Reasons for german unification prussian military

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Reasons for german unification prussian military

  1. 1. Economic success Prussia had a very strong economy, partly due to the success of the Zollverein. This financial success gave Prussia the ability to build a strong army.
  2. 2. Stronger Prussian army King Wilhelm wanted to build a bigger, stronger army but was blocked by the Prussian Landtag (Parliament). Bismarck simply defied them and took the taxes to make army reforms.
  3. 3. War with Denmark In 1863, Denmark took control of Schleswig and Holstein, two states with German populations. Prussia persuaded Austria to support them in a war against Denmark in 1864. Germany easily won this war.
  4. 4. Austro-Prussian War Bismarck took steps to isolate Austria, including blocking their access to Holstein. He persuaded France to not support Austria. Italy backed Prussia and Russia refused to support Austria.
  5. 5. Austro-Prussian War In June 1866, Austria declared war on Prussia, and gained some support from smaller states. Prussia easily and quickly defeated Austria (it is known as the Seven Weeks War). However Bismarck did not want to humiliate Austria.
  6. 6. Austro-Prussian War outcomes • Austria was expelled from the German Confederation • 21 states north of the River Main formed the North German Confederation (led by Prussia) • Southern German states had to pay money to Prussia and enter military alliances with them
  7. 7. Franco-Prussian War The northern German states were united; Bismarck believed the south would do so if they faced a major enemy. Bismarck took steps to provoke France and isolate them from the rest of Europe.
  8. 8. Spanish Candidature and Ems Bismarck proposed that a Prussian prince take the Spanish throne, meaning France would be surrounded. Bismarck also published the ‘Ems Telegram’ which greatly insulted France.
  9. 9. His Majesty the King has written to me: Count Benedetti intercepted me on the promenade and ended by demanding of me, in a very importunate manner, that I should authorize him to telegraph at once that I bound myself in perpetuity never again to give my consent if the Hohenzollerns renewed their candidature. I rejected this demand somewhat sternly, as it is neither right nor possible to undertake engagements of this kind [for ever and ever]. Naturally, I told him that I had not yet received any news and, since he had been better informed via Paris and Madrid than I was, he must surely see that my government was not concerned in the matter. [The King, on the advice of one of his ministers], decided, in view of the above- mentioned demands, not to receive Count Benedetti any more, but to have him informed, by an adjutant, that His Majesty had now received [from Leopold] confirmation of the news which Benedetti had already had from Paris and had nothing further to say to the ambassador. His Majesty suggests to Your Excellency, that Benedetti's new demand and its rejection might well be communicated both to our ambassadors and to the Press. After the news of the renunciation of the Prince von Hohenzollern had been communicated to the Imperial French government by the Royal Spanish government, the French Ambassador in Ems made a further demand on His Majesty the King that he should authorize him to telegraph to Paris that His Majesty the King undertook for all time never again to give his assent should the Hohenzollerns once more take up their candidature. His Majesty the King thereupon refused to receive the Ambassador again and had the latter informed by the Adjutant of the day that His Majesty had no further communication to make to the Ambassador. Real version Bismarck’s version
  10. 10. Franco-Prussian War France declared war on Prussia in 1870. The southern German states joined the north to fight. Germany easily defeated France and took land, including Alsace-Lorraine. Wilhelm was declared Emperor of Germany in January 1871.
  11. 11. Arguments for importance Prussia’s military strength was vital in keeping control of their own country. Although many members of the Prussian Landtag opposed army changes, they could not rebel due to army strength.
  12. 12. Loyalty from other states Prussia’s ability to stand up to Denmark showed other German states that its army could protect them all. It also made clear to other states the problems with opposing Prussian wishes.
  13. 13. Bismarck’s role Prussia’s military strength was important in achieving unification – but it was really due to Bismarck. It was he who defied the Prussian Landtag to collect the taxes needed for the army.
  14. 14. Bismarck’s role Bismarck also helped engineer the wars with Austria and France. Many believe this is what he planned for from the start when he took steps to build a strong Prussian army.

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