The Importance of Bismarck to German Unification Essay

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The Importance of Bismarck to German Unification

When Bismarck became chancellor of Prussia in 1862 nationalism had already started 47 years ago in 1815. Although Bismarck greatly helped the move towards unification there were also many other factors involved. These factors included things such as the economic power of the Zollverein and the fact that having a strong country would make them safer, and they all shared the same enemy: France. It is necessary to compare these factor with each other in order to asses the importance of Bismarck to German unification.

Historians such as Frank Eyck believe that unification of Germany 'was a natural and desirable development.' In many ways this is true.
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The German nationalists called a National Assembly in Frankfurt to prepare the unification of Germany. The people all wanted a unified Germany and this was their first attempt at it.

''Coal and iron' not 'blood and iron' were the Prussian power base' (Stiles the unification of Germany 1815 - 1890) Economic power, and especially the Zollverein, was of course one of the biggest factors contributing to German unification. After 1850 Germanys industries really began to take off. Factories were built at a spectacular rate, railroads grew connecting different parts of the country and Prussia had one of the best education rates to be seen in a long time. Along with industrialization came a steep up rise in population and huge numbers of people moving into the cities. The result of the railways, education and urbanization was that ideas began to spread and before 1871 Germany was already culturally and economically unified.

Although all of these factors were pointing Germany in the right direction for unification there was one man who 'forged the Reich' (Adolf Hitler): this man was Bismarck. One of the first things that he did was to increase Prussia's popularity, and he did so in the war against Denmark. When Denmark attempted to make Schleswig and Holstein an integral part of Denmark, Austria and Prussia fought side by side in order to keep them as part of the German
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