What Were The Reasons For Prussian Growth By 1862

1303 words - 5 pages

Bismarck Course Essay- "evaluate the reasons for the growth of Prussia's influence in Germany by 1862"In 1815 there was no such thing as a German State or Nation. In the geographical area known as Germany the most powerful state was Austria which was the biggest factor in the increase of Prussia's influence by 1862. Prussia was the second most powerful state but she was far behind Austria politically and economically. In 1815 the Austrian foreign minister Metternich made a big mistake by giving Prussia the area of Westphalia and the Rhineland. Prussia was also given parts of Silesia. In trying to make Prussia more 'German' Metternich had effectively signed Austria's death warrant. The Rhineland was full of iron ore, coal and other valuable raw materials that had not yet been discovered.In 1818 Prussia passed a tariff law which did four things, firstly they abolished most internal Prussian customs and allowed most raw materials duty free into Prussia. The tariff law also allowed only ten- percent tariffs on manufactured goods and it passed a weight duty on goods travelling through Prussia. These laws effectively made Prussia a tariff free zone and therefore increased trade greatly. This was a huge boost to the Prussian economy and it was extremely significant that Austria didn't really take notice and follow Prussia into reducing tariffs. During the 1820's the Prussian economy became bigger and stronger. What was really important for Prussia to do was to build good relations with her neighbours who, in particular, could be very important to her success. Crucially, Prussia did do this. To cement these relationships with her neighbours the Prussian free trade zone became a Prussian customs union.When Napoleon had invaded Prussia he had begun a massive road building program so that his forces could easily be transported to countries such as Russia, whom he wanted to invade and defeat. After Napoleon had been defeated Prussia continued this infrastructure building program and went to great lengths to improve transport. By 1845 the three main rivers in the area were connected and this also gave trade a massive boost as did free trade zones. Yet again it was crucial that Prussia was doing this complex and innovative work and the so-called most powerful state in the German area was not doing this. In 1835 Prussia the first German railway line connecting Nuremberg and Furth.When the central and Southern German states set up two rival customs unions to the Prussian customs union it was very important to try and win their support because these two rival customs unions were supported by the Austrian Empire. Again this was exactly what happened in 1824 when the CGCU joined the PRCU, a few years later the SCGU also joined. After the SCGU joined the end result was the 'Deutsche Zollverein' or the 'German Customs Union'. This union came into existence on the first of January 1834.Another important factor was that Prussia handled the German Nationalists very...

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