David Li, Josh Meek

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The German Confederation was made up of a group of thirty-nine German-speaking states, created at the Congress of Vienna, the strongest being Austria and Prussia. Frederick William IV, who rejected the idea of a unified Germany, had his crown taken by his brother William I, who established the Prussian Parliament. He recruited Otto von Bismarck, a junker who served as the Prussian representative in the Confederation, and eventually became the prime minister and military leader of Prussia.

Danish War (1864)

When the Danish attempted to incorporate Holstein, which was a part of the German Confederation, into Denmark, the Prussians along with their Austrian allies waged war on Denmark.

Austro-Prussian War (1866)

After the Danish defeat, the Prussians went to War with Austria. The outcome of the Seven Weeks’ War resulted in Prussian victory and established themselves as the major power among the German states.

Prussia gained control of all the states north of the Main River and formed the North German Confederation.

Franco-Prussian War (1870)

In 1868, Isabella II, the Bourbon queen of Spain, was disposed of and they replaced her with Prince Leopold, the catholic cousin of William I. Due to French opposition of a Hohenzollern Spain, they negotiated with William I and Leopold's father eventually renounced his son’s candidacy to prevent a possible war. On July 3 of 1870, the French asked for Prussians to guarantee that no Hohenzollern would rule Spain, and William replied that it would require further consideration. Bismarck received the message that contained the outcome of the French and Prussian negotiations, and he later released a revised version of the Ems telegram that insulted the French ambassador and enraged the French. France declared war on Prussia, but Paris was besieged and the Prussians won the war, allowing Bismarck to bring in the southern states of Bavaria, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Wurttemberg, resulting in a unified Germany.


In the Palace of Versailles, Germany became an independent nation state. This happened in the Hall of Mirrors in January of 1871. Through the Treaty of Frankfurt in May of 1871, Germany received some territory and basically disrupted the Balance of Power.

Otto von Bismarck

Profile of Otto von Bismarck

Personal Commentary

The unification of Germany ended up being a very successful movement and ultimately created the country of Germany that we have now come to know it by, although Germany had a lot more land in 1871 than they do right now. If Otto von Bismarck did indeed purposely “fire up” France to fight against Prussia and the North German Confederation, that was a brilliant move judging by the results of the Franco-Prussian War. Basically, Otto von Bismarck and the victory of Prussia over France resulted in the creation of Germany.


3 Question Quiz:

1. Who was the military leader of the Prussians?

a. Napoleon Bonaparte
b. Barack Obama
c. Louis XIV
d. Otto von Bismarck

2. Who became the emperor of Germany after Germany was declared a nation state?
a. Otto von Bismarck
b. Prince Leopold
c. William I
d. Louis XV

3. What was the ultimate goal of the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War?
a. to get some party supplies
b. for Prussia to gain control of the Southern German states
c. to help regain Poland
d. to free the Mongols from Indian oppression