The Unification of Germany Essay

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The Unification of Germany


Otto von Bismarck achieved the unification of the disjointed German states through the skillful understanding of realpolitikand the Machiavellian use of war as a political tool to eliminate Germany's rival nations, gain the support of the German people and gain territory. This ultimately created a German legacy of strong militaristic tendencies, scheming national relations, and economic clout challenging the European heavyweights like England and France. Bismarck's plan for unification began with his instigation of war with the small German states of Schleswig and Holstein over an insignificant dispute concerning the governing of the states. Bismarck's …show more content…

Using the tools of "realpolitik," Bismarck negotiated a settlement of uneasy peace with the division, which would help to provoke the next war in his course towards unification. Bismarck had also expanded the influence of the German Confederation with this move as well as gained an important access to the sea. This was the first instance of Prussia asserting itself internationally, and it wouldn't be the last before unification was complete. To get the support of his king, Bismarck appealed to his militaristic side, as the king originally was disinclined to start a war, but after appealing to his militaristic and nationalistic sentiments, Bismarck effectively convinced his king to go to war.

Conducting the war in Schleswig-Holstein was a simple task for Prussia, but the aftermath was more involved. With the two states defeated, Bismarck fought to see them divided between Prussia and Austria ensuring tensions between the two. The final arrangement was as abrasive as possible, and the Seven Weeks War, between Prussia and Austria soon followed because of this outcome. Bismarck entered this war with a unique goal for its conclusion as his main goal was not to instigate a conflict to defeat an enemy, but to merely assert the sovereignty of the German states. He kept this goal in mind when conducting the war, and he avoided creating a humiliating defeat

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