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Bismarck and German Unification

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Andrew Parker

on 8 December 2016

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Transcript of Bismarck and German Unification

Bismarck and German Unification
Bismarck's personality;
traditional and conservative;
pro monarchy the "divine right of kings";
aggressive and domineering;
intelligent and some might say visionary.
A young Bismarck
1848 revolution in Prussia comes along;
Causes of the 1848 Revolutions in Prussia and other parts of Germany...
Liberalism- the middle classes wanted representation in line with their contribution and the taxes they paid.
The middle classes wanted an end to some of the privileges of the nobility. such as securing the best government positions through patronage.
People wanted an end to government censorship.
The Liberal Middle classes also wanted a united Germany
Frederick William IV initially stops short of putting the unrest down.
The King's brother flees Berlin.
The King gives concessions to the Liberals and agrees to support the formation of a united Germany.
However, the Liberals began to bicker and the army regrouped and retook Berlin.

Frederick William now reneges on his promises of putting himself at the head of a German nation, for fear of Austria.

Bismarck, at this time, is sent as a delegate to the Frankfurt Parliament.
Bismarck now starts to think...
being pragmatic, keeping Prussia on friendly terms with Russia and France,
I might be able to push Austria out and make Prussia under my King, the head of a new Germany
Frederick William IV of Prussia, left, vacillated about becoming head of a new Germany.
Frederick William has a stroke- his brother William takes over as regent.
Bismarck is sent to Russia as ambassador.

Two important men are appointed during this time- Helmuth von Moltke
and Albrecht von Roon
Albrecht von Roon
became minister for war
von Moltke became
chief of staff of
the Prussian army

two men modernised the Prussian army with;
better equipment
better tactics
In 1862, Bismarck is recalled from Russia, by the new King William I, to resolve a crisis with the increasingly liberalPrussian Diet (Parliament)
Bismarck returned, but would only help if he was given the position of Minister President and Foreign Minister- he was
NB- Bismarck wa brought in to resolve a budget crisis- the Diet would not pass a budget unless concessions were made- Bismarck simply resolved this by saying the previous years budget still stood and would remain.
"...The great questions of the time will not be resolved by speeches and majority decisions- but by iron and blood"
30th September 1862;
his most famous speech...
crisis 1
Frederick VII of Denmark dies- dispute over the (mainly German speaking) provinces of Schleswig and Holstein
November 1863
Bismarck allies Prussia with Austria and defeats the Danes easily
Now Bismarck tricks Austria into signing the treaty of Gastein, where
Prussia gained Schleswig
Austria gained Holstein
Why was this a trick?
Well, giving Austria Holstein meant that it was cut off by Prussian territory- now Bismarck could manufacture a war with Austria
Austria walked into the trap set by being easily spooked into asking that the Diet decided the fate of Schleswig-Holstein. Bismarck sent troops to occupy Schleswig, claiming that Austria had reneged on their agreement.
Battle of Konniggratz or Sadowa
3rd July 1866
Prussia's new, bigger, modern army crushes Austria.
Bismarck's alliance with Italy pins down many Austrian troops in the South.
Why did Prussia win?
breech loading needle guns had a quicker rate of fire.
Better tactics and leadership.
Peace of Prague (1866)
Prussia annexes Schleswig, Holstein Hanover, Hesse-Kassel and more
The NORTH GERMAN CONFEDERATION is formed with many other German States.
Austria expelled from the German Confederation/Bund etc.
Austria is otherwise given lenient terms, but e.g. loses Venezia to Italy.
Results of the great victory;
1) Bismarck is widely popular in Prussia.
2) The Liberals are appeased by the success of Bismarck's policies.
3) France is now alarmed at this new power in central Europe- and by Bismarck's hints that she might gain territory once Austria was beaten (unfulfilled)
4) South German States still undecided,
traditionally allies of Austria.
Bismarck schemes;
how can I get the South German
states to join and get
France out of the picture?
Now a Hohenzollern prince was offered the vacant throne of Spain- France blocks this and Prussia initially accepts.
Napoleon III of France now insists that Prussia guarantee that they will not put another candidate forward- Bismarck asks for this to be put to the King of Prussia in writing- the famous
Ems Telegram
or dispatch
now Bismarck edits the telegram and leaks it to the press, making it look more threatening!
France declares war on 19th July 1870- believing her ambassador to have been slighted, too.
Another ruler has walked into Bismarck's trap!
France is defeated in 7 weeks!

A new French Republic is declared, Napoleon III deposed.
Prussia annexes Alsace Lorraine.
Prussia imposes an indemnity on France.
Southern German States join with Prussia.
A German Empire is proclaimed.
18th January 1871 in Versailles
The German Empire proclaimed.

"Laws are like sausages,
it is better not to see them bieng made..."
"the main thing is to make history, not to write it."
"a statesman... must wait until he hears the steps of God sounding through events, then leap up and grasp the hem of His garment..."
"When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn't the slightest intention of carrying it out in practice."
Germany Unifies
By 1871

Economic power-
The Zollverein
Increased Iron
and Steel production
Greater taxes

Bismarck’s clever diplomacy:
Manufactured wars with
Denmark and Austria
Isolated Austria
Made France look like an aggressor

Military power:
Better organisation
Better tactics
Better weapons e.g.
breech loading rifles

Willingness of German peoples to unite:
Liberal ambitions
Trading factors

1- Railways
2- the telegraph
These made communication and transport of an army much faster
e.g. the realisation of the enhanced defensive capabilities of the modern rifle and a switch to outflanking the opponent rather than direct assaults- see the Battle of Sedan
German pig iron production
outstripped Austria's
clip on the 2 Danish wars -
we are interested in the second one.
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