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    Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 14:29
What was the main driving force behind unification of Germany - military force (Prussian victories over Austrians and French) or ideology (After Napoleonic wars Germans felt need to be more united to prevent French from interfering in German states. Sort of nationalism.). Were these both forces unified or and through military factors instead of ideological ones?

Edited by Roberts - 08-Dec-2008 at 14:30
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Post Options Post Options   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 18:02
Nationalism on the local and ideological level played a big part. Not due to them having such a large influence, but due to Bismarck's shrewd planning and total loyalty to his own career and by proxy to his Prussian homeland. All actions undertaken swiftly put Austria into a secondary partner role and subdued the southern states into allegiance to Berlin rather than Vienna.

When the first North German confederation was formed these states needed protection of a larger partner, being for one Protestant, and for two in need of political backing they were eager. Bismarck of course took advantage of this league and centralized Prussian power. By the time of the first German Empire he had two quick wars, one with Austria and the second with France. Both did their political good for Prussia. Austria's defeat showed Prussia as the new power player in the German states' circle and the one with France effectively scared the Southern states into Submission. Austria could not help them and Prussia could - France was still a possible enemy (especially with Napoleonic fears reborn via the French Prussian war).

The unification was far from a thoroughly centralized state as the Germany post 1930s. The kingdoms and duchies retained their territorial integrity and more importantly their rulers, aside from the ones that Prussia directly absorbed. Thus you had an amalgam of aristocratic rulers that acknowledged the that the King of Prussia is both King in his own realm and Emperor of the whole German confederation.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 19:34
Originally posted by Roberts

What was the main driving force behind unification of Germany - military force (Prussian victories over Austrians and French) or ideology (After Napoleonic wars Germans felt need to be more united to prevent French from interfering in German states. Sort of nationalism.). Were these both forces unified or and through military factors instead of ideological ones?


purely militarical. all notions of nationalism whatsoever are a combination of propaganda and selective portrayal of actual events. common people back then cared little if they were ruled by the King of Bavaria or the King of Prussia, and those who did care, migrated to America or Russia, simple as that. those 'nationalists' that wanted unification were either highly nationalistic university students and/or idealistic burgeoisie. those were but a minor part of the overall German nation. if you look at the Prussian-Austrian War, you'll see that almost all German small states, including most Protestant ones, sides with Austria, only the immediate neighbours and traditional allies of Prussia sided with them. and i'm totally opposed to the term "unification" to call this process unification is a slap to the face for anyone with a brain. Prussia in the form of Bismarck forced all other German states into submission and the final product was essentially a Prussian dominated confederation. the main objective of the German small states was to ally with any neighbour (Austria, France) who was willing to protect the sovereignity of the country against another agressive great power (in this case Prussia).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 20:22
The academia were nationalists, the students, the authors, etc... thinking back to some grand "German" unity. Which of course played well into political hands. Nationalism was used as a powerful propaganda tool to get the ideologues behind the Prussian government, which of course helped a lot more. 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 20:34
Originally posted by Temujin


and i'm totally opposed to the term "unification" to call this process unification is a slap to the face for anyone with a brain.

Wasn't that term behind the unification idea of restoring kingdom of Germany as it once existed from the treaty of Verdun till the last of Hohenstaufen kings.

Edited by Roberts - 08-Dec-2008 at 20:41
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Post Options Post Options   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 23:18
Originally posted by es_bih


 By the time of the first German Empire he had two quick wars, one with Austria and the second with France. Both did their political good for Prussia. Austria's defeat showed Prussia as the new power player in the German states' circle and the one with France effectively scared the Southern states into Submission. Austria could not help them and Prussia could - France was still a possible enemy (especially with Napoleonic fears reborn via the French Prussian war).

