Key Factors of German Unification 1871 Essay

862 Words Oct 16th, 2012 4 Pages
The Key Factors of German Unification

Germany became a unified country in 1871 under the leadership of Otto Von Bismarck. The separate states up until this time were independent, Prussia being the strongest and most influential, followed by Austria. There are several contributing factors to the unification of Germany, the most influential of which being the leadership of Otto Von Bismarck. The three wars that Prussia fought with Denmark, Austria and France also played significant roles in the unification of the German states. Another factor to consider is the increase in support of nationalism around Western Europe at the time, and the changes in German society. Through an evaluation of these factors and relevant sources one can
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As president, Bismarck led Germany into unification through his opportunism and his various policies. Charismatic yet aggressive by nature, Bismarck was known for his ability to seize opportunities and manipulate situations to his advantage. It is debatable whether or not Germany would have achieved unification under the power of anyone other Bismarck. In his 1996 book The Problem of the German Nation State, Wolfgang Mommsen said, “Bismarck’s policies- admirable or satanic... occupy centre stage.” This is particularly true for his infamous policy of “blood and iron”. Also, Bismarck’s diplomatic abilities are able to be seen when looking at his foreign policy of 1871 to 1890. Bismarck’s policies and opportunism are predominantly evident when looking at the Three Wars.
During the period of 1864 to 1871, Bismarck led Prussia into three significant wars. As said by G.A Craig in The Germans, 1991, the unified Germany was “created in 1871 by Bismarck’s diplomacy and Prussian military power.” The first of these wars was the war with Denmark over the provinces of Schleswig-Holstein in 1864. Prussia and Austria combined their military forces and won against the much weaker Denmark with considerable ease. This was a contributing factor in the second of the three wars, which was fought against Austria, as the two states
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