German Unification

Otto von Bismarck was a Prussian Statesman and a close adviser to the King of Prussia, Wilhelm I.  Upon further research, I discovered that he was born in a part of Germany under Prussian rule and would later attend the University of Berlin.  At the time this was written in , Prussia had just one a major battle over Austria in the war between the two countries.  In Bismarck’s Memoirs, he uses language that identifies with the emotions of panic and dread.  He writes certain phrases such as, “A painful illness from which I was suffering…”, and how he, “…begged the king…”1 .  His audience for this piece would be for the king of Prussia, as well as the Prussian council deciding if Prussia should continue the war against Austria.  Bismarck’s intent of his memoir was to convince the King to stop his acquisition of new territory from Prussia, and to unify the German states under Prussian rule.  He suggests that Prussia cease fighting and create a peace treaty with Austria.  Bismarck adds that there is no value in acquiring land that would have a rebellious nature towards Prussian rule.  On the topic of the German states they had acquired,  Bismarck tells the King to not mutilate these newly gained territories but instead unite them as one country.  Under Prussian rule, Bismarck theorized that a unified Germany would be less inclined to rebel and would benefit both sides.  Under this policy, it seems that Prussian rule would become more popular in the former Austrian controlled German states.

How does Bismarck’s background affect his advice to the King of Prussia?

Would it have been more beneficial for Prussia to have strict control over the German states, or do you agree with Bismarck’s philosophy of having control over a more autonomous Germany?

  1. Memoirs, Otto von Bismarck []

1 thought on “German Unification

  1. Rather than allowing Germany to become mutilated through further warfare against Austria, Bismarck wanted to stop warfare and unify the Germanic states. After learning that Bismarck attended the University of Berlin and lived in Germany while it was under Prussian rule, I understand why he wanted Prussia to maintain control over Germany. Since he has a background in this land, it makes sense why he would want to make sure it could evolve into a stable state.

    I believe it would have been more beneficial for Prussia to have strict control over the German states. Since Germany was not autonomous at the time, and needed more stability, I think it would have been helpful to have Prussia the country until it was prepared to be more autonomous. By showing how to successfully run a state, rather than granting it autonomy right away, Prussian rulers could have helped create a strong Germany.

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