Both wars weren't by the time of the 1st Empire. This ended in 1806. The 2nd Empire  was founded in 1871. Prussia wasn't a new power player in the German states' circle at the 2nd half of the 19th century. It was still before. But the balance of power was disturbed after the war of 1866. All North German states that fought against Prussia were annected. Just in the South Saxon, Hessen-Darmstadt, Bavaria, Baden and Württemberg were left. The German Bund, that fought aside with Austria against Prussia was dissolved. Austrias way away from the other German states was continued. This began still in 1849 with the decision of the "Kleindeutsche Lösung", that excluded Austria's non-German territories from the German National Council.
Originally posted by es_bih

The unification was far from a thoroughly centralized state as the Germany post 1930s. The kingdoms and duchies retained their territorial integrity and more importantly their rulers, aside from the ones that Prussia directly absorbed. Thus you had an amalgam of aristocratic rulers that acknowledged the that the King of Prussia is both King in his own realm and Emperor of the whole German confederation.
That's quite right. The 2nd empire can be called Empire of the Peers (Fürsten) instead of the people.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 23:28
Originally posted by Roberts

What was the main driving force behind unification of Germany - military force (Prussian victories over Austrians and French) or ideology (After Napoleonic wars Germans felt need to be more united to prevent French from interfering in German states. Sort of nationalism.). Were these both forces unified or and through military factors instead of ideological ones?
The French conquest is seen different in Germany. On one side the Napoleonic wars were a Liberation war of Germans against the French invaders. It created a kind of national feeling that did not exist before. On the other side especially around the Rhine the French conquest brought new ideas of Democracy or better of fraternite, egalite and liberte to Germany. The Prussian victory is here more a victory of the reaction. But nevertheless  there was a great movement for a united Germany within the common people. On the other hand after the end of the 1st Empire the dualism between Prussia and Austria brought the unification ahead too. It was the quarrel for supremacy that led to the expulsion of at least Austria from the German Bund and to a unified Reich and nation (but without Austria and Luxembourg).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 23:32
Originally posted by Temujin

and i'm totally opposed to the term "unification" to call this process unification is a slap to the face for anyone with a brain.
That's just the view of a man from the South-West.TongueWink
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Post Options Post Options   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 23:41
Originally posted by beorna

Originally posted by es_bih


 By the time of the first German Empire he had two quick wars, one with Austria and the second with France. Both did their political good for Prussia. Austria's defeat showed Prussia as the new power player in the German states' circle and the one with France effectively scared the Southern states into Submission. Austria could not help them and Prussia could - France was still a possible enemy (especially with Napoleonic fears reborn via the French Prussian war).

Both wars weren't by the time of the 1st Empire. This ended in 1806. The 2nd Empire  was founded in 1871. Prussia wasn't a new power player in the German states' circle at the 2nd half of the 19th century. It was still before. But the balance of power was disturbed after the war of 1866. All North German states that fought against Prussia were annected. Just in the South Saxon, Hessen-Darmstadt, Bavaria, Baden and Württemberg were left. The German Bund, that fought aside with Austria against Prussia was dissolved. Austrias way away from the other German states was continued. This began still in 1849 with the decision of the "Kleindeutsche Lösung", that excluded Austria's non-German territories from the German National Council.


I think you are misunderstanding the gist of my reply. Prussia was in competition with European states and other German states for quite some time, but it was not in the same position that Austria was. 1806 happenned quite the time away from unification but it did the job. French expansion was a percieved thread , one which the southern states feared. Austria being defeated did not help their cause as the primary German protector. Thus Prussia stepped in, by forcefully seizing the torch out of Austria's hands.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Dec-2008 at 23:47
I am not sure a "unified" Germany ever made sense.  Here is a premise:
 
Germany had, for centuries, been a playground for stronger powers to fight it out among states and people who could not prevent that.  Why was this?  I think perhaps it was because Germany was always a "fault line" between East and West and never had a real sense of unity.  With respect to the topic at hand, I suspect it is the 19th century "unification" that is under discussion.
 
