He...
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