Prezi

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM

Copy

Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in the manual

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

DeleteCancel

Make your likes visible on Facebook?

Connect your Facebook account to Prezi and let your likes appear on your timeline.
You can change this under Settings & Account at any time.

No, thanks

Unit 1: E2: The Unification of Germany, 1848-90

No description
by Anthony Jackson on 11 February 2011

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of Unit 1: E2: The Unification of Germany, 1848-90

Why did the balance of power shift from Austria to Prussia betwwen 1848 & 1862? Legacy of 1848 Revolutions Unification of Germany, 1848-90 Unit 1 E2: The Unification of Germany, 1848-90

A: The 1848 revolutions and their significance for unification

Germany in 1815: long term reasons for the 1848 revolutions

• Nationalism was given a boost by the events of the Napoleonic War. Napoleon had created larger German states and inadvertently (perhaps) encouraged nationalism.

• Prussian troops had ‘saved the day’ at Waterloo by their timely arrival on the battlefield.

• Prussia had been elevated from a second rank power to a first rank power and had taken part in the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15.

• Prussia had been awarded the Rhineland at Vienna as part of the attempt to encircle France with strong states.

• A German Confederation had been set up with a Diet, which met at Frankfurt, which came to be seen as a proto-capital of Germany; hence the location of the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848.

• Although the Confederation was nominally under the chairmanship of Austria, it encouraged a vague sense of nationalism.

• For example, the Karlsbad Decrees of 1819 (an attempt by Metternich the Austrian Chancellor to crush liberalism) established a Central Federal Investigating Office in Munich.

• The War Constitution of 1821 allowed for the creation of a united army under one commander.

• Metternich also agreed that in an emergency, a federal court could be set up to investigate and try radicals.

• The many hundreds of German states that had existed in the second half of the nineteenth century were swept away at Vienna and replaced by thirty-nine states, of which the largest was Prussia.

• Liberalism was encouraged by attempted revolutions in Italy in the 1820s and 1930s and by the successful revolution in France in 1830.

• The latter resulted to the creation of many liberal organisations across the Germany. By the mid-1840s, there were more than a quarter of a million members of liberal organisation in the Confederation.

• There followed a vast number of periodicals and newspapers and the first State Encyclopaedia in 1834.

Why did Prussia become more influential in the years 1815-48?

• Almost imperceptibly, power and influence began to shift from Austria (indisputably the major German power in 1815) to Prussia.

• Austria was a multi-national empire; it had other interests and was increasingly concerned with its Italian provinces, which had been acquired at Vienna.

• Prussia was a ‘German’ state and had no interests outside the Confederation.

• The expansion of Prussia in 1815 had made it the largest German state.

• In the Prussian Landtage (assemblies of the ‘Estates’ of nobility, burghers and peasants), the number of deputies was heavily in favour of the nobility (3-2-1); but in the Rhineland, the balance was equal (1-1-1).

The short term reasons for the 1848 revolutions

• The trigger for the 1848 revolutions was the collapse of the July Monarchy in France on 25th February.

• Only three days before, Metternich had stated in a speech that revolution would not break out in France.

• In July 1846, The King of Denmark announced that he was going to unite the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein with. Denmark. The Duchies were ruled by the King but had been independent of Denmark.

• Most of the Holsteiners were German-speaking and consequently there were protests all over Germany in their support. This created a wave of nationalist feeling.

• In 1847, German liberals and republicans went to Switzerland to support attempts to set up a liberal federation. Their success proved that repression could be defeated.

• Liberals in Prussia were given an unexpected boost when King Wilhelm IV called a meeting of the combined Landtage in 1847.

• The Prussian government wanted to build a railway linking the Rhineland to Prussia-proper. The King wanted approval for loans to finance construction. He had been unable to raise the money because of the financial crisis that had spread from Britain (see below).

• The Deputies refused to approve any loans unless a parliament was created in Berlin. This gave liberalism a rallying point and the situation was replicated in Baden and Austria itself. Metternich planned a meeting of the estates-General on 12 March 1848.

• Unrest across Europe had been brewing for some time because of a sustained agricultural crisis during 1845-7. Wheat harvests had been ruined by wet weather creating shortages and high prices.

• From 1845 to 1847, prices of food rose by anything up to 130%. These increases created starvation and suffering.

• Industrial production was hit when demand fell and unemployment rose. This came at a time when hand-workers in textiles were beginning to face competition from factories for the first time.

• The situation was made worse by a financial crisis which hit Britain in 1847. The bubble of ‘Railway Mania’ and entrepreneurs went bankrupt. This created a banking crisis which hit Germany in turn.

• In many German states, as much as 30% of the population became dependent on charity. In Prussia, more than 50,000 people died from malnutrition.

• Although normality was beginning to return by late 1847, news of the French Revolution came early enough in 1848 to take advantage of underlying unrest.

Revolution

• The earliest state to be affected by revolution was Baden, where the estates had been called to approve loans. This was followed by revolts in many states and in several Prussia provinces.

• In the Black Forest and other rural areas, there were revolts by peasants protesting about feudal dues.

• At first, it was assumed by many people that Prussia and Austria would be able to crush the revolts; this became impossible when Metternich was forced to resign on 13 March.

• In Prussia, King Frederick William IV agreed to call a united Landtag and grant a constitution on 17 March.

• 18 March, the King agreed to form a transitional government after troops fired on peaceful demonstrators.

How was the Frankfurt Parliament created?

• 5 March: planning meeting in Heidelberg decided to set up a v committee to summon a representative body (the ‘pre-parliament’).

• 31 March -3 April: Pre-Parliament met at Frankfurt and agreed to hold elections on the basis of universal manhood suffrage.

• The Confederation accepted the decisions of the Pre-Parliament and also repealed all laws passed since 1819, including the Karlsbad Decrees. This meant that the Pre-Parliament was a legal entity.

• Elections were held in all states, but under different franchises. 812 delegates were elected. More than half were civil servants, legal officials and teachers. There were very few working-men and farmers.

• The proportional balance contributed to a dichotomy that had already developed between the liberals and the radicals, such as Gustav von Struve, who had tried to seize power in Baden in April 1848.

• The Parliament met for the first time on 18 May 1848.

Problems facing the Frankfurt Parliament

• There were far too many deputies and very little organisation. There was never a majority capable of taking decisions on any significant issues.

• Deputies were competing for their own states. Although Austria and Prussia were the largest and the most powerful, it was by no means certain that others would not emerge.

• The deputies who assembled at Frankfurt had no back-up whatsoever in terms of money, administration or any form of civil authority.

• There was a marked lacked of overall leadership and determination. Instead, most deputies joined factions, which were based in coffee houses and reflected there political leaning.

Setting up a government

• The initial problem on 19 May was to create a central authority. It was agreed the constitution, which had not as yet been written, would supersede all decisions taken by any state parliaments.

• Archduke Johann of Austria was invited to become Imperial Regent and appoint a government.

• On 24 May a Constitutional Committee was given the task of writing a constitution for the new ‘Germany’, but decided to begin by trying to decide on fundamental rights.

• This was understandable as a new nation was being created, but it resulted in a lengthy delay before any real decisions being reached.

• The tendency of the Parliament to spend far too long on discussions of principle, which were obviously of great importance to middle class liberals, was a major handicap. It resulted from the dominant majority of deputies in the Parliament being from the new middle class.

• After months of discussion, the Committee cam up with a list of seven basic rights, including: religious freedom; equality of opportunity in the civil service and the abolition of capital punishment.

• The great majority of Germans, however, cared little about principles and were more interested in practicalities.

• Nevertheless, some progress was made; a Provisional Government was created on 28 June and Karl zu Leiningen was appointed Minister-President on 15 July.

• Leiningen was in some ways an unlikely choice because he was a Prince of Saxe-Coburg and a half brother of Queen Victoria. He was, however, a convinced liberal who opposed aristocratic privileges.

• The only problem was that the Provisional Government had no finance, no civil service and no army.

• In April 1848, the Confederation declared war on Denmark to prevent Schleswig being absorbed. But its actions were completely undermined when Prussia signed an armistice in August and the Provisional Government was forced to accept it.

What was Germany?

• The second ‘big issue’ facing the Parliament was defining what was Germany. There were three general possibilities.

• KleinDeutschland would be only the areas in which German was spoken and people considered themselves to be ‘German’. This would not include the Austrian Empire.

• GrossDeutschland would include all areas in which German was spoken, including the Austrian Empire. Other Austrian provinces would be linked to Germany in other ways.

• A third possibility would include all German-speaking areas and also non German-speaking areas of the Austrian Empire. This was the most problematic, especially as some of these provinces, e.g. Bohemia and Moravia, had not sent all of their delegates to the Parliament.

• In fact, German liberals at Frankfurt showed little interest in the national rights of minorities.

• In the cases of Posen (mostly Polish), South Tyrol (mostly Italian) and Bohemia and Moravia (mostly Czech), deputies voted to force them to be part of GrossDeutschland.

• Discussions on the three options were heated during the summer of 1848, with GrossDeutschland being the preferred option.

• This assumed that the Austrian Empire was disintegrating as it appeared to be in May 1848 when the Emperor fled.

Why did GrossDeutschland become impossible?

• By July, however, the tide had turned; the Czechs and Piedmontese were both defeated and a second revolution in Vienna in October was crushed.

