German Unification

Germany up to 1820

G turned from 314 states into 39 - legacy of Nap

1815 German Confederation set up by Metternich dubbed "Holy Roman Empire Mk. 2" by some

1818 - Prussian Customs Union set up - some joined as impressed, others  forced economically into it

1819 Calsbad Decrees created by Mett to clamp down on student protests and censorship

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Congress of Troppau - discussed revs across Europe, said G Con would restore any rulers deposed by revs

All mail passing through Aust read by special office set up by Mett

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July - Rev in Paris - sparked riots across G states, many called for constitutions

Duke of Brunswick deposed, new ruler forced to give liberal constitution

Hannover - constitution granted by King

Hambuch Festival 1832 - 25,000 nationalists planned revolution

1830 - Hesse-Cassel left Middle German Customs Union (PCU's rival) and joined PCU. MGCU collapsed shortly after

After 1835 Zollverein covered 24 states, Pru had eco dominance

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  • Growth in nationalism due to poetry, music + growth of railways broke down barriers
  • France planned to annex Rhineland, huge nationalist upsurge across G states forced it to back down
  • March - King of Denmark tried to incorperate Schleswig (non G Confed) and Holstein (G Confed member) into kingdom, huge public outcry forced him to stop
  • Still eco and social problems across G - unemployment because of factories, Marixists believe each class developed its own conciousness in 1840s
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  • Feb, Louis Phillie in France overthrown
  • March -Students seized Vienna, forced many G rulers to accept radical demands
  • March -Declaration of Heidelburg, 6 states inc Pru met and agreed nat presentation needed to make constitution for G
  • May -Aust emp Ferdinand made liberal concessions: constitution and constituent ***embly
  • May -old Diet stopped and Frankfurt parliament named successor, declared authority over states, parls and princes

In Prussia

  • March - rev caused by rev in Vienna. Serious fighting between people and troops. Result was Fred giving general reforms inc. apponting liberal ministry and election of *** to draw up con
  • Junker Parliament wanted to abolish Pru Parliament
  • August - King resumed control over foreign policy made peace with Denmark
  • Nov - Fred named count Brandemburg as leader of new ministry, Pru Parl ordered out city
  • Dec - Pru Parl dissolved by royal decree and Fred gave on constitution
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Reasons for failure

Revs in Europe - failures of revs in Europe affected many in G

Limited Revolution - only small riots in Pru, revs had little support

Rev divisions - Rads vs libs in aims

Rural apathy - Good harvest so peasants not bothered 

Conservative strength - main reason for failure was that enemy was stronger, better organised

Not complete failure as feudalism gone, sort of Parl in Pru, all rulers modernised and conservatives began to take interest in WC

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  • March - two-tier parliament established and constitution agreed. Kleindeutschland rather than Gross FP voted for King Fre Will of Pru as emperor of G - Fred refused and said it wasnt theirs to give - didnt want to put Pru under Parl's control
  • Others followed suit and rejected constitution
  • May - FP voted for King Fre Will of Pru as emperor of G - Fred refused and said it wasnt theirs to give - didnt want to put Pru under Parl's control
  • Others followed suit and rejected constitution, remaining members driven out of Frankfurt 

Reasons for failure

  • Engels said full of old women and talked instead of filling power vacuum left by revs
  • Lacked muscle
  • Aust didnt want united G, Pru was crucial to FP but Pru wasnt interested
  • Hope gone when Aust regained strength

Prussian Union Plan

General Radowitz propsed PUP Kleindeutschland under Pru leadership, exc. Aust but would share special relationship. Aust didnt accept idea, but unable to act cus of domestic problems. 'Three Kings alliance' between Pru, Sax and Hann - other smaller states joined in

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Radowitz held metting about new Reich - 28 states agreed on Pru dominated Erfurt Union, others didnt join as scared of Aust

Aust put forward alternative plan governed jointly by Aust+Pru+several of largest states Larger states left to join Aust

April- Aust summoned Old Diet of Confed Rev in Hesse-Cassel - ruler asked F Diet for help even though member of Erfurt Union. Pru claimed right to dispute and mobilised army, Aust gave ultimatum = Radowitz dismissed and new PM against war

Oct- Pru abandoned E Union in meeting with Aust - huge humiliation, many voted to return to pre-1849

1851 - German Confederation re-established

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Position of Prussia

Economic Success - economy boomed 1850's because of industrial expansion, railway building, foreign trade and good education system

Growth of liberalism - supported by MC. Right wingers suspicious of full democracy -legacy of 1848

Conservative reform - Minister President Manteuffel made several reforms inc freeing countryside peasants from feudal duties + low interest loans to buy land and in towns financial help given to industry

International Situation - played no role in Crimea = friends with Russia. Aust also kept neutral but lost friendship with everyone. Aust defeated in N Italian war = poorer and less prestige

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1861 - Willaim 1 becomes King of Pru - created ministry containing libs and cons

Reform of army - aimed to strenghten army as key to future greatness. Appointed General Von Roon 1860, new reforms inc 2 x army size and inc in mil service from 2 to 3 years

