The Process of German Unification
There existed a confederated realm of German princedoms that had some adjacent lands included in it as well. It dates back to the Treaty of Verdun of 843. However, there never existed a German sense of national identity. This only came towards the beginning of the 19th century, in the 1800s.
- The German Confederation united the middle-class workers of the states. However, their plans would not pan out due to the actions of Junkers, the large landowners of Prussia.
- Prussia won wars with Austria, Denmark, and France over seven years time and this methodically solidified their position in Europe and unified Germany under Prussian Empire.
- The unification of Germany was announced on 18 January 1871. The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France saw the princes from most of the German states assembled, to accept King Wilhelm I of Prussia as the German Emperor during the Franco-Prussian War. An important figure in the process was the Prussian Minister Otto von Bismarck.
- Throughout this process, a lot of importance was assigned to modernising the currency, army, banking, and judicial systems in Germany.
This event had a major effect on Europe’s politics for the decades to come. The German empire was officially unified and came to be dominated by the Prussian federalist structure.