Coal and Iron and the Unification of Germany in 1871 Essay

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Coal and Iron and the Unification of Germany in 1871

In 1862, Bismarck said that ‘the great questions of the day will be settled by blood and iron.’ Although there is undoubtedly some degree of accuracy in this statement, the most important reason for the unification of Germany, which ended ‘the great questions of the day,’ was ‘coal and iron.’ This is a quote from British economist John Maynard Keynes, who argued that the industrial and economic preparation before the wars, which united Germany, were more important. This is because the economic strength created by the rapid industrialisation enabled the creation of a powerful Prussia. It was under this powerful Prussia, with some skilful
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The significance of this is that the economic expansion enabled the creation of a strong, powerful Prussia. It was under this Prussia that unification took place, and without such strength, it may never have succeeded.

Furthermore, the creation of a comprehensive railway system was also significant in the unification of Germany. It further underpinned the economic and military strength of Prussia, and this strength was essential in Prussia success in the wars of German unification. In 1835, there was only 6km of railway track. However, by 1846 there was more than 2000 km of track. The hub of these railways was in Berlin, in Prussia. This meant that Prussia reaped the benefits of them. The building of the railways stimulated work and the growth of towns. The railways were also good because they allowed goods, particularly heavy materials, produced in heavy industries since the economic take off, to be transported. In the event of any conflict, the railways could also be used to transport troops. This would provide Prussia with even greater military and political strength, which would be necessary to unite Germany. The social benefits of the railways were that people were no longer restricted from travelling across the Confederation. The railways brought people together, and
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