Consitutional Crisis 

  • 1860 Parliament refused to pass military service bill.
  • Dec 1861 - Will dissolved parliament as wouldnt pass military service bill
  • Sept - Par (lib majority) refused to pass army bill - Will appointed Bismarck as Chief Minister
  • Bis gave 'Blood and Iron' speech - seen as threat to libs
  • Bis bypassed parliament saying he didnt need its permission and used taxation to pay for army

1863, Polish Revolt - Bis offered support to Russia, in return R remained neutral in Aust-Pru war

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  • Nov 1863 - New king of Denmark incorperated Schleswig into Denmark. Son of Prince of Augustenburg (prev claimant) claimed Holst was his, supported by G nationalist
  • Dec - Smaller G states condemed actions and sent army into Holstein on behalf of Duke of A

Austro-Prussian co-op

  • Bis got Aust help as Aust didnt want Bis allying with G nationalists
  • Aust-Pru gave Den ultimatum which Den refused
  • Jan 1864 - A-P army advanced through Holst into Sch, Den accepted European conference but it didnt solve problem
  • Dec - Denmark surrendered

Results of War

  • 1864 Treaty of Vienna - King of Denmark surrendered rights to Sch-Hol. 
  • August 1865 -Convention of Gastein gace Holst (nearest to Pru) to Aust and Sch to Pru - Bis knew he could use it to pick fight with Aust, AJP Taylor agrees
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War with Aust

  • Oct 1865 - Bis met Nap 3 at Biarrtiz to guarentee F neutrality in A-P war
  • April 1866 - Italy signed agreement saying it would declare war on Aust within 3 months of Pru doing so, Italy would gain Venetia as result. Bis gave proposals to Confed which he knew Aust wouldnt accept. Aust mobilised army
  • May - Pru mobilised, Aust seemed aggressor. Great Powers propsed congress to solve problem, Bis agreed so he'd look good, glad that Aust refused
  • June - Bis sent troops into Holstein and let Aust leave, didnt create war. Bis presented more ideas to Confed where Aust would be excluded. Aust asked Diet to help in war against Pru, most began mobilising against Pru
  • June - Pru invaded Han, H-C, Saxony as wouldnt side with them. 7 weeks war - mobilisatoin better than Aust because of prep and railways. Italians declared war on Aust, quickly defeated. 
  • Battle of Sadowa July - Pru won first major battle because of new tech. Pru won battle and war
  • Results - Pru annexed all of North Germany and formed North G Confed but left 4 S Cath States, scared of too much too soon
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Factors helping Bismarck

Prussian army - made united G reality, very modernised and saw need for railways

Economic Success - Better than aust and France 1850-60, invested heavily in industry and tech

Economic Unity and Zollverein - spread of railway and commercial network helped draw all parts of G into closer unity. By 1864, virtually all states in Zoll except Aust

German Nationalism - Helped by press which stirred up public to support Gov

Weakness in Austria - Decling power after 1848 - poor economy, damaged prestige from Italy

International Situation - Pru saw as 2nd rate power in 1862, helped Bismarck achieve supremacy without allerting neighbours. 1860's Britain adopted non interventionist policy

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1866 France

Nap remained neutral in Austro-Prussian war as hoped he could join later and then surrender and be part of peace deal - rapid Pru victory dashed hopes. Nap saw united G as threat

Southern States distrusted Nap as he made plans to annex them as reward for neutrality in 7 weeks war. July 1866 - F ambassadors presented Bis with F plans to annex Rhineland, Bis said no but look to Luxembourg

March 1867 - Bis released secret docs detailing military alliance with S states. Nap told King of Neths that Bis after his territory and he would protect them in return for Lux = Bis used patriotic ferviour to threaten king not to sell Lux. Bis appealed to Great Powers to solve prob = Pru garrison withdrawn from Lux and Lux given independance guarenteed by Great Powers. 

1867-70- peaceful as Bis scared in case F got Aust as ally - some hists say first time Bis led by G nationalism instead of Pru nationalism

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Hohenzollern Candidate 

1870 - Crown of Spain offered to Prince Leopald of Hohenzollern. King Willaim at first refused, then persuaded by Bis to say yes. Bis send envoys to bribe for Prince's candidacy

Feb - mssage arrived whilst parliament was out of session - news reached Paris and Nap angry - told Will to withdraw Leo's name or face war, Will did so

France demanded Will officially withdraw Leo's candidacy, Will offended - told Bis and let him notify Press

Ems telegram - Bis published ammeded version of telegram from F so it looked as though F provoking King Will. F newspapers demanded war. 

19 July - Nap declared war - F seemed aggressor and gave Bis chance to draw S states into G by calling on their aid

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Franco-Prussian War 1870-71

Bis published letter from F detailing plans to annex Rhineland in 7 weeks war - made it seem to Britain that F planned to invade Belgium, Brit's friend

Pru army quickly mobilised by train network, F slower. Pru artillery decisive in battles

August - Bulk of Nap's forces sheltered in forest under bombardment

Sept - Nap captured with rest of army attempting rescue of army

Jan - France signs armistice

Results of War

  • S G states joined because of nationalistic fervour Nov 1870
  • Jan 1871 - Will declared Kaiser at Versilles

Bismarck's skills

Noted by some for his foresight, others like AJP Taylor say he was only opportunist who took calculated risks

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