Specimen Questions and Answers: German Unification

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Specimen Questions and Answers: German Unification

1. Assess the importance of the Zollverein and the 1848 Revolutions in the history of the German Unification.

The master piece of Bismarck the conquest of Germany of Prussia or some historian call it the 'unification of Germany' is always regarded under the direct influence of the Zollverein and 1848 Revolution. However, this view is not so precise to the fact. Zollverein actually obstructed the unifcation. The 1848 Revolutions, offereed more construction influence, but always associated with Bismarck's brillant statemanship. The 1848 Revolution, including its results and consequence, were only raw materials. For Bismarck's policy was inspired by the revolutions. On the other hand, some effects of the revolution contributed for the foundation of German unification.
Zollverein was formed in 1834,it was a custom union between the German states. Prussia initiated such union, naturally, she became the leader. Her rival, Austria was excluded, some smaller states, such as Hanover, Oldenburg, Mechlenburg and the three Hansa towns remained outside after 10 years of its formation.
Many people suggested that the Zollverein promoted a sense of belonging within the member states. However, the facts proved it reversely. It was a loose organization of states, the veot rights enjoyed by the members made the negotiation of commerical of labourious undertaking, a programme of unification could hardly be a product of such an unrooted organization.
The German sovereign states seemingly followed Prussian economically but this idea dose not imply that they followed Prussia politically. In 1866, Austro-Prussian War, most of the Zollverein members fought against Prussia. They remained loyeal to their traditional leader- Austria. The sovereign states of Germany joined the Zollverein only because they wanted to pacify the radical programme of the middle-class who resented the internal tariff of Germany- which hurt their economic privilege. The prince aimed at survival not unification. If Germany was unified, their political power would certainly be minimized to an unacceptable extent. Again they joined the German Empire and North German Confederation for the sake of survival in 1870 and 1867 respectively. Since they joined the Zollverein, they were suspicious to Prussia, who joined the most benefits from the union. Once again, the suggestion that Prussia assumed leadership from the Zollverein was disproved.
The smallere German states were economically improved after joining the Zollverein. But a unified Germany was formed, both their political power and economic benefit would be reduced. Their independent econoic affairs would hardly established under a unified Germany. In other words, they were satisfied by the established conditions and would never think of an adventurous plan of unification.
From the view of the point the post-1870 German statesmen, the unification of Germany actually gave no share to the Zollverein. The Zollverein was actually irrelevant to the events between 1862 and 1870. Tariff was not used as weapons to forces states to join Prussia's camp, Austria was not attacked economically, or even France, her commerce was not boycotted by the members of the Zollverein. Pure military expedition paved the way for German's future, but never economic inter-engagement.
The preceding paragraphs have proved that Prussia was not assumed as leader in 1834. Moreover, she was not trained as leader between 1834 and 1867, and was never the leader of Germany in any aspect till 1867, in Crimean War, she echoed Austria, in the 1859 Italian War she could get ride of Austria, also mobilized to meet the demand of Austria. In the Danish War, David Thomson says that Prussia inevitably associated with Austria, this showed that Prussia could not formally exploited Austria's leadership even until 1863. Though in 1848 Austrian leadership was deteriorated, Prussia could not immediately overwhelm her.
The only seemingly acceptable view that Zollverein contributed to the unification of Germany was that it strengthened Prussia economically. thus its military strength was improved. However, A. J. P. Taylor disagrees with this view, he realised that coal production did not climb up until 1870, before 1870 there was even no big iron and steel industry in Germany. Only railways contributed a little, Professor Taylor's view is reasonable since 1870, Prussia sent army to fight against Napoleon III, she had already a considerable military strength, not only the Zollverein could improve her.
Practically, the Zollverein had the least importance in the history of German unification, even if there was no Zollverein, German would have been unified.
Historians blames that the 1848 revolutions had no resolute programme thus if failed, but Bismarck's 'revolution' had a prefect programme though without details. After 1849, we can notice that several distinctive features appeared.
