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Was Bismarck The Key Figure In The Unification Of German?

1483 words - 6 pages

Every country has its creators. In Germany, Otto Von Bismarck is one of them. Bismarck was a man with great diplomatic skills and admirations to achieve exactly what he desired without compromise.1 Under the guidance of Bismarck, the Prussian chancellor, the unification of a Germany took place in 1871 after Prussia defeated France. There is often historical debate over who was responsible for the unification of Germany. Controversy is caused amongst those who believe that Bismarck was fully responsible for German unification and those who believe other factors played an equally or even more important part. The historian Pflanze is an example of someone who considers Bismarck to be solely responsible, as opposed to Bohme, who gives full credit to economic factors in unifying Germany1. However, there is also a middle view, supported by historians such as Medlicott, who argue that Bismarck and other relevant factors caused unification1. Bismarck's determination, strong leadership, considerable political experience, and political cleverness demonstrate the importance of his role in German unification. The strong and determined leadership displayed by Bismarck played a very important part in uniting the German states. An example of this is when Bismarck illegally raised money for army reforms, boldly ignoring the opposition of the Prussian parliament who refused to vote the sum of money needed. 1 In a speech to the parliament in 1863, he claimed that: "Whoever has the power in hand goes ahead with his views". 4Despite the outrage of the Prussian parliament, Bismarck was able to collect enough money to enable him to build up the army, which was essential in helping Germany to become united. Bismarck's forceful approach was also important in unifying Germany. After the failure of the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848, he believed that idealism and talking were not going to result in the unification of Germany and that force had to be used. Bismarck stated that: "The great questions of the day are not decided by speeches and resolutions of majorities - that was the mistake of 1848 and 1849 - but by iron and blood". 7 His "iron and blood" speech was important, as it tried to encourage parliament to take firm action instead of discussing issues and getting nowhere. The historian Pflanze believed that Bismarck was responsible for uniting Germany as he turned the German people over to German nationalism. 2 He claims that Germany was unified: "only under the stimulation provided by Bismarck". 2 This proves that Bismarck's effective and forceful leadership was important in the unification of Germany. Bismarck's previous political experience and knowledge of foreign and domestic affairs later helped him in his role of unifying Germany. He represented Prussia in the German parliament, which helped him to gain a better knowledge of German politics. Bismarck was then transferred to St. Petersburg in Russia, where he was very popular with the...

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