THE CHANCELLORSHIP OF BISMARCK
The unification of Germany had not been achieved by a popular revolution but
by the extension of the power of one of the states. The old social structure
remained largely intact, and the constitutional system of the new Germany
strongly reflected the old régime.
A variety of factors combined to assist the development of unity;
1) The ZOLLVEREIN had prepared the way for economic unity.
2) As goods already moved frrly about Germany it promoted THE
DEVELOPMENT OF A NETWORK OF COMMUNICATIONS.
3) A COMMON LANGUAGE AND A COMMON CULTURE also assisted the
process of unification.
4) Bismarck seized every opportunity to display the imperial symbol, and to
apply the adjectival "REICHS"; A REICHSBANK, REICHSCURRENCY,
5) A start was made on a common code of GERMAN LAW, and court
procedures were made uniform.
6) ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEMS were modelled on a common German
7) EDUCATIONAL institutions developed NATIONAL COHERENCE.
8) COMPULSORY SERVICE IN THE GERMAN ARMY.
The succesful partnership between Wilhelm I and Bismarck continued until the
death of the Kaiser in 1888, and Bismarck remained the Chancellor of the
German Empire until 1890. The continuity of government ensured that the
Empire was founded on secure beginnings, and it also ensured that Germany
was extensively Prussianized.
Germany was a FEDERAL STATE. It emraced 26 units, each of which retained
its own state government and tried to retain something of its own identity.
The Germ,an Empire consisted of the four kingdoms of Prussia, Bavaria,
Wurttemberg and Saxony, 18 lesser states, 3 free cities, and the Imperial
territory of Alsac-Lorraine.
The units varied greatly in area and influence. But though the Empire was a
federation in practice Prussia dominated all the other states.
Prussia was by far the largest of the constituent parts with approximately 60%
of the area and population (24.7 out of 41 million).
ORGANIZATION OF GERMAN CONSTITUTION (1871) (A sham
In theory, the German Empire created in 1871 was a voluntary association of
German states governed by as free a constitution as existed anywhere in
Europe.- In practice, behind each article of that constitution lurked the power
and influence of Prussia
There was an Imperial Legislature (lagstiftande församling) consisting of two
houses, BUNDESRAT and the REICHSTAG.
-consisted of 58 members representing the 26 states (Prussia-17, Bavarie-6,
Wurttemberg-4, the rest-1).
-had the power to initiate legislation.
-Could, together with the Emperor declare war and settle disputes between
-Nominated annually by the legislatures of the states.
-Agreement was required before bills were passed by the Reichstag. Had to be
consulted on all important matters of foreign policy but due it steadily lost
-A vote of 14 against a motion meant its rejection, which meant that Prussia
could control the Bundesrat.
-Elections/3 year by all men over 25.
-Could reject laws, but not initiate them.
-Could initiate taxes, but not change old ones.
-The Emperor could and did dissolve it (together with the Bundesrat).
-It had the power to question the Chancellor and to initiate debate upon any
point of his policy
Could not influence the appointment of ministers (including the Chancellor) no control over the government (Ministers were not responsible to the
Reichstag). Members of the Reichstag could not be appointed ministers.
-It had theoretical control over any alteration to the military budget, but gave
away these powers in the fear of a constitutional crises.
Excluded from review of military expenditure and foreign treaties.
-The lack of payment of members until 1906 discriminated against lower class
and more radical representatives
THE KAISER HAD CONSIDERABLE POTENTIAL POWER, which Wilhelm
I tended to delegate to Bismarck.
-Controlled the armed forces (could declare a "defensive" war.
-The chancellor was appointed by and only resposible to the Kaiser.
-The Kaiser could veto legislation and dissolve the Reichstag.
THE FEDERAL STRUCTURE
The state governments had considerable responsibility over matters such as
direct taxation, education, transport, police and local government. The degree
of popular control varied considerably.
