The Key Factors of German Unification
Germany became a unified country in 1871 under the leadership of Otto Von Bismarck. The separate states up until this time were independent, Prussia being the strongest and most influential, followed by Austria. There are several contributing factors to the unification of Germany, the most influential of which being the leadership of Otto Von Bismarck. The three wars that Prussia fought with Denmark, Austria and France also played significant roles in the unification of the German states. Another factor to consider is the increase in support of nationalism around Western Europe at the time, and the changes in German society. Through an evaluation of these factors and relevant sources one can understand how they linked together and led to the eventual unification of Germany. During the nineteenth century, Europe was experiencing major social, economic and political changes. The middle class had grown in both wealth and numbers, and were demanding a change in government. Contributing to this were the ideas of the Enlightenment, and the philosophies of Liberalism and Nationalism. The Age of Enlightenment was a period of intellectual development throughout the eighteenth century, during which time people began to question the Church and lean more towards the explanations of science. These ideals were still very much present during the nineteenth century and influenced the Government as the people of Europe believed their countries should be governed based on human rights rather than religion. Nationalism was the belief that people of a common language and culture should be joined as one country, and Liberalism believed in a representative government. Bismarck, Prussian President at the time, favoured Nationalism, however he vehemently opposed Liberalism. Bismarck’s political preferences are significant to German unification as they played important roles in how he came to power and the decisions he made during his term. Otto...
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