• Schwarzenberg was appointed chancellor in December and he restored the power of the Emperor. GrossDeutschland was now not a possibility.

• Schwarzenberg indicated that he wanted the German Confederation to be restored under Austrian chairmanship.

• When the Frankfurt Parliament got down to considering a constitution for the new Germany in October 1848, KleinDeutschland was the only option.

• In January 1849, a draft constitution was drawn up for a federal Reich under the Prussian royal house, which would be linked in a special relationship to the Austrian Empire.

• Under the constitution, most powers would be in the hands of the Reich government, including foreign relations, the army and finance.

• This was quickly defeated and in March 1849, Schwarzenberg refused to involve Austria in the Kremsier Declaration.

Why did KleinDeutschland become impossible?

• The Parliament voted to offer the imperial crown to the King of Prussia. The King rejected it and described the offer as a ‘dog collar’.

• Friedrich Wilhelm realised that under the constitution he would be virtually powerless.

• He had already had second thoughts about the Prussian constitution and in November 1848 had dismissed the liberal government and appointed a conservative chancellor.

• Parliament was dissolved and a new, more reactionary constitution was announced. Elections would take place in the New Year.

• The Parliament, nevertheless, decided to call for national elections on 15 July 1849. After Prussian refusal, the next largest German state would be offered the Imperial crown.

• Archduke Johann opposed the decision and dismissed the government. When deputies called on the German peoples to defend the constitution, the Prussian and Austrian government ordered their deputies to withdraw.

• When the Prussian Landtag recommended acceptance of the constitution, it was dissolved.

• Most deputies left Frankfurt, but a rump of about 100 moved to Stuttgart at the end of May. Two weeks later, the Parliament was closed by military force. The revolutions were over.

Why did the revolutions fail?

• The speedy collapse of the authorities in March 1848 created a sense of over-confidence. It was assumed that the monarchies of the German states would be unable to recover.

• In fact, the armed forces remained largely loyal in almost every German state and this enabled the Austrian Empire to regain the upper hand.

• On the other hand, the Frankfurt Parliament and the Provisional Government were largely powerless.

• Too much time was spent discussing theoretical issues. The major differences between the groupings at Frankfurt made decisions very difficult.

• GrossDeutschland was always going to be an impossibility unless the Austrian Empire collapsed completely. The other Great Powers of Europe, especially Russia, would not have allowed that to happen.

• Prussia and Austria in particular were able to exploit weaknesses in the position adopted by the Parliament. They were able to exploit fears of national minorities and offered economic reforms to peasants.

• All feudal dues were abolished in Prussia and hand-workers were protected from competition

What came out of the events of 1848-49?

• Seeds of nationalism had taken hold in Germany. There were a number of Pan-German organisation set up which were the fore-runners of political parties.

• The General German Workers’ Fraternity represented craftsmen and was a nascent Socialist Party.

• The Communist League was formed in 1848.

• The Liberals formed the National association in September 1848.

• Catholics formed a national association at a conference in October 1848.

• In Prussia, the Conservatives formed the ‘Association for King and Fatherland’.

• The Prussian constitution, albeit with an electoral system heavily weighted towards the Junkers, survived and with the elected Parliament.

How did the Prussian constitution change in 1849?

• In elections for the Landtag, voters were grouped into three classes according to the level of taxation. Each class elected the same number of deputies.

• However, the classes corresponded to 4.7%, 12.6% and 82.7% of the total voters. This tended to give a conservative majority.

• After changes in 1854, the upper house of the Prussian Parliament had a permanently Conservative majority.

• The King of Prussia had the right of veto of all legislation and could govern by emergency decree and impose martial law. The army high command was responsible to the King and not to the Minister for War.

Why did Bismarck become prominent in 1847-9

He was elected to the Landtag in 1847 and again under the reformed constitution in 1849.

• The events of 1848-9 had brought Bismarck to the fore in Prussia. He had been a founder member of the ‘League for the Protection of Landed Property’ and became Prussian representative at Frankfurt from 1851 onwards.

• Bismarck was aware that, if Junkerdom was to survive, it would have to take account of nationalism and be prepared to accept change.

• Consequently, Prussia did not revert to the pre-1848 status quo.

The Prussian (Erfurt) Union

• The idea of German unity did no die with the collapse of the Frankfurt Parliament; Friedrich Wilhelm was persuaded to try to set up KleinDeutschland from above, rather than from below.

• In May 1849, he put forward the Radowitz Plan for a Prussian Union. Saxony, Hanover, Wurttemberg and Bavaria took part.

• In June, all other German states were invited to join, although Wurttemberg and Bavaria had by then withdrawn.

• Elections were held using the new Prussian tripartite system and the Parliament met at Erfurt in March 1850.



Why did the Prussian (Erfurt) Union collapse?

• In August 1849, the Austrians completed the defeat of the Hungarian revolt with the help of the Russian army.

• In September, Schwarzenberg convened a conference of all German states opposed to the Prussian Union.

• Prussia and Austria were therefore on a collision course and one would have to give way. With hindsight, it was obviously going to be Prussia.

• The flashpoint was a crisis in Hesse-Cassel, a state on the route from Prussia-proper to the Rhineland provinces.

• A revolt broke out in 1850 against the policies of the reactionary government. The Duke called for Austrian intervention to crush the revolt.

• Schwarzenberg was encouraged by Russia to intervene and sent troops. He was supported by the South German states of Bavaria and Wurttemberg.

• At the same time, the Prussians sent troops to try to keep their communications with the Rhineland open.

• In November, the two sides clashed, but almost immediately, the Prussian government backed down. It was faced with the prospect of war with Austria and its allies.

• Prussia agreed to dissolve the Erfurt Union discuss plans for restoring the German Confederation at Olmutz in November 1850.

• At a second conference, Schwarzenberg was persuaded to agree to a revival of the 1815 German Confederation, as opposed to a new version in which the non-German Austrian provinces would be included.

• This was a major victory for Prussia because it ensured that the Kleindeutsch principle survived. Had Schwarzenberg’s plan been accepted, Austria would have been in a much stronger position to influence future events.

How did the relationship between Prussia and Austria change after 1850?

• Bismarck, the Prussian representative at Frankfurt from 1851, adopted a deliberately obstructive policy regarding Austria.

• He opposed Austria’s attempt to create a large Zollverein in 1853 and prevented it joining the Prussian Zollverein.

• He refused Austrian requests in 1854, at the outbreak of the Crimean War, to create a Confederation army under Austria control to deter a possible Russian invasion of the Balkans.

• In 1859, Prussia attempted to take advantage of the outbreak of war between Austria and Piedmont supported by France by demanding political and military control of the north Germany and the Rhine in exchange fro support for Austria.

• This proposal would have divided Germany into two camps (a process that had already taken place economically) and severely weakened Austria.

• The plan came to nothing when Austria was defeated and made peace. KleinDeutschland was now the only viable option for German unity.


B: Economic features of pre-unification Germany and their implications for unification

Prussia in 1815

• At the end of the Napoleonic War, Prussia was a largely agricultural state in which farming was carried out using the three-field system.

• Peasants were often bound to their landlords (Junkers) by feudal dues. The Junkers (land-owning elite) were the dominant force.

• Although Prussia attended the Vienna Conference as one of the ‘Big Four’, it had only just acquired the right to rub shoulders with the likes of Austria and Russia.

• Prussia had been overwhelmingly and humiliatingly defeated by Napoleon in 1807 and forced to accept French overlordship.

• Its recovery hade been founded on a reform of the army, which enabled Prussia to play a key, if minor, role in the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

• If Prussia was a major power, it was still only second rate in Germany compared to Austria.

Why did Prussia develop more quickly than Austria after 1815?

• At the Congress of Vienna, Prussia was rewarded with the Rhineland; this was part of the Allies plan to surround France with strong states.

• The acquisition of the Rhenish provinces meant that Prussia was no longer merely part of eastern Germany; it now had important possessions in the more liberal west.

Why did German industry expand after 1815?

• The Rhineland gave Prussia an area with large reserves of natural resources, in particular iron and coal. The German Industrial Revolution was based on iron and coal.

• German industrialists had Britain’s example to copy and many Germans went to Britain to ‘borrow’ industrial techniques.

• Henry Cort’s reverberatory furnace was taken up as a way of producing wrought iron; by the 1830s, the German iron industry was equipped with blast furnaces and coking furnaces.

• In the 1850s and 1860s, Bessemer’s Converter and the Open Hearth were adopted to produce large quantities of cheap steel.

• Iron and steel were used to develop the railway network; another import from Britain. The first railway in Germany was built in 1834. By 1840, there were 468 kilometers of track. By 1850, there were 5859.

• In Austria at the same time, the length of track rose form 473 to 1357. Germans, especially Prussians, were much quicker to appreciate the potential of the new form of transport.

• Railways increased demand for steel and coal. They also increased mobility and were a cohesive force across the Germans states.

• The new provinces were not linked geographically to Prussia so Prussian officials had to cross other states. Inevitably, these states were drawn into the Prussian sphere of influence.

• Even before the creation of the Zollverein, the Confederation was perceptibly being divided into different spheres of influence.

Why did agriculture develop after 1815?

