Imperial German Navy
The Imperial German Navy was the navy created at the time of the formation of the German Empire. It existed between 1871 and 1919, growing out of the small Prussian Navy, which had the mission of coastal defence. Kaiser Wilhelm II expanded the navy, enlarged its mission; the key leader was Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, who expanded the size and quality of the navy, while adopting the sea power theories of American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan. The result was a naval arms race with Britain as the German navy grew to become one of the greatest maritime forces in the world, second only to the Royal Navy; the German surface navy proved ineffective during World War I. However, the submarine fleet was expanded and posed a major threat to the British supply system; the Imperial Navy's main ships were turned over to the Allies, but were sunk at Scapa Flow in 1919 by German crews. All ships of the Imperial Navy were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff; the Imperial Navy achieved some important operational feats.
At the Battle of Coronel, it inflicted the first major defeat on the Royal Navy in over one hundred years, although the German squadron of ships was subsequently defeated at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, only one ship escaping destruction. The Navy emerged from the fleet action of the Battle of Jutland having destroyed more ships than it lost, although the strategic value of both of these encounters was minimal; the Imperial Navy was the first to operate submarines on a large scale in wartime, with 375 submarines commissioned by the end of the First World War, it operated zeppelins. Although it was never able to match the number of ships of the Royal Navy, it had technological advantages, such as better shells and propellant for much of the Great War, meaning that it never lost a ship to a catastrophic magazine explosion from an above-water attack, although the elderly pre-dreadnought SMS Pommern sank at Jutland after a magazine explosion caused by an underwater attack; the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership was the defining point for the creation of the Imperial Navy in 1871.
The newly created emperor, Wilhelm I, as King of Prussia, had been head of state of the strongest state forming part of the new empire. The navy remained the same as that operated by the empire's predecessor organisation in the unification of Germany, the North German Federation, which itself in 1867 had inherited the navy of the Kingdom of Prussia. Article 53 of the new Empire's constitution recognised the existence of the Navy as an independent organisation, but until 1888 it was commanded by army officers and adopted the same regulations as the Prussian army. Supreme command was vested in the emperor, but its first appointed chief was General der Infanterie Albrecht von Stosch. Kiel on the Baltic Sea and Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea served as the Navy's principal naval bases; the former Navy Ministry became the Imperial Admiralty on 1 February 1872, while Stosch became formally an admiral in 1875. The main task of the new Imperial Navy was coastal protection, with France and Russia seen as Germany's most future enemies.
The Imperial Navy's tasks were to prevent any invasion force from landing and to protect coastal towns from possible bombardment. In March 1872 a German Imperial Naval Academy was created at Kiel for training officers, followed in May by the creation of a'Machine Engineer Corps', in February 1873 a'Medical Corps'. In July 1879 a separate'Torpedo Engineer Corps' was created dealing with mines. In May 1872 a ten-year building programme was instituted to modernise the fleet; this called for eight armoured frigates, six armoured corvettes, twenty light corvettes, seven monitors, two floating batteries, six avisos, eighteen gunboats and twenty-eight torpedo boats, at an estimated cost of 220 million gold marks. The building plan had to be approved by the Reichstag, which controlled the allocation of funds, although one-quarter of the money came from French war reparations. In 1883 Stosch was replaced by Count Leo von Caprivi. At this point the navy had seven armoured frigates and four armoured corvettes, 400 officers and 5,000 ratings.
The objectives of coastal defence remained unchanged, but there was a new emphasis on development of the torpedo, which offered the possibility of small ships attacking much larger ones. In October 1887 the first torpedo division was created at Wilhelmshaven and the second torpedo division based at Kiel. In 1887 Caprivi requested the construction of ten armoured frigates. Greater importance was placed at this time on development of the army, expected to be more important in any war. However, the Kiel Canal was commenced in June 1887, which connected the North Sea with the Baltic through the Jutland peninsula, allowing German ships to travel between the two seas avoiding waters controlled by other countries; this shortened the journey for commercial ships, but united the two areas principally of concern to the German navy, at a cost of 150 million marks. The protection of German maritime trade routes became important; this soon involved the setting up of some overseas supply stations, so called Auslandsstationen and in the 1880s the Imperial Navy played a part in helping to secure the establishment of German colonies and protectorates in Africa and Oceania.
In June 1888 Wilhelm II became Emperor after the death of his father Frederick III, who ruled for only 99 days. He started his reign with the intention of d
The Baghdad railway known as the Berlin–Baghdad railway, was built from 1903 to 1940 to connect Berlin with the Ottoman Empire city of Baghdad, from where the Germans wanted to establish a port in the Persian Gulf, with a 1,600 kilometres line through modern-day Turkey and Iraq, linked to Europe by a bridge crossing the Bosphorous. Completion of the project took several decades and by the outbreak of World War I, the railway was still 960 km away from its intended objective; the last stretch to Baghdad was built in the late 1930s and the first train to travel from Istanbul to Baghdad departed in 1940. Funding and construction was provided by German Empire banks Deutsche Bank and companies Philipp Holzmann, which in the 1890s had built the Anatolian Railway connecting Constantinople and Konya; the Ottoman Empire wished to maintain its control of Arabian Peninsula and to expand its influence across the Red Sea into the nominally Ottoman Khedivate of Egypt, under British military control since the Urabi Revolt in 1882.