The unification and the French Indemnity encouraged an economic growth,
while the newly-gained iron of Lorraine stimulated the growth of the heavy
The economic history of the new Germany opened with a short period of
financial euphoria, fuelled by over-generous credit policies on the part of
German bankers, and by large amounts of capital pumped into the economy by
French war reparations. These stimuli set off a wave of unsound investment
projects whose eventual collapse struck a blow to business confidence whose
effects could still be felt nearly 20 years later.
From 1873, however, the Empire was affected by the long lasting general
economic depression. In terms of production and of economic growth, the
German recovery took place relatively quickly. The production levels of 187273 had been reached again by 1880. But the psuchological impact of the slump
was considerable, and the effect of the depression on political mentalities was to
last well beyond 1880.
Due to the decline in trade German industrialists began demanding protection
by higher tariffs.
The rejection of liberal, free trading policies by the leaders of German industry
soon became evident in the formation of such pressure groups as the League of
German Iron and Steel Manufacturers.
The Russian and North American cheap grain resulted in that the German
landowners (junkers) joined the demands of protection. In 1878 Bismarck
abandoned free trade policy. Europe and the World drifted into a period of
economic nationalism and a tradewar. (which usually result in isolation and a
lack of understanding between different countries).
The adoption of protective tariffs by France, Russia and Austria-Hungary over
this same periodseemed to make it all the more desirable for Germany to follow.
Other reasons were the political need for self-sufficiency in the event of a future
crisis, and tariffs provided the government with a valuable source of income
independent both of the Reichstag and of the member states. New tarifflaws
were enacted in 1879.
Even though Germany faced financial crisis, due to Bismarck's protectionist
policy, the country had a spectacular economic growth between 1871-1914. By
1914 Germany had become the second greatest trading nation in the World.
There were several consequences associated with this growth:
1) URBANISATION. Besides a strong populationgrowth (41 to 67 million ,
1871-1913) there was a disproportionate growth of towns.
2) CHANGES IN OCCUPATIONAL DISTRIBUTION. In 1860 - 70%
depended on agriculture, by 1907-28,4%, while 42,4% worked in the industry.
Administrative services was the fastest growing sector from then on.
3) THE EMERGENCE OF CARTELS. A concentration of production into a
small number of large firms designed to keep up prices.
4) REGIONAL VARIATIONS. Rural,agricultural and poor east - urbanized,
industrialized and rich West.
THE PERSISTENCE OF POWERFUL PRIVILIGED ELITES
1) THE NOBILITY.
-Social dominance of the noble landowners on the countryside
-Monopoly of official positions, in the army and in the higher ranks of the
government and the administration the nobles enjoyed a preferred status.
2) THE ARMY
-Freed from most of the control, a state within the state.
-Enjoyed a very high status as the creator of the unified Germany (above all
criticism). A school for citizenship.
-The officer corps were mostly drawn from the nobility. Jews were not to be
-Used to crush popular social disturbances.
about 1/3 of the German population was Roman Catholic. Eventhough
Bismarck didn't want to emphasize the religious differences of Germans he was
aware and worried of the international nature of the Catholic Church. There
was the danger that Catholics might be more obedient to the Papacy than to the
In 1870 Rome had declared the PAPAL INFALLIBILITY (ofelbarhet) which
resulted in a division among the catholics in Germany. When a group of
German catholics opposed the Papal declaration Pius IX branded them as
heretics (excommunicated-bannlysta). The "Old Catholics" looked to the new
German state for protection and Bismarck took up the challenge with the
Papacy. This was the stage set for the KULTURKAMPF(struggle for
civilisation)-The struggle of two cultures, between the international Church and
the National State.
'It is not a matter of struggle between belief and unbelief/.../it is a matter of the
conflict between monarchy and priesthood. What is at stake is the defence of
the state', Bismarck declared.