• The growth of industry created a middle class which wanted economic and political freedom. This received a greater welcome in Prussia, where the Junkers modernised their estates and introduced commercial methods of farming.

• Justus von Liebig’s ‘Organic Chemistry’ was followed to develop a scientific approach to farming; in particular the use of artificial fertilisers.

• Peasant feudal dues were abolished along with the three-field system.

• From 1800 to 1850, productivity in German agriculture increased by more than 100%.

The Zollverein

• In 1815, each German state had its own customs posts. Goods crossing Germany might have to pas through as many as a dozen borders.

• This not only slowed down movement, it also made it far more expensive and forced up prices.

• Prussia had a big incentive to try to introduce some form of free trade after the acquisition of the Rhineland. It had economically valuable provinces, but there were obvious difficulties in exploiting them.

• In 1818, customs were standardised inside Prussia. In 1819, the first other German state joined and by 1830, most small states in and around the Prussian provinces were all members of the Prussian Union.

• Prussian policy was to create a union of northern and central Germany, which be quite separate from the German Confederation.

• Prussia did not have it all its own way; in 1828, Bavaria and Wurttemberg formed their own customs union. But the Prussian government persuaded Hesse-Darmstadt to join its union.

• This was a major blow to Bavaria and Wurttemberg because Hesse-Darmstadt had a common border with Bavaria.

• In December 1828, the Middle German Commercial Union was formed by Saxony and Hanover, but this collapsed in 1831 when Hesse-Cassel defected to join Prussia.

• This was a key development for Prussia because its route to the Rhineland ran through Hesse-Cassel.

• Prussia’s rivals had little hope of countering Prussian industrial dominance and Bavaria and Wurttemberg united with the Prussian Union in 1833 and were followed by Saxony.

• The Zollverein came into being on New Year’s Day 1834. All internal customs were abolished and goods could travel freely across the member states.

• By 1842, there were only eleven German states that were outside the Zollverein.

How did the Zollverein work?

• Its governing body was the General Council which met annually to set tariffs. Decisions were taken by unanimous vote; each member state having one, with the exception of some small states which shared a vote.

• Each state was responsible for enforcing the decisions of the Council. States were monitored by officials of a different state to ensure that all was working as it should.

• Revenue from customs duties was allocated to members states by the Central Treasury, which was based in Berlin. This cash was not subject to Parliamentary control.

Austrian reactions to the Zollverein

• To Metternich, the Zollverein was a rival Confederation. He considered applying for membership but was dissuaded because Austria would face competition from Prussian industry.

• It would be impossible to prevent Prussian manufactured goods swamping what little industrial production there was in the Empire.

• The Zollverein would also exclude the non-German provinces of the Empire, which would inevitably create divisions between German speakers and ethnic minorities.

How important was the Zollverein?

• Traditionally, the Zollverein has been seen as an important pre-cursor of unification because it linked economically the great majority of the German states to Prussia.

• By 1840, only eleven German states were outside the Zollverein and all major states were members. Most German states were too small to be economically viable and the Industrial Revolution only served to increase the dominance of Prussia.

• Wurttemberg, which tried to establish a rival Customs Union in the south of Germany, was forced to give up and apply for membership

• Membership involved being linked to the Prussian economy which was increasingly the strongest in the Confederation.

• Although the General Council of the Zollverein met in different states each year, the Central Treasury was permanently in Berlin. Consequently, member states began to look to Berlin for direction.

• Berlin not only dished out the proceeds of customs duties to individual states, but Prussian capital became the main source of investment for state governments.

• In practice, Prussia assumed responsibility for negotiations with non-member states on trade treaties and shipping regulations.

• Free trade inevitably encouraged cooperation in other ways. Until 1834, although customs barriers were more a hindrance that anything else, they tended to make travel more difficult.

• Monitors of the decisions of the Council, while they were drawn from states, increasingly came to regard themselves as officials of the Zollverein, i.e. ‘German civil servants’.

• Austria, which at first showed no interest in the Zollverein, subsequently attempted to gain admission on a series of occasions.

• Metternich saw it as a rival Confederation and wanted to crush it possible in the 1840s.

• Economically, the Zollverein, coming as it did just when the Industrial Revolution developed in Germany, was not only a source of wealth, but also provided financial stability and increasing prosperity.

• It created a market of 30 million consumers and offered German industries protection against exports from Britain.

• In Prussia, economic development was a factor in the agricultural; revolution that changed the Junker estates east of the Elbe and encouraged the growth of liberalism. Without those, Prussia would have been ready for, and less able to lead, Unification.

• More recent research suggests that the impact of the Zollverein was not as great as has been thought in the past.

• Historians, with the benefit of hindsight, have emphasised the importance of the Zollverein simply because unification followed.

• Annual growth of GDP in the Zollverein was only 1.6%, as against 2.2% in Britain and 4.7% in the USA.

• While the Zollverein encouraged trade between the member states, it did little for exports, which remained static.

• The real impact of the Zollverein was only felt in the 1850s and early sixties after Prussia blocked Austrian attempts to create an Austro-German Custom Union to replace the Zollverein

• At the same time, Prussia was emerging as a potential rival to Austria in political and military terms as well as economic.

C: Diplomacy, war and the significance of Bismarck to 1871

• Otto von M Bismarck was a conservative, Prussian Junker. He was aged 32 when he became a member of the Prussian Landtag in 1847.

• In 1848, he was a founder member of the ‘League for the Protection of Landed Property’ and was elected to the reformed Landtag in 1849. In 1851, he was appointed Prussian envoy to the Diet at Frankfurt and remained in that post until 1859.

• At Frankfurt, Bismarck’s main aims were to raise the profile of Prussia in Germany and to limit the influence of Austria. He was part of the successful attempt to block the creation of an Austro-German Customs Union when the Zollverein came up for renewal in 1853.

• In 1854, at the outbreak of the Crimean War, he exploited the fears of the smaller states when Austria proposed to mobilise the Confederation army to block a possible Russian advance into the Balkans.

• Prussia had signed a defensive alliance with Austria in early 1854, but Bismarck’s diplomacy emphasised that Prussia was a German state, whose interests were purely German. Austria, on the other hand, he pointed out, was a multi-national state with interests well beyond the borders of the Confederation.

• In April 1859, when war broke out between Austria and the Piedmont-French alliance, Prussian policy was to remain neutral.

• After the heavy defeats suffered by the Austrian forces, Prussia offered military aid, but only if it was allowed equality with Austria in northern Germany.

• This proposal was turned down by the Austrian government and became ineffective when Austria made peace in July 1859.

• Bismarck now became Prussian Ambassador to Russia and spent the next two years in St. Petersburg.

• In 1861, he was moved to Paris, from where he made visits to London and met the prime minister, Palmerston, and Disraeli, the future Conservative leader.

• Bismarck had had the opportunity to study at close quarters the leaders of three great Powers, having already spent eight years locking horns with Austrians at Frankfurt. He was now ideally placed for a more important role.

• His wide experience had also changed his political outlook; from a die-hard conservative opposed to all change, he had adopted realpolitik.

• He appreciated the value of nationalism as a means of ensuring Prussian dominance in Germany and, if possible, of the Junkers within Prussia.

• In 1848-50, Prussia had been forced to back down on several occasions because of pressure from Britain and Russia; under Bismarck, this would never happen again. He understood the strengths and potential weaknesses of the Great Powers.


Why was Bismarck appointed Minister-President of Prussia in 1862?

• He was intensely loyal to the Prussian monarchy and to the Junkers who were the ruling elite in Prussia.

• He had proved his loyalty to the crown in 1848-49 and had been rewarded with the post of envoy to the Diet at Frankfurt

• He was an experienced politician who had spent eleven years in the diplomatic service. His understanding of foreign policy was deep and wide-ranging; possibly second to none to Prussia.

• Prussia was in crisis over the Army Bill and Bismarck was virtually a last resort.

Why was there a crisis in Prussia?

• In 1858, King Friedrich Wilhelm suffered a severe stroke and his brother took over as Regent. Friedrich Wilhelm had adopted very conservative policies and had planned to abolish the constitution.

• Wilhelm, his brother, believed that the constitution was essential and appointed a liberal government. The influence of the Camarilla, the reactionary faction that had dominated Prussian politics in the 1850s, disappeared over night.

• In the 1858 elections, the liberals won a majority in the Landtag. This victory was replicated all over Germany.

• The liberals believed that Wilhelm supported their cause and wanted to proceed with further reforms. In fact, Wilhelm was just as conservative as his brother in many respects; he merely accepted the need for a constitution.

• Major conflict arose between Wilhelm and Landtag over attempts to reform the army. Wilhelm and the Army High Command wanted to strengthen the army and ensure that control remained in the hands of the crown.

• The liberals in the Landtag wanted the army to be integrated into the Landwehr (reserve) and become a citizen army. This would have undermined the role of the officer corps and therefore of the Junkers who dominated it.

• Wilhelm was himself a soldier and believed that reform was essential; the army had not increased in size since the Napoleonic War and a majority of conscripts never completed their training.

• He had been horrified when told in 1850 that the Prussian army was too weak to fight Austria.

• Between 1820 and the late 1850s the population of Prussia had grown from 10,000,000 to about 18,000,000. But the army had remained the same size.