German nationalism grew in this period, precisely Prussian patriotism rose. The cause of the phenomenon was greatly due to the 1848 Revolution.
After the 1848 Revolution, the monarchies were discredited, for the dishonesty in the Frankfurt Assembly and their reactionary policy. Bismarck knew that to make the dynasty survive, national colouring was essential. Thus, such a kind of dynasty nationalism grew. The Danish crisis was one of the stimulus for the national sentiment in Germany.
Liberalism and soverignty of people's were stressed in the 1848 Revolution. Liberalism was discredited due to the uncompromising attitude of the liberals who caused the revolution to death. The liberals only concerned with owned previleges in 1848 but ignored other demands. So many of them abandon, liberalism and turned to German patriotism, sovereignty of people. Bismarck diversified the masses mind from people's sovereignty to patriotism. They were induced to put the state at their first importance, and abandoned their demand for liberty. The glory of Danish War and Seven Weeks' War once again made both the liberals and nationalists quiet.
Vienna Settlment and the old fashioned despotism were destroyed in the revolution Prussia against from the engagement of Holly Alliance. Vienna Settlement opposed German Unification, despotism, retarded German liberal and national movement. Once the settlement was destroyed, they turned to the new slogans of 'nationalism'.
German revolution was fatal mainly because its participants were diversified in socialist, radical or other ideas. Bismarck realised that if Prussia was divided by ideological fragmentation, unification could hardly success. Then he simultaneously created a feeling of nationalism by provoking foreign threat, in Danish War, Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War, his aim was achieved, a national sentiment grew between the people.
Precisely, German nationalism began in 1863, the 1848 nationalism was pseudo-nationalism since the liberals only liberty but concerned little for national unity. Bismarck was the creater of German nationalism.
Another feature was the rise of nationalism and Realpolitik which led to the belief of force and war. Nationalism was caused by the failure of Romanticism in 1848 Sir Dewis Namica realised that the 1848 revolution were dreamers, their romantic ideas contributed nothing to the revolution. Moreover, the revolutions were crushed the ties of people, then realised that forces could determine anything. Practically, they believed forces more than theories after the revolution. They all discovered the aims of 1848 could not achieve by manifests and barricades but by blood and iron. Even the most anti-invasion liberals also supported Bismarck after 1866, Bismarck had the same opinion. Even he realised that the political was upheavaled. Politicians like Castlereagh, Talleyrand could never found, they patronized peace, mutual help balance of power and moral, however, the atmosphere of 1848 gave the politicians an idea that military strength could achieve what they desired. Conspiracy, threat could also be used. Thus "Realpolitik" such as Bismarck and Cavour appeared.
Prussian leadership began to be transformed from 1848 and completed in 1867. The downfall of Metternich, caused a political vacuum, the strongest Prussia became the first choice though no one thought Prussia would be the leader before 1848. However, Prussia could not succeed Metternich immediately. Until 1867, Austrian influence in Germany was almost expelled. The Prussian army acted as a protector in the 1848 Revolution, gave confidence to the princes, since they crushed the revolution when they had recovered. So, in 1870 the princes went to Prussia for protection when a crisis came.
Austria was seriously weakened since she had received great disturbances in Hungary and Italy. These two revolutions helped Prussia to assume leadership to a great extent. Moreover, in the Frankfurt Assembly, the Archduke John was a poor leader, since the princes had tasted the situation of leaderless, they were eager to seek one to replace the deteriorating old man. Prussia then, largely due to the revolution of 1848, built up the foundation of her leadership.
