Asses the View That the Importance of the Zollverein in German Unification Has Become a Historical Myth and Cannot Be Sustained by a Study of the Evidence?

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Some historians such as Lipson and Passant have argued that the Zollverein became an integral tool in the coming of German unification, and the part it played in breaking down the traditional state boundaries which in turn led to unification. Lipson indicates that the Zollverein built the foundations for a united Germany, and writes; “Economic unity paved the way for political unity, and community of material interests stimulated the growth of national feeling and fostered national consciousness.’1 Lipson argues that the Zollverein acted as a tool that would unite Germany economically at first, but in time it led to political and eventually total unification. When the Zollverein came into establishment on the 1st January 1834 it brought together 18 states with a population of 26 million people, all unified under the terms of free trade; tariffs were to be the same across all frontiers. We can see how the Zollverein began to unify Germany because by 1837 all of the southern states were sharing the same currency, the florin, and that by 1844, almost all of Germany, bar Austria and three other states, were unified. Bowring can be seen supporting Lipson’s argument by writing in 1840, “In fact the Zollverein has brought the sentiment of German nationality out of the regions of hope and fancy into those of positive and material interests.2” Here Bowring agrees with Lipson’s statement that the creation of the Zollverein brought about the first form of German unification by breaking down the stately barriers that had previously hindered unification. E. J Passant concurs with Lipson and Bowring’s views that the Zollverein brought about a desire for unification, “The rise of the Zollverein under Prussian leadership, from 1834 onwards, contributed to the desire for still closer national unity.3” As the Zollverein grew extended, and removed internal custom barriers it encouraged
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