The Unification of Germany

The man who made possible the unification of Germany was the Prussian prime minister, Otto Edward Leopold von Bismarck. He favored a strong, centralized Germany, but without Austria, which occupied some parts of what would be German territory.

The unification came about through three wars, all of which were created by von Bismarck. Number one—the war with Denmark over the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, in which Prussia won. Number two, the war with Austria, in which Austria was expelled from Germany seven weeks after the beginning of the war. Prussia then took over the entire north, calling it the German Confederation.

War number three, the Franco-Prussian war, lasted from 1870 to 1871.It began with the twisted account of a meeting between a French ambassador and King William of Prussia. This so enraged the French emperor, Napoleon III, that he decided to enter a war.

Prussia was strong, but it was not as strong as it could be. The southern states had not yet joined the German Confederation. Von Bismarck forced them into a joint allegiance with these words: “Are you with France or with us?”

Prussia eventually won the war. After that, King William of Prussia became Emperor William of Germany.

Germany, after hundreds of years of separation, warring states and different peoples, was finally one country, one nation, one people. It was a place where minds, intellects and interests could finally turn towards peace, cultural advancement and beauty, instead of turning towards war.


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