In the nineteenth century, no country could achieve her independence or unification without foreign assistance. For instance, Greece, Belgium and Italy also got foreign help. Germany was not the exception. In the 1848 revolution, the revolutionaries failed partly be cause they had no foreign help Bismarck knew the importance of foreign help especially when he wanted to expel some powerful element from the country. At least, the foreign powers neutrality must be secured. In the Danish War, Bismarck had Russian neutrality, in the Seven Weeks' War he had French neutrality. Moreover, he made use of the foreigner's national pride to fulfill his destiny. He defeated Denmark in 1863, Austria in 1866 and France in 1870. These three wars contributed a lot to the unification of Germany, but the idea was originated from the revolution of 1848.
Dictatorship was practised in Germany after 1862, when Bismarck came to office, he ignored the paramount and increased the tax for army expenditure. This was also caused by the 1848 Revolution. In 1848, the parliamentary system was discredited by the inefficient Frankfurt Assembly. So the people tolerated the dictatorship of Bismarck. However, Bismarck thought reversely that the Frankfurt Assembly gave a chance for the Germans to voice their opinion, he was afraid that democracy would grow, so he strictly controlled the parliament.
The 1848 Revolution failed, one of the reason was that the governments in Berlin and Vienna were healthy. They had cash in hand, loyal army and the well administered public affairs. There had no disease to be cured. So, Bismarck changed a form of revolution that was, he conquested the German States from above, not revolt from below. Due to the strong army of Prussia he succeed. But he was inspired by the 1848 Revolution failure.
German nationalism paved the way for the ultimate nation forming army strength. Realpolitik were definite process to achieve unification at that time, Prussian leadership, if not assumed, the whole story of German unification would have been rewritten, foreign assistance, dictatorship and conquest programme were less important, but they also contributed to the unification to a certain extent. But we must remember, these significant factors in the German unification was mainly inspired or influence by the 1848 Revolution, this the Revolution in fact contributed a lot to the unification, the consequence of the Revolution were raw materials, Bismarck was the manufacturer, both have the same important role.
2. How did the 1848 Revolution in Germany affect the unification movement?
The 1848 Revolution demonstrated certain positive effects on the German unification such as giving more weight on diplomacy, by public, weakening of liberalism, rising power of conservatives, including Junkers. There was also the rising power of Prussia as a potential leader in unification Germany, weakening the power of Austria and stabilizing economic condition in Prussia. All these factors paved the way for the unification movement of Germany.
Firstly, public opinion was given more weight in diplomacy.
Socialism began to take its importance in Germany. At the least various important socialist traditions were born or furthered in the revolution, leaders produced and a nucleus of support formed. However, the revolutions by increasing middle class fear of social unrest, enhanced the general class consciousness of European society. This at least, in the long run assured the development of new combat organisation on the part of the working class.
The rise of the middle class was also reflected. The middle class in Prussia gained more substantially. The Prussian government now began to support industrialization. Bismarck also found it necessary to fulfill the demands of these people. He also sought to manipulate sentiment of these people to his own ends. A means of Bismarck to unify Germany was to create public opinion in favour of German unity.
Secondly, the failure of the 1848 Revolution demonstrated the weakening of Liberalism. Liberals, though they might challenge existing government, held back from a full confrontation. The hopes of a united Germany under liberal aspires had failed and the way was paved. In the pacification of Germany under Bismarck's policy of 'blood and Iron' during the 1860s, it was mainly because Bismarck had learnt from the failure of the 1848 Revolutions that 'it was necessary that Germany should look not to Liberalism but to her own power.' In 1853, that real politic was used for the first time, that is, Bismarck was able to bring the whole of non-Austrian Germany into the Zollverein. It could be seen though the joining of Brunswish, Hanover, and Oldenburg into the Zollverein.
Bismarck had no liking for Liberalism and Nationalism. He never relied on the strength of the parliament, but only on the efficient bureaucracy and a strength army in governing Prussia. But he realised the tremendous influence of both forces. He understood that liberal demand had to be satisfied to certain extent because Liberalism and Nationalism had one supported among the people. Therefore, the parliament was kept and nationalism was used for the conquest of Germany by Prussia.