That political event had little to do with a Germany that saw herself unified, and everything to do with a state system that was under stress, and saw itself threatened.  The fragmented "states" (aristocratic holdings) of Germany were threatened by both the revolutionary forces of France to the West, and by the perceived enormous power of Russia to the east.  Prussia was regarded as a threat to liberal thought and institutions in the Rhineland and other areas of western Germany; she was regarded as the Protestant enemy by conservative Catholic Bavaria. 
 
However, the military successes of Prussia (1864; 1866; 1870/71) could not be denied.  A conservative, monarchical Prussia was preferred to revolutionary France or barbaric, Orthodox Russia as the model of strength that preserved aristocratic privilege in German states.  Once Prussian military power was demonstrated, the other states fell in line.  The fact that German Austria and Switzerland were excluded from the "unification" goes to the fact of political power over ideological interest as the determinant.  The perception of military superiority won over the descendants of the liberals of 1848, and fed the image of inevitable, monarchical superiority for a "unified" state that never had the resources to fulfill the role to which it aspired. 
 
"Unification" was an act of aristocratic self interest more than an act of German nationalism.  The ideals of Junge Deutschland of the 1830s and 40s had been turned to the advantage of the aristocratic interests of the 1860s as a mechanism of self interest.
 
     
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 14:30
Were there any attempts from German side (like Princes of Bavaria, Saxony etc. wanting independence again or from other levels of society) to break up Germany again in smaller states after for example unsuccessful WWI ?

Edited by Roberts - 09-Dec-2008 at 14:32
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 15:27
Originally posted by Roberts

Were there any attempts from German side (like Princes of Bavaria, Saxony etc. wanting independence again or from other levels of society) to break up Germany again in smaller states after for example unsuccessful WWI ?
 
That I really do not know.  It would seem that the princes would have had no better success than the Habsburgs had in Hungary.  What benefit such a breakup would have had is hard to see.  Certainly it would further weaken Germany in relation to France and Russia as she had been prior to 1871.
 
During the Second World War, proposals were put forth to break up Germany in order to destroy any future chance of her ability to dominate Europe.  The practical result was just as good though.  Germany wound up under occupation; the eastern areas were lost to her along with most if the coal resources of Silesia; the DDR became a Russian army camp, and Germany shrank in relation to both the US and USSR to the point that she was no longer a threat.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 16:33
I am not sure that I've come across any significant attempts by the minor princes. A confederation was a good choice for them WWI or not. They retained their own armies, their own autonomy, but gained the protection of a very powerful domestic partner. All they had to do is acknowledge the King of Prussia as their Emperor. They still retained enormous power in their own lands, centrally speaking it was all about Prussia however. But these little entities had no interest in global politics or at least no interest to partake - being swallowed up by a power such as France taught many lessons. Retaining their titles, their privilieges, and virtual autonomy for the sake of their "own bastard" seemed a great choice. These are not after all the Bundesrepublik states, these are a confederated league in spirit of the Hohenstaufen Empire. Where the Emperor had considerable power, but still could not totally control his sub-kingdoms.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 18:41
Originally posted by Roberts


Wasn't that term behind the unification idea of restoring kingdom of Germany as it once existed from the treaty of Verdun till the last of Hohenstaufen kings.


Germany was never a centralized state until 1918 and particularly 1933 after Hitlers rise to power. atcually one of the first things Hitler did was to get away with the old states and create new random "Gaue", because he knew the Federal system was one of his biggest obstacles to Totalitarian control of Germany. so as there was never a truely unified state until Hitler, we cannot speak about a unification. and it's not just the idea of a man form the Southwest but facts of history.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 18:49
Originally posted by beorna

The French conquest is seen different in Germany. On one side the Napoleonic wars were a Liberation war of Germans against the French invaders.


that's were historical myth starts. for a start, Napoleon never conquered Germany. because there was no Germany and because all the German princes allied with Napoleon on their free will. Napoleon gave huge privileges to the German princes and they readily fought for him like Frenchmen in his wars until his star was falling from the sky. of course this put the German princes in a abd position, because they were wholeheartedly supporting Napoleon for he gave them many new lands and power, therefore they invented the myth of nationalism, so they could become friends with Prussia and Austria again.


