Bismarck’s leadership was vital to the creation of a united Germany by 1871. How accurate is that opinion?
German unification was a long process, 1800 no desire for it, by 1871 as a result of multiple factors Germany unified. The reasons for this are a topic of debate among historians. One school of thought is that of Williamson; Bismarck alone did not unify Germany, but rather “he exploited powerful forces which already existed” such as Austrian weakness and Prussian military power. An opposing opinion is that of Hitler who believed Bismarck played a central role in unification “Bismarck created the conditions which rendered possible the creation of a Great Germany.” This school believes in the importance of Bismarck’s foreign policy and Realpolitik in achieving unity. The extent to which Bismarck’s leadership was vital will be examined here.
Take notes on each of these points.Decide which side you support and argue your case
Bismarck’s foreign policy - Realpolitik/diplomacy in the three wars against Denmark, Austria and France – exploited events to his advantage.
His isolation of Austria before the war.
The issue of Schleswig Holstein and the war with Denmark.
Treaty of Prague 1866.
Hohenzollern candidature and the Ems telegram to provoke a war with France – Bismarck manipulated these to Prussia’s advantage that eventually brought about war with France and therefore German unification.
German nationalism laid the groundwork – Bismarck was able to exploit it.
On your own. Remember – sum up key arguments for AND against. Mention key analysis and evidence for both sides then reinforce your own argument.
Remember, Remember Historiography !