If the railway had been completed, the Germans would have gained access to suspected oil fields in Mesopotamia, as well as a connection to the port of Basra on the Persian Gulf. The latter would have provided access to the eastern parts of the German colonial empire, avoided the Suez Canal, controlled by British-French interests; the railway became a source of international disputes during the years preceding World War I. Although it has been argued that they were resolved in 1914 before the war began, it has been argued that the railway was a leading cause of World War I. Technical difficulties in the remote Taurus Mountains and diplomatic delays meant that by 1915 the railway was still 480 kilometres short of completion limiting its use during the war in which Baghdad was captured by the British while the Hejaz railway in the south was attacked by guerrilla forces led by T. E. Lawrence. Construction resumed in the 1930s and was completed in 1940. A history of this railway in the context of World War I describes the German interests in countering the British Empire, Turkey's interest in countering their Russian rivals.
As stated by a contemporary'on the ground' at the time, Morris Jastrow wrote "It was felt in England that if, as Napoleon is said to have remarked, Antwerp in the hands of a great continental power was a pistol leveled at the English coast and the Persian Gulf in the hands of Germany would be a 42-centimetre gun pointed at India." Had it had been completed earlier, the Berlin-Baghdad railway would have enabled transport and trade from Germany through a port on the Persian Gulf, from which trade goods and supplies could be exchanged directly with the farthest of the German colonies, the world. The journey home to Germany would have given German industry direct supply of oil; this access to resources, with trade less affected by British control of shipping, would have been beneficial to German economic interests in industry and trade, threatening to British economic dominance in colonial trade. The railway threatened Russia, since it was accepted as axiomatic that political influence followed economic, the railway was expected to extend Germany's economic influence towards the Caucasian frontier and into north Persia where Russia had a dominant share of the market.
By the late 19th century the Ottoman Empire was weak, cheap imports from industrialised Europe and the effects of the disastrous Russo-Turkish War had resulted in the country's finances being controlled by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, composed of and answerable to the Great Powers. The Europeans saw great potential to exploit the resources of the weakening empire, irrigation could transform agriculture, there were chrome, antimony and zinc mines and some coal. Not least there were vast amounts of oil; as early as 1871 a commission of experts studied the geology of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and reported plentiful oil of good quality, but commented that poor transportation made it doubtful these fields could compete with Russian and American ones. During 1901 a German report announced the region had a veritable "lake of petroleum" of inexhaustible supply. In 1872 German railway engineer Wilhelm von Pressel was retained by the Ottoman government to develop plans for railways in Turkey.
However, private enterprise would not build the railway without subsidies, so the Ottoman Government had to reserve part of its revenues to subsidise its construction, thus increasing its debt to the European powers. The process of construction of a rail line from Constantinople to Baghdad begun during 1888 when Alfred von Kaulla, manager of Württembergische Vereinsbank, Georg von Siemens, Managing director of Deutsche Bank, created a syndicate and obtained a concession from Turkish leaders to extend the Haydarpaşa – İzmit railway to Ankara, thus came into existence the Anatolian Railway Company. After the line to Ankara was completed during December 1892, railway workshops were built in Eskişehir and permission was obtained to construct a railway line from Eskişehir to Konya, that line was completed in July 1896; the two lines were the first two sections of the Baghdad railway. Another railway built at the same time by German engineers was the Hejaz railway, commissioned by Sultan Hamid II.
The Ottoman Empire chose to place the line outside the range of the British Navy guns. Therefore, the coastal way from Alexandretta to Aleppo was avoided; the line had to cross the Amanu
Central Asia stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it is colloquially referred to as "the stans" as the countries considered to be within the region all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of". Central Asia has a population of about 72 million, consisting of five republics: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, a part of South Asia, is sometimes included in Central Asia. Central Asia has been tied to its nomadic peoples and the Silk Road, it has acted as a crossroads for the movement of people and ideas between Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, East Asia. The Silk Road connected Muslim lands with the people of Europe and China; this crossroads position has intensified the conflict between tribalism and traditionalism and modernization. In pre-Islamic and early Islamic times, Central Asia was predominantly Iranian, populated by Eastern Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians and the semi-nomadic Scythians and Dahae.