By aiming to tie Catholic loyalties directly to the Papacy, instead of to the
national state, the doctrine (Papal infallibillity) was a clear challenge to state
power. The launching of this struggle offered Bismarck certain other political
advantages, such as closer ties with the anti-clerical Italian government; with
Russia, themselves greatly troubled by catholic Poles, and with the National
Anti-Papal regulations were imposed; German priests were forbidden to use
their religious appointments to interfere in politics. German education was
brought under the supervision of the state. All jesuits were expelled from
Germany (1872). Seminaries for the training of priests were placed under state
control. Priests had to graduate from German universities. Religious
appointments were made subject to government approval. Civil marriage was
made compulsory etc.
Loyal Catholics were prepared to suffer and they were soon winning sympathy
even among Protestants. The struggle was dividing rather than uniting
Germany. Quite soon it became obvious that Bismarck had to find a way out of
the struggle, and the death of Pius IX in 1878 offered the opportunity of a
compromise. Neither side won, many of the restrictions were lifted gradually.
But civil marriage remained compulsory, the state continued to supervise
education, the Jesuits were not allowed back and priests were still forbidden to
meddle in politics. But the "Old catholics" failed in creating an independent
German church, and the vast majority of German Catholics remained loyal to
Certainly the struggle did much to damage Bismarck's earlier work of
unification, and made the majority of German Catholics more sympathetic to
Papal authority than they had been before.
The anti-Catholic stance endangered good foreign relations with Austria and
the threat of an Austro-French understanding grew.
THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS
The combination of industrialization, Marx influence and Manhood suffrage
led to increasing support for socialism in Germany and the Reichstag.
(Ferdinand Lassalle pioneer)
1869-A workers party which 1875 became the Social Democratic Party.
Bismarck regarded the Social Democrats a threat to Germany's social system
and the nationstate (The international side of socialism)
It seems probable that if Bismarck's opposition to Catholicism was not primarly
ideological, his oppositon to socialism was.
Bismarck's opportunity came in 1878 when to attempts upon the life of the
Emperor gave him the chance to raise the cry of 'The Fatherland in danger', to
dissolve the Reichstag and to hold fresh elections.
-ANTI-SOCIALIST LAWS in 1878
SDP was driven underground but as Bismarck had no wish to create martyrs
the laws were used when necessary against those socialist who offered a
By 1883 Bismarck decided that it might be better to attempt to kill socialism by
kindness, to steal enough of their policies to win over the working class
supporters. The result was that, having already given a lead with a manhood
suffrage, Germany gave a lead to Europe in the field of state insurance.
National insurence schemes were introduced against SICKNESS (1883),
INDUSTRIAL INJURIES (1884) AND OLD AGE (1889). At the same time,
Bismarck made concessions to TRADE UNIONISM. Such reforms undoubtly
improved the quality of life of Germans, and they put a brake on the
development of Social Democratic opposition. SDP:s real breakthrough in the
Reichstag came after Bismarcks resignation in 1890.
Bismarck received support from academic socialists for his 'state socialism' but
he failed to check the growth of the party (550 000 - 1884, 1,427,000 - 1890)
GERMANISATION OF THE NATIONAL MINORITIES
The new Germany had French, Polish and Danish minorities. They posed a
lasting problem. A policy of GERMANISATION was followed with an
insistence on German as the language of education and official business. The
result was a permanent and growing opposition among the minorities.
1890-A TURNING POINT
In 1890 Bismarck faced a newly-elected Reichstag, more hostile to him than any
previous one. He considered reverting to the tactics of 1862, and ruling by the
Kaiser's decree. But Wilhelm II was the German Kaiser now (1888). He was
ambitious and had no wish to be overshadowed by his veteran Chancellor who,
he believed, had mishandled the problem of socialism and had put too much
effort into pleasing Russia and Britain. This left Bismarck isolated and in
march 1890 in to the resignation, after a violent quarrell with Wilhem II.
BISMARCK'S EUROPE 1871-1890
After the Franco-Prussian war Europe entered a 44 years long period. A period
not of war but of ARMED PEACE, as each great power sought to improve and
expand its own military forces.
