Bismarck Essay

750 WordsDec 10, 20083 Pages
One much debated issue about the history of German unification has been over the role of Bismarck: Was he a master planner or just an opportunist? According to the reports of historians, Bismarck planned the unification of Germany as early as 1862. It was a coherent plan with a precise timetable. It involved three wars to complete the unification. First Bismarck attacked Denmark in order to get possession of Schleswig and Holstein. Then by allying with Austria and co-administering Schleswig-Holstein, Bismarck trapped Austria into another war. After defeating Austria, Bismarck established the North German Confederation. Then Bismarck exploited the ambition of Napoleon III and used the Spanish Succession Question to provoke France into war. These wars showed some great logical design, with each stage fitting its pre-appointed place. Bismarck could even, ahead of time, isolate his enemies from likely allies. Before war against Austria, he secured Russian neutrality by assisting her in the Polish affairs in 1863. He also gained French neutrality by deceiving Napoleon III into thinking that he would get territorial compensation. Before fighting France, he secured Austrian neutrality by treating her leniently after the Seven Weeks War. Finally, Germany was unified in the same sequence that Bismarck had planned. Bismarck was a master planner. However, some historians have challenged the “master-planner” interpretation. Leonald. W.Cowie believes that it was rare, if not impossible, for anyone to plan successfully 10 years ahead and impose his plan to such exact precision. It points out that the “master plan” interpretation was based not on facts but on a legend. Moreover, Bismarck’s many diplomatic activities were not dictated by war-preparation considerations.He fought the Danish War in 1864 because of the strategic importance of Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia. He

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