No Bismarck, No Germany?

Couldnt find any similar threads in the archives so I was curious of the following......
Bismarck is a significant factor (or is he) in the unification of Germany, however, boiling other events into factors of Economic, External (European balance of power) factors and internal Nationalist feeling within Germany, is Bismarck really the most significant of these four potential factors.
Does anyone have any views (Personally I think its the economic factors, Zollverien, railways, Prussian economic ascendency)
and if there is no Bismarck-how long does it take Germany to become unified if at all?
 

yourworstnightmare

Banned
Donor
Well, I think we'd see a unified Germany at some point. But would it be dominated by Prussian Junkers, or something completely else is a good question. Perhaps even born through some kind of revolution. However I don't think Germany would have stayed divided (possibly a North and a South Germany, that might have happened).
 

Susano

Banned
My usual, expected correction:
Germany existed. Bismarck did not create it. It simply was disunited since 1806 (hence reunification would probably even be a better term).

And German reunification cant really be stopped, though the circumstances of course can be majorly altered, other territories then just Austria and Luxemburg might be excluded in the process (or either one included), and it might be decades later. However, given the overwhelming nationalist, pro-reunfiication sentiment in the German states, its inevitable that unification happens as soon as democratication comes knocking. Of course, if it happens that way, as said, that might take several decades more than IOTL.

OTOH, Prussia already tried in 1850 to reunify Germany under its helm (that was cut short by the Treaty of Olmütz enforced by Austria and Russia), so even without Bismarck it simply might try some time later.
 

Thande

Donor
My usual, expected correction:
Germany existed. Bismarck did not create it. It simply was disunited since 1806 (hence reunification would probably even be a better term).

And German reunification cant really be stopped, though the circumstances of course can be majorly altered, other territories then just Austria and Luxemburg might be excluded in the process (or either one included), and it might be decades later. However, given the overwhelming nationalist, pro-reunfiication sentiment in the German states, its inevitable that unification happens as soon as democratication comes knocking. Of course, if it happens that way, as said, that might take several decades more than IOTL.

OTOH, Prussia already tried in 1850 to reunify Germany under its helm (that was cut short by the Treaty of Olmütz enforced by Austria and Russia), so even without Bismarck it simply might try some time later.
The problem I have with your assertion is that you seem to take an "inevitable tides of history" approach to these things. I agree that German nationalism existed long before the wars of German unification, and that there were earlier moves towards uniting Germany under Prussian leadership. But I don't think it was inevitable that these would succeed. There are powerful interests opposed to the idea of a united Germany - obviously France and the Hapsburgs, perhaps others - and it's far from unlikely that they might simply defeat unificationists in wars or move in to quell unificationist grassroots movements. Maybe not forever, but perhaps for long enough for the whole movement to become discredited as the young and angry move on to the new fads like levelling social classes and so on.

Bismarck's importance is that he successfully maneouvred these interests to deliver the Germany he wanted, a Great Power but hugely dominated by Prussia. If someone of his political genius had been working for other interests, they could just as easily have delivered an even more disunited Germany with Prussia broken up, or a much looser Grossdeutschland under Hapsburg leadership closer to the late HRE, or whatever.

The argument that "if a majority of the people want something in a democratic society, eventually it must happen" does not explain why Britain is still in the EU, U.S. state referenda keep blocking gay marriage, etc...
 

Susano

Banned
Well, these days most people simply dont care about the EU. They might be opposed to it, but they dont care, its not a major topic for them. Hence why you usually dont see parties forminga roudn opposition to the EU and suceeding. However, in the relevant timeframe nationalism was important enough to override all other concerns.

Now external pressure might be a problem, true, but in the end the German states include enough people and economical power taken together that, ah, lets say, eventually that shouldnt be a problem. Hm, okay, except their chief diplomat is somebody like Wilhelm II, gaining all of Europe as enemy. I guess thats always a possibility ;) Then, to keep you happy ;) lets say, while its maybe not inevitable, its very, very probable that it would eventually happen, certainly more probable than the alternative.
 

Thande

Donor
Then, to keep you happy ;) lets say, while its maybe not inevitable, its very, very probable that it would eventually happen, certainly more probable than the alternative.
I would say it's more probable than the alternative, but not necessarily "very probable".