To Bismarck the creation of the German empire (which most of the eurpean
countries armed themselves in defence for) marked the limit of his ambitions in
Europe, and after 1871 his diplomacy was aimed almost entirely at preventing
the outbreak of further wars from which Germany could have nothing to gain.
The new POLICY OF DEFENSIVENESS presented him two fundamental
1) ENSURE THAT FRANCE SHOULD REMAIN WITHOUT AN ALLY so
that she might be discouraged from attempting a war of revenge (ALSACLORRAINE).
Possible threat of an French-British alliance but
suspicion of France.
-Britains policy of SPLENDID ISOLATION
MADE AN ANGLO-FRENCH ALLIANCE HIGHLY UNLIKELY.
2) PRESERVE GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN AUSTRIA-HUNGARY AND
RUSSIA. If a war would break out between them Germany would probably get
dragged in it. This would have a direct bearing on the French question - France
would be able to escape her isolation.
-Rivalry between Russia-Austria in the Balkan-area.
The emergence of a strong independent Slav state (which interested Russia to
increse their influence, part of Russian nationalism) would represent a
considerable domestic danger, since it would act as a focal point of resistance
for all the subjected Slav peoples of the Habsburg Empire.
BISMARCK attempted to create a league of friendship between GERMANYAUSTRIA-RUSSIA = THE DREIKAISERBUND.
This bond of friendship was quite flimsy (bräcklig, tunn) to avoid disruption
but this flimsiness was soon apparent in two successive crises.
1. In 1875 a war of nerves between France-Germany. Bismarck accused France
of preparing for war and France responded by accusing Germany of preparing
for a preventive war against France.
It resulted in a visit by Czar Alexander II in Berlin and a russian warning to
Germany to go no further.
The exicitement died down but it had made it clear that both Britain and Russia
objected strongly to any suggestion of the waging of war by Germany against
France (balance of power-idea). Only Austria had stayed loyal to Germany. It
demonstrated how easily Bismarck's hopes for the Dreikaiserbund and the
isolation of France could be shattered. THE PATTERN OF EVENTS
WHEREBY THE GERMAN EMPIRE HAD BEEN CRETED HAD AWOKEN
A DEEP MISTRUST AMONG THE GOVERNMENTS OF EUROPE.
2) The second crises also started in 1875 when the Christian Slavs of Bosnia and
Herzegovina rose in revolt against Turkey. The question was if Russia would
try to advantage from the situation.
In the beginning the Dreikaiserbund acted in some degree of unison but the
revolt spread (Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro).
By the autumn of 1876 Turkey had recovered and started crushing the revolts
very brutaly. The threat of Turkish dominance on the Balkan resulted in a
more pan-slavic Russian policy; Alexander II declared that Russia had to take
military action to defend their brotherpeoples in the area.
To avoid a conflict between Russia-Austria a secret treaty was signed (1877,
THE BUDAPEST CONVENTIONS):
In return of observing neutrality Austria was to receive Bosnia and
The continued existence of Serbia and Montenegro was guaranteed.
No large Slav state was to be set up in the Balkans.
Efter this Russia declared war on Turkey (1877) but the war wasn't the swift
victory the politicians had thought. It dragged on and anti-Russian feelings rose
in Europe (A British fleet sailed through the Dardanelles into the sea of
The crises came to a head at the beginning of March 1878 with the signing of
THE TREATY OF SAN STEFANO between Russia-Turkey:
-The independence of Serbia, Montenegro and Rumania was recognized (all 3
were allowed to extend their frontiers).
-There was no mention of Austria's right to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina.
-Bulgaria was to become a large autonomous principality under a Christian
governor, while paying tribute to Turkey, and her frontiers were to run west
into the Balkan mountains and as far south as the coast of the Aegean.
The treaty of San Stefano awoke all the worst fears of Britain and Austria:
It comletely ignored the Budapest conventions and appaered to be the
fulfillment of Russia's hopes of gaining substantial control over the Balkans.
This was a threat to both Britain and Austria.
