There was a lot of tension leading up the Austro-Prussian War also known as the Seven Week’ War. The war was fought between the Austrian Empire with the aid of Germans, and Prussia who was also aided by the Germans and Italy. Prussia ended up winning the war and therefore took control of the German states, leaving Austria as a separate country. In the first set of documents, there are several passages that show the build up to the War. In the first text, Johann Gustav Droysen, a German historian, discusses the relationship between Germany and Prussia where he implies that Prussia is already a part of Germany. Otto von Bismark, an advisor to the King of Prussia states in some of the later passages that he foresees a need for a war between Prussia and Austria because Germany is too small for both to exist under its reign. In the end, Prussia and Germany do end up uniting, creating one nation. The Imperial Proclamation states this newfound concept of unity and nationality which Mazzini discusses in his text. Mazzini, a leader in the Italian unification states that the people of Italy were fighting for the unification of their country. This idea of unification is brought up throughout the texts as either being spread throughout Europe or through each country’s individual will.
America is a very powerful, strong nation. We take our national pride very seriously, but recently I feel as though there has been a divide within the nation; or maybe this divide has always existed. A country made up of so many people from many different backgrounds is hard to unify. Do you think America is truly a united nation?
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…” ((Memoirs, Otto von Bismarck)) . 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?
Author: Otto Von Bismarck. He was once known for starting multiple wars against neighboring nations, most of the wars he started (against France and Austria) were done so when he was in power in Prussia. He would eventually become Germany’s Chancellor/leader.
Context: Most of his writing was written after Prussia’s war against Austria. Prussia had essentially won the war against Austria. While most of his fellow Prussians were writing about continuing the campaign of the annihilation of Austria, Bismarck’s writing indicated he felt a need to unify both factions.
Language: His writing seems to be clear but at the same time merciful, yet powerful. He stresses the importance of the unification of Germany and how its their destiny to flourish.
Audience: It seems that the audience is other German nations and the anyone willing to listen to his statements. Essentially anyone who feels the need for unity in Germany.
Intent: Within the text, he indicates he writes to simply unify Germany under a Prussian ruler… obviously indicating he wishes to stay in power after the unification of Germany.
Message: The message Otto von Bismarck makes clear is that it is pointless to fight against people who are basically from the same background (Austria) and that the feud between Prussia and Austria will allow nations around Prussia or Austria to strike. He wants there to be peace so they could eventually fight off any nations threatening this ideal unified nation.
… But why?: It is clear he wrote most of this in order to make Prussia/Germany even more powerful and the easiest way would be to make a very sympathetic message about unifying with Austria. It is clear he wants to be part of a bigger and more powerful country and proclaims God will grace him/the country.
Author: Otto von Bismarck was a Prussian political figure. He had a large influence in German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890. He helped unite Germany in to what it is today.
Context: He wrote this during his rise to power. He describes the events that took place while Austria was attempting to negotiate terms of surrender. The majority of the council wanted to continue with military action but Bismarck advised against it and wanted peace.
Language: Informative and clear. He is recalling memories and writing them exactly has he remembers in order to let people know the events that occurred.
Audience: Writing for the people of Germany and Prussia. He feared that if military action continued there would be a desire for revenge by Austria.
Intent: Inform the people of the events that took place and why he thought it was necessary to stand for peace instead of further military action.
Message: He is attempting to conclude the best way for Germany to rise to power while not creating unnecessary enemies. War is inevitable but in time, Austria would be a better ally than adversary.
Why?: Bismarck wants to let the people know that he was the one that wanted peace with Austria in order to prevent any future tensions.
Author- Otto von Bismark was the first Chancellor of Germany, he created this post for himself after he started three short wars against France, Denmark, and Austria from his seat as Minister President of Prussia. By provoking these three wars he aligned and united the multitudinous German states behind himself and Prussia. Von Bismarck earned himself the nickname “The Iron Chancellor” for his notoriety to rule with a decisively and powerfully.
Context- Bismarck wrote his memoirs after the events which he describes, as it is with most memoirs. He is recalling the end of the war against Austria, a war which the Prussians had decisively won and were being offered terms of surrender. In this memoirs Bismarck describes a situation in which his colleagues were pushing to deny the Austrians the terms of their surrender and to push the war onward.
Language- Bismarck is writing about these events in a memoir, the language does not stir rebellion or motivate individuals to join a cause but it is calm and very informative. He writes to recount information as completely as possible for the reader. The language is not complex, it is not designed for any certain class to be able to read as opposed to others.
Audience- Memoirs are meant to be enjoyed by everyone seeking the information which they contain. Bismarck recounts these events for anyone who wants to take the time to read them.
