Bismark and the Unification of the German States

  • Congress of Vienna

    The Monarchs of Europe met in Vienna in an effort to repress political change in the likes of the French Revolution.
  • Bismark is born

  • Metternich opposes German Unification

    Prince Klemens von Metternich of Aurtria-Hungary opposed the unification of the 38 German states as he believed that this would lead to the Monarchies of Europe eventually being overthrown.
  • Carlsbad Decrees

    Some German princes put out repressive measures called the Carlsbad decrees to stop nationalism in Germany.
    This included supervision of lectures at schools and Universities and newspaper cencorship.
  • Demonstrations in Bavaria

    After another revolution in Paris, 25000 German nationalists met in the German state of Bavaria to discuss a revolution. Metternich responded by furthering the already strict repression.
  • Zollverein

    A union of 18 German states was formed and headed by Prussia. This was called the Zollverein. The union worked on creating a national currency, and extended railways between member states, which became useful for the mobilisation of soldiors in the wars that followed.
  • Metternich loses power

    Because of industrial and economic growth, a new politically ambiguous German middle class. Prussia, the second most powerful state second to Austria, became the leading economy in Germay and so made a system of free trade through selected German states.
  • Bismark enters politics

    Bismark entered politics as a fierce patriot. He was against liberalism, socialism and democracy, and belived that the monarch was leader through divine right.
  • Revolution

    More revolutions in France were followed by revolutions in other cities across Europe. When this happened in Vienna, Metternichs power finally broke, and he went into exile. The revolutions came about through:
    -population growth
    -poverty in Europe
    -price rises and falling standards of living
    -ideas that only through revolution would the working class be treated better
    -middle class complaints about political state, lack of freedom of speech and employment.
  • Revolutions end

    Revolutions across Europe changed nothing. Louis Napoleon became king of France, the rivalry between Prussia and Austria were not solved because of political instability, Unity would not work with independant rulers in all the German states and the nationalists and liberals who met earlier lacked any power.
  • Wilhelm 1 becomes King of Prussia

    Politicians in Prussia believed that military expenditure should not be increased, and Germany should be unified by peaceful measures. The new king believed that this was wrong and called on Bismark for advice.
  • Bismark becomes President

    Bismark was appointed Prime-Minister/President by Wilhelm. He introduced conscription, established a military college and continued to build railways to move forces and modern artillery. Bismark created alliances with some neighbours while isolating others. He famously said "not through speeches and majority votes are the great questions of the day decided but through iron and blood"
  • Invasion of Schleswig and Holstein

    After King Fredrick VII of Denmark died, there was an arguement over who would govern the states of Schleswig and Holstein. As the population were almost entirely German speaking, it made sense that Prussia should rule. Bismark persuaded Austria to help seize Schleswig and Holstein. The war lasted only a week and the new Danish king was forced to withdraw all claims to Schleswig and Holstein.
  • Gastein Convention

    Prussia recieved Schleswig and Austria recieved Holstein.
  • Austro-Prussian War

    Prussia and Austria were in dispute over the governing of Shleswig and Holstein. Bismark isolated Austria by organising an alliance with Russia and began agreements with France. Bismark accused Austria of abusing the conditions of the Glastein Convention, and announced that they would annex Holstein. Austria called on the military power of other German states, and declared war on Prussia. With Prussia's military and industrial might, Austria and it's allies were defeated in seven weeks.
  • Treaty of Prague

    The treaty of prague agreed to:
    -the abolition of the German confederation
    - Austrian recognition of Prussia's leadership of the North German confederationof 22 states.
    - Prussian annexing Shleswig, Holstein, Hanover, Hesse, Nassua and Frankfurt. Through this, Bismark had gained huge support and sparked nationalism amongst the German people.
  • French/ Prussian disputes

    The states of Baden, Hesse-Harmstadt, Wurttemburg and Bavaria, were not part of the German confederation. An arguement broke out between Prussia and France over who would fill the empty Spanish throne. A conversation between the Prussian king and the French ambasador to Prussia was deliberately changed by Bismark to start an arguement between them. This was known as the ems telegram.
  • Ems telegram

    "Count Benedetti [French ambasador] intercepted me on the promenade and ended by demanding of me in a very importunate manner that I should authorize him to telegraph at once that I bound myself in perpetuity never again to give my consent if the Hohenzollerns renewed their candidature. I rejected this demand..."
    "His Majesty suggests to Your Excellency that Benedetti's new demand and its rejection might well be communicated both to our ambassadors and to the Press."- part of the real telegram.
  • Bismark's published version of the telegram

    "After the news of the renunciation of the Prince von Hohenzollern had been communicated to the Imperial French government by the Royal Spanish government, the French Ambassador in Ems made a further demand on His Majesty the King that he should authorize him to telegraph to Paris that His Majesty the King undertook for all time never again to give his assent should the Hohenzollerns once more take up their candidature. His Majesty the King thereupon refused..."
  • Period: to

    Franco-Prussian war

    France appeared to be the agressor when they declared war on Prussia. The southern German states joined Prussia, and became part of what was the North German confederation. The German army defeated the French forces in 3 months and took 100000 prisoners. The Germans fought still for another 6 months and besieged Paris until the French finally surrendered. In the palace of Versailles, Germany officially became a nation with King Wilhelm of Prussia becoming the first Kaiser.
  • Treaty of Frankfurt

    Germany annexed the French territories of Alsace and Lorraine. Germany also made the French pay a total of 200million pounds and German troops would stay in Northern France until the debt was payed.