• An Army Bill was drawn up by the War Minister von Roon and presented to the Landtag in February 1860.

The Army Bill:

1. 37 new infantry regiments would be created
2. Standing army would double in size to about 400,000 men
3. The annual number of conscripts would increase from 40,000 to 63,000
4. Time spent in the regular army would increase from two to three years
5. The regular army would take charge of the first five years of reserve service
6. Landwehr officers would gradually be replaced by professionals

• Von Roon assumed that the King/ Regent as commander-in-chief had the power to carry out the reforms without seeking the approval of the Landtag.

• In the Landtag, the Army Bill met considerable opposition. Liberals were afraid that the increased influence of the officer corps would undermine the ‘New Era’, as the change of emphasis since 1858

• At first, both sides appeared to ready to find a compromise. In 1860, the liberals voted 9.5 million thalers for additional military expenditure on the understanding some reforms would not be put into effect.

• However, in January 1861, the reforms were implemented in full and the liberals only voted a second increased military budget by a majority of three and on the condition that army service was reduced to two years.

• The liberal position was strengthened in June 1861, when the Progressive Party was formed. In the December 1861 election, it won 110 seats in the Landtag and became the largest party in the house.

• The Progressives were determined to use the Army Bill to force further reforms on Wilhelm, including a reduction in the power of the upper house. They began a detailed review of the budget.

• Wilhelm retaliated by dissolving the Landtag in March, appointing a conservative government and holding new elections in May. The Progressives won 135 seats and the liberals dominated the Landtag.

• Wilhelm, who had now become king after the death if his brother, considered abdicating rather than giving way to demands for a liberal government. At the last moment, he was persuaded by von Roon to appoint Bismarck as Minister –President.

• Bismarck tried to settle the dispute by compromise; he withdrew the 1863 budget and hoped to divide the Progressives by offering concessions.

• Bismarck failed because his ‘blood and iron speech’ only inflamed the liberal and the king refused any compromise.

• Bismarck persuaded the upper house to reject the amendments to the 1862 budget and dismissed the Landtag.

• Parliament met again in January 1863 and a full constitutional crisis developed. Bismarck claimed that as there was deadlock, the King had the power to govern without reference to Parliament.

• Bismarck spent six months wearing down the opposition. Press censorship was introduced; pressure was put on judges and civil servants and many were dismissed.

• He toyed with the idea of introducing social reforms which would have gained the support of trade unions and workers (the Third Class in the electorate), but in the end relied on repression and the naturally docile Prussian mentality

• Gradually, support for the Progressives weakened. Elections in September 1863 resulted in a reduced majority in the Landtag, but the Progressives were increasingly reluctant to force matters to a conclusion.

• They were supported only by the lower middle class; many other liberal factions opposed their actions and proposals for a tax boycott were rejected.

Why did Bismarck win?

• The Prussian traditions of obedience and duty were very strong. The government controlled the civil service; the army was loyal.

• Taxes continued to be collected and revenue increased as a result of an economic boom.

• The Progressives were often at loggerheads with other liberal factions and were divided themselves.

• The Progressive position in the Landtag was based on general voter apathy and not strength. Only 30% of Class II voters actually voted in the 1863 elections; the silent majority did not support the Progressives. So they gradually gave up.

Why did reform of the Confederation become an issue?

• By the early 1860s, Austria was visibly weaker. Its policy during the Crimean War had resulted in diplomatic isolation.

• Russian support had waned because Austria failed to offer support in return for Russian aid in crushing the 1848 revolutions.

• Napoleon III had supported Piedmontese aspirations in 1859 and the resulting loss of Lombardy had been serious. Lombardy was industrially and agriculturally very rich.

• Britain saw Prussia as a better bet as a bulwark against Russian intrusions into Eastern Europe.

• Economically, Prussia was clearly more powerful and was producing more steel than any other of the Great Powers with the exception of Britain.

• Austria, therefore, saw reform of the Confederation as a way of reasserting its position in Europe.

• Prussia was prepared at first to go along with Austrian proposals. It offered a joint presidency which would allow Prussia to dominate the north, while Austria retained dominance of the south.

• This proposal collapsed because Austria was worried that this would lead to further extensions of Prussian influence and also because of objections from the southern states of Bavaria and Wurttemberg.

• Bismarck arrived in office at this point and was determined to make the most of the situation. He wanted to ensure that Austria did not reform the Confederation to its advantage.

• In July 1863, Austria proposed a revised Confederation in which the five largest states would take overall power, with a Parliament made up of the Kings, princes and dukes and representatives of the Landtags.

• Bismarck rejected the Austrian plan and instead called for a German Parliament elected by a mass vote. He had no intention of following such a course of action, but Prussian opposition ensured that the Austrian scheme collapsed.

Why did war break out with Denmark in 1864?

• Schleswig and Holstein were two tiny provinces between Germany and Denmark.

• In the early 1860s King Frederick VII of Denmark was urged to take over Schleswig by the Danish parliament and the King of Sweden.

• In March 1863, Frederick announced that Schleswig was part of Denmark. He was hoping to take advantage of the growing rift between Prussia and Austria.

• The German Confederation met in July and demanded that the two provinces be retaken by force.

• Most states wanted the duchies to be returned to the traditional ruler, the Duke of Augustenburg, whose son claimed them.

• Frederick died in November 1863, but his successor, Christian IX, confirmed the annexation of Schleswig.

• The key event was an alliance between Austria and Prussia on 16 January 1864. This linked Austria and Prussia and meant that any settlement must involve both.

• Bismarck was able to delay the workings of an International Conference in London until the Austrians and Prussians invaded Schleswig and Holstein. The Danes were crushed and they were forced to surrender Schleswig and Holstein.

• Bismarck now attempted to do a deal with Austria over the duchies. He offered to support Austria in Venetia and even help with the re-conquest of Lombardy if Austria ceded the duchies.

• This may not have been a genuine offer, but in any case it was quashed by the Austria Emperor Franz Joseph.

• Bismarck wanted the provinces for Prussia, but in August 1865, Austria and Prussia met at Gastein and agreed that they would jointly hold sovereignty of Schleswig and Holstein.

• Prussia would take control of Schleswig and Austria would take Holstein. Bismarck expected that this would only be a temporary agreement.

Why did Bismarck attack Austria in 1866?

• Bismarck was out to make Prussia the dominant force in Germany. To do that Austria had to be crushed.

• After the Convention of Gastein, Bismarck’s main concerns were to try to isolate Austria. Russia would certainly be on his side because the Russians and the Austrians were becoming rivals in the Balkans.

• In the duchies, the Austrians supported the claims of Augustenburg, while the Prussians wanted to assimilate the territories.

• Bismarck also used the Zollverein as a way of isolating Austria, when it came up for renewal in 1865.

• In 1862, Prussia had signed a free trade treaty with France; in 1865, Austria demanded that the treaty be scrapped and it be admitted to the Zollverein. The Austrian government realised that its industry could never compete with French imports.

• Bismarck insisted that every German state must accept the Prusso-French Treaty before the Zollverein was renewed. Great pressure was put on the states to agree and by October 1865 many had. The Zollverein was renewed for a further fifteen years.

• In October 1865, Bismarck met Napoleon III at Biarritz. He tried to persuade Napoleon to remain neutral. He suggested that Venetia would be handed over after a war and hinted that the Rhineland might be given to France.

• Napoleon expected the war to last a long time and both sides to be exhausted at the end. He foresaw a situation in which he would be in a position to sort out the settlement between the two sides.

• Bismarck signed an alliance with Italy in April; he promised that Venetia would be handed over if Italy supported Prussia in a war against Austria. The Prussians generals wanted a war on Austria on two fronts and hoped that the Italians would draw troops away from Prussia.

• At the same time, Bismarck maintained negotiations with Austria and suggested a division of Germany along the lines of earlier plans. This was rejected by Austria in May. It appeared that Austria was prepared for war. Both countries began to mobilise their forces.

• Bismarck now needed an excuse for war. As always, he did not want to appear to be the aggressor and hoped that the Austrians would do something of which he could make use.

• On 1 June, Austria broke the 1864 Austro-Prussia Treaty be referring the Schleswig-Holstein issue to the Confederation

• On 6 June 1866, the Austrian governor of Holstein summoned the Diet (parliament) to discuss the future of the province.

• The Convention of Gastein said that the two provinces were the joint responsibility of Austria and Prussia.

• Bismarck claimed that the Austrians had broken the agreement. On 12 June, Austria and Prussia broke off diplomatic relations.

Why were the Austrians defeated so easily?

• Most people at the time expected an Austrian victory after a long war. The Prussians appeared to be outnumbered.

• Most of the large German states, including Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Saxony and Hanover supported Austria.

• The Prussian commanders had observed the battles fought in Italy. They realised that in future wars, the ability of infantry soldiers to fire quickly and accurately would be all-important.

• The Austrians were overwhelmed by Prussian tactics and the needle gun. The Prussian army introduced a new weapon, the Dreyse needle gun. The bullet was inserted in the breech at the back of the barrel and not down the muzzle.

• The Prussian army became more much efficient and organised. On the battle-field it was able to carry out manoeuvres with greater precision and use artillery with much greater accuracy.

• The Prussian made very effective use of their new railways and the electric telegraph, which meant that their forces were more mobile and could communicate much more easily than their opponents.

