How successful was Bismarck in bringing about the full unification of Germany in the years 1871-78?
To unify a number of things or people, you join or bring them together, they become a whole or they agree to work together for a particular purpose. I think that Bismarck was successful in bringing about the full unification of Germany, although some of his goals were not achieved until after 1878. For example, when Bismarck and von Bennigsen began the process of standardising law based on Prussian law codes, a national penal code was introduced in 1872, but the full codification of civil law was not completed until 1900.
Although Bismarck’s reasons for wanting to bring about the full unification of Germany are often debated, he did in many ways manage it, there were many new laws passed that unified Germany, for example, ...view middle of the document...
Although it appears that Bismarck successfully managed to unify most of the areas who had never wanted to be part of Germany, it seems he never succeeded in truly integrating the people of provinces such as Alsace-Lorraine with the rest of Germany as Alsace repeatedly elected deputies committed to the separation of the area from Germany.
The Kulturkampf is one event that did not appear to go as planned for Bismarck but ended up helping him to achieve full unification of Germany, as his subsequent relations with Papacy were good and in 1885 he even proposed the Pope as a mediator in Germany’s colonial dispute with Spain, this, along with the support of the Centre party facilitated an alliance with Austrian, signed in 1879.
The economic concerns were important in Bismarck’s goal for the full unification of Germany, the introduction of tariffs in 1878 gave Bismarck the opportunity to unite Germany with a newly strengthened economy, as well as encouraging German self-sufficiency, which Bismarck favoured, as he did not want Germany to become dependent on foreign imports and felt it essential that the country should be able to feed itself, in case of war.
In conclusion, Bismarck was largely successful in bringing about the full unification of Germany in the years 1871-78, this is shown through the political, economic and cultural changes that Bismarck successfully established in many areas of Germany. Even the events, such as the Kulturkampf, that seemed as if they would stop unification brought the German people together and improved relations with other countries and authorities. Apart from some aspects of unification which were not achieved, for example the Germanisation of Alsace-Lorraine, the overall goal seemed to be achieved in unifying and strengthening Germany. Bismarck himself obviously thought he had achieved full unification of Germany as he said, ‘In 1871, I had an empire, but by 1879, I had a nation.’