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Otto von Bismarck and the Unification of Germany in 1871

The following explains who was Otto von Bismarck and how he leaded the German States, under Prussian control, to the unification of Germany in 1871.

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Who was Otto von Bismarck?

Louis L. Snyder indicates, in Encyclopedia of Nationalism (1990), that Otto von Bismarck was a conservative and strong anti-liberal statesman, and the renowned architect of German national unification. Bismarck's main aim when he became prime minister was to unite Germany under Prussian leadership. He determined to win the public's support through foreign political achievements.

During the Polish uprising of 1863, Bismarck permitted the Russians to hunt down run away Poles into Prussian territory. In that way, he managed an alliance with Russia that lasted three decades as well as finished the Russian-French collaborations, and made Russia leave its affiliation with Austria. More significant is that Bismarck made Prussia participate in three military conflicts with the purpose of espousing German unification, and alienating the Austrian and French forces that detracted it. These conflicts occurred against Schleswig-Holstein in 1864, Austria in 1866 and France in 1870.

Robin W. Winks and Joan Neuberger asserts, in Europe and the Making of Modernity: 1815-1914 (2005), that Bismarck won the duchies of ...

Solution Summary

Otto von Bismarck was a conservative and strong anti-liberal statesman, and the renowned architect of German national unification. Bismarck's main aim when he became prime minister was to unite Germany under Prussian leadership. Bismarck achieved his goal of unifying Germany under the autocratic Prussian leadership. He functioned as chancellor of the German Empire from 1871 to 1890.

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