O Pflanze“Only under the stimulation provided by Bismarck for his own political ends did German nationalism begin to move the masses.”
Craig: “If he never risen to the top in Prussian politics, unification of Germany would never have take place anyway.”
Williamson “Bismarck did not fashion German unity alone. He exploited powerful forces, which already existed; the industrial revolution in Germany, the growth of if liberalism and nationalism …the increasing determination of Prussia…to reassert her influence over Germany”
Sheeves “Bismarck was fortunate, when he came to power the economic, diplomatic, military and intellectual foundations for German unity had already been laid.”
‘WARS OF UNIFICATION’: DENMARK, 1864
Showed Bismarck to be both opportunist and master planner
The recently formed Prussian army was tested in an ‘easy’ war before taking on Austria
Territorial dispute over 2 small German states – Schleswig and Holstein. These were both under control of Denmark. King of Denmark declared that in 1863.
1864: Prussia and Austria teamed up & declared war on Denmark. Easy win!
Bismarck had engineered a treaty with Austria (Treaty of Gastein - which he knew wouldn’t work. Prussia was to control Schleswig and Austria control Holstein.
Treaty of Gastein was designed by Bismarck to encourage hostility as it meant that Austrians would have to go through Prussia to get to Holstein!
Military factors just as important. Bismarck just used what was available to him. Without the skill of the army, Bismarck’s career would have been over and potential that unification would not have been achieved in same way – with Prussian dominance.
Bismarck on fighting with Austria: “I hitched the Duke as an ox to the plough to get it moving, once it was moving I unhitched the ox” – shows he was using them for Prussian advantage.
Medlicott: “Had the Prussian army not been as good as Bismarck believed it to be, he would have been a dead man before the day of the battle was over.” – highlights military power as unifying factor.
Why did Germany unite?
‘WARS OF UNIFICATION’: AUSTRIA, July 1866
Bismarck used the unresolved situation left afer Gastein – Schleswig/Holstein to complain that Austria was not running Holstein properly! He complained that Austria was stirring up anti-Prussian feelings in Schleswig.
So…Prussian troops marched into Holstein.
When Austria was given support from southern states against Prussia, Bismarck used it as an excuse to attack.
When Prussia defeated Austria at Koniggratz, Bismarck suddenly declared end to war. He did only what was required to achieve his aim – nothing more.
Treaty of Prague created a North German Confederation - mainly Prussian territory.