• On 26 July, an agreement was signed at Nikolsburg. The German Confederation was dissolved and a series of German states were incorporated into Germany.

• Northern Germany was formed into a new Confederation under German leadership and four southern states remained independent. But they had to sign treaties with Prussia to support it in case of a war with France. Austria was excluded from Germany.

• Napoleon III had asked Bismarck to help him get his hands on Luxembourg and Belgium. Bismarck kept copies of the draft treaty for future use.

The North German Confederation

• The North German Confederation became the blue-print for the United Germany from 1871.

• The King of Prussia was President of the Confederation. He was responsible for foreign relations and war and was commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

• Bismarck took the post of Chancellor, but also remained as Minister-President of Prussia.

• There were two houses in the parliament. The upper house, the Bundesrat, was made up of representatives appointed by the government of the member states. Prussia was given seventeen seats out of forty-three.

• This meant that constitutional changes would be impossible because a two-thirds majority of both houses was necessary.

• The lower house, the Reichstag, was elected on universal manhood suffrage, but deputies were not paid, which prevented workers and peasants from standing.

• At first, Bismarck wanted to prevent the Reichstag voting on the military budget, but after the first elections in February 1867, he agreed that the Reichstag would have the right to vote on the overall budget.

• The size of the military budget was fixed until the end of 1871, after which any expansion would need Reichstag approval.

The Southern states

• Bismarck hoped that the four southern states would eventually join the new Confederation. He renegotiated the Zollverein treaties and created a Zollverein parliament. He expected the deputies from the southern states would favour further integration into the north.

• In both Bavaria and Wurttemberg, there was intense opposition to entry into the North German Confederation because it would lead to Prussian domination.

The Luxembourg Crisis

• Napoleon III had hoped to gain parts of the Rhineland from Bismarck as the price for not intervening in the Austro-Prussia War; he got nothing

• In August1866, Napoleon offered to buy Luxembourg from Holland and Bismarck appeared to be in favour.

• However, Luxembourg was a member of the Confederation and was garrisoned by Prussian troops.

• In March 1867, Bismarck changed policy and opposed the sale. Napoleon was angry and felt that Bismarck had set a trap for him.

• Bismarck won support from liberals and nationalists in Germany and was finally able to sort out the problems of the budget which were still rumbling on.

• Eventually, a compromise was reached and the Prussian troops were withdrawn and Luxembourg became neutral. Napoleon III had been warned not to mess with Bismarck.

What was the Hohenzollern candidacy?

• In 1868, there was a revolution in Spain and Queen Isabella was driven out. The government looked around for a new king.

• In early 1870, the Spanish invited Leopold of Hohenzollern to become king. Wilhelm was not in favour and Leopold was against the move, but Bismarck persuaded both to change their minds.

• A telegram was sent to Spain agreeing, but only if the Spanish Cortes (parliament) voted in favour.

• Apparently that message was misunderstood and the Cortes was dismissed with out any vote. In the meantime the actions of Wilhelm and Leopold became known in Paris.

• On 6 July, the French Prime Minister attacked the decision and demanded that Leopold withdraw. Britain and Russia joined in and the French suggested to the Spanish that the offer of the throne should be withdrawn, and it was.

• The French Prime Minister decided that the time had come to pay back Prussia for all of the difficulties that France had endured over the last few years.

• Benedetti, the French ambassador to Prussia, was ordered to ask Wilhelm for confirmation of the withdrawal and for a promise that it would never be renewed.

• Benedetti visited the king at Ems and was told that the king was very pleased with the withdrawal. But when he was asked for formal confirmation, he refused until he had received something in writing from Leopold’s father.

• Wilhelm then sent a telegram to Bismarck informing of the conversations with Benedetti.

• Bismarck altered the telegram so that instead of sounding like a polite meeting, it appeared that Benedetti had been insulted by the king.

• The amended version was greeted with fury by the press in France. Napoleon and the government were not keen on war, but the generals were convinced that they could defeat Prussia and the press wound up public opinion.

• On 15 July, France declared war on Prussia.

The Franco-Prussian War

• In 1870 France had a population of 36,000,000, but an army of only 270,000.

• Prussia could put 384,000 men into the field immediately. The Prussian army was also able to move much more rapidly.

• The railway network had been built under military supervision and the Prussians were across the French border in days.

• By 2 September, France was defeated and Napoleon III had been captured at Sedan.

• Paris held out and the French government did not surrender until January 1871.

Why did the Prussians win so easily?

• The Prussian army was highly organised and disciplined. It had also had the benefit of two wars for battle experience.

• Prussia was well on the way to completing a successful industrial revolution. Its iron and steel industries were becoming the most powerful in the world and were well ahead of their French counterparts.

• Railways led to the points that the army would want to reach in the event of war.

• The telegraph allowed control of armies on the battlefield and in several cases the French were surrounded and forced to surrender in large numbers.

What were the results of the Franco-Prussian war in Germany?

• Two of the four southern German states immediately joined the northern Confederation. Bavaria and Wurttemberg held out.

• Bismarck was able to reach a compromise in both cases. Bavaria and Wurttemberg were allowed to retain their own armies.

• The number of votes needed to block a constitutional change in the Bundesrat was reduced to fourteen, which allow the southern states to prevent any changes.

• On 1 January 1871, the German Empire was created and King Wilhelm I of Prussia became Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany

The Treaty of Frankfurt

• The refusal of the French government to surrender and the behaviour of French guerrillas forced him to agree to a victory parade through Paris on 1 March 1871.

• France had to accept the other terms in the Treaty of Frankfurt in February of the same year.

• France had to agree to hand over the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine in north-eastern France these included contained valuable agricultural land and iron ore fields.

• France had to pay an indemnity of 5,000,000,000 francs to Germany. This was to pay for the cost if the war, although almost all of the fighting had been on French soil.

• Some areas of northern France were to be occupied by the German army until the sum was handed over.

• In fact the sum proved relatively light and had been completely repaid by 1875.

What made Bismarck so successful from 1862 to 1871?

• Bismarck was without doubt a great statesman. He was trying to predict what was likely to happen next and to prepare for the consequences. He always tried to have a variety of courses of action available.

• During each war he consulted his generals and only acted if they assured him that the army would be successful.

• Bismarck was outstanding at predicting how other people would react. This meant that he was invariably one step ahead of his rivals and enemies.

• Perhaps Bismarck’s greatest strength of all was his determination. His loyalty to Prussia and its ruler was unquestionable.






D: Developing national identity in Germany

The German political structure in 1871

• The German Empire was created by Bismarck. He persuaded all of the rulers of the German states to accept King Wilhelm as the Emperor.

• The King of Prussia was President of the federation of German princes: the Emperor of Germany.

• The Emperor appointed the Chancellor and all members of the civil and foreign services.

• He was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and controlled foreign policy.

• Bismarck also designed the way in which the Empire was to be run. In practice it was Prussia that really counted.

• Each state retained control over education, justice, agriculture, direct taxation and local government.

• The Empire could only raise income through indirect taxation, such as a sales tax.

• The alternative was to rely on grants from the states.

• Bismarck became Chancellor of the German Empire, but also remained Minister-President of Prussia.

• As Chancellor, he chaired meetings of the Bundesrat (federal council). The states had representatives on the Bundesrat, but these were usually diplomats and not politicians.

• Prussia had 19 seats out of the total of 58. Although in theory it could be outvoted, this rarely happened; it was too powerful to annoy

• Prussia supplied the army and much of the finance. Bismarck also made sure that as many as possible of the senior officials in the Imperial government were Prussian.

• Bismarck soon realised that it was more important to be Minister-President of Prussia, than it was to be Chancellor of Germany. He resigned as Minister-President once, but was soon reappointed.

• Under the Chancellor, there were eight departments, which dealt with foreign affairs, finance, trade etc. The departments never met as a Cabinet, which Bismarck did his utmost to avoid.

• His instructions were passed to the departments by his office, the Reich Chancellery.

• In other words, Bismarck could effectively control all areas of imperial policy, especially foreign policy.

• The German Empire had a parliament, the Reichstag, which was elected on universal male suffrage.

• Imperial ministers did not have to do what the Reichstag wanted and the Reichstag could not propose laws. It did, however, have to pass laws put forward by the Chancellor. The Reichstag could therefore prevent laws being passed.

• Within the Reichstag, the most important party was the National Liberals.

• They had been formed in 1866 and had co-operated with Bismarck in the creation of the Empire.

• They were the Party of the middle classes and the industry and saw the potential benefits of a new industrial superpower.

• The German constitution was successful as long as Prussia and the Empire agreed to work together.

• Problems set in when the inherently conservative, Protestant Prussia clashed with the increasingly liberal, Catholic Empire.

Bismarck’s relations with political parties

Bismarck and the Liberals: moves to further unification

• Further unification to Bismarck meant the extension of Prussian influence. In the 1870s, this was muted by his flirtation with the Liberals, but from 1878, Junker influence increased.

• In the 1870s Bismarck relied on the support of the Liberals in the Reichstag. They were mostly wealthy, middle class businessmen and lawyers, who had made money out of the Zollverein.

• In the Empire the Liberals wanted power to lie in the hands of the people who made Germany wealthy and who provided the income of the state.

