a strong united Germany – could
anything but good come from
March 1848 – popular uprisings in Berlin and
Prussia. Frederick William IV believed they were
started by foreigners – so he was so to react.
There was bloodshed between troops and the
Frederick William IV called for a written
constitution and gave the impression that
Prussia would lead German unification. The
monarchy appeared to be moving to the liberal
As time passed – Frederick William IV
replaced a moderate cabinet of ministers
with a conservative one.
April 1849 – Frederick William IV issued
his own constitution – dividing the
franchise into three classes:
The top 5% of taxpayers elected 1/3 of the
The Frankfurt Parliament
In May 1848, representative from all of the
German states met at Frankfurt and revised the
GERMAN CONFEDERATION. The Frankfurt
Parliament set about to write a liberal
constitution for a united Germany
They alienated conservatives who feared
unification and the working class that wanted
radical reform. Liberals believed in the free
market – while the working class was becoming
more socialist/communist in nature.
The working class began riots in the streets of
Who should be included in unification –
especially what to do with Austria?
With Austria was called GROSSDEUTSCH
Without Austria was called
The Habsburgs feared unification would
destroy their empire. Liberal Austrians
wanted unification with Germany.
March 1849 – the Frankfurt Parliament
offered the crown of Germany to Frederick
William IV. He refused to recognize the
right of a Parliament o make a monarch
Troops and disillusionment ended the
Economic links between the German states –
ZOLLVEREIN – tariffs between German states were
The economies of the various German states were
Austria continued to oppose any unification that allowed
Prussia to be dominate
Frederick William IV continued to oppose unification
Liberal nationalists still in disarray from the Frankfurt
Parliament/German Confederation defeats.
THEN Frederick William IV went insane!!!!!!!!!!!
1858 – Frederick William IV was judged
insane and removed from formal power.
His brother WILLIAM I became regent and
then king of Prussia in his own right in
William I believed that his family – the
HOHENZOLLERNS – needed to rebuild and
William sought to strengthen Prussia by
strengthening the Prussian Army
Number of soldiers increased
Number of officers increased
Conscription extended from2 to 3 years
TAX MONEY WAS NEEDED!!!!
The Prussian Parliament was dominated
by liberals who refused to approve the
new taxes. A new election returned
liberals to power…..what would William I
Remember the problems Louis XVI had
when they could not get enough money!!
OTTO VON BISMARCK
William I turned to Prussian junker OTTO VON
BISMARCK for help.
Bismarck began as a political reactionary –
determined to preserve the power of the
He opposed parliamentary government – but
liked constitutions if they preserved the power of
a strong monarch.
He was also a pragmatist who realized that
Prussia needed an industrial base as much as
the farm lands of the junkers.
“Germany is not looking to Prussia’s
liberalism but to her power.”
“The great questions of the day will not be
decided by speeches and majority
decisions …. But by blood and iron.”
1862 Bismarck becomes prime minister and sets
out to pull power away from the Prussian
Bismarck and William I develop the theory that
they have the right to collect taxes based upon
previously granted taxes.
The government collects taxes and builds the
army without the Prussian Parliament’s approval
and in direct opposition to the parliament’s
Bismarck was determined to unite
Germany into a conservative nation under
the leadership of Prussia.
The only way to unite the German states
WITHOUT developing liberalism was
Bismarck devised a series of wars that had
as their ultimate goal – the unification of
Germany - KLEINDEUTSCH
The Danish War
North German states of Schleswig and
Holstein had been ruled by the Danish
monarchs – but were not actually parts of
Denmark – the populations were mixtures
of Danish and German people. Holstein
was a member of the German
1863 – Denmark begins to make
Schleswig and Holstein actual parts of
As “leaders of the German people” Prussia
and Austria quickly defeated Denmark in
Austria was in charge of Holstein and
Prussia in charge of Schleswig.
Bismarck and Prussia support Russia’s 1863
suppression of a Polish revolt. This was to make
Russia look favorable toward Prussia.
Bismarck persuades Napoleon III to remain
neutral in a Prussian-Austrian War.
Bismarck makes a treaty with Italy in 1866
stating that if Italy attacked Austria when
Prussia declared war on Austria – Italy would
finally get Venetia.
NOW Bismarck had to provoke a war with
Austro-Prussian War 1866 “The Seven
Bismarck and the Prussians were as
obnoxious as possible to the Austrians
when discussing how to run Schleswig and
Holstein. They deliberately embarrassed
the Austrians at every turn.
1866 – Austria asked the German
Confederation to try to stop Prussia’s
Austria was defeated and the war was over in
The treaty ending the war and was lenient to
Austria. Bismarck did not want to destroy
Austria – he just wanted to use it to unite
Venetia given to Napoleon III who gave it to Italy
Austria removed from the German unification
The North German Confederation
1. The German states of Hanover, Hesse, and
Nassau and the city of Frankfurt had supported
Austria in the Seven Weeks War. Prussia
deposed their rulers and took control of them.
Prussia and the remaining German states north
of the Main River formed a federation under
Prussian leadership called the NORTH GERMAN
Each state retained its own local government –
but foreign affairs, army, etc were controlled by
William I who was president of the North
The North German Confederation was controlled
William I of Prussia – president of the Confederation
Otto von Bismarck – Prussia’s chancellor and
representative to the Confederation.
BUNDESRAT – upper house made of members appointed by
the governments of the German states.
REICHSTAG – chosen by universal manhood suffrage
The North German Confederation was not
Most peasants voted for the conservatives
Government ministers reported to the
monarch not the legislature
All laws had to be proposed by the chancellor
Liberals were divided into two groups.
1. wanted unification so badly they
accepted the conservative nature of the
2. opposed unification because it did not
follow the liberal path.
The North German Confederation – and
eventually Germany – was a military
The Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871
How does Bismarck unite the southern
German states [Wurttemberg, Bavaria,
Baden] with the North German
Let’s start a war with the French!!!!
1. 1868 – the Spanish military deposed the corrupt
Bourbon Queen Isabella II
2. the Spanish wanted a new – non-Bourbon monarch
3. they chose Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern a cousin of
4. June 1870 – Leopold accepted the invitation with
5. France and Napoleon III are terrified at the prospects
of being surrounded by a Hohenzollern Spain and a
6. France sends its ambassador to meet with William I
who was vacationing at Bad Ems.
7. 12 July 1870 – Leopold of Hohenzollern’s
father renounced his son’s acceptance to the
8. Problems avoided????
9. 13 July 1870 – the French ambassador was
instructed to ask William I for his assurances
that he would not allow a second German
candidate for the throne of Spain.
10. William I refused the request and sent a
telegram to Bismarck detailing the situation.
11. 13 July 1870 Bismarck wanted a war!!! So he
published William I’s telegram – but only after editing it
to make it look as if the French insulted the king. The
12. 19 July 1870 – France declares war. Napoleon III
did not want war – but his government wanted it.
13. 1 September 1870 – France defeated at the BATTLE
OF SEDAN – Napoleon III captured by the Germans.
14. 28 January 1871 – Paris surrenders
15. 18 January 1871 – the German Empire proclaimed in
the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. During the war the
southern German states had joined the North German
Confederation. Their leaders kept their titles – but
William I of Prussia became EMPEROR/KAISER WILHELM
I OF GERMANY
16. The peace treaty with France – the
Treaty of Frankfurt – gave Germany the
French provinces of Alsace and Lorraine.
Conservative politics created a massively
strong military power in the center of