Bismarck Claims The Credit For German Unification

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Bismarck Claims The Credit For German Unification

In the early 19th Century, the growth of nationalism and the growing

economic strength of the German states was very great. The German's

shared a common identity in the form of language race and heritage

such as music, literature and poetry. The growing improvements in

communications and transport also brought the states one step closer

together. The reduction of the number of German states from 365 to 39

states made each state more economically and militarily stronger.

Conditions, particularly economic conditions, were such in 1862 that

Bismarck was able to build on them and gain the credit for their


Although Unification arguably was inevitable there were certain

factors preventing it and factors arguing that unification was likely

without Bismarck it is worth listing these so as to better understand

how unification came to be.

In the long run, unification was likely to occur without Bismarck, but

he made it happen sooner rather than later. The Germans shared a

common identity in the form of race, language, culture and heritage.

The works of 18th and 19th century thinkers and writers such as Ernst

Randt and Friedrich Jahn who promoted the idea of one nation based on

common culture and language. Developments in transport such as

railways and better roads improved communication. This made the

Germans more aware of a common identity and brought the town and

country closer together. There was also a growing newspaper and book

readership in line with educational reforms in Prussia especially

after the humiliating defeat sustained by Germany from the French.

The r...

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...nevitable. Bismarck

hastened the process and helped unification occur sooner rather than

later. Many people argued that Bismarck did not make Germany but

Germany made Bismarck and that he was able to build upon economic

conditions and claim the credit. Claim the credit for a unification

that given time would have occurred naturally and that "coal and iron"

not "blood and iron" was the real Prussian power base. Bismarck used

massive skill and ruthlessness to unify Germany but he did exaggerate

his own role in the unification of Germany for not only was he not

solely responsible for the unification of Germany but it was going to

happen sooner or later. So in conclusion Bismarck can claim the credit

for unification to an extent but he acted as a catalyst to speed up

the unification of Germany, which was already happening.

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