During the next 3 months anxious negotiations, culminating in the CONGRESS
OF BERLIN 1878 led to a complete revision of the treaty of San Stefano. Russia
was not prepared to go to war for the maintenance of the treaty (there was no
hope of military support from Germany.
The details were eventually settled after considerable negotiation. Bulgaria was
to become much smaller (Bismarck:" The diplomats were not there to consider
the happines of the Bulgarians, but to secure the peace of Europe").
Austria was to be allowed to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Britain quaranteed Turkeys frontiers against Russia.
The TREATY OF BERLIN was a defeat for Russia. Austria-Britain gained in
strengthening their own positions in the Balkan area.
BISMARCK himself was content that a highly explosive situation had not led to
an Austro-Russian war.
This crisis was however a turning poin in Bismarck's policy. Although
Germany had remained neutral Bismarck had, by his very refusal to uphold the
Russian claim to a large Bulgaria revealed that IF FORCED TO DECIDE,
GERMANY WOULD FAVOUR AUSTRIA.
This attitude was finally confirmed in october 1879 by the DUAL ALLIANCE,
a treaty signed between Germany-Austria promising mutual aid if either of
them were attacked by Russia and neutrality in the case of an attack by any
By the Dual Alliance Austria escaped the isolation which had been so disastrous
since the Crimean war.
Bismarck had now openly committed Germany to the defence of Austria WHY?
-The Balkan crisis had frightened Bismarck that an anxious Austria would turn
to France and with the Dual alliance he wanted to prevent this.
But this was something of a gamble for Bismarck;
1) It could wreck his policy by driving Russia into alliance with France.
2) It could also encourage Austria to embark on a much venturesome course in
the Balkans (happened after 1890).
For the next 11 years Bismarck strove to strengthen Germany's position in
Europe through a web of written treaties of which Berlin was the central point,
while at the same time doing his best to frustrate the creation of any counter
system of alliances. In this last he was assisted greatly by the anti-Austrian
attitude in Britain after 1880 (The Gladstone government) and by British
anxiety over Russian expansion southward in Central Asia.
Bismarck was also in a strong position to exploit the colonial rivalries of the
other powers, since he hadn't any intention of involving Germany in the
scramble for colonies (into this he was only forced due to the domestic
He was delighted over looking on the other European Powers fighting each
other in the competition for colonies (encouraged Britain to take Egypt in 1882,
chilled her relations with Russia and France).
Bismarck also enabled to renew the Dreikaiserbund in 1881 - neutrality if any
of the three would be in war with a fourth power. Including a vague
understanding of Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Russian influence over
By this he undid some of the harm that Russo-German relations had suffered could rely on Russian neutrality in a Franco-German war in return for German
neutrality in an Anglo-Russian war.
TRIPLE ALLIANCE (signed 5 years - defensive)
In may 1882 a Triple Alliance was formed between Germany, Austria and Italy.
1) Italy wanted to break out of isolation and strengthen itself against French
hostility (colonial competition). An alliance with Austria could assist them in
their domestic difficulties with the pope.
2) Austria wanted to silence Italian propaganda attacking her rule over the
italianspeaking minority. Gained promise of italian neutrality if a RussoAustrian war.
3) Germany enlisted a possible ally against France.
Italy and Germany were each to help the other in the event of one of them being
attacked by France.
Austria was also to help Italy and Italy Austria if A. was attacked by both
France and Russia.
Bismarck's most delicate problems still remained in solving the dispute between
Austria and Russia and the obligations included in the Dualalliance.
In 1887 the terms of The Reinsurance Treaty had to be woven carefully around
all other existing German obligations. It stated that each would remain neutral
if the other went in to war with a third power, but the agreement would not
become operative if Germany attacked France or if Russia attacked Austria.
Bismaarck had no plans attacking France and hoped that this would discourage
Russia from taking aggressive actions.
A new crisis had arisen in Balkan from 1885 and this came to a head in july
Awar between Austria-Russia seemed to be very close.
