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Unification of Germany (1848-1871)

  • The liberals (mainly constituted by middle class) tried to unite different regions of German confederation into a united Germany in 1848 governed by an elected Parliament.
  • This initiative by the liberals was repressed by the combined forces of the monarchy and military supported by the large landowners (called Junkers).
  • The responsibility of the unification was now taken over by the conservative forces.
  • The responsibility was assigned to the chief minister of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck.
  • Three wars with Austria, Denmark and France fought over seven years’ period ended in Prussian victory.
  • Thus the unification of Germany was completed and the Prussian King, Kaiser William I was proclaimed as the Emperor of Germany on 18 January 1871 at the hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.