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German Unification The Seven Weeks War and its Effects

Germany, a country hundreds of years in the making, was unified in 1871. After years of being separate states and loose confederations, Germany became a whole, unified nation through Prussian strength in the economy and more importantly strength in the military. The might of the Prussia’s military was in its army, which it used in wars to bring together the separate German states into a unified Germany. The Seven Weeks War against Austria was the first example of this. When Prussia won that war, the Northern German Confederation was formed with Prussia at the head and Austria not included, thus creating the first unified Germany, even if not completely, and changing war and politics of Europe forever.In 1818 Prussia established the Zollverein, a free trade agreement between German states. Quickly many other states joined the Zollverein, including twenty-five of the northern German states. As a result of the Zollverein, common customs were adopted, internal boarders abolished, and a common currency and weights system were used. The internal customs duties were replaced by a single tariff charge at the Prussian State frontier, and a customs union was established with Prussia at the head. The Zollverein opened up the many different independent German states to each other, making them economically dependent on each other and Prussia. One reason Germany was unified under Prussia was partially because of the economic power and control granted it through the Zollverein. In 1863 the Danish king tried to annex Schleswig, which has been a duchy of Denmark along with Holstein for some time. Since the Danish king was duke of Schleswig he was not supposed to annex it. As a result of his actions both Prussia and Austria responded by declaring war on Denmark. Denmark had hoped for help from Britain or France, but neither came forcing Denmark to stand alone against both Prussia and Austria. After three months of fighting Denmark had lost, and...

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