• In the early 1870s, the Liberals helped Bismarck to centralise the Empire. A uniform currency was set up. A Reichsbank was created.

• In Prussia, some people objected very strongly to what was going on. In Prussia the ruling class was called the Junkers. To them, the reforms seemed to be undermining their influence and handing power over to the middle class.

• In the late 1870s, the German economy began to suffer. Free trade had meant that imports could come into Germany freely and without any duties.

• Bismarck wanted to set tariffs that would have to be paid on foreign goods when they came into Germany. However, the Liberals were firmly opposed to tariffs.

• This ‘second founding of the Empire’ marked a turning point in the way the Reich was governed and administered (see below).

• More important in the short term were artistic developments. Novels, paintings and plays depicted the traditional German values and encouraged the creation of nationalism.



Attitudes to minorities

• As far as Bismarck was concerned, the biggest minority in the Empire was the Catholics.

• The expansion of unification in 1871 brought in many Catholics in the southern states. After 1871, they were about 40% of the population.

• The Kulturkampf (see later) was an attempt to tackle the threat that Bismarck perceived they posed.

• Poles numbered about 3.5 million. Most lived in the east, but 500,000 lived and worked in the Ruhr. Here, they lived in squalid barracks.

• Bismarck wanted to ‘Prussianize’ the east. In 1886, the Royal Colonization Commission was set up. The aim was to settle Germans in the east and eliminate Polish culture.

• The use of the Polish language was discouraged and Polish conscripts were deliberately sent to the west to imbibe German (Prussian) culture.

• Similar policies were adopted in the north, where there were about 150,000 Danes, and in Alsace-Lorraine. By 1910, more than 80% of the inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine spoke German.

• Gypsies were forced to abandon nomadic life and their children had to attend school from 1899.

• Jews had received legal equality and religious freed in all parts of the Empire and ASustria by 1870, but Anti-Semitism became more obvious in Germany after 1871.

• In 1878, the stock market crash highlighted the important positions held by families such as the Rothschilds.

• In 1878, attacks by the Christian Social Party became pointed.

• In the 1890s, immigration from Eastern Europe led to an increase in the number of anti-Semitic deputies in the Reichstag.

• Women had traditionally worked in domestic industries, but the industrial revolution increased the number at work. By 1900, about 30% of the workforce was female.

• However, women were only admitted to Prussian universities in 1907 and legally they were second class.

• Women could not freely inherit property and were banned from attending political meetings until 1908

The Kulturkampf

• From 1871 almost 40% of the people of the Empire were Catholics. Universal suffrage allowed Catholic voters to create the Centre Party.

• Bismarck tried to get the Catholic Church to withdraw support from the Centre Party, but when it refused, he decided to try to limit the influence of the Church.

• At first all schools in Prussia were removed from the control of churches placed under the supervision of the state.

• In 1872, the Reichstag banned the Jesuits from setting up any institutions in the Empire.

• In 1873, the Prussian parliament passed the May Laws. Men who wanted to become priests to attend university for three years before they began their training. All church appointments could be vetoed by the state.

• In 1874, Prussia introduced civil marriage.

• In 1875, these laws were extended to all of the other German states. However, they were only strictly enforced in Prussia, Baden and Hesse.

• In 1875, the Prussian government began to stop paying subsidies to the Church where the new laws were ignored. The laws were opposed by Catholics all over Germany.

• But Bismarck soon needed support in efforts to sort out problems in the German economy.

• In 1879, when Bismarck did a deal with the Pope and the Church. The controls on the clergy and loss of subsidies were abolished, but civil marriage and the ban on the Jesuits were retained.

• The Kulturkampf was not finally ended until 1889.

Why did Bismarck start the Kulturkampf?

• He may have been genuinely concerned at the threat posed by the Catholics and the Centre Party.

• A strong opposition in the Reichstag would inevitably cause trouble for him and would increase the importance of the elected body.

• He hated Ludwig Windthorst the leader of the Centre Party. Windhorst attempted to unite the minorities in the Empire and undermine attempts to increase Prussian control.

• Alternatively, Bismarck may have been using the Catholics as a bogey in order to united Protestants.

• By emphasising the threat from the Catholics, he forced the majority to solidify behind him.

• Significantly, the Kulturkampf came to an end when Bismarck needed Centre support for his tariff changes in the late 1870s.

Political changes of 1878-1879

• In 1878, there were two attempts to assassinate the Kaiser. Bismarck used these to call an election.

• The threat to the Kaiser enabled the Conservatives to make considerable gains at the expense of the Liberals.

• Bismarck put forward plans for tariffs in 1879, but once again the Liberals opposed him. They offered to support the Bill only if taxes on salt and coffee were decide annually by the Reichstag.

• Bismarck refused because this would have increased the power of the Reichstag.

• Instead, he appealed for support from the Centre Party, but was forced to accept a deal.

• Some of the cash raised by the new taxes would go to the states. This would increase the influence of the states, but to Bismarck it was the lesser of two evils.

How did German politics change after 1879?

• There was a fundamental change of interests. The Liberals lost their dominant position and Bismarck returned to the Junkers.

• The German Empire moved away from Liberalism and adopted a conservative approach that would last until 1918.

• Agricultural influence grew; industry was protected from foreign competition.

• An alliance of ‘iron and grain’ was created which dominated German politics for the next decades.

• The new economic policies would encourage nationalism and led to changes in foreign policy, e.g. antagonism of Russia.

• There were two powerful right wing elites in Germany: the Junkers, landed aristocracy living east of the River Elbe and the military. In practice, the two groups were virtually the same.

• Their influence was limited in the 1870s, when Bismarck governed with the support of the Liberals, but grew after 1879.

• The Junkers feared foreign competition and demanded protection; The Agrarian League was only one of the pressure groups that were formed to defend traditional Prussian values.

• The military also lost influence in the 1870s and 1880s; there seemed to be less need for increased military expenditure as Bismarck constructed his network of alliances.

• In the late 1880s, however, the threat from Russia and France appeared to grow and military matters became more urgent.

• An Army League and a Navy League were formed to campaign for increased expenditure.

Bismarck and the Socialists

• The SPD was founded in 1875 and by the end of the decade presented a perceived threat to Bismarck.

• He attempted to deal with the threat firstly by the Anti-Socialist Law and then by introducing a welfare state.


The Anti-Socialist Law

• Bismarck had attempted to use the attempted assassinations of the Kaiser as an excuse to attack the Socialists.

• The first Anti-Socialist Bill was defeated in the Reichstag. But in 1879 a further Anti-Socialist Bill was passed. However, its operations would only last for 30 months.

• All socialist and communist meetings, organisations and publications were banned.

• The police could arrest and expel anyone who they considered to be a socialist agitator.

• The number of votes for socialist candidates in the Reichstag fell from 493,000 in 1877 to 312,000 by 1880.

• But by 1884 it had risen to 550,000 and by 1890 it stood at well over 1,000,000. The number of deputies in the Reichstag rose continuously from 1880 to 1890, reaching 30.

• Bismarck had given the Socialist Party a new lease of life. The Party also began to work from outside Germany. Bismarck had actually made it stronger.

State Socialism

• Bismarck then gave medical insurance to 3,000,000 workers and their families. The cost would be met out of weekly payments by workers and employers.

• In 1883 accident insurance was introduced and was paid for entirely by employers.

• In 1886 accident and sickness benefit was introduced for 7,000,000 agricultural workers.

• In 1889 pensions were introduced at the age of seventy. Germany had the first welfare state anywhere in the world.

Bismarck and the Kaiser

• Wilhelm I had appointed Bismarck Minister-President of Prussia in 1862 in the middle of a constitutional crisis.

• He supported Bismarck for the rest of his life until his death in 1888.

• Bismarck had a virtually free hand in all areas of policy.

Bismarck and the Reichstag

• Bismarck’s aim was to avoid constitutional government. He had been forced to create the Reichstag during the unification but then wanted to allow it as little influence as possible.

• He fought a long battle to prevent it increasing its influence on national affairs.

• He attempted to keep control by maintaining alliances with parties to allow him to get Bills passed.

• In the 1870s, he was able to rely on the support of the Liberals, who dominated the Reichstag, but he faced increasing difficulties from 1878.

• The Kulturkampf may well have been an attempt to prevent the growth of the Centre Party and the emergence of a multi-party assembly.

• His attempt to introduce tariffs forced him to rely on the support of the Centre Party. But he refused to allow the Reichstag to set tariffs on an annual basis.

• From 1881, the opposition of the Liberals and Conservatives prevented a reduction in the controls of the Kulturkampf and he found himself relatively friendless in the Reichstag until 1887.

• By then, Bismarck was reaching the end of his chancellorship.

Wilhelm II

• Two Kaisers died in rapid succession in 1888 and Wilhelm II acceded to the imperial throne.

• Bismarck had attempted to prepare the way for his continuation in power, but was forced to resign in 1890.

Why did Bismarck fall?

• In the 1870s, Bismarck had been able to govern relatively successfully with the help of the Liberal majority. From 1881, he had to rely on coalitions and alliances of major parties.

• Wilhelm wanted to establish an independent role for himself. He objected to Bismarck’s attempts to pass new Anti-Socialist Bills.

• He wanted to maintain the Liberal-Conservative kartel, while Bismarck wanted support from the Centre Party.

