Why Was Germany Unified Under Prussia and Not Austria?

Topics: Prussia, Austro-Prussian War, Kingdom of Prussia Pages: 5 (1410 words) Published: April 22, 2011
Why was Germany unified under Prussia and not Austria?

I. Introduction
A. Prussia was the foremost country in the unification of Germany B. Although it may have not been the intent of Prussia to unify Germany, it is certain that Prussia had the greatest amount of influence in German politics C. Austria was not in a political, economic, or social state to take on such significant role D. Prussia’s advantages:

a. Almost exclusive German population
b. Leadership more acceptable to German liberals
c. Economic strength, including Zollverein
d. Otto von Bismarck and diplomacy
e. Military, as seen later
E. Simply put, Prussia was in a much better position than Austria

II. Economic strength
A. In 1818, Prussia took the lead by abolishing all tariff barriers within its borders B. In the next few years, Prussia took the initiative to conclude tariff treaties with neighboring countries C. In 1834, the Zollverein was established– a union that established free trade among seventeen German states. D. Remarkable expansion in volume of trade.

E. Undermined the dominant position of the Habsburg monarchy F.Economic weapons to use in its bid for German leadership. 1.German industrialization took off in the 1850's.
a.Rapid growth of the railroads helps to bind/unify German states politically, economically, and socially. 2.German states had adopted liberal economic policies.
a.*This created an emerging national economic market throughout the German states. G.The Zollverein, which was the Prussian Customs Union, had gradually expanded since its founding in 1819. i.By 1834, it included all the major German states except Austria. ii.It helped to create a single German currency and weights and measures and ways of doing business. 1.*So, the Zollverein helped to unite the German business community as well as the German people across the various German states. iii.Prussia claimed to desire Austria's inclusion, but in fact it kept Austria out by maintaining low tariffs. iv.The Habsburgs felt they needed the protection of high tariffs. 1.Why? Because the Austrian Habsburgs weren't confident that their industries could stand up to international competition. a.So, they wanted to keep tariffs high on imported goods.

b.The Prussians and the Zollverein, (being economically liberal, laissez-faire free traders) wanted to keep tariffs low to stimulate trade. c.So, while Austria was always invited to join, the low tariffs kept them out. 2.*So, to close on Germany in the 1850's, Prussia's liberal economic policies were creating a German national economy. a.These liberal economic policies caused German business interests to look to Prussia as the natural leader of the movement for German unification. b.*So, economics is key to understanding German unification at this point. c.Again, the rapid development of a railroad system is really significant in unifying the German states. i.The railroads primarily unified the states economically, as increased trade brought them closer together.

III. Bismarck’s diplomacy, Realpolitik
A. Became PM of Prussia on October 8, 1862
B. Outstanding statesman, practiced Realpolitik– knew when to stop C. Polish Revolt– February 1863, revolt in the Russian part of Poland a. While other countries, including Austria, supported the rebels, Bismarck sent Prussian troops to support Russia in quelling the revolt b. Successful, Prussia supplanted Austria as Russia’s favorable country in regards to German affairs D. Convention of Gastein– August 14, 1865

a. Prussia and Austria agreed to maintain joint sovereignty, with Prussia administering Schleswig and Austria administering Holstein (lay between Schleswig and Prussia) b. Bismarck created a situation where an incident could easily be engineered E. Essentially gained neutrality from all major European nations and isolated Austria F. Austria, with Metternich as its leading voice, was consistently against nationalism in any form and in any...
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