3-5: Prussians; Concentrated Germans


The German Empire, 1871

Part 1 of 2: Read the following information and answer the questions that follow concerning Prussia’s expansion and unification of Germany under Otto von Bismarck’s Leadership.


Germany wasn’t always Germany

The nation we currently know as Germany was not always a country.  In fact Germany the country is one of the more recent additions to the map of Europe. As late as 1860 the area we today call Germany was divided up into 39 separate states. While many of the people living in these states shared a common, language, a common culture, common history and for the most part a common language the German people had been intentionally left divided at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars (1815).  The division of the German people began to end in 1860 when the Prime Minister of Prussia (Prussia was the 2nd largest of the German States) a man by the name of Otto Von Bismarck began to take steps to unite the German people under one ruler.


Elements of German Nationalism
Language German
Culture Germanic
Religion Protestant


Place Language Culture Religion
Prussia German Germanic Protestant
Vienna (Austria) German Germanic Catholic
Schleswig & Holstein German Germanic Protestant
Bavaria German Germanic Catholic
Hanover German Germanic Protestant
Ruhr German Germanic Protestant
Frankfurt German Germanic Protestant
Alsace & Lorraine German & French Germanic & Frankish Protestant & Catholic
France French Frankish Catholic


Terms and Events to Know!

Otto Von Bismarck:  The Prime Minister of Prussia in the late 1800’s. Famous from uniting Germany under Prussian rule.

Blood & Iron: Bismarck’s plan to unite Germany based on German “blood” (nationality) and Prussian “iron” military conquest and of course the notorious O.V.B.’s diplomatic trickery.

Prussian Supremacy: Bismarck wanted to make his homeland Prussia a great power, in doing so he united central Europe based upon its German heritage

Evil Genius: In 1860 Prussia defeated Denmark with Austria’s help, in 1866 Prussia defeated Austria in 7 weeks. In 1870 Prussia leads a united Germany to victory over France after Bismarck tricks France into declaring war on Prussia.

Bismarck’s Accomplishment’s:  Bismarck does succeed in making Prussia a world power. By uniting the German states under Prussian leadership Bismarck is known as the “Iron Chancellor”. Bismarck institutes policies aimed at jump starting German industry.  Late to the imperialism game, Bismarck hosts the Berlin Conference to claim Germany’s “place in the sun”. All of which combines to make Germany the world undisputed #2 power in 1900.



  1. Why do you think Bismarck wanted to unite the German people?
  2. Based upon the chart above what is the main national difference be- tween the Austrians and the Prussians?
  3. Based upon the elements of German nationalism listed above which of the two is more “German”?
  4. Was Bismarck a German hero or a Prussian hero? Why?
  5. How did Bismarck’s actions impact life in “bigger” countries?
  6. How will Bismarck’s actions impact the future in “bigger” countries?