• In the long run, Bismarck had no hope of remaining in power, but tried to manipulate events to his advantage.

• He tried to use the 1889 election to frighten the Kaiser. He hoped that it would lead to an increase in the Socialist vote and that the Kaiser would be forced to turn to him.

• To isolate the Kaiser, Bismarck banned Wilhelm II from meeting ministers without his permission.

• He hoped that he could intimidate Wilhelm and force him to accept his continuation in power.

• Wilhelm took offence and ordered Bismarck to withdraw the ban or resign.

• Since 1881, Bismarck had had no majority in the Reichstag on which he could rely.

• Forced into a corner of his own making, Bismarck had no option but to resign


Zollverein Bismarck Military Prussia/Wilhelm I Austria What came out of the events of 1848-49?•Seeds of nationalism had taken hold in Germany. There were a number of Pan-German organisation set up which were the fore-runners of political parties.•The General German Workers’ Fraternity represented craftsmen and was a nascent Socialist Party.•The Communist League was formed in 1848.•The Liberals formed the National association in September 1848.•Catholics formed a national association at a conference in October 1848.•In Prussia, the Conservatives formed the ‘Association for King and Fatherland’.•The Prussian constitution, albeit with an electoral system heavily weighted towards the Junkers, survived and with the elected Parliament. How did the Prussian constitution change in 1849?•In elections for the Landtag, voters were grouped into three classes according to the level of taxation. Each class elected the same number of deputies. •However, the classes corresponded to 4.7%, 12.6% and 82.7% of the total voters. This tended to give a conservative majority.•After changes in 1854, the upper house of the Prussian Parliament had a permanently Conservative majority.•The King of Prussia had the right of veto of all legislation and could govern by emergency decree and impose martial law. The army high command was responsible to the King and not to the Minister for War.Why did Bismarck become prominent in 1847-9He was elected to the Landtag in 1847 and again under the reformed constitution in 1849.•The events of 1848-9 had brought Bismarck to the fore in Prussia. He had been a founder member of the ‘League for the Protection of Landed Property’ and became Prussian representative at Frankfurt from 1851 onwards.•Bismarck was aware that, if Junkerdom was to survive, it would have to take account of nationalism and be prepared to accept change.•Consequently, Prussia did not revert to the pre-1848 status quo. What factors were responsible for the unification of Germany? Portrait of Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891), Prussian field marshal. In 1858, Moltke was appointed Chief of the Prussian General Staff. He earned legendary status as a military strategist for his leadership during the (1866) and Franco-Prussian Wars (1870-1871). Atelier photograph: photographer unknown, c. 1871. 1. Bismarck Zollverein War Rise of nationalism Weaknesses of Opposition Domestically The Prussian (Erfurt) Union•The idea of German unity did no die with the collapse of the Frankfurt Parliament; Friedrich Wilhelm was persuaded to try to set up KleinDeutschland from above, rather than from below.•In May 1849, he put forward the Radowitz Plan for a Prussian Union. Saxony, Hanover, Wurttemberg and Bavaria took part.•In June, all other German states were invited to join, although Wurttemberg and Bavaria had by then withdrawn.•Elections were held using the new Prussian tripartite system and the Parliament met at Erfurt in March 1850.Why did the Prussian (Erfurt) Union collapse?•In August 1849, the Austrians completed the defeat of the Hungarian revolt with the help of the Russian army.•In September, Schwarzenberg convened a conference of all German states opposed to the Prussian Union.•Prussia and Austria were therefore on a collision course and one would have to give way. With hindsight, it was obviously going to be Prussia.•The flashpoint was a crisis in Hesse-Cassel, a state on the route from Prussia-proper to the Rhineland provinces.•A revolt broke out in 1850 against the policies of the reactionary government. The Duke called for Austrian intervention to crush the revolt.•Schwarzenberg was encouraged by Russia to intervene and sent troops. He was supported by the South German states of Bavaria and Wurttemberg.•At the same time, the Prussians sent troops to try to keep their communications with the Rhineland open.•In November, the two sides clashed, but almost immediately, the Prussian government backed down. It was faced with the prospect of war with Austria and its allies.•Prussia agreed to dissolve the Erfurt Union discuss plans for restoring the German Confederation at Olmutz in November 1850.•At a second conference, Schwarzenberg was persuaded to agree to a revival of the 1815 German Confederation, as opposed to a new version in which the non-German Austrian provinces would be included.•This was a major victory for Prussia because it ensured that the Kleindeutsch principle survived. Had Schwarzenberg’s plan been accepted, Austria would have been in a much stronger position to influence future events. How did the relationship between Prussia and Austria change after 1850?•Bismarck, the Prussian representative at Frankfurt from 1851, adopted a deliberately obstructive policy regarding Austria.•He opposed Austria’s attempt to create a large Zollverein in 1853 and prevented it joining the Prussian Zollverein.•He refused Austrian requests in 1854, at the outbreak of the Crimean War, to create a Confederation army under Austria control to deter a possible Russian invasion of the Balkans.•In 1859, Prussia attempted to take advantage of the outbreak of war between Austria and Piedmont supported by France by demanding political and military control of the north Germany and the Rhine in exchange fro support for Austria.•This proposal would have divided Germany into two camps (a process that had already taken place economically) and severely weakened Austria.•The plan came to nothing when Austria was defeated and made peace. KleinDeutschland was now the only viable option for German unity. The Zollverein•In 1815, each German state had its own customs posts. Goods crossing Germany might have to pas through as many as a dozen borders. •This not only slowed down movement, it also made it far more expensive and forced up prices.•Prussia had a big incentive to try to introduce some form of free trade after the acquisition of the Rhineland. It had economically valuable provinces, but there were obvious difficulties in exploiting them.•In 1818, customs were standardised inside Prussia. In 1819, the first other German state joined and by 1830, most small states in and around the Prussian provinces were all members of the Prussian Union.•Prussian policy was to create a union of northern and central Germany, which be quite separate from the German Confederation.•Prussia did not have it all its own way; in 1828, Bavaria and Wurttemberg formed their own customs union. But the Prussian government persuaded Hesse-Darmstadt to join its union. •This was a major blow to Bavaria and Wurttemberg because Hesse-Darmstadt had a common border with Bavaria.•In December 1828, the Middle German Commercial Union was formed by Saxony and Hanover, but this collapsed in 1831 when Hesse-Cassel defected to join Prussia.•This was a key development for Prussia because its route to the Rhineland ran through Hesse-Cassel.•Prussia’s rivals had little hope of countering Prussian industrial dominance and Bavaria and Wurttemberg united with the Prussian Union in 1833 and were followed by Saxony.•The Zollverein came into being on New Year’s Day 1834. All internal customs were abolished and goods could travel freely across the member states.•By 1842, there were only eleven German states that were outside the Zollverein.How did the Zollverein work?•Its governing body was the General Council which met annually to set tariffs. Decisions were taken by unanimous vote; each member state having one, with the exception of some small states which shared a vote.•Each state was responsible for enforcing the decisions of the Council. States were monitored by officials of a different state to ensure that all was working as it should.•Revenue from customs duties was allocated to members states by the Central Treasury, which was based in Berlin. This cash was not subject to Parliamentary control.Austrian reactions to the Zollverein•To Metternich, the Zollverein was a rival Confederation. He considered applying for membership but was dissuaded because Austria would face competition from Prussian industry.•It would be impossible to prevent Prussian manufactured goods swamping what little industrial production there was in the Empire.•The Zollverein would also exclude the non-German provinces of the Empire, which would inevitably create divisions between German speakers and ethnic minorities.How important was the Zollverein?•Traditionally, the Zollverein has been seen as an important pre-cursor of unification because it linked economically the great majority of the German states to Prussia.•By 1840, only eleven German states were outside the Zollverein and all major states were members. Most German states were too small to be economically viable and the Industrial Revolution only served to increase the dominance of Prussia.•Wurttemberg, which tried to establish a rival Customs Union in the south of Germany, was forced to give up and apply for membership•Membership involved being linked to the Prussian economy which was increasingly the strongest in the Confederation.•Although the General Council of the Zollverein met in different states each year, the Central Treasury was permanently in Berlin. Consequently, member states began to look to Berlin for direction.•Berlin not only dished out the proceeds of customs duties to individual states, but Prussian capital became the main source of investment for state governments.•In practice, Prussia assumed responsibility for negotiations with non-member states on trade treaties and shipping regulations.•Free trade inevitably encouraged cooperation in other ways. Until 1834, although customs barriers were more a hindrance that anything else, they tended to make travel more difficult.•Monitors of the decisions of the Council, while they were drawn from states, increasingly came to regard themselves as officials of the Zollverein, i.e. ‘German civil servants’.•Austria, which at first showed no interest in the Zollverein, subsequently attempted to gain admission on a series of occasions.•Metternich saw it as a rival Confederation and wanted to crush it possible in the 1840s.•Economically, the Zollverein, coming as it did just when the Industrial Revolution developed in Germany, was not only a source of wealth, but also provided financial stability and increasing prosperity.•It created a market of 30 million consumers and offered German industries protection against exports from Britain.•In Prussia, economic development was a factor in the agricultural; revolution that changed the Junker estates east of the Elbe and encouraged the growth of liberalism. Without those, Prussia would have been ready for, and less able to lead, Unification.•More recent research suggests that the impact of the Zollverein was not as great as has been thought in the past.•Historians, with the benefit of hindsight, have emphasised the importance of the Zollverein simply because unification followed.•Annual growth of GDP in the Zollverein was only 1.6%, as against 2.2% in Britain and 4.7% in the USA.•While the Zollverein encouraged trade between the member states, it did little for exports, which remained static.•The real impact of the Zollverein was only felt in the 1850s and early sixties after Prussia blocked Austrian attempts to create an Austro-German Custom Union to replace the Zollverein•At the same time, Prussia was emerging as a potential rival to Austria in political and military terms as well as economic. How united was Bismarckian Germany, 1871-90? Why were the Austrians defeated so easily?•Most people at the time expected an Austrian victory after a long war. The Prussians appeared to be outnumbered. •Most of the large German states, including Bavaria, Wurttemberg, Saxony and Hanover supported Austria.•The Prussian commanders had observed the battles fought in Italy. They realised that in future wars, the ability of infantry soldiers to fire quickly and accurately would be all-important. •The Austrians were overwhelmed by Prussian tactics and the needle gun. The Prussian army introduced a new weapon, the Dreyse needle gun. The bullet was inserted in the breech at the back of the barrel and not down the muzzle. •The Prussian army became more much efficient and organised. On the battle-field it was able to carry out manoeuvres with greater precision and use artillery with much greater accuracy.•The Prussian made very effective use of their new railways and the electric telegraph, which meant that their forces were more mobile and could communicate much more easily than their opponents. a. 1870 War v France b. 1866 War v Austria c. 1864 War v Denmark d. Strength of the military b. Isolation of his enemies:

