Background • France and Russia had long-standing policy of keeping Germany weak and divided • Nationalism came to Germany, but different from Italy • Unification of the German states was one of the most significant events of the late 19th C. • Changed the balance of power • 39 German states • Prussia: strong monarchy, powerful aristocrats (Junkers), disciplined army
Background • Napoleon – Reorganized the German states into the Confederation of the Rhine • Zollverein – tariff union of German states that did not include Austria • Series of revolutions in German states - 1848 • Frankfurt Parliament of 1848 • Offered crown of unified Germany to Frederick William IV • Turned it down – would not accept crown “from the gutter”
Path to Unification • Otto von Bismarck • Became prime minister in 1862 • Served Kaiser Wilhelm I • Conservative • Believed in a strong monarch • Quarreled with parliament
Path to Unification • Bismarck practiced Realpolitik – which means the “politics of realism" – do what is necessary, not what is right or moral • The great questions of the day will not be decided by speeches and majority decisions – that was the mistake of 1848-1849 – but by blood and iron. • Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will provoke the next war.
Path to Unification • The Danish War (1864) – Fought Denmark for Schleswig and Holstein. • Austro-Prussian War (aka The Seven Weeks War – 1866) – Defeated Austria for control of Schleswig and Holstein. • Neutralized Russia by supporting its suppression of Poland. Gained promise of neutrality from France. • Lenient treaty with Austria so it would not seek revenge.
Path to Unification • North German Confederation • President of the Confederation = King of Prussia • 2 house legislature • Bundesrat – members appointed by state government • Reichstag – chosen by universal male suffrage • Laws proposed by chancellor • Bismarck made the monarch and the military popular institutions. • Liberalism was very weak
Unification • Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) • Baited the French into war and won –Ems Dispatch – OvB edited a telegram from Wilhelm I to Napoleon III making it appear that he had insulted the French king. • Southern German states united with North German Confederation against France. • German Empire proclaimed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles • Strong conservative nation created. Austria was weak and Russia was behind the rest of Europe.
Outcomes • The 2nd French Republic collapsed and the 3rd Republic rose. • Italians annexed Rome. • France paid a huge indemnity and was occupied by German troops until it was paid. • France was forced to give up Alsace and Lorraine • France was very bitter towards Germany for decades.