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German Unification




Background
Otto von Bismarck was the not the first to suggest the unification of the German states

The German parliament was first established in Frankfurt in 1848

German leaders faced a dual threat ­ they were vulnerable from a foreign invasion (such as
from France) and also from…

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However, in the 1850s the European context altered as Austrian credibility as the leader and
defender of the German princes was reduced dramatically; her failure to resist France in Italy
in 1859 showed her weakness whilst exposing Napoleon III as a new threat.

At the opening of the 1860s there…

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The Europe of the 1860s, 70s and 80s is one dominated by the Prussia M-P and the German
chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.

Historians usually regard the year that Bismarck left office, 1890, as the end of an era in European
history.

His approach is known as Realpolitik ­ meaning `realistic…

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Why was Prussia not able to extend its Political influence within Germany in
the aftermath of the 48 revolutions?
Post 48, the stature of the Prussian state was higher than it had been in conservative circles. Austria was
pre-occupied with its Empire and the German confederation was obsolete. There was…

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action in Italy. Austria did not want to see Russia in control of Moldavia, Wallachia and the mouth of the
Danube river. This required an understanding with Prussia ­ Prussia could not attempt to benefit in
Germany from Austria's preoccupation (as Prussia had done previously in 1850). Prussia was divided…

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The army and technology

Prussia was more advanced in using modern industrial developments in its military than any other European
state. Railways were specifically planned for troop transport from border to border: there was a specific
military department dedicated to the study of rail transport. Therefore, in 1866 Prussia's five…

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In what respects did Prussia's economy provide a basis for its dominance
within Germany
Prussia's resources and government policy

Prussia had remarkable natural resources especially with the newly acquired Rhineland. The Ruhr and the
Rhineland had considerable coal and iron ore deposits, and the Saar had coal. Prussian Silesia and…

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Why was there a constitutional crisis in Prussia in 1860-62 and why did it
bring Otto von Bismarck to power?




The ascension of King Wilhelm I

In October 1858 the mental illness of Friederich Wilhelm required the appointment of his brother, Prince
Wilhelm, as regent. Friedrich Wilhelm died in 1860.…

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