John C. Wright
History – 386
This exam is a reflection on the German state, and how it came to be, as well as a look into the actual obstacles that Bismarck had to overcome in order to join the Germanic states in to one, solid German nation. This will be accomplished by focusing on significant people and significant political and economic views that they held to show the differing positions in 1848 – 1849, and by looking at pertinent facts in the 1850s. This will also focus greatly on Otto von Bismarck, who is the man most credited with bringing the thirty-seven Germanic states under one flag, and instilling in the people a sense of nationalism (adding yet another facet to the German people, among radical individuality, organic community, decisionism, and world view). In addition to Bismarck and the unification of the German states, we will also look past the unification and into the German Empire, and see what their domestic and foreign policies were like in regards to Statism and Imperialism, and the eventual return to a more Democratic policy (such as the Germanic people had had before Charlemagne imposed Roman rule onto them). We will be comparing Bismarck and William II’s policies. Finally, we will look at the bigger picture and try and get into the mindset of the Germanic character and see how they related themselves to those around them and how they felt about their place in the world, by drawing heavily on the ideas of Decisionism, World View, and Nietzche’s ideas of Unhistoric and Super Historic, as well as the way that history should be viewed and was viewed by the Germanic character.
In 1815 Germany, the Council of Vienna structured and put together the German Confederation of thirty-nine states. This happened because, after the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Quintuple Alliance wanted to create a balance of power that would keep the peace in Europe, and squelch the revolutionary feelings that were running rampant at the time. The entire confederation was made of the 39 German states, and included the largest German states (including Prussia, and Austria). One of the most important people during this time was the Austrian Prince Klemens von Metternich, who was the Austrian Foreign Minister from 1809 to 1848. Metternich was significant because he was an staunch conservative aristocrat who believed that it was in the best interest of Germany and the Quintuple Alliance to put down any and all revolutionary feelings that came up, by any means. However, he and his allies could not squelch the desire for political reform or the cry for unification. After 1815 we see the German businessmen cry out for the abolishment of the old and confining trade requirements of the traditional guilds, for a common currency, and a reduction on the tolls that made travel on the roads so difficult. We also see the rise of a more educated man, of lawyers, professors, and government officials that wanted unification in hopes of causing political reform. These men were liberals that wanted to push for a representative form of government. However, the small traditional states in which they lived and worked had now room to grow. They were a poor place to nurture a political reformation, and these more educated men wanted unification to have a larger political stage so that the roots of political reform had more ground to hold on to. However, these “liberals”, while calling for unification, were not united themselves, and were not focused in on a single goal, thus accomplishing little. The business men only wanted reform that would make their businesses more profitable (much like today’s businessmen), there were many different groups that solely wanted political reform, and not economic reform, but they all had different ideas of what would be better. There were groups that desired a constitutional monarchy, and some wanted more representation, but with the aristocrats still holding...
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