Austro Prussian Seven Weeks War
In 1850s, many smaller independent states including Prussia in Germany were rapidly industrializing. Germany was quite popular because it was the hub of rail traffic across Europe. To the British, Germany was just a land of forests and clockmakers but this was not the case.
Industrialization put the country on global map and it became even more popular as it grew to be a third power in output manufacturing across the globe. Austria on the other hand had been diplomatically isolated by Sardinia Piedmont and France. Therefore, it was looking for ways to partner again with Prussia’s monarchy by luring it to regain Lombardy and reversing settlement at Villafranca.
Prussia, the largest German state was mainly protestant and a constitutional monarchy. It also landed aristocracy in 1862 during a domestic crisis. It is during the same period that Otto Von Bismarck took office. He also declared that a parliamentary consideration was not important for his government leadership.
However, he was very concerned about Prussia and its position in the country. There were also concerns over Prussia’s influence in German states also known as the confederation of German states. The confederation consisted of 35 monarchial states and 4 Free states. Therefore, it was a security arrangement for German’s mutual defense.
The states also had representatives in Frankfurt at parliament. Additionally, the states had a customs union that facilitated all trade activities. The union also helped the country to grow economically. The union, known as Zollverein however became the source of tension between Austria and Prussia.
Prussia did not agree to the idea of admitting Austria to the customs upon while other states insisted on including Austria. Bismarck on the other hand opposed nationalism and favored Prussia because of its influence across German states. He strongly believed that Germany was a very small country for Austria and Prussia bearing in mind that the latter was nationalistic.
He was interested in getting the nationalistic issue from Prussia liberals as they represented the middle class and merchants. The liberals were also against war and militarism. Bismarck was therefore renounced for his actions and believes that ‘‘might makes right’’.
In 1863, King Fredrick of Denmark passed on and questions of war came in. Danish throne was headed by a Christian of Glucksburg and it gave the duchy of Holstein. However, this led to annexation of Schleswig violating the Treaty of London. Therefore, a rival claim rule for Holstein and Schleswig was put forth by the Duke of Augustenburg.
German confederation of states supported dukes’ claim for the duchies. What’s more, there was war against Denmark by Austria and Prussia. The war ended in 1864 when Austria was declared the administrator of Holstein and Prussia administrator of Schleswig.
Bismarck however wanted control of the two duchies while Austria feared that by doing so, it could lose its respect of smaller German states. Prussia sent its troops to Holstein forcing Austria to either accept German domination of start a war. Austria did not agree to it because it had also signed treaties with France for neutrality in favor of Germany.
As a result, there was war that lasted for 7weeks where Italy sent its troops to fight Austrian troops in Venetia after which, Prussia had to unite with Austria despite their political and religious differences.
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