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In the Context of German Political Development from 1814-1914, to What Extent Did the Process and Outcome of German Political Unification (1848-1871) Reflect Prussia's Social and Economic Domination?

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Essay Preview: In the Context of German Political Development from 1814-1914, to What Extent Did the Process and Outcome of German Political Unification (1848-1871) Reflect Prussia's Social and Economic Domination?

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The result of the Revolutionary wars (1775-83) and Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) had put Europe and the four great dominating powers (Prussia, Britain, and Russia) in a period of exhaustion. Germany would in the leading years play a significant role in the balance of power within Europe and Germany played a significant role in keeping the peace within the next years during the era of restoration from 1815 leading up to the time of German unification of 1848-1871. (Page 1. A history of Germany 1815-1990, William Carr) The creation of the German Confederation as a result of the Vienna conference in 1814 would play a significant role in the shaping of Germany leading up to the unification where Prussia and Austria would now fight on a political level to try and influence the states of Germany on a social and economical level. (Page 2. A history of Germany 1815-1990, William Carr) The German Confederation would act as a buffer between Prussia and Austria as this association involved to act as a coordination of economic development within the different speaking German states. During 1818 Prussia pushed for the abolishment of tariffs affecting it's trade and movement of raw materials within the Rhineland, the tariff law of 1818 allowed Prussia to import raw materials from the German states duty free, this would later on lead to incentives for a strong coercion bond forming between Prussia and German states and the forming of a customs union with other states. These factors led to Prussia being able to expand its industry and in a long-term view are able to expand its economy, and German states in later stages would be able to take advantage of this coercion and push into a time period of economic boom and industrial boom, this was clearly demonstrated by the significant industrial expansion Germany experienced from 1850's throughout to. From the year 1850 leading up to 1869 the German Confederation saw an increase in coal production of 21.8 Million Tonnes comparing it to the dominant power of Austria, which was regarded as a 'backward' country regarding economic development, which only saw an increase in Coal production of 4.1 Million Tonnes, which is significantly less, then the German Confederation. This highlights the industrial 'boost' that the German Confederation was experiencing after mid 19th Century. From 1865-69 the German Confederation saw an increase in Coal production from 20.8 Million Tonnes to 31.0 Million Tonnes comparing it to Austria one of the great powers in Europe, which only saw an increase in production from 3.6 Million Tonnes to 5.3 Million Tonnes, this highlights the significant economic development that the German Confederation was going through catching up with the other nations such as Britain, and the United States. By 1900 Germany would become one of the leading powers regarding manufacturing and become a leader in industrialisation.

(Page 58. The Unification of Germany, Michael Gorman)

This era of economic boom was strengthened throughout the joint effort of the partnership between Prussia and Germany and the creation of the Prussian Zollverein in 1818 and further expanded upon in 1820 and 1866 to include most of the German states. This interconnection of the states was reinforced by the significant boost in the railway network across Prussia, joining up with most of the German trading states that the Zollverein agreement had established. (Page 58. The Unification of Germany, Michael Gorman) From 1850 up to 1870 the German Confederation saw a boost in railway distance from 5,856 km in 1850 to 18,876 in 1870 compared to the growth of Austria which saw an increase from 1,579km in 1850 to 9,589km in 1870. This data highlights the step towards industrial dominance that Germany eventually established in 1900 and can be compared to one of the great industrialised nations the UK, which saw a rise in railway distance from 9,797km in 1950 to 21,558km in year 1970 significantly shows that the German Confederation saw catching up with the other great power nations. (Page 58. The Unification of Germany, Michael Gorman) The railway network that was established was a way for Prussia to be able to follow through with its main plans for Germany, which was to strengthen the bond between Germany and Prussia, trying to isolate the influence of Austria while at the same time using Germany as a natural barrier towards conflict against France. It must be clear that the Railway revolution of 1840s did more to bring about trading relations with bordering German states and Prussia, but also lead to a multiplier effect of economic growth within the German Confederation where the demand for skilled labour saw significant increase, accompanied with the rise of new markets, skilled architects and the rise of mechanisation which helped boost coal production showing an interlinking connection of economic multiplier effect throughout the German Confederation which would ultimately highlight the relationship between Prussia and Germany, where the development of Germany was aided by Prussian expansion which shared an interlinking relationship with political development on the stage where Germany would become unified.

In 1828 the push for forming a Trade Union was taken into action, which led to the creation of the Mid-German Commercial Union between Saxony, Hanover, Brunswick and a few German states. The forming of this Commercial Union was seen as a potential threat towards Prussia as this would restrict its wanted influence over German states, and its interest to access the potential resources that was available for Prussia to be exploited in order for Prussia to rise as the greatest European power. The Commercial Union did not want to see the rise of Prussia and its gain of control in North-Germany, but it would be clear to the Union that Prussia's influence would be to much to handle and ''Prussia soon won the economic battle with the Mid-German Union'' (Page 23. A history of Germany 1815-1990, William Carr) clearly showing that Prussia would play an important factor in the economic development of Germany, and is argued in some cases to be dominating German states. William Carr argues in his book (History of Germany 1815-1990) that in the early stages of the development of the union the Custom Union did not achieve much ''it was not until the middle of the century it did in conjunction with other factors lead to a considerable increase in the volume of trade. And although Prussia realized that the Customs Union was a useful instrument for extending her political influence over here immediate neighbours, neither then or later was she thinking in terms of national unification''. (Page 23. A history of Germany 1815-1990, William Carr) This clearly showed that Prussia saw that it had the means and resources

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