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The Making of Germany and Italy

  • Nationalist feelings were widespread among middle-class Germans, who in 1848 tried to unite the different regions of the German confederation into a nation-state governed by an elected parliament.
  • The leadership of the movement for national unification was taken over by Prussia.
  • Otto von Bismarck, its chief minister, carried out his duties with the help of the Prussian army and bureaucracy.
  • Three wars with Austria, Denmark and France ended in Prussian victory and completed the unification process

  • In January 1871, in a ceremony held at Versailles, the Prussian king, William I, was proclaimed the German Emperor in an assembly comprising the princes of the German states, representatives of the army, important Prussian ministers including the chief minister Otto von Bismarck
  • On the morning of 18 January 1871, the assembly gathered in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles to proclaim the new German Empire headed by Kaiser William I of Prussia.

The Hall of Mirrors

A strong emphasis on modernising the currency, banking, legal and judicial systems in Germany, was placed by the new state.


Unification of Germany

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