When Austria requested the assistance of Germany, Bismarck warned them
that he could not agree to an attack unless Austria was absolutely certain
Britain would assist them as well. A little later B. published the Dual alliance
thus hoping that this action would serve as a warning to Russia buit also
Austria since it revealed to the world that the Dualalliance was purely defensive
and that Austria would fight alone if she took the initiative in attacking Russia
THE GERMAN UNIFICATION
Already from the beginning of the century there existed a strong and obvious
desire to create a big and strong germanspeaking united state (especially among
the intelligentia and the bourguoise). But this wasn't only a question for the
germans. The neighbouring countries were involved in this kind of process.
Denmark and Austria had germanspeaking population and France was afraid
of a Greatgermany).
The 1815 settlement created a German Confederation in which Austrian
influence was dominant.
Between 1815 and 1848 Austria an Prussia remained wary of any
manifestations of German nationalism - threated their more traditional dynastic
foundations. Considerable cooperation between A-P over policy towards the
rest of the Confederation.
The 1848 revolutions brought the cooperation between Austria and Prussia to
an end and altered (förändrade) the whole nature of the German question.
WHICH OF THE TWO WOULD BE ABLE TO TAKE CHARGE AND
DIRECT THE GROPWING ASPIRATIONS TOWARDS UNITY?
Most Germans looked at Prussia and saw a more cohesive (sammanhängande)
state which was much more economically progressive (main priority for the
1) Prussia had a tradition of economic reform which an unchanged system in
Austria held back - encouraged private enterprises.
2) The Congress of Vienna gave Prussia the coal- an iron-producing areas of the
Rhineland in compensation for the Polish provinces (Ruhr, Saar) - Prussia
became one of the richest states concerning mineral deposits (coal, iron) in
Central- and Western Europe.
3) The largest step in the direction of German unification in these early years
was the creation of the Prussian-dominated customs union, the ZOLLVEREIN,
from which Austria was excluded. From 1834 onwards Prussia was able to
extend her influence over fellow German states by this CUSTOMS UNION.
The middle class liberals began to think in terms of political unity with Prussia
as a means of preserving a larger market and developing Germany as a more
powerful economic entity.
During the 1850s the Prussian economy took off (Industrial Revolution); a. The
railway network increased (quadrupled in 20 years), b. The coal production
trippled in 10 years, c. The Steel industry increased and modernized
(Weapons), d. The chemical Industry became the leading Worldwide, e. Prussia
became a precursor (föregångare) in electrifying its industry.
Prussia's economic growth pulled the rest of Germany behind it.
4) In the same time Austrias economy weakened. The commercial isolation
resulted in Austrian attempts to transform the Zollverein into a wider customs
Union but Prussia managed to avoid taking up this issue.
In 1858 William I became king of Prussia which starts a new era.
A major constitutional crisis between William I of Prussia and the Prussian
House of Representatives over army reform brought Otto von Bismarck to
power as Minister-President in 1862. He was determined to uphold Prussian
interests and the existing conservative monarchial order and he proceeded to
finance an expanded army without parliamentary authorisation.
-When the Prussian parliament had rejected an army Bill in 1862 the newly
appointed Bismarck addressed the Parliament;
IF PRUSSIA WERE TO PLAY A DOMINANT ROLE IN GERMAN
AFFAIRS THIS ROLE HAD TO BE UNDERPINNED BY MILITARY
SECURITY. "GERMANY LOOKS NOT TO PRUSSIA'S LIBERALISM, BUT
TO HER POWER...THE QUESTIONS OF TODAY WILL NOT BE
DECIDED BY SPEECHES AND MAJORITY DECISIONS ...BUT BY
BLOOD AND IRON".
