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German Unification


Germany: 1815. Creation of the German Confederation under the presidency of Austria. ... Expand Germany's Economy and Industrial base with use of its resources. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: German Unification

German Unification
  • Global History II Chapter 23

1848 Revolutions Follow Napoleons Path of
Europe 1848
Europe 2006
Germany 1815
? Creation of the German Confederation under the
presidency of Austria. Prussia and Austria were
the two most powerful German states.
Traditionally Austria was recognized as the most
important. There was a strong popular movement
for unification but neither Austria nor Prussia
was prepared to allow it happen.
Otto Von Bismarck The Iron Chancellor1815-189
  • Realistic Politics based on the needs of the
  • Whatever actions necessary to achieve his desired
  • Power more important than principles
  • Blood and Iron Philosophy
  • He wanted to eliminate Austrian influence and
    bring about unification on Prussian terms.
  • Expand Germanys Economy and Industrial base with
    use of its resources.
  • Do not make the same mistakes that were made by
    the French in 1848-1849.

3 Wars for Unification
  • 1st An Austrian-Prussian invasion of
    Schleswig-Holstein led to the end of Danish
    control of these provinces. Prussia gained a lot
    of support especially among German nationalists
    who wanted to see these provinces come under
    German control.
  • 2nd Austro-Prussian War results in Prussian
    control (Annexes) of several northern German
  • Dissolved the old confederation and establishes a
    new one dominated by Prussia
  • Southern states were left independent, form
    military alliances with Prussia
  • 3rd Franco-Prussian War results in the
    completion of German Unification
  • William I of Prussia assumes the role of Kaiser,
    or emperor of Germany, with Otto Von Bismarck as

Germany 1871
? The new German Empire emerged as Europes
foremost military power. Prussia dominated this
new German state.
Meeting at Versailles
United German States
  • Prussia dominated the new Germany that was called
    the Second Reich.
  • The new constitution drawn up by Bismarck was a
    Federal system.
  • Each of the twenty-five states had considerable
    control over their affairs and decided their own
    form of government e.g. Bavaria and Saxony were
    ruled by kings.
  • Under the constitution there were to be three
    branches of the Federal government

The Presidency
  • The Presidency which was held by the King of
    Prussia (as German Emperor). The German Emperor
    had considerable powers. He had personal control
    of the armed forces. He appointed and dismissed
    all ministers including the Chancellor.

The Federal Council
  • The Federal Council (or Bundesrat) represented
    the different states of the Empire. It had
    fifty-eight members. Seventeen were from Prussia,
    six from Bavaria, four from Saxony. It had the
    power to change the constitution. However no
    change could be made to the constitution if
    fourteen delegates objected. This in practice
    meant that Prussia could always stop change.

The Parliament
  • The Parliament or Reichstag was elected by
    Universal Male Suffrage (all males over 25 could
    vote) and Secret Ballot. It voted on the Federal
    budget and its consent was needed for all
    legislation. This was the most advanced system in
    Europe at this time.
  • However, the powers of the Reichstag were
  • It could not initiate legislation.
  • It had no say in the appointment or dismissal of
    the Chancellor or Imperial ministers. The
    Imperial Chancellor was appointed by the Emperor.
    He was in charge of foreign policy.
  • The Kaiser (in effect Bismarck) could dissolve it
    any time with the agreement of the Bundesrat.

Campaign Against the Church
  • Bismarck Distrusts Catholics-especially
    clergy-thought loyalty was with Pope and not
  • He Launches Kulturkampf or battle for
  • Laws passed to make Catholics put loyalty of
    state above loyalty to Church
  • Other laws would close religious orders, expel
    Jesuits, marriage by civil authority
  • Plan BACKFIRES-faithful rally behind Church
  • Bismarck makes peace with the Church

Campaign Against the Socialists
  • Threat-Growing power of Socialism (Social
    Democratic Party)
  • Parliamentary democracy
  • Laws to improve conditions for the working class
  • Bismarck dissolves the Party, shuts down
    newspapers, bans meetings
  • Plan BACKFIRES again
  • To make amends, he sponsors laws to protect
  • Health, accident, old-age insurance, and
    retirement benefits
  • Bismarck avoids revolution!!!
  • Proves Realpolitik DOES have a social reform

Bismarcks Foreign Alliances
  • Three Emperors League
  • 1872 Alliance between Germany, Russia and
  • Goal of isolating France, who was still upset
    over the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and Revanche to
  • Triple Alliance
  • 1882 When the French occupied Tunisia, Bismarck
    took advantage of Italian resentment towards
    France and created the Triple Alliance between
    Germany, Italy and Austria- Hungary
  • In exchange for Italy's agreement to stay neutral
    if war broke out between Austria-Hungary and
    Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary would protect
    Italy from France.
  • Reinsurance Treaty
  • 1887 Russia and Austria-Hungary grew suspicious
    of each other over conflicts in the Balkans
  • Bismarck repaired the damage to his alliances
    with a Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, allowing
    both powers to stay neutral if the other was at

Kaiser William II
  • Succeeds his Grandfather in 1888
  • Dismisses Bismarck in 1890
  • He would continue some social welfare programs
    such as cheap transportation, electricity, and
    public schooling
  • His main efforts, however, were spent improving
    the German Navy and building an impressive
    overseas empire through aggressive militarism
    rivaling Britain and France
  • Bismarcks alliances would fall by the wayside
    and the French would take advantage, eventually
    forming the Triple Entente with Britain and Russia

World War I Alliances