Briefly trace the process of German unification.

In the mid-1800s, nationalist feelings were strong and engraved in the hearts of the middle-class Germans. They all came united in 1848 to create a nation-state out of the numerous German States. But the monarchy and the military members got together to repress them and they gained support from the landowners of Prussia (the Junkers) as well. Prussia then became the leader of the German unification movement. Chief Minister Otto von Bismarck at that time was the architect of the process with support from the Prussian army and Prussian bureaucracy.

Process of unification of German

  • Nationalist sentiments were often organised by conservatives for promoting state power and achieving political domination over Europe. This can be noted in the process by which Germany and Italy came to be unified as nation-states
  • Middle-class Germans tried to unite the different regions of German Confederation, but their plans were not took place due to actions of large landowners called Junkers of Prussia.
  • The unification process was concluded after Prussia won wars with Austria, Denmark, and France over seven years time.
  • In January 1871, the Prussian king, William I, was indicated the German Emperor in a ceremony held at Versailles. Three wars over the span of seven years with Austria, Denmark and France ended in a Prussian victory. In Jan 1871, Prussian King William I was proclaimed German emperor.
  • More importance was given to modernising the currency, banking, legal and judicial systems in Germany.

Otto von Bismarck

  • He was the mastermind of German unification in 1871.
  • Otto von Bismarck was a conservative German statesman.
  • After unification of Germany, he was the Chancellor until 1890.
  • Otto von Bismarck was nicknamed as the ‘Iron Chancellor’.
  • From 1861 to 1871, he was the Chancellor of North German Confederation.
  • From 1862 to 1890, Otto von Bismarck was the Minister President of Prussia.
  • North German Confederation was the first German national state which was established after abolishing supranational German Confederation by Otto von Bismarck.
  • He was a famous diplomat and skillfully upheld the position of Germany in international affairs.
  • Otto von Bismarck was an advocate of Realpolitik. He used Realpolitik to achieve dominance of Prussia in Germany.

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