It created a kind of national feeling that did not exist before. But nevertheless  there was a great movement for a united Germany within the common people. [/quote]

nonsense, as is aid before, common people only cared for liberal movements, they couldn't care less if their Monarch is the King of Württemberg or the Emperor of Germany, that doesn't change anything for them at all. therefore they descided to migrate tro Russia or America or accept the situation if they couldn't make it.

On the other hand after the end of the 1st Empire the dualism between Prussia and Austria brought the unification ahead too. It was the quarrel for supremacy that led to the expulsion of at least Austria from the German Bund and to a unified Reich and nation (but without Austria and Luxembourg).


it was only Prussia who pursued an agressive hegemonial policy, Austria did nothing, they had other issues to take care of which was far from Germany.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 19:06
Originally posted by beorna

That's just the view of a man from the South-West.TongueWink


so? are you really sure about that? irregardless of what i already mentioned above, remember the national assembly at Frankfurt and how they offered the Imperial crown to Frederick Wilhelm IV on a silver plate and he declined! is that the act of a Monarch who genuinely cares to unify a people? Bismarcks policy of belligerent expansion led the German people to a virtual civil war in 1866, how can you seriously believe he was interested in German unity and the fate of the German people? he even went as far as to drag all of Germany into a war with France which ultimately turned them our arch-enemies until 60 years ago! that son of a bitch even sent Prussian soldiers to quell the liberal movements of Baden and the Palatinate, he was one of the major reasons so many Germans left Germany in the first place to seek their fortune in America! if you know the American Civil War you'll know about the large number of German immigrants who took uniforms and rifles and descided to voluntarily fight for the liberty of the American people. they wouldn't have migrated if they were happy in Germany. do you honestly believe a person like Bismarck, who was responsible for the suffering and emmigration of so many Germans is a unifier? come on. should i be any thankful to the Prussian Army that forcefully destroyed any liberty movement in Germany, that fought the Army of my own country and "allowed" me to live in a bigger, more conservative country than before?

and btw, the German princes wanted to elect the King of Bavaria as German emperor instead of the Prussian King? of course they didn't wanted a strong emperor that would dominate them but a weakling with lose reins. Bismarck new of that and bribed the King of Bavaria so he could finance his dumb fairy tale castles and the German princes would instead elect the King of Prussia. Dead
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 19:18
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

I am not sure a "unified" Germany ever made sense.  Here is a premise:
 
Germany had, for centuries, been a playground for stronger powers to fight it out among states and people who could not prevent that.  Why was this?  I think perhaps it was because Germany was always a "fault line" between East and West and never had a real sense of unity.  With respect to the topic at hand, I suspect it is the 19th century "unification" that is under discussion.


the answer to "why was that?" is actually very simple. first of, as you said, there was never a sense of unity because there never was a true unity. when "Germany" in the modern sense came into being, it was a federation of tribal duchies that elected one of their own as emperor while retaining virtual self-rule in one's domain. that essentially never changed but manifested even more so as their came ever more and smaller territories into existence and the power of the Emperor gradually decliend with it.

