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Blood And Iron The Main Factors In The Unification Of Germany

2033 words - 8 pages

Blood and Iron - The Main Factors in the Unification of Germany

The unification of Germany was not just a matter of the signing a
document stating that the many states had become one country. There
were problems such as varying languages, currencies, and ethnic
minorities to name a few. In the end however one country, Germany was
the states as one but how was it unified? 'Coal and iron' refers to
economic ties unifying Germany and 'blood and iron' refers to the
unification of Germany through force. The role of Bismarck in the
unification of Germany was also a key factor however, if he was to be
put in one category for having unified Germany 'coal and iron' or
'blood and iron' he would be put into the latter. There were attempted
unifications through 'coal and iron' however for various reasons to be
discussed it did not occur. Bismarck realised that economy was not
going to unify Germany so he used force to achieve this, 'my task is
to keep and eye on the currents and steer my ship in them as best I
can'

Trade was a big problem between the states and would need to be sorted
out if they were to unify. The currency of the states was the same
however its value varied between the borders. Between the states trade
was restricted due to internal tariffs and customs barriers. Trading
with other states was inconvenient and expensive. The Rhineland
manufacturers complained about the burden on home industry. There was
no duty charged on foreign imports so the Rhineland, a rich industrial
area did not trade as well with neighbouring states as the foreign
imports were cheaper and just as good. As a result, the Prussian
Customs Union was formed from the Prussian Tariff Reform Law. The
internal customs duties were abolished and replaced by a simple charge
at the Prussian frontier. Many of the smaller surrounding states saw
the successes of the customs union and so decided to join themselves.
From then on many large states joined. The customs union became known
as the Zollverein.

The Zollverein was a great success and was a large step to the
unification of Germany. The systems of weights and measures was
homogenised within the states of the Zollverein. The major differences
between the states were now becoming not so apparent. Due to the
abolition of customs barriers and the currency no longer varying from
each state trade increased between the countries. This did not occur
however without the help of the railways. Lines were extended
throughout the states of the Zollverein. Because of this, delegates
were able to travel quickly and efficiently to other states to agree
trade treaties. Communication between the states increased greatly and
now not only were economic barriers broken down but also physical
ones. Communication to enable unity increased greatly through the
railways. One...

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