Thirdly, in the 1848 Revolution conservative had emerged as political force included Junkers. They responded police, though not judicial rights over their estates. There was little resistance to the reactionary regimes had this cannot be resistance to the reactionary regimes and this cannot be explained entirely by the activities of political policy.
The conservatives also understood signs of universal suffrage and showed interest in social problems. They learned that some concessions to the demands for changes were necessary and reasonably painless. Therefore, during the revolutions themselves, to conciliate groups such as peasantry. Other concessions followed, particularly towards liberals and nationalists. The old style conservatism of the Metternichian variety pretty well disappeared. All the same time, conservatives tightened their defences. Police force were greatly expanded and were given better training in not control. This plus improvements in weaponry made barricade fighting an increasingly risky venture. So the conservatives in Prussia adopted social policy in order to gain support of people. It was the conservatives under Bismarck that was to lead Germany under unification but not liberalism. People were quite willing to accept their leadership.
Fourthly, the shift in the balance of power was evident in 1848. Prussia emerged as the potential leader in unifying Germany, Frederick William IV suggested a new and closer union under the Prussian presidency.
With the creation of Zollverein Prussia became economically supreme in Germany. Moreover, economic unity formed the basis for later political unity. Prussian economic power was a contributing cause of her later military and political supremacy in Germany. Furthermore, Austria began to lose influence in German affairs. As Austria did not become a member, this accustomed people to think of a unified Germany which excluded her.
At that time, there were three possible solutions to German Unification. The first one was to admit all Austrian Empire into the new Germany. The second one was to admit only the German part of Austria and the last one was to admit none of Austria. Finally, the delegates in assembly agreed to include only the German part of Austria. When Austria rejected the proposal. The delegates looked to Prussia for leadership. The potential leadership of Prussia had been shown.
At the same time, the 1848 Revolution marked the rise of Louis Napoleon of France who wanted to extend her frontier including the Rhineland. Therefore, the German states after 1848 looked for Prussia for protection.
Fifthly, Austria was weakened by the revolutionary outbreak. Austria was still ruled under autocratic rule but Prussia was more willing to reform. Although Prussian series of reforms was taken in a small degree with little significance, she was able to create an effective and powerful bureaucracy.
Conversely, Austria suffered from poor diplomacy especially after the sudden death of Schwarzenberg in 1852. There was a lack of potential leader in Austria and the affairs floundered under the personal direction of the Emperor. Austria had considerable problems both at home and abroad. Her failure to restore her problems as a result of inflexible diplomacy contributed to her decline.
Lastly, Prussia became more powerful than Austria through the economic means. The Zollverein represented a serious means. The Zollverein represented a serious threat to the hegemony of Austria in Germany. Economic unity formed the basis for later political unity. As the Zollverein never included Austria as a member. Prussia would have become richer and stronger together with the economic power and strength to oppose Austria.
Austro-Prussian war was inevitable after 1848. Austria wanted to preserve her supremacy but this depended to a large extent on her position in Germany. Therefore, she was unwilling to give up her power in Germany to Prussia. At that time, Prussia's power was increasing. Therefore, war was unavoidable.
Consequently, the positive changes in the 1848 Revolution were able to pave a way for the German unification.
3. In what ways did the formation of Zollverein a landmark of German Unification?
In 1818 Prussia abolished the internal tariff of the provinces and set up a standard tariff. The German states complained of the high transit due of Prussia. By negotiation, the German states engulfed Prussia agreed to adopt the Prussian tariff. Hence, adopted the Prussian tariff and drew it share of customs revenue calculated on population proportion. This was the foundation of the Zollverein.
The south German states began to feel the economic pressure of the Zollverein. Bavaria and Wuttemburg formed the South German customs union, however, by a series of negotiation, the South German customs union merged into the Zollverein. The affairs of Zollverein was regulated by a conference in which disputes were sent from member states. Prussia represented the Zollverein in negotiation with foreign powers. Zollverein enabled Prussia as to assume economic leadership in Germans long before its political unification.