1870:Displayed letter to Britain from Nap III which had expressed a potential interest on their behalf in Belgium.

1866: Met with Nap III in Biarritz (1865) and negotiated neutrality in return for potential lands (Rhineland/Venetia))
Offensive-Defensive Alliance with Italy - they would attack Austria should they mobilise in return for Venetia.

1864: Following Treaty of Gastein (1865) in the afermath of the War v Denmark, Bismarck negotiated control of Schleswig, leaving Austria with Holstein and excuse by Bismarck to start a war. c. Makes enemies appear the aggressor

1. 1870 Franco-Prussian War

1867:Luxembourg Crisis

1868:Hohenzollern Candidacy

1870:Ems telegram Why did the Prussians win so easily?•The Prussian army was highly organised and disciplined. It had also had the benefit of two wars for battle experience. •Prussia was well on the way to completing a successful industrial revolution. Its iron and steel industries were becoming the most powerful in the world and were well ahead of their French counterparts. •Railways led to the points that the army would want to reach in the event of war. •The telegraph allowed control of armies on the battlefield and in several cases the French were surrounded and forced to surrender in large numbers. What made Bismarck so successful from 1862 to 1871?•Bismarck was without doubt a great statesman. He was trying to predict what was likely to happen next and to prepare for the consequences. He always tried to have a variety of courses of action available.•During each war he consulted his generals and only acted if they assured him that the army would be successful. •Bismarck was outstanding at predicting how other people would react. This meant that he was invariably one step ahead of his rivals and enemies. •Perhaps Bismarck’s greatest strength of all was his determination. His loyalty to Prussia and its ruler was unquestionable. The Zollverein•In 1815, each German state had its own customs posts. Goods crossing Germany might have to pas through as many as a dozen borders. •This not only slowed down movement, it also made it far more expensive and forced up prices.•Prussia had a big incentive to try to introduce some form of free trade after the acquisition of the Rhineland. It had economically valuable provinces, but there were obvious difficulties in exploiting them.•In 1818, customs were standardised inside Prussia. In 1819, the first other German state joined and by 1830, most small states in and around the Prussian provinces were all members of the Prussian Union.•Prussian policy was to create a union of northern and central Germany, which be quite separate from the German Confederation.•Prussia did not have it all its own way; in 1828, Bavaria and Wurttemberg formed their own customs union. But the Prussian government persuaded Hesse-Darmstadt to join its union. •This was a major blow to Bavaria and Wurttemberg because Hesse-Darmstadt had a common border with Bavaria.•In December 1828, the Middle German Commercial Union was formed by Saxony and Hanover, but this collapsed in 1831 when Hesse-Cassel defected to join Prussia.•This was a key development for Prussia because its route to the Rhineland ran through Hesse-Cassel.•Prussia’s rivals had little hope of countering Prussian industrial dominance and Bavaria and Wurttemberg united with the Prussian Union in 1833 and were followed by Saxony.•The Zollverein came into being on New Year’s Day 1834. All internal customs were abolished and goods could travel freely across the member states.•By 1842, there were only eleven German states that were outside the Zollverein.How did the Zollverein work?•Its governing body was the General Council which met annually to set tariffs. Decisions were taken by unanimous vote; each member state having one, with the exception of some small states which shared a vote.•Each state was responsible for enforcing the decisions of the Council. States were monitored by officials of a different state to ensure that all was working as it should.•Revenue from customs duties was allocated to members states by the Central Treasury, which was based in Berlin. This cash was not subject to Parliamentary control.Austrian reactions to the Zollverein•To Metternich, the Zollverein was a rival Confederation. He considered applying for membership but was dissuaded because Austria would face competition from Prussian industry.•It would be impossible to prevent Prussian manufactured goods swamping what little industrial production there was in the Empire.•The Zollverein would also exclude the non-German provinces of the Empire, which would inevitably create divisions between German speakers and ethnic minorities.How important was the Zollverein?•Traditionally, the Zollverein has been seen as an important pre-cursor of unification because it linked economically the great majority of the German states to Prussia.•By 1840, only eleven German states were outside the Zollverein and all major states were members. Most German states were too small to be economically viable and the Industrial Revolution only served to increase the dominance of Prussia.•Wurttemberg, which tried to establish a rival Customs Union in the south of Germany, was forced to give up and apply for membership•Membership involved being linked to the Prussian economy which was increasingly the strongest in the Confederation.•Although the General Council of the Zollverein met in different states each year, the Central Treasury was permanently in Berlin. Consequently, member states began to look to Berlin for direction.•Berlin not only dished out the proceeds of customs duties to individual states, but Prussian capital became the main source of investment for state governments.•In practice, Prussia assumed responsibility for negotiations with non-member states on trade treaties and shipping regulations.•Free trade inevitably encouraged cooperation in other ways. Until 1834, although customs barriers were more a hindrance that anything else, they tended to make travel more difficult.•Monitors of the decisions of the Council, while they were drawn from states, increasingly came to regard themselves as officials of the Zollverein, i.e. ‘German civil servants’.•Austria, which at first showed no interest in the Zollverein, subsequently attempted to gain admission on a series of occasions.•Metternich saw it as a rival Confederation and wanted to crush it possible in the 1840s.•Economically, the Zollverein, coming as it did just when the Industrial Revolution developed in Germany, was not only a source of wealth, but also provided financial stability and increasing prosperity.•It created a market of 30 million consumers and offered German industries protection against exports from Britain.•In Prussia, economic development was a factor in the agricultural; revolution that changed the Junker estates east of the Elbe and encouraged the growth of liberalism. Without those, Prussia would have been ready for, and less able to lead, Unification.•More recent research suggests that the impact of the Zollverein was not as great as has been thought in the past.•Historians, with the benefit of hindsight, have emphasised the importance of the Zollverein simply because unification followed.•Annual growth of GDP in the Zollverein was only 1.6%, as against 2.2% in Britain and 4.7% in the USA.•While the Zollverein encouraged trade between the member states, it did little for exports, which remained static.•The real impact of the Zollverein was only felt in the 1850s and early sixties after Prussia blocked Austrian attempts to create an Austro-German Custom Union to replace the Zollverein•At the same time, Prussia was emerging as a potential rival to Austria in political and military terms as well as economic. Background:
b. 1815 into a Junker family
1836-9 civil servant
1847 deputy in Prussian United Diet
1851-8 Prussian delegate at German Confederation (Frankfurt)
1558-61/1861-2 Prussian Ambassador for Russia and France
1862-71 Minister-President of Prussia
1871-90 Chancellor of Germany

Drive the unification process; Realpolitik, anti-Austrian, strong (most of the times) relationship with William I

- Not a romantic german nationalist but a Prussian monarchist

- Unification was a diversion from 1860s Prussian internal problems ( amy, Parliament v monarchy).

- no plan or programme but a reaction to favourable circumstances. First thing to assess here: how does 1871 result in unification? In 1866, most states within the Zollverein fought or favoured Austria over Prussia, yet victory over France resulted in unification and everyone supported Bismarck and Prussia because of how they had behaved in victory over Austria:

In spite of great protestations, Bismarck showed huge restraint and did not allow a victory parade by W1 or von Moltke to take place in Vienna, nor did they annex any Austrian property.
At the Preliminary Peace of Nikolsberg, Bismarck did not force the southern states to merge with Prussia, which it could well have done, but rather sign an alliance which required them to remodel their armies on Prussian lines and put their troops under Prussian command in wartime. Diplomacy Prussia had a great advantage: more resources, more railways, economically strong. Other nations were tied to Prussia:by 1840 all but 11 states and Austria included

Lead to ability to build up military
See the full transcript