Of course I think it also depends on the world socio-political situation at the moment in whatever TL we're talking about as well. An emerging national identity could be subsumed if social, religious etc conflicts are at the forefront of thinking; on the other hand, the 1848 social revolutions in OTL went hand in hand with an attempt at German nationalism, so it depends.
 
Well, these days most people simply dont care about the EU. They might be opposed to it, but they dont care, its not a major topic for them. Hence why you usually dont see parties forminga roudn opposition to the EU and suceeding. However, in the relevant timeframe nationalism was important enough to override all other concerns.
Susano

Are you aware of what's been happening in Britain recently? True there's other factors that are causing growing resentment of the establishment but there is huge resentment of the EU. Possibly more importantly of the negative stance of some of the EU extremists, but the two often get lumped together. I think people are being to feel that there are alternatives to dispair, albeit some are taking some pretty replusive alternatives.

Steve
 
I don't think Germany would have united without Bismarck. He was able to navigate masterfully through diplomatic matters; the change in the balance of power the unification of Germany did was so great, that without Bismarck's diplomacy the powers would simply intervene, not allowing Germany to unite.
 
Couldnt find any similar threads in the archives so I was curious of the following......
Bismarck is a significant factor (or is he) in the unification of Germany, however, boiling other events into factors of Economic, External (European balance of power) factors and internal Nationalist feeling within Germany, is Bismarck really the most significant of these four potential factors.
Does anyone have any views (Personally I think its the economic factors, Zollverien, railways, Prussian economic ascendency)
and if there is no Bismarck-how long does it take Germany to become unified if at all?
Bismark is key to Prussian dominance of a united Germany, by Austrian domination is another matter entirely. depending on the POD and the socio-economic circumstances the German Confederation could play a larger part. The Confederationg was, and someone will undoubtly correct me if I am wrong:D, a brainchild of Prince Metternich have Austrian influence over the post Napoleonic German states left over after Vienna. German Unification is bound to happen because it makes to much sense for it to not happen. What do I mean by this? They share common language, culture and to a degree religion(not to play down Catholicism v Protestanism, which seems to be in decline by the 1800s). I think a German would prefer to be German and not Austrian although in modern day Germany and this could be decreasing they still tend to view themselves as Swabians, Rheinlanders, etc before Germans.
 
The problem I have with your assertion is that you seem to take an "inevitable tides of history" approach to these things. I agree that German nationalism existed long before the wars of German unification, and that there were earlier moves towards uniting Germany under Prussian leadership. But I don't think it was inevitable that these would succeed.
Inevitable, perhaps not. But even aside from Bismarck, there's clearly rising German nationalism. There's the Zollverein, already uniting German economies.

Far more than people, perhaps, is the fact that the states' interest groups will all favor unification. Eventually...
 
Problem is, the circumstances in which the unification happened were unique. If one of the two German powers has to fight two intervening Great Powers simultaneously, there is no chance of victory. For example, Prussia against a combination of Austria and Russia, which in other circumstances wouldn't be unlikely.
 
Yeah, I think that Germany would probably unite EVENTUALLY, but the format of the union and what areas it includes could be very different from OTL without the Iron Chancellor.
 
I would say it's more probable than the alternative, but not necessarily "very probable".

Of course I think it also depends on the world socio-political situation at the moment in whatever TL we're talking about as well. An emerging national identity could be subsumed if social, religious etc conflicts are at the forefront of thinking; on the other hand, the 1848 social revolutions in OTL went hand in hand with an attempt at German nationalism, so it depends.

I agree the European balance of power being favourable toward Prussia's conflict with Austria was really key for that to take place (example of the reaction to the Polish uprising is worth looking at) What about the strength of the Conservative opposition to a liberal unified Germany up to 1848-which is a key reason for the failure of the revolution?
 
