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The Unification Of Germany Was Achieved Through A Policy Of "Blood And Iron". How Did Bismarck Go About Unifying The German States?

1081 words - 4 pages

When Bismarck was appointed Prussian chancellor in 1862 by King Wilhelm IV, The democratic attempt of unifying Germany had failed and there was widespread sentiment among the Germans in favour of unification. There were a number of obstacles in Prussia's way of unifying Germany. Among them were foreign powers' interests in Germany, In other words, In order for Bismarck to unify Germany he had to eliminate all the other powers that posed a threat to German unification. Since the political approach had failed, Bismarck adopted a policy of "blood and Iron" for his plans of unifying Germany. Bismarck was a cunning politician who always made the other side seem the aggressor and in this way always appeared the victim. By manipulating political situations, Bismarck succeeded in going to war, and defeating, all the counties that stood the way of a united Germany under Prussian rule.Bismarck's first step was to gain as much support and trust of other countries before trying to eliminate the big threats e.g. France. In 1863 Bismarck saw an opportunity to gain Russia's friendship. The Polish were revolting against Russia and Bismarck promised the Tsar his support and massed troops on the frontier to prevent the Polish from crossing it, Thus helping Russia and gaining her support for future wars.The next step was manipulating a situation in Denmark to eventually eliminate Austria.The Danish king, Frederick VII tried to, against the congress of Vienna, incorporate Schleswig and Holstein into Denmark. He did not succeed and The Salic law of succession was passed. After Frederick VII, Christian IX came to power and he also tried to take over these countries, this time succeeding. Now Bismarck saw an opportunity, he appealed to Austria to help Prussia to Drive the Danes out of Schleswig and Holstein, the reason for this he said was that Denmark was going against the Salic law of Succession. Austria agreed and the Danes were easily defeated. After this the convention of Gastein was held in 1865. It was decided that Holstein would go to Austria and Prussia would get Schleswig.Now the next phase in Bismarck's plan was to get Austria to declare war on Prussia, He accused Austria of maladministration in Holstein and thus provoking her, Bismarck said that what Austria did was against the convention of Gastein. Prussian troops invaded Holstein and threatened a war. Prussia then produced a new draft for a new federation that would exclude Austria. When it was rejected Prussia declared that the confederation must dissolve and Austria saw this as a tantamount to a declaration of war. Austria thus declared war on Prussia.The Austrian army was easily defeated in the 7 week war at Sadowa.The Treaty of Prague was signed and Austria had to surrender Vienna to Italy and pay a small amount for indemnity to Prussia.Prussia spared Austria the humiliation of making a grand entry into Vienna, because Bismarck did not want to have the Austrians totally against him in the future....

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