Germany Unite

Essay by Biggie1234College, UndergraduateA+, May 2006

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Describe the main steps leading to the unification of Germany in the period 1864-1871

The Germany unification, during 1864-1871 was often described as a product of nationalism and liberalism. It was carried out by numerous factors under the leadership of the Minister President, Otto Von Bismarck. The Unification has led to the successful shift of power that strengthened Germany's position both of political and military.

The first debate over the states started after the death of King Frederick of Denmark in November 1863, who was the ruler of the two duchies: Schleswig and Holstein. As a result, Christian of Glucksburg took his place and king. The Schleswig-Holesteiners refused to swear allegiance to him due to the Salic law hence presented their own claimant, Prince of Augustenburg, who had claimed the two duchies.

Prior to his death, King Frederick kept a promise and maintained the separate rights of the Duchies, however this was broken by the new king Christian who annexed Schleswig to the Danish crown.

Because of this, Austria was persuaded into a joint military action with Prussia against Denmark.

In April, a temporary truce was arranged in order for a peaceful solution. However it failed, as a united policy was not shared. Austria supported the Augustenburg claim while Prussia voted in favour for annexation and both Schleswig-Holstein to join the German confederation. As Prussia had successful army reorganization, the Danes surrendered.

By 1865, the tension between Austria and Prussia was still high and the Duchies were still unsettled. Austria continued to support Augustenburg's claim while Prussia aimed for annexation. Bismarck describes the situation as-"reaching a parting of the ways. Unfortunately our tickets are for different lines." [The Unification of Germany by Andrina Stiles, 1986]

The Convention of Gastein finally settled an agreement in August 1865. The joint Austro-Prussian administration...