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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 los...

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“An Investigation into the role of Bismarck and the Zollverein in German Unification” 10 Nov. 1999: n. pag. Online. Internet. 13 Feb. 2000. Available site explained in more detail the importance of the Zollverein, and how it influenced other smaller states. “German Unification, covering 1805-71” n. pag. Online. Internet. 26 Jan. 2000. Available site put the information in chronological order and under headings giving a greater understanding of when and how events happened. Menzel, Wolfgang Germany: From the Earliest Period. New York and London: the Co-operative Publication Society, 1978. Vol. 4 of 4- this book laid the information out in an easy to understand format, giving a general background to find more books from. Schirp, Francis M. Ph.D. Short History of Germany. St Louis: B. Herder, 1915- this book, although before 1955, gave the movements of armies and information on the armies and fighting that surpassing that of the later books. Stern, Fritz Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichroder, and the Building of the German Empire. New York: Knopf, 1977- this book about Bismarck supplied background, and helped in my understanding of the workings of the unification, from money, to some of Bismarck’s thoughts, and the working of the Prussian government. “The Road to National Unification” 1 March 1997: n pag. Online. Internet. 26 Jan 2000. Available – this site gave the best information on what was going on in the world outside of Germany that related Germany.

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