After expansion by Turkic peoples, Central Asia became the homeland for the Kazakhs, Tatars, Turkmen and Uyghurs. From the mid-19th century until the end of the 20th century, most of Central Asia was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, both Slavic-majority countries, the five former Soviet "-stans" are still home to about 7 million ethnic Russians and 500,000 Ukrainians; the idea of Central Asia as a distinct region of the world was introduced in 1843 by the geographer Alexander von Humboldt. The borders of Central Asia are subject to multiple definitions. Built political geography and geoculture are two significant parameters used in the scholarly literature about the definitions of the Central Asia; the most limited definition was the official one of the Soviet Union, which defined Middle Asia as consisting of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, hence omitting Kazakhstan. This definition was often used outside the USSR during this period. However, the Russian culture has two distinct terms: Средняя Азия and Центральная Азия.
Soon after independence, the leaders of the four former Soviet Central Asian Republics met in Tashkent and declared that the definition of Central Asia should include Kazakhstan as well as the original four included by the Soviets. Since this has become the most common definition of Central Asia; the UNESCO History of the Civilizations of Central Asia, published in 1992, defines the region as "Afghanistan, northeastern Iran and central Pakistan, northern India, western China and the former Soviet Central Asian republics."An alternative method is to define the region based on ethnicity, in particular, areas populated by Eastern Turkic, Eastern Iranian, or Mongolian peoples. These areas include Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Turkic regions of southern Siberia, the five republics, Afghan Turkestan. Afghanistan as a whole, the northern and western areas of Pakistan and the Kashmir Valley of India may be included; the Tibetans and Ladakhi are included. Insofar, most of the mentioned peoples are considered the "indigenous" peoples of the vast region.
Central Asia is sometimes referred to as Turkestan. There are several places that claim to be the geographic center of Asia, for example Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva in the Russian Federation, a village 200 miles north of Ürümqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region of China. Central Asia is an large region of varied geography, including high passes and mountains, vast deserts, treeless, grassy steppes; the vast steppe areas of Central Asia are considered together with the steppes of Eastern Europe as a homogeneous geographical zone known as the Eurasian Steppe. Much of the land of Central Asia is too rugged for farming; the Gobi desert extends from the foot of the Pamirs, 77° E, to the Great Khingan Mountains, 116°–118° E. Central Asia has the following geographic extremes: The world's northernmost desert, at Buurug Deliin Els, Mongolia, 50°18' N; the Northern Hemisphere's southernmost permafrost, at Erdenetsogt sum, Mongolia, 46°17' N. The world's shortest distance between non-frozen desert and permafrost: 770 km.
The Eurasian pole of inaccessibility. A majority of the people earn a living by herding livestock. Industrial activity centers in the region's cities. Major rivers of the region include the Amu Darya, the Syr Darya, the Hari River and the Murghab River. Major bodies of water include the Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash, both of which are part of the huge west-central Asian endorheic basin that includes the Caspian Sea. Both of these bodies of water have shrunk in recent decades due to diversion of water from rivers that feed them for irrigation and industrial purposes. Water is an valuable resource in arid Central Asia and can lead to rather significant international disputes. Central Asia is bounded on the north by the forests of Siberia; the northern half of Cent
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, known as Otto von Bismarck, was a conservative Prussian statesman who dominated German and European affairs from the 1860s until 1890 and was the first Chancellor of the German Empire between 1871 and 1890. In 1862, King Wilhelm I appointed Bismarck as Minister President of Prussia, a position he would hold until 1890, with the exception of a short break in 1873, he provoked three short, decisive wars against Denmark and France. Following the victory against Austria, he abolished the supranational German Confederation and instead formed the North German Confederation as the first German national state in 1867, leading it as Federal Chancellor; this aligned the smaller North German states behind Prussia. Receiving the support of the independent South German states in the Confederation's defeat of France, he formed the German Empire in 1871, unifying Germany with himself as Imperial Chancellor, while retaining control of Prussia at the same time.
The new German nation excluded Austria, Prussia's main opponent for predominance among the German states. With that accomplished by 1871, he skillfully used balance of power diplomacy to maintain Germany's position in a Europe which, despite many disputes and war scares, remained at peace. For historian Eric Hobsbawm, it was Bismarck who "remained undisputed world champion at the game of multilateral diplomatic chess for twenty years after 1871, devoted himself and to maintaining peace between the powers". However, his annexation of Alsace-Lorraine gave new fuel to French nationalism and promoted Germanophobia in France; this helped set the stage for the First World War. Bismarck's diplomacy of realpolitik and powerful rule at home gained him the nickname the "Iron Chancellor". German unification and its rapid economic growth was the foundation to his foreign policy, he disliked colonialism but reluctantly built an overseas empire when it was demanded by both elite and mass opinion. Juggling a complex interlocking series of conferences and alliances, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain Germany's position and used the balance of power to keep Europe at peace in the 1870s and 1880s.
