Examine the influence of Bismarck on the German Empire between 1866 and 1890.
Germany in the period 1871 - 1890 (since it was unified) has been called "Bismarck's Germany-, and Bismarck has been credited with creating the modern Germany - but how much influence over this state did he really have? How much influence was it possible for just one man to have?.
Influence could be measured in many different ways. The first I will look at is the unification process.
It could be argued that Bismarck's influence over unification was limited as he was just the catalyst; that he just affected the timing of it rather than the inevitable fact that it would happen, as when he became the Prussian Minister-President, German nationalism was already 40 years old. .
There were also other factors which limited his influence. Nationalist feeling led to the creation of the Zollverein, where trade was allowed between the individual states with lower tax, bringing them closer together. It also strengthened the Prussian economy, which made them good trading partners, and this, added to the fact that they had a strong military, made the other states want to "tag along-. It could be said that tagging along came at the price of unification and handing power and influence to Prussia, making it even more the dominant state without Bismarck's influence. .
However, although German nationalism had been around for so long, nothing had ever come of it, as the Revolution' of 1848 showed. The fact that there was no unified attempt across Germany, but instead "separate groups in each state attempting but failing- stood in the way. It needed someone to organise and bring it all together if unification was to be achieved, and that person proved to be Bismarck.
Bismarck's control over Prussia and the achievement of German unification was due to "military strength and diplomacy."" It could be argued that as he had a "long plan,"" no other leader could have united Germany, as many leaders look for immediate or short-term solutions.