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The Wars of German Unification

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Denis Smyth

The Wars of German Unification Monday, January 24 / 2011  Napoleon III diplomacy had produced a brave, new world  In the aftermath of this unsatisfactory of the national question, Napoleon III became a convert to great power cooperation  These unsolved problems were Poland, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, the unsolved part of the Italian part, the Danuex Municipalities, and then there was the Question of the northern Dutchies (mixed ethnic habitation) – a threat to Danish-German relations  Who had the right to rule there was one of the main question – it was said that only 3 people really understood the rights and wrongs of this question – one of them had died, one had gone insane…  By the early 1860s, they were under Danish rule  1863, November 4 th  Alexander II did not feel it was right, but wisely, his foreign minister said to wait upon Britain  The Austrians were pessimistic, but they decided to temporize since they would be the losers of any such deal  1863, November 19 – unanimously decided to advice the Queen Victoria to reject Napoleon III to address these pending questions to the European System  it wasn’t so much about the rejection that speaks about the dangerous chaos Napoleon III had visited upon the European order  The British PM said – “Such a meeting as Napoleon III suggested could only tend to bring out inbolder relief. All those differences of opinion and conflicts of interest which are in present kept in the battle”  Napoleon III was about to reap the whirlwind  That was the impass that Napoleon III contented  Bismarck was an unlikely figure to resolve the issues of the day – he was almost a caricature (too far to the right)  Yet, Bismarck had extraordinary ability to analyze situations – he was a “real politique”  He was a political realist  In 1859, seeing the increasing difficulty of the small German states coping with the rising, he turned to a liberal acquaintance – Victor von…  “The only reliable and lasting ally that Prussia could have is the German people”  Bismarck had decided that Prussia could only expand its great power status by aligning itself with German unification  In private, Bismarck would dismiss the idea of German national unification as humbug  “I would need to be blind and brainless not to see what the situation really is”  Bismarck realized by the end of the 1850s – demographic growth, social change, economic modernization, and strategic necessity were all combining to make some form of German unity inevitable – BUT – unlike every other conservative, he realized that the process of popular movement could be hijacked for the advantage of others  The raw energy and popular German nationalism could be channeled into Prussia’s territorial expansion  He wanted to conquer Germany for Prussia  Nationalism becomes the movement through with traditional elites survive  Bismarck put it this way – “if there is to be a revolution, we rather make it than suffer”  September, 1862 – president of Prussia – was a last desperate act  King William of Prussia was locked in a constitutional struggle with his representative  The landtag did control the power  In desperation, he turned to Bismarck, and he said he would raise the monies without the approval of the landtag  Prussia, with its 3 blocks of territory, Prussia had the most fragile of the territorial foundations for the great powers  Prussia’s territo
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