The Role of Bismarck in Bringing About the Unification of Germany

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The Role of Bismarck in Bringing About the Unification of Germany

Bismarck certainly played an important part in the unification of the German states. His intentions are shown in his ?iron and blood? speech, where he set out his aims to protect the king and to unify the German states by isolating Austria. However, many historians argue that Bismarck?s plan relied on luck, and that events unravelled greatly in his favour. Even Bismarck later admitted in his memoirs ? ?I was like a man wandering in a forest. I knew roughly where I was going but I didn?t know exactly where I would come out of the wood?. There where also other, arguably more important factors that contributed to unification. Cultural
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The rise of these nationalist feelings was brought about by the romantic movement, which adhered to the philosophy that passion for ones country counted for more than a sense of logic and reasoning. It was artists, philosophers and writers such as the Grimm brothers who encouraged fellow Germans to remember German heroes and legends of the past. The romantic movement inevitably reached the student community, who were encouraged to act on their views. An example of this was the burning of unpatriotic books in 1877 on the anniversary of Napoleon?s defeat in Leipzig. This was called cultural nationalism, and it played a part in the eventual unification of Germany re-introducing a passion for the whole German nation.

Economic nationalism is, however, considered more important than cultural nationalism, and is considered by influential historian W. Carr to be the ?mighty lever of German unification.? The population explosion that started in the middle of the eighteenth century resulted in a growth of industry in Germany, and by 1840 many more factories and mills had established themselves. However, the further growth of industry was being slowed by the poor relations between the German states. Different currencies
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