In 1834, Prussia was commanding a population of 23.5 million in economic affairs.
Austria was suspicious of Prussia and hated Prussia's challenged for the leadership of Germany, therefore, she opposed to the Zollverein, Austria helped the setting up of the Middle Germans Commerical Union as a counter-balance to the Zollverein, however, Prussia was able to break up the Union by a series of treaties. Austria then forced Prussia to enter a treaty abolishing the prohibitive duties between Zollverein and Austria and proposing the establishment of z Zollverein-Austria Customs Union in the future. This never came into existence, therefore, Austria failed to break up the Zollverein or alternatively, dominated it, later joined the Zollverein by them, Prussia was in a leading position of a population of 36 million.
After 1848, industrial production of the Zollverein doubled. iron and coal production tripled. By 1870 the Zollverein enabled coal production passed the French marked. The great prosperity and wealth created by the Zollverein enabled Prussia to build up her armament and finance wars. This contributed to the success of Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War. Economic prosperity led to military success and paved the way to the creation of the North German Confederation in 1869 and the German Empire in 1870.
"As far as economic life was concerned, Germany was practically united before Bismarck began work at all." wrote W. O. Henderson. The German States were forced to join the Zollverein because of its economic pressure. The economic exclusion of Austria participated the political exclusion. Although the Zollverein had failed to prevent the South German states and Hanover to join the war in 1867 on the side of Austria, the former members of the Zollverein continued to levy customs and sold them to Berlin and received the normal share. This indicated how important economic impact was on the German states. After the setting up of the Confederation of North German States, the Zollverein was an important link between the Confederation and the South German states, as W. O. Henderson observed, "it was a commerical, political and legal bond between the North and South Germany.
Moreover, the Zollverein was significant in the promotion of national consciousness of the German people. The improvement of communication by the setting up of an uniform postal and telegraph services, enhance the nationalism of the Germans. Moreover, "the consciousness of mutual dependence... lies the historical significance of the customs union" wrote W. O. Henderson. Therefore, the Zollverein contributed to the psychological preparation of German Confederation among the Germans, as Bewring said, "by a community of interest an commerical and broading questions, it has prepared the way for a political nationality."
The Conference of the Zollverein provided a place for the Prussian diplomats to learn their skill by manoevouring small states without irritating them or display of force. This experience was valued. Since it had so Prussia's diplomatic success in 1867 in securing French and Russian neutrality and in 1870 Austria and Russian neutrality, also the diplomatic success after the creation.
Consequently, the states most their respective deputies to the conference and discussed problems. This was the forerunner of the Riechstag of the German Empire. The Zollverein also was attributed to German's rise in economic predominance in the continent after 1870 as it had laid down the foundation of the modern German economic. Therefore, the formation of the Zollverein was a landmark in the history of German unification economically, politically, militarily and psychologically.

4. What part did the diplomacy play in the process of German Unification?

Diplomacy is the relation between states. In the process of German Unification, Prussia used diplomacy as a measure to achieve the Unification of Germany under Prussian leadership. In my opinion, diplomacy played an important part in the process of German Unification. If there had no such diplomacy, Germany might not have been united.
The first diplomacy played in the process of German Unification was the Vienna Settlement of 1815. The Vienna Congress established the German Confederation. The Vienna peace makers attempted to simplify the structure of Germany to form effective checks on France. As a result, the number of German states was reduced to 39. They had never thought of it being the first step towards unification.
The Vienna Settlement though despaired Prussia of some Polish provinces, Prussia's position in 1815 was strengthened with gaining of Rhineland. It consented to Austria dominance in Germany for the time being. But as its strength continued to grow, discord between Prussia and Austria was unavoidable. So while maintaining a balance between Austria and Prussia in Central Europe, the 1815 settlement prepared Prussia in the long run for leadership in the movement towards German unity.
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