Intent- The intent of this piece appears to be very informative for the reader. The only other intent which the reader can detect is maybe some boastful tones, Bismarck writes of a time which he stood alone for what was the best for his country and his people; it was a time which it would make sense he may want people to know about.
Message- Bismarck does not have a strong message in this piece, it is not a call to arms or action or a piece criticizing a way of life, it simply recounts an event in his life. The most important message that can be detected is the fact that he was standing alone in a decision that benefitted the people of Germany, Prussia, and even Austria. He successfully advocated for the Prussians to accept Austria’s defeat and not destroy it to a point which future Austrians would seek revenge. As Bismarck puts it “we were not there to administer retributive justice, but to pursue a policy; that I wished to avoid in the German federation of the future the sight of mutilated territories” (Bismarck). By avoiding destroying Austria any further Bismarck helped ensure safety in the future.
Why- Bismarck wrote his memoirs to document the events that happened in his life for future people to enjoy. The purpose of the argument that Bismarck recounts is to save Germany and Prussia any conflict with a vengeful Austria in the future.
Author: Otto von Bismarck, who ruled between 1862 and 1890, helped to unify Germany. He helped to unite the German states with Prussian leadership by initiating wars with Denmark, Austria, and France. 
Context: He wrote this during the time when he was establishing power with Prussia. He began a series of wars in order to establish this Prussian power. He created tension between France and Prussia by editing a telegram to make these countries angry at each other. The French declared war on the Prussians, but the Prussians ended up defeating the French. 
Language: The language that he uses is not highly complex; rather, it is very to the point because he wants others to be able to easily understand him.
Audience: He is writing to the general people of Germany because he wants them to understand what is currently happening. He also addresses the leaders because he wants to stress the importance of having a unified Germany.
Intent: To stress the need of a unified Germany and to explain how he felt that war was inevitable.
Message: He explained how in order for Germany to be very powerful, it was important for Austria and Prussia to be allied.
Why: He wanted the people of Prussia to see what he what he had done for them. Also, he wanted the German states to be unified to create a national identity and to fight against other European states.
Do you think that Otto von Bismarck was effective in attempting to relay his message?
Author: Known as the “Iron Chancellor”, Otto von Bismarck lived from 1815 to 1898. Under his rule he established a modern German nation by uniting numerous German states. To establish his goals, “he manipulated European rivalries to make Germany a world power, but in doing so laid the groundwork for both World Wars.”
Context: Written in 1866, he is witnessing first hand the need to united Austria and Prussia. In 1864, he led military campaigns in order to make Prussia an influential power in Europe. The Austro-Prussian War occurred in 1866 where the Austrian empire was defeated.
Language: His choices of words are meant to be powerful in describing the situation at hand.
Audience: His intended audience is the leaders of the numerous independent German states. He stresses the need of German national unity under the King of Prussia.
Intent: To provoke the need of unity under the leadership of the King of Prussia. He states, “Austria’s conflict and rivalry with us was no more culpable than ours with her; our task was the establishment or foundation of German national unity under the leadership of the King of Prussia.”
Message: By avoiding the complete destruction of Austria, a friendship between Austria and Prussia needs to be established. If Austria were destroyed, the possibility of it becoming allies with France or any other enemy would be eminent. Prussia needs to unite with Austria to establish a powerful German nation.
Why: The various German states need to be united in order to fight against the other powers residing in Europe. It is a period of modern nationalism where the German states lacked an identity and needed one.
Fichte, Wilhelm and Bismark all had similar ideas regarding the unification of Germany; their ideas of why and how to do that varied, however. Fichte wrote about how Germany was divided by foreign imperialists who failed to see and value the unity of the German people under one state. He believed that the primary reason to seek German unification was to unify the German people, not to bolster the power of the German Empire or that of Prussia. He simply wanted to unify the German people. He wrote,“it is not because men dwell between certain mountains and rivers that they are a people, but, on the contrary, men dwell together-and, if their luck has so arranged it, are protected by rivers and mountains-because they were a people already by a law of nature which is much higher.” The German people had been divided and needed to be reunited according to a higher power.
Wilhelm had different reasoning for why he wanted to go to war with Austria and reunite Germany. He wanted to wage war in order to unite Austria with the German Empire, to the dismay of Bismarck. Wilhelm initially wanted to unite the German people under his crown by peaceful means: “And may God grant that We and our successors on the imperial throne may at all times increase the wealth of the German Empire, not by military conquests, but by the blessings and the gifts of peace, in the realm of national prosperity, liberty, and morality.” Once he began to gain power, however, he sought a less peaceful means to an end. The acquisition of land was not even the primary motive; Wilhelm and his generals primarily wanted Austria to submit to German hegemony. Bismarck feared “that the king and his advisors would be intoxicated by the brilliant victory over Austria and would wish to press on, and perhaps lose much in the end.”