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The Unification of Germany Germany before 1871 • Before 1871, Germany was split into many different states • Each state had its own ruler • Most people spoke German in these states and followed the Catholic religion Otto von Bismarck • A Prussian statesman named Bismarck dreamed of a unified Germany • Practiced “Realpolitik” which means practical rather than ideological politics Prussia goes to War with Denmark • In 1864-5 Prussia fought Denmark over Schleswig and Holstein (red) • Most Germans supported Prussia, giving Bismarck an opportunity to gain their allegiance Prussia goes to war with Autria • Austria had German allies • Prussia also had German allies • Prussia won but gave the Austrians a lenient treaty so they wouldn’t seek revenge • Prussia was now most powerful German state Bismarck vs. France • Bismarck engineered a war against France and even managed to make the French appear as the aggressors, thus ensuring that his southern German allies, such as Bavaria, joined a war in ‘defence of Germany’. • Germany won and Bismarck convinced all the German people to accept Wilhelm of Prussia as their leader • Germany was now a Unified Germany in 1871 country Unified German Empire • Unified Germany, with the help of Bismarck became a powerful nation • His trade policies boosted the German economy • German industry passed up British industry by the end of the century in both quality and efficiency Questions • 1. How would you summarize Bismarck’s unification of Germany? • 2. Britain was most powerful country in the world at this time, the empire upon which “the sun never set.” What do you think was the British reaction to a unified Germany?
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