His father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck —was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer; his mother, Wilhelmine Luise Mencken —was the well educated daughter of a senior government official in Berlin. He had two siblings:
German Unification Summary Whereas Camillo di Cavour directed Italian unification, a Junker the Prussian name for an aristocratic landowner from old Prussia in the east named Otto von Bismarck pushed German unification through "blood and iron" and skillful understanding of realpolitik.
As the map of central Europe stood inPrussia competed with Austria for dominance over a series of small principalities fiercely keen on maintaining their independence and distinctive characteristics. Prussia proper stretched from modern-day Lithuania to central Germany. Prussia also controlled the German lands around the Rhine River in the west.
In between, from Denmark to Switzerland, lay small provinces that Bismarck needed to incorporate under the Prussian crown to create a viable German Empire.
InBismarck reorganized the Prussian army and improved training in preparation for war. Inhe constructed an alliance with Austria to fight Denmark over Denmark's southern provinces of Schleiswig and Holstein.
Prussia received Schleiswig while Austria administered Holstein. That situation, however, could not stand for long, as Austrian Holstein was now surrounded by Prussian lands. Bismarck provoked a conflict with Austria over an unrelated border dispute and in the subsequent Seven Weeks' War--named for its brevity--Prussia crushed the collapsing Austrian army.
The peace settlement transferred Holstein to Prussia and forced Austria to officially remove itself from all German affairs. With Austria out of Bismarck's way, his next obstacle was the skepticism of the southern provinces.
Overwhelmingly Catholic and anti-militaristic, the southern provinces doubted Prussia's commitment to a united Germany of all provinces. Prussia's Protestantism and historic militarism made the gulf between north and south quite serious.
Therefore, Bismarck turned to realpolitik to unite the Germanic provinces by constructing a war against a common enemy.
InBismarck forged a note from the French ambassador, implying that the ambassador had insulted the Prussian king. After he leaked this letter to both populations, the people of France and Prussia, roused by nationalist sentiment, rose up in favor of war.
As Bismarck hoped, the southern provinces rallied to Prussia's side without any hesitation. In JulyFrance declared war on Prussia. Alsace-Lorraine was transferred to Germany in the peace settlement, allowing Prussia to declare the German Empire, or Second Reich, on January 21, Commentary Like Italy, Germany had quite a few serious issues to resolve once unification took place.
Regional differences, developing since the first settlement of the Germanic tribes during the Roman Empire, were distinct, and local princes refused to give up substantial power to the central government. The Berlin assembly, therefore, was kept weak.
Germany, like the United States under the Articles of the Confederationseemed merely a loose of confederation of autonomous states. In Germany's case, one state, Prussia, was absolutely dominant due to its size, power, and military strength.
This, combined with Bismarck's skillful conduct in international and national affairs as chancellor, kept the empire together until However, the creation of a unified Germany in central Europe marked one of the greatest revolutions in the history of international relations.
Since the establishment of nation-states in Europe, France, under the Valois-Bourbon royal line, dedicated its foreign policy to the weakening of Habsburg Austrian and Spanish royal families and the continued disunity of the Germanic provinces.
Now that central Europe was united into two major powers--Germany and Italy--Europe was quite a different place. What would now become of the traditional balance of power in place since the defeat of Napoleon?
The whole point had been that no one nation should gain excessive power and strength on the Continent. With the unification of Germany in central Europe--an essential economic and strategic region--was the balance of power doomed?The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January , in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France.
Princes of the German states, excluding Austria, gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm I of Prussia as German Emperor after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War.
How important was the role of Bismarck in the unification of Germany? It has been said by several historians that the second half of the nineteenth century was the ‘Age of Bismarck.’ In the mid ’s Bismarck provided dynamic leadership- a trait which had been lacking during the events of Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck and Duke of Lauenburg (German: Otto Eduard Leopold Fürst von Bismarck und Herzog von Lauenburg; Born Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck-Schönhausen; 1 April – 30 July ), known as Otto von Bismarck (German: [ˈɔtoː fɔn ˈbɪsmark]), was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the s until and was the first .
Bismarck was keen to preclude threats to Prussian influence in the German lands and was also open to achieving yet more expansions of the territory of Prussia-Germany. In strategic terms the France of Napoleon III was a presumptive opponent of any increased influence being exercised by the Prussian dominated North German Confederation over the states of Southern Germany.
Unification of Germany by Bismarck, was not planned, it was improvised." - Discuss. When Otto von Bismarck became Minister-President of Prussia in , German nationalism was already more than 40 /5(8).
German Unification () Summary Whereas Camillo di Cavour directed Italian unification, a Junker (the Prussian name for an aristocratic landowner from old Prussia in the east) named Otto von Bismarck pushed German unification through "blood and iron" and skillful understanding of realpolitik.