Though military and diplomatic factors created the "united" Germany the long
period of economic and industrial preparation formed the fundament for the
Bismarck succeeded in concentrating the power to the ruler (and himself) and
Bismarck was forced into adventure by domestic pressures and fears (growing
liberalism, republicanism and socialism). Bismarck's basic aims was to defend
the priviliges of his class and the alliance which existed between the aristrocracy
and the monarchy. This determination to defend and strengthen the
conservative political order in Prussia combined with an equal determination to
enhance (stärka) the Prussian state provides the key to both his domestic and
For almost 4 years Bismarck's rule in Prussia was unconstitutional. Liberals in
Prussia, and the rest of Germany were anxious for Bismarck's experiment to
fail. The conflicts with Denmark and Austria were to Bismarck means of
avoiding compromise with the Prussian liberals.
In january 1863 there was an inserruction in Warsaw which quickly spread to
the rest of Russian Poland. Prussia and Russia agreed that the Prussians should
police their Polish frontier and return any Polish ebels who attempted to cross
the border. France wanted to cultivate good relations with England in this
question. France lost prestige on the matter. Bismarck profited when it became
obvious that post Crimean alignments didn't exist anylonger.
Prussia secured its eastborder (central idea in Bismarcks policy) through
helping Russia to chrush popular rising in Poland.
In 1864 the Danes presented Bismarck with something he needed, a nonGerman enemy.
Now Prussia turned against DENMARK and SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN with
its germanspeaking population (ideological struggle between the existing
nationalistic forces in the area (Danish and Scandinavism - German).
Bismarcks Prussia was different from its predecessors; Earlier existed the fear
that war might unleash the forces of revolution.
The wealth of Prussia meant that it didn't need to fear the financial strains of
war. The Austrian government couldn't contemplate war with the same ease.
Bismarck succeeded in avoiding a compromise (which would have given
autonomy to S-H).
Bismarck feared that if Prussia did not take the initiative in opposing Denmark,
the German nationalists would rush in.
Instead he talked Austria into attacking Denmark together with Prussia.
The Austrians would have liked the two armies to have acted in the name of the
German confederation. Bismarck refused. He was determined that there should
be no 'German policy' until such time as he could call Prussian policy German
After the invasion Britainattempted to create an Anglo-Russian-French alliance
against Austria-Prussia but failed due to hostilities between these 3 powers.
Denmark hadn't a chance when its neighbouring countries remained neutral
(Which actually killed the Scandinavism).
On 1 August 1864 a preliminary peace was signed by which Denmark ceded the
duthies to Austria and Prussia
Prussia gained SLESVIG AND LAUENBURG.
Austria gained HOLSTEIN.
The second phase began in August 1864 when the Austrians and the Prussians
were to determine the future of the dutchies.
Bismarck was determined upon the annexation of the dutchies to Prussia. He
knew that Austria and most of the German states wanted to create a new state
in northern Germany which would be anti-Prussian. The aim of his opponents
was to strengthen the federal structure in order to contain Prussia.
In 1865 Bismarck did not conciously set out to use the question of the dutchies
as a means with which to destroy the authoriy of Austria in Germany and the
position of the confederation in German political life. But gradually he came to
realize he couldn't separate these issues.
Next step in Bismarcks policy was to deal with Austria.
In 1865 he contacted France's ruler Napoleon III and gained his support for the
idea to give Austria a blow.
The French calculated that the two German Powers were evenly matched and
that a war between tham would be long and exhausting.
Then in 1866 Prussia entered in to a military alliance with Italy, with the
promise of Venetia to Italy as compensation for assistance in a war against
Bismarck was also in contact with the Hungarians and this way he could secure
a division inside The Austrian Empire.
Finally, he was able to exploit Russia's fears in the Near East to secure her
neutrality in Europe.
Because Austria had a majority of states behind her in the Confederation
Bismerck sought to isolate her amongst the Great Powers. This made war
In february 1865 the Austrians proposed that Prussia should annex Schleswig
and Holstein, and that Austria would receive from Prussia the county of Glatz
in compensation. Bismarck refused.
Bismarck was convinced that England and Russia would not take any action in
a conflict between Prussia-Austria. Britain; 1) A strong state in central Europe
was the best means to contain France and Russia, 2) the failure of the British
government in the Danish question.
