“How far was Germany united by 1871?
In January 1871, as the Franco-Prussian war neared its end, King William I of Prussia was announced as the Emperor of the Second Reich, with Otto Von Bismarck as his Chancellor, in the Palace of Versailles. From this point Bismarck had led a once weak nation into achieving his acclaimed ‘master plan’: to become the most dominant power in Europe, this was then confirmed ten days later with the defeat of the French army; to united all German speaking nations, excluding Austria, where Prussia was the dominant power; and to obtain political and military victories over Austria. However, although this was achieved, were the peoples and leaders of the Second Reich really united?
The first problem with term ‘united’ Germany was that in 1871 Germany didn’t have a national symbols such as flag, bank, currency or uniform legal code.
Another factor is that in reality it was Prussia that extended not Germany get together. Some states were forced into it. Also, there were language issues. It question an idea of german hood. Beside german speakers there were also Polish, Danish, French.
The theory of unification was all very well, but each of the 25 states had its own so to unite the people in fact, as the nations had been, proved more complex than anticipated. Although the aim of the liberals of 1849 had been achieved, they were displeased by the manner in which unification had been imposed from above, rather than through popular national movement. The German Empire also ensured Prussian dominance in the Reich, with both the Emperor and Chancellor being Prussian as well as Prussia having the large majority in both the Reichstag and the Budesrat, with 17 out of the 58 votes. As only 14 votes were necessary to veto any decisions, Prussia was always able to so if she wished, as well as her dominance meaning in practice she was unlikely to ever be outvoted. This would naturally have displeased other unified states. Also, not one...