Term Paper: German Unification Occupies

Pages: 8 (2459 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The peace treaties signed after the war served as a sharp blow to already wounded ego of the French. The Germans did everything in their power to belittle the French, which is considered the gravest mistake made by the Bismarck regime. This was because this created severe bitterness in the hearts and minds of French people who staunchly opposed Germans in the two great wars almost half a century later. But Germans couldn't care less about the reaction of French people because winning the war meant they were now one of the strongest forces of the world.

Robert A. Selig (1996) writes, "On January 18, 1871, the Wars of the German Unification culminated in the crowning of King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm I of Hohenzollern, as German Emperor in the Great Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. In the spring of 1871, the dreams of every nationalist Prussian, Bavarian, Saxon, Hannoverian, Wurttemberger, Hessian, hamburger, Badenese, and whoever else seemed to have come true. Germany was no longer just a geographical term, but a polity with clearly defined territorial boundaries, a common government, and centralized institutions, inhabited by people of a common ethnic, linguistic, religious, historical, and cultural background. Since then, 125 years have passed, and many insist that unification of Germany under Prussia was inevitable. The year 1871 marked the fulfillment of Prussia's historic role in leading Germany toward nationhood. Decades, if not centuries, after its neighbors had formed nation states, Bismarck's Real politik had created a German empire under the black Prussian eagle." (6)

German unification did not yield exactly positive results because with this great merger came numerous problems. The biggest one however was state and Church conflict, which led to secularization of many German institutions. He continuously introduced economic reforms, which failed to produce desired results. Thus while he did win the unification of Germany, he failed to consolidate it (Charles 1992). The consolidation required better distribution of duties and powers among various governmental departments. This was something that Bismarck was not used to doing as he mostly handled everything on his own and thus his government suffered from blunders resulting from Bismarck's one-man show. Apart from that the problems connected with power politics also surfaced with liberals and conservatives never agreeing on any major issue. German unification might not have proved to be an uphill task for Bismarck but consolidation was Germany certainly became a problem. Bismarck was in the habit of doing everything his own way and thus continued to increase military expenditure in that days that followed the unification much to the chagrin of the parliament.

The Hutchinson Dictionary of World History (2002) writes, "The contest between the Reichstag (parliament) and the chancellor over whether or not the former should retain a constitutional control over the army was focused on the 'Septennate' (1874), by which the army grants were fixed for periods of seven years at a time. The second period would expire in 1888, and Bismarck was determined to make considerable additions to the German army in view of the rapid increase of the French military forces. The Reichstag refused to agree to his plans, and accordingly was dissolved in 1887. In the election that followed Bismarck triumphed, and subsequent budgets showed an enormous increase in army supplies, and the period of conscription was extended." (7)

Many political parties did not however approve of these policies and this created a deep feeling of resentment in the parliament. This along with the ascension of throne by the grandson of King Wilhelm I, brought an end to Bismarck's regime after almost 20 years in power. To this day, Germany remembers Bismarck as the man who single-handedly unified Germany and gave it the status of a world power, which was clear in the Two Great wars of the early 20th century (Rose 1971). The man is known for his iron and blood policies, which meant that war was seen as the only solution for major problems. Many are of the view that Bismarck was not solely responsible for unification, but a deep wave of nationalism had swept Germany in those days, which led to this major merger. But the truth remains that without Bismarck creative plans and his clever tactics, that wave of nationalism would have never been able to achieve a victory of this magnitude. Bismarck though never believed in democracy and ran country the way he deemed fit; still he did his people a great favor by developing this obsession for unification. This is because Germany rose to the status of world power only after this unification and to this day, it is seen as one of the major European powers.

We all wish that the Prussian eagle should spread out it's wings as guardian and ruler from Munich to the Donnersberg, but free we will have him, not bound by a new Regensburg Diet. Prussians we are and Prussians we will remain...Prussia must concentrate it's strength and hold it for the favourable moment. Not through speeches and majority decisions are the great questions of the day decided - that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849 - but by blood and iron"... Bismarck

References

Stephan Gallagher, German History: Chapter 1A. Early History., Countries of the World, 01-01-1991

AJ.P. Taylor, Bismarck and the German Empire, 3d ed. 1968

OTTO VON BISMARCK., The Columbia Encyclopedia, Seventh Edition, 01-01-2002

ANNE MCELVOY, A century on, Germany is still haunted by the ghost of Bismarck., Independent on Sunday, 07-19-1998, pp 4.

Lowe, Charles, Consolidation Of Germany., History of the World, 01-01-1992.

Robert A. Selig, What Price Unity? Reflections on the 125th Anniversary of the January., German Life, 03-31-1996, pp PG.

Germany: history 1815-1919.,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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