 
That political event had little to do with a Germany that saw herself unified, and everything to do with a state system that was under stress, and saw itself threatened.  The fragmented "states" (aristocratic holdings) of Germany were threatened by both the revolutionary forces of France to the West, and by the perceived enormous power of Russia to the east.  Prussia was regarded as a threat to liberal thought and institutions in the Rhineland and other areas of western Germany; she was regarded as the Protestant enemy by conservative Catholic Bavaria.


but that's totally wrong and irrelevant. the confesional division of Germany is about as relevant as the Taiping rebellion to the "unification": not at all. see, Prussia itself was not fully protestant. sure, the old, conservative East, the Core of Prussia was protestant, but the "new" Prusisa to the west along the rhine whith it's industry and infected by liberal thought from France was actually Catholic (like France herself). so i really don't see the point of confessional question here. Bavaria, core-Prussia and Austria were conservative because they were eastern countries, not because of their religion.

on the same note, most protestant countries allied with Austria in the War of 1866 instead of Prussia, but again that has nothing to do with religion but with German principalities not accepting Prussian overlordship. Prussia was even allied to Catholic Italy.
 
However, the military successes of Prussia (1864; 1866; 1870/71) could not be denied.  A conservative, monarchical Prussia was preferred to revolutionary France or barbaric, Orthodox Russia as the model of strength that preserved aristocratic privilege in German states.  Once Prussian military power was demonstrated, the other states fell in line.  The fact that German Austria and Switzerland were excluded from the "unification" goes to the fact of political power over ideological interest as the determinant.  The perception of military superiority won over the descendants of the liberals of 1848, and fed the image of inevitable, monarchical superiority for a "unified" state that never had the resources to fulfill the role to which it aspired.


= Realpolitik. as i noted in my forst post, the objective of a small german princeipality was to ensure independence, this was only possible by allying with a neighbouring great power that is willing to wage war against any agressive great power that is willing to change the status quo. but with Austria and France eliminated, there was no other chance but to give in and become a Prussian vassal.
 
"Unification" was an act of aristocratic self interest more than an act of German nationalism. 


exactly


Edited by Temujin - 09-Dec-2008 at 19:26
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 19:22
Originally posted by Roberts

Were there any attempts from German side (like Princes of Bavaria, Saxony etc. wanting independence again or from other levels of society) to break up Germany again in smaller states after for example unsuccessful WWI ?


no, there are two reasons for this: first, all German principalities enjoyed continual virtual self-rule. the citizens had two passports, a German one and one of their respective principality. the only real change was outer-politically but on the inside, not much changed at all. as i said before, Imperial Germany was closer to a Confederation than an empire. the other reason was after ww1, Germany had to pay reparations. it was much easier for the Entente to milk a large fat Germany insetad of innumerous small principalities that couldn't pay. of course there's that odd Bavarian Soviet Republic after ww1.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 20:01
Originally posted by Temujin

Originally posted by Roberts


Wasn't that term behind the unification idea of restoring kingdom of Germany as it once existed from the treaty of Verdun till the last of Hohenstaufen kings.


Germany was never a centralized state until 1918 and particularly 1933 after Hitlers rise to power. atcually one of the first things Hitler did was to get away with the old states and create new random "Gaue", because he knew the Federal system was one of his biggest obstacles to Totalitarian control of Germany. so as there was never a truely unified state until Hitler, we cannot speak about a unification. and it's not just the idea of a man form the Southwest but facts of history.


That is very much true and I think often overlooked when the subject of German "unification" comes along.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 21:13
Temujin,
 
Your point on the confessional issue is well taken.  I was attempting to refer to the historical recurrant antagonism that Bavarian and Prussian elites often exhibited.  The Kulturkampf, Bismarck's witch hunt against the Pope that turned into state persecution of Prussian Catholics, was hardly popular in Bavaria.
 
Many of the immigrants to America you mentioned came as a result of such religious restrictions, and German Catholic parishes were numerous in the industrial towns of Pennsylvania (including the one where I was baptized Smile ).  If they could make steel in Essen, they could make it in Bethlehem and Pittsburgh too.  If Polish Prussians could mine coal in Silesia, they could do it in Scranton as well.  And they could get better pay, and Jesuit schools for their kids.  (and no army Wink )
 
Good point though.
 
 


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 09-Dec-2008 at 21:24
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