Russia; 1) Russia needed to consolidate the programme of domestic reform, 2) a
strong conservative Germany would be a bulwark against the expansion of
From may 1866 onwards both Austrians and Prussians accepted that war
between them was inevitable. The Austrians didn't know how to avoid it and
the Prussiand didn't want to avoid it.
Austria was in the difficult position that mobilization of their forces took twice
as long as the Prussian forces.
In june 1866 Prussia occupied Holstein. Austria's response was to declare war
and proclaim a general german mobilization against Prussia. Prussia invaded
the northgerman states and Italy declared war on Austria.
Already in july the same year Austria was forced to accept a truce (vapenvila).
Austria lost Venetia to Italy and some small territories to Prussia but the
general idea was to establish a good relationship with Austria and definetly not
provoke the country into a anti-Prussian mood.
The Confederation of 1815 was to be dissolved and Austria was to relinquish
(avstå) completely her position as a German power. This resulted in that the
other German states were at the mercy of Prussia.
Henceforward nationalism was the junior partner of Prussian conservatism.
This was the single most important and extensive revision of the treaties of
1815. The Prussian annexations in Germany made her larger, more populous
and richer than all the other German states combined. Austria was expelled
The loose confederation of 1815 was replaced by a new centrally-controlled and
Prussian dominated confederation of 1867.
Already before the peace was signed Bismarck succeeded in forming a secret
militaryalliance between Austria-Prussia directed against France.
The northgerman states were united in a confederation under the guidance or
leadership of Prussia. Actually a similar deal, but secret, was made concerning
the southgerman states.
After the Austro-Prussian war 1866 France realized that the real threat came
There had been no long war of attrition which France could have profited from.
Napoleon III demanded some territorial compensation for France's neutrality
during the Austro-Prussian war (Rhens westbank)
Bismarck didn't only reject this but he also humiliated France by releasing
Napoleons wire to the press. He acted the same way when France contacted
Prussia with a proposal of a French-Prussian non-aggressionpact which would
have given Luxembourg or maybe even Belgium to France. With these
documents published Bismarck could be sure that neither Great Britain or
Belgium would assist France in a Franco-Prussian war.
France believed in a Austro-French alliance but this turned out to one more
Bismarck succeeded in isolating France.
Both Napoleon III and the French opinion now thought that Prussian expansion
had to be stopped.
This was exactly what Bismarck had been aiming at. Now the countries only
needed a reason to start a war. The reason was found in Spain. In the year 1866
there existed a possibility that a member of the Prussian royal family
(Hohenzollern) would take over the Spanish trown which would result in
France surrounded by enemyforces (as the frenchmen interpreted it).
France demanded that William I, as beeing head of the Hohenzollern family,
wouldn't allow anyone from the family to accept the Spanish crown.
William I rejected this in a polite way but Bismarck saw his chance and rewrote
the information concerning these Franco-Prussian talks. (The so called Ems
depesch while William for the time beeing was in the health resort EMS).
The French opinion became very heated due to this.
At the same time Napoleon III had come to the conclusion that he needed a war
to raise his foreign policy profile and unite France (domestic problems and
19.7.1870 FRANCE DECLARED WAR ON PRUSSIA.
Germany united its resouces in a defence against France.
Already 2.9 Napoleon was captured and France surrendered 28.1.1871 after a
long sieg of Paris.
Paris refused to accept defeat (the Commune). But the formal peace was signed
10 may 1871.
France lost ELSASS AND PARTS OF LOTHRINGEN AND WAS FORCED
TO A VERY HIGH WAR INDEMNITY (Paris occupied until these reparations
Already the 18.1 the Prussian king William I had been proclaimed German
Emperor in Versailles (German head quarter - very humiliating to France and
quite a few didn't forget or forgive Germany for this. The seed to the first
THE NEW GERMAN FEDERAL STATE UNDER PRUSSIAN LEADERSHIP