How Successful Was Bismarck In Unifying The German State During The Period 1871 - 1890?

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How successful was Bismarck in unifying the German state during the period 1871 - 1890? It is argued that Bismarck was both successful and unsuccessful in unifying the German state. In the period of 1871 - 1890, Bismarck faced many factors that both hindered and helped in unification, such as the nature of the constitution, his relationship with the national liberals, his relationship with the Catholics and the creation of the new working class. The North German Confederation was mainly Protestant however when the southern states joined, the population became nearly a third Catholic. Bismarck did not help to make the Catholics feel welcome in the Confederation. Pope Pius IX that the Church was slowly losing its traditional power, so he announced that any statement he made was to be accepted everywhere by Catholics, therefore German bishops would have to obey. Bismarck similarly wanted his new government to be obeyed. The Centre party (Catholic party) began to win more seats in the Reichstag, causing concern for Bismarck as there loyalty may be to the Pope. Bismarck began to fight back, he banned the most active order of Catholic priests and introduced a law that the government had a right to inspect all schools, including Catholic ones. The government would also control the training of priests and appoint them to churches and no one could be married without a civil ceremony in a government office. The Catholics saw this all as an attack on their beliefs, the country was left in struggle resulting in the ‘Kulterkampf’ movement. The loyalty of the Catholics had been weakened and the Prussian conservatives did not want the government to control local problems. This made Bismarck largely unpopular and cause disunity in Germany. The constitution in the German Empire had two assemblies, the Reichstag and the Bundesrat. Every year the Reichstag had to approve a
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