Yes, German (re)unification can and probably will occur w/o Otto Bismarck in the picture. The social, political and economic trends and conditions were all there for it to happen at some point in time during the 19th Century. [Asks for forgiveness for promoting own TL] In my Course of Human Events TL I'm bringing it about without Otto Bismarck, who was born Ottilia, though I'm going to use "her" in a creative way.:)
 

Stalker

Banned
Well, Germany might arise sooner or later. With pan-germanic sentiment of such a great strength, the history would find another person to accomplish the process.
It might be not even Prussia as the graity centre for Grossdeutschland. Why cannot we use for that purpose Austria again. It has the traditional right to become a Unificator of German Lands.
 

Susano

Banned
I don't think Germany would have united without Bismarck. He was able to navigate masterfully through diplomatic matters; the change in the balance of power the unification of Germany did was so great, that without Bismarck's diplomacy the powers would simply intervene, not allowing Germany to unite.
As said, Germany as it was eventually exceeded both France and the UK in population and industrial production. This would be so even if the German states did not unite, most likely. Simply said, Germany, even disunited, will eventually become so strong that only all of Europe together could prevent it from uniting. Which could happen of course, given a sufficiently incompetent diplomacy, as said, but also as said I would say the other alternative is more likely.

Bismark is key to Prussian dominance of a united Germany,
No. As said, Prussia has tried before and would probably try again.
And the Austrian government did not want to unify Germany. Yes, Metternich basically designed the German Confederation, and the Austrian government always liked that status quo, thank you very much, no further unification wanted. The problem of course are Austrias non-German parts - if Austria holds on to them (preventing the possibility of unification with the smaller German states), but can dominate Germany, then that is the best of both worlds for the Vienna government.

Well, Germany might arise sooner or later. With pan-germanic sentiment of such a great strength, the history would find another person to accomplish the process..
While I approve of your general opinion, there was no such a thing as a pan-Germanic sentiment. Well, okay, to be fair there was, among the radical vestiges of the romantic-racist spectrum, but it wasnt exactly widespread. What you meant probably is pan-German, which is something different ;) :p
 
As said, Germany as it was eventually exceeded both France and the UK in population and industrial production. This would be so even if the German states did not unite, most likely. Simply said, Germany, even disunited, will eventually become so strong that only all of Europe together could prevent it from uniting. Which could happen of course, given a sufficiently incompetent diplomacy, as said, but also as said I would say the other alternative is more likely.


No. As said, Prussia has tried before and would probably try again.
And the Austrian government did not want to unify Germany. Yes, Metternich basically designed the German Confederation, and the Austrian government always liked that status quo, thank you very much, no further unification wanted.
The problem of course are Austrias non-German parts - if Austria holds on to them (preventing the possibility of unification with the smaller German states), but can dominate Germany, then that is the best of both worlds for the Vienna government.


While I approve of your general opinion, there was no such a thing as a pan-Germanic sentiment. Well, okay, to be fair there was, among the radical vestiges of the romantic-racist spectrum, but it wasnt exactly widespread. What you meant probably is pan-German, which is something different ;) :p
Also the mass conservative forces within Germany who wanted to maintain the status quo to support their freedom to govern the individual states, this includes the church, aristocracy and even the peasants to an extent-the forces for change were really only supported by the middle class until after 1848 by which time Metternich was no longer a factor
 

Susano

Banned
Also the mass conservative forces within Germany who wanted to maintain the status quo to support their freedom to govern the individual states, this includes the church, aristocracy and even the peasants to an extent-the forces for change were really only supported by the middle class until after 1848 by which time Metternich was no longer a factor
Freedom? More like unwarranted privileges. In 1848, yes, oinly a small part of the population took part in the revolution (but that small demographic already outnumbered the nobility and clergy, of course), while most of the rural population was for the most part unintersted - but vaguely pro-German, and not pro-particularist. However, while 1848 was the most flashy exhibition of 19th German popular nationalism, demographically it wasnt its high point. With the growing economical development, which allowed for more people to take interest in politics, German nationalism in the population simply further grew.
 
Just off the top of my head, if Austria were to lose too much of its empire, would it ever consider uniting Germany under an Austrian banner to compensate?
 

Susano

Banned
Just off the top of my head, if Austria were to lose too much of its empire, would it ever consider uniting Germany under an Austrian banner to compensate?
This "you lose this land and will get compensated with that, oh and you there will switch to another realm entirely for compensation" worked at the Congress of Vienna. Afterwards... not anymore.
 
Top