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…” ((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?

Fascism and the Inevitability of War & Stalin’s Master Plan

Fascism and the Inevitability of War & Stalin’s Master Plan


When representatives from Germany and the USSR established the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, it is difficult to tell whether the Soviets actually believed in the treaty lasting. The fact that the war resulted in a victory for the Allies and the USSR probably allowed the Soviets to see the war differently than the Axis powers, certainly with a different bias. In Joseph Stalin’s 1946 speech, he seemed to think that because the Germans were fascist with the Nazi Party at the helm, war was inevitable. He pinpointed this circumstance on an ideological belief inherent in fascist politics – the need to acquire more foreign territory and attain world domination. He cited that the only reason the Soviets were willing to work alongside capitalist powers like the U.S. and Britain was via a common enemy, the fascists. All three of those parties disliked that the fascists eliminated the sovereignty of small, developing nations; it was likely for different reasons though. The U.S. and Britain likely wanted to see the small nation develop into a trading partner, or at least a suitable ally or buffer country, while the Soviets likely hope to establish a Communist movement there. In short, all three parties understood the fascists to be a threat to the freedom of lots of peoples and, for Stalin and the Soviets, an inevitable source of conflict.

If Stalin believes that the fascists would inevitably create conflict, then why would he sign a treaty with Nazi Germany? In short, there are a few potential answers to this question. Firstly, Stalin could be lying through his teeth and merely just trying to cover himself in this speech; it is, after all, an “election.” Maybe Stalin honestly thought the Germans would honor their agreement. There is also the possibility that Stalin merely wished to delay the inevitable, giving him more time to prepare for a Soviet attack. Without this agreement, Hitler may have jumped straight from Poland and Austria, to the USSR. Stalin also must have known that Hitler’s hatred of Marxists and Communists would have to ground itself somehow.

However, the last possibility is perhaps the most striking, and the boldest out of the three ideas presented here. (In short, bear with me on this one.) Stalin may have known that Hitler would try to stab him in the back and break an agreement; he has had to deal with lots of political enemies himself. Therefore, perhaps Stalin wanted the pact signed, almost as if to goad in or tempt the Nazis, to convince them that the Soviets were in a false sense of security. If a nation, like the USSR, can anticipate and prepare ahead of time for a backstabbing, then it can catch its opponent off guard immensely. Since a backstabbing relies heavily on the element of surprise, if one were to reverse that element, the backstabber would be caught in a near impossible situation. When the Nazis do finally attack the USSR in one of the largest military offenses in history, it initially resulted in heavy losses for the Soviets.[1] However, they were able to absorb the damage, get back on their feet pretty quickly, and retaliate with great strength, as Stalin described in his speech. The Soviets from that point onward made the offensive a war of attrition, using their home territory to their advantage. In short, they took out the German army quite skillfully. Lastly, Stalin continuously mentioned during his speech what a victory it was not just for the USSR as a whole, but for the Soviet social system, the Soviet state system, and for the Red Army. Stalin wanted to prove critics wrong, and Nazi Germany during WWII provided the perfect venue to demonstrate the USSR’s advancements. The U.S. did it during the Spanish-American War, and von Bismarck was well known for starting wars to help get Germany going; is it not unlikely that Stalin wanted WWII to happen and that he wanted Nazi Germany to invade?


[1] “Operation Barbarossa.” Wikipedia. Accessed April 8, 2015.

Bismarck & German Unity

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.

Bismarck’s Ideas

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.

Bismarck’s Memoirs

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.

Otto von Bismarck

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. [1]

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. [2]

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?

Bismarck and Prussia

Author: Otto Von Bismarck was a Prussian leader known as the “Iron Chancellor” (( He ruled over Prussia and Germany. He united the independent German states which led to Germny becoming a world power.

Context: He was writing as he came into his power in Prussia. He watched as Prussia fought with Austria and gained power over Germany. He watched from a military point of view.

Language: He wrote from memory so everything is simple and to the point so he wouldn’t forget what he wanted to write.

Audience: He is writing to the people of Prussia and Germany to show what the king thought of doing with the power he had. He wanted to show everyday people what could have happened to their countries if it hadn’t been for him.

Intent: To inform people Bout what he had done for their countries before he was even in power.

Message: This is what the king wanted to do and this is how I prevented it. It is because of me that Prussia and Germany are here today.

Why: Bismarck wanted to prove he was the leader Germany wanted. He wrote about all the good things he did for Prussia to help them fight against Austria. He wanted people to see how great he was and keep him in power.

The Unification of Germany

Otto von Bismarck’s successful unification of Germany is one of the most important events in European history.  Unifying over thirty principalities and other smaller states within the geographical vicinity of modern day Germany is, by far, Otto von Bismarck’s greatest achievement.  Starting as a Prussian statesman, Bismarck eventually rose to the title of Minister President.  At this point, Bismarck was beginning to make his move to unify.  In 1866, he had the states of Germany attack Austria.

Within the “Documents of German Unification”, Otto von Bismarck reviews his victory over Austria.  He interestingly notes that he wanted to “avoid wounding Austria too severely; we had to avoid leaving behind in her any unnecessary bitterness of feeling or desire for revenge”.  He continues, stating that he sees Austria as a future ally, and simply cannot afford to have a hostile nation to his east when he attacks France.  Additionally, Bismarck states that this conflict also enabled the German states to obtain more feelings of unity and nationalism under Prussia.

While still serving the Prussian crown, Bismarck already begins to create a collective German state.  Bismarck’s uses the cover of war to covertly instill nationalism within the citizens.  A brilliant albeit brutal move, Bismark will eventually utilize the tactic of using war to force unification when he attacks France.

Was Bismarck wrong to use war to create more German nationalism?  What would you have done differently?

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.