The steps that led to German unification include the era when Austria was defeated, the Schleswig-Holstein issue, and the seven week war and finally when unity was achieved. Bismarck turned his attention into excluding Austria from German affairs after he had created a powerful Prussian military force. But first he made clear that the great powers of Europe would support Prussia rather than Austria in the event of war. He gained Russia's friendship by helping it against Polish rebels. This is called the polish question which was when the polish people began revolting against the Russian rule. Britain, France and the Prussian government supported the Polish people because they were in favour of liberalism. Yet Bismarck told the Russian King that he supported him because Bismarck was for the feudal system. Bismarck went against the Prussian parliament so that Russia can have a good relationship with Prussia in the future years. Bismarck also gained Italy's support by promising the return of Venetia from Austria. This was done by Bismarck in 1863 when he went to Italy and told the King that if Prussia should go to war with Austria, with Italy's assistance, it would be more likely to defeat Prussia. And in turn for Italy's support they would receive the state of Venetia. Bismarck looked for Italy's help because he knew that they would be attacking Prussia on two different fronts and this would make it harder for the Austrians to win. .
Bismarck also gained France's neutrality by the promise of territory. Bismarck met Napoleon the third at Biarritz where he told him that if he stays neutral and not involve in war between Austria and Prussia, he will be Promised Land. Yet Napoleon thought that once both Prussia and Austria would be tired from fighting, he will come in and defeat them and occupy whatever land he desires. So he agreed to Bismarck's idea to not become implicated. .
Next Bismarck worked out a plan for war between Prussia and Austria.