Bismarck and Imperialism

The documents referring to German unification in the 20th century highlight the continual, consistent ideologies that prominent German diplomats maintained towards the struggle of unification for Germany throughout the 19th century. The mutual sentiments of these prominent diplomats advocated for the shifts towards unification with a willing and ambitions Prussia in order to solidify German nationality to restore the German imperial title under Wilhelm IV. Bismarck’s strong diplomatic influence was overpowered, however, when a council was held in his room, and it was decided, with the support of the Wilhelm IV, that Prussia should continue in its pursuit of imperialist endeavors. Bismarck had foreseen this, as he feared an large increase in Prussian power would shift Wilhelm IV’s original stance of unification peacefully as a proper long terms means for German stability to an imperial conquest.

Germany pre rev 1848

A map of Germany prior to the revolutions of 1848 displays the geographical mixture between Prussia and the German states and the overlap the Austrian Empire had with the German confederation.

Germany 1871

This map, however, shows the unification of Germany with Prussia after the Proclamation of 1871. Although the Austrian Empire held its original territory overlapping the German confederation, it was greatly weakened as a European chess piece relative to the new found power which lay in Prussia’s restoration of the German imperial title.

These shifts in power as a result of a century of calculated German diplomacy would have a monumental impact on the alliances between Prussia and the Austrian Empire into the 20th century.


3 thoughts on “Bismarck and Imperialism

  1. I would also speculate that not only was Bismarck upset by the fact that the conflict with Austria had shifted purpose, but also that that shift would affect the purpose of nationality for Germans. Throughout many of the documents it was mentioned that the nationalism lies in the commonalities between language and history between the people of Germany, and an extended war might have taken the spotlight off of unifying and making it look towards only the war (ignoring the domestic unification).

  2. I question whether the majority of the German people were approving of an imperial conquest for their state. The German people may be connected with common language and history, but through an imperial conquest, the German state would be forcing conquered people to subject to German hegemony. The landscape around the growing German nation would have people of similar language and history, but as the conquest expands, and if successful, people of very foreign backgrounds and languages would be engulfed. I’m not sure if the same type of German unity would exist at this point.

  3. Throughout two maps, I could understand how German unification with Persia caused the change of European land. Besides this, I could understand Austria had conquered wide area of Europe before German unification with Persia.

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