German Unification Essay

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Germany became united between 1862 and 1871 as a result of the Danish War (1862), Austria- Prussian War (1866) and Franco- Prussian War (1870), as well as the sense of nationalism that sprang from these struggles. Also, Otto von Bismarck’s policy of setting the German people against other ethnic groups, such as the Danish or French, to unite the Germans, became a success as a result of the victory over these other groups. In 1862, Wilhelm I appointed Otto Von Bismarck chief minister of Prussia. Bismarck immediately began to build up the army, and he claimed that other ethnic Germans admired Prussia for her power. The year after Bismarck’s appointment, Prussia entered into the Danish War against Denmark. When Denmark decided to annex Schleswig, a duchy with many Germanic people, Bismarck joined forces with Austria in order to disguise his intent to gain territory; together they attacked Denmark in 1864. With Prussia’s modern equipment the war was won easily and quickly. Holstein was given to Austria and Schleswig to Prussia. This united a number of people of German descent from Schleswig with Prussia. Immediately after acquiring Schleswig and Holstein, Prussia and Austria began to argue over rights of passage to the territories. In order to reach Holstein, Austrians had to go through Prussian territory. Arguments increased and tempers rose, and while Bismarck pretended to be aiming for peace, he was, in fact, egging each side on. Knowing that Austria could find no allies in Europe, Bismarck lured Italy to aid Prussia with the promise of Venetia, and made intimations to France of possibly gaining Luxembourg if they would not join in the war. Bismarck thus isolated Austria, intimidated them, and prepared Prussia for yet another war. In 1866 Prussia and Austria went to war. The Prussians were forced to fight against the smaller German states as well since they
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