1. Germany was divided into West Phalia, Rhineland, Bohemian Plateau, Prussia but shared common bond of unity. German language, race and culture.
  2. It was an area of gifted resources but was backward. This was the pain for intelligentsia in Germany
They always had a non German ruler. Earlier they were part of Holy Roman Empire and after the Vienna Convention the control passed over in the hands of Austrian empire. It went against the interest of German states.
Impact of Napolean
Napolean abolished the smaller states in West Germany and established the single state of West Phalia which started giving promotion to Trade and Commerce in this area. This acted as a catalytic force for German unification. Napolean gave the taste and importance of unity to German states.
  1. Fichte gave the concept of German idealism which was based on the principle of superiority of German culture and race.
  2. F.W.Neitzche of Master morality and Slave Morality. He raised the slogan of Live Dangerously.
Discuss the events leading to unification -UNIFICATION OF DEUTSCHLAND
German Diet
In Vienna Congress Austria was declared as the head of German states. There were 38 states and it was not possible to administer. Therefore it formed German Diet having the members nominated by Kings of German states. This led to the beginning of crude political unity of German states. The features were:
  1. General resolutions can be passed by 2/3rd majority
  2. Fundamental and Constitutional changes can only be done by acceptance of all the states.
Prussia passed Zolleverein i.e custom union of German states. This gave promotion to trade and commerce in Germany and led to economic unity.
Revolutions of 1830 and 1848 gave momentum to revolution.  Charles X had succeeded the Louis XVIII. He became autocratic and had to finally leave the throne in 1830. Kingship lost the divine rights. King became the representative of common people and had to work according to the wish of the common people.
The year 1847 saw economic depression in Britain. This had a cascading effect in Europe as trouble started brewing. This created hardships for working class and led to revolution in 1848 and in which labour class moved on to street to fight for their rights. Karl Marx came out with his communist manifesto in 1848. The revolutions put a question mark on the exisiting political set up and the only acceptance for the ruler was to accept the wish of the people.
2nd Frankfurt Parliament
It was attended by representatives of German states. The basic agenda was to frame the constitution for German people. The question was to frame 38 different constitution or single constitution. It declared a German Union under the leadership of Prussia. But things took U-turn and Prussia rejected the proposal because:
  1. It wanted to be the real head of German union and for that the proposal was to be given by rulers of the state but here it was given by representative of state.
  2. It was warned by Austria as not to get involved in any such activity.
Disuss the Role of Bismarck
He is known as the Wonderman of World History. He was appointed as Chancellor of Prussia by King William and gave the Policy of Blood and Iron. He was clear that war with Austria was a necessity. He pushed for modernisation of army despite facing opposition from Parliament. He undertook economic reforms and followed an Entrapment policy.
Economic Reforms
  1. He set up Imperial Banks, railways, roads, industrialisation
  2. He gave promotion to the concept of state socialism which provided safety and security to labour class e.g employment security.
Entrapment Policy
Danish Adventure
Denmark had annexed Schleswig and Holstein which was a disputed territory. A combined attack of Prussia and Austria defeated Denmark. Bismarck got to know the strength and weakness of Austrian army during this expedition.
Defeat of Austria
Bismarck started alienating Austria by:
  1. Adopting pro Russia attitude in Poland and signed an agreement with Russia where it had to maintain its neutrality in case of war.
  2. He promised Italians to help in their unification.
  3. Made commitment of big gifts to Napolean III of France.
He finally provoked Austria by annexing Holstein. Austrians were defeated in the Battle of Sadova (1866). This united all the northern territory and completed the first phase of German unification.
Defeat of France
  1. Napolean III committed the mistake of making his demands in writing. Bismarck showed this letter to other European powers revealing France’s nefarious designs and annoyed them.
  2. The final provocation came in the form of Elms Telegram episode, where Bimarck changed the words of telegram to show France that Prussia had insulted its ambassador Beneditti. The incident provoked people of France and they declared war which was exactly what Bismarck wanted.
  3. France was comprehensively defeated in the Battle of Sedan (1871) and this completed German unification.
It was a masterstroke by Bismarck. All the powers failed to understand his real intention and by the time they understood it was already too late.
What was the policy of Blood and Iron. Does it hold relevance today?-UNIFICATION OF DEUTSCHLAND
  1. Otto von Bismarck gave his famous “Blut und Eisen” (“Blood and Iron”) speech before the Landtag, the Prussian legislature. In his speech, he claimed that the international policy of a modern state is built upon the willingness to fight – “Blut” (blood) and the willingness to spend vast amounts of public treasure in creating giant armies — “Eisen” (iron).  “The great questions of the time will not be resolved by speeches and majority decisions … but by iron and blood,”.
  2. He embarked on an ambitious programme of militarisation. He not only raised a large number of soldiers but also imparted them training in the use of new weapons. As a result, the military strength of Prussia considerably increased. He used his diplomatic skill to isolate his target to attack. He did not wait for international crises to render his task easier.

Relevance Today

  1. A state policy of huge armies and an aggressive attitude toward neighbors threatens liberty and morality in different ways. A nation engaged in an arms race like Bismarck’s Prussia can not only plot wars but can also stumble into wars, as was the case in the First World War.
  2. Arms races dramatically increase national government spending, so after 1871, the German Empire, France and Britain all increased military spending (reducing the amount of their wealth that taxpayers could keep). It is impossible to have a vast, sprawling military without also having a vast, sprawling government.
  3. Reliance upon force rather than consent — upon military power rather than treaties, trade is no path to long term peace, prosperity, or moral government.
  4. When we stray from that path of mutual peace, it amounts to embracing the Machiavellian policy which leads to neither peace nor prosperity.
By |December 14th, 2015|History|

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