A master of complex politics at home, Bismarck created the first welfare state in the modern world, with the goal of gaining working class support that might otherwise go to his Socialist enemies. In the 1870s, he allied himself with the Liberals and fought the Catholic Church in what was called the Kulturkampf, he lost that battle as the Catholics responded by forming a powerful Centre party and using universal male suffrage to gain a bloc of seats. Bismarck reversed himself, ended the Kulturkampf, broke with the Liberals, imposed protective tariffs, formed a political alliance with the Centre Party to fight the Socialists. A devout Lutheran, he was loyal to his king, who argued with Bismarck but in the end supported him against the advice of his wife and his heir. While the Reichstag, Germany's parliament, was elected by universal male suffrage, it did not have much control of government policy. Bismarck distrusted democracy and ruled through a strong, well-trained bureaucracy with power in the hands of a traditional Junker elite that consisted of the landed nobility in eastern Prussia.
Under Wilhelm I, Bismarck controlled domestic and foreign affairs, until he was removed by the young Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1890, at the age of seventy-five. Bismarck – a Junker himself – was strong-willed and overbearing, but he could be polite and witty, he displayed a violent temper, he kept his power by melodramatically threatening resignation time and again, which cowed Wilhelm I. He possessed not only a long-term national and international vision but the short-term ability to juggle complex developments; as the leader of what historians call "revolutionary conservatism", Bismarck became a hero to German nationalists. Many historians praise him as a visionary, instrumental in uniting Germany and, once, accomplished, kept the peace in Europe through adroit diplomacy. Bismarck was born in Schönhausen, a wealthy family estate situated west of Berlin in the Prussian province of Saxony, his father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Bismarck, was a Junker estate owner and a former Prussian military officer.
He had two siblings: his younger sister Malwine. The world saw Bismarck as a typical Prussian Junker, an image that he encouraged by wearing military uniforms. Bismarck was well cosmopolitan with a gift for conversation. In addition to his native German, he was fluent in English, Italian and Russian. Bismarck was educated at Johann Ernst Plamann's elementary school, the Friedrich-Wilhelm and Graues Kloster secondary schools. From 1832 to 1833, he studied law at the University of Göttingen, where he was a member of the Corps Hannovera, enrolled at the University of Berlin. In 1838, while stationed as an army reservist in Greifswald, he studied agriculture at the University of Greifswald. At Göttingen, Bismarck befriended the American student John Lothrop Motley. Motley, who became an eminent historian and diplomat while remaining close to Bismarck, wrote a novel in 1839, Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Provincial, about l
Allies of World War I
The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is the term used for the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria during the First World War. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the major European powers were divided between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance; the Entente was made up of the United Kingdom and Russia. The Triple Alliance was composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, which remained neutral in 1914; as the war progressed, each coalition added new members. Japan joined the Entente in 1914. After proclaiming its neutrality at the beginning of the war, Italy joined the Entente in 1915; the United States joined as an "associated power" rather than an official ally.'Associated members' included Serbia, Greece and Romania. When the war began in 1914, the Central Powers were opposed by the Triple Entente, formed in 1907 by the British Empire, the Russian Empire and the French Third Republic. Fighting commenced when Austria invaded Serbia on 28 July 1914, purportedly in response to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Emperor Franz Joseph.
At the same time, German troops entered neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as dictated by the Schlieffen Plan. This allowed Belgium to be treated as an Ally, in contrast to Luxembourg which retained control over domestic affairs but was occupied by the German military. In the East, between 7–9 August the Russians entered German East Prussia on 7 August, Austrian Eastern Galicia. Japan joined the Entente by declaring war on Germany on 23 August Austria on 25 August. On 2 September, Japanese forces surrounded the German Treaty Port of Tsingtao in China and occupied German colonies in the Pacific, including the Mariana and Marshall Islands. Despite its membership of the Triple Alliance, Italy remained neutral until 23 May 1915 when it joined the Entente, declaring war on Austria but not Germany. On 17 January 1916, Montenegro left the Entente. On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war as a co-belligerent, along with the associated allies of Liberia and Greece. After the 1917 October Revolution, Russia left the Entente and agreed to a separate peace with the Central Powers with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918.
Romania was forced to do the same in the May 1918 Treaty of Bucharest but on 10 November, it repudiated the Treaty and once more declared war on the Central Powers. These changes meant the Allies who negotiated the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 included France, Italy and the US; this came into being on 16 January 1920 with Britain, France and Japan as permanent members of the Executive Council. For much of the 19th century, Britain sought to maintain the European balance of power without formal alliances, a policy known as splendid isolation; this left it dangerously exposed as Europe divided into opposing power blocs and the 1895-1905 Conservative government negotiated first the 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance the 1904 Entente Cordiale with France. The first tangible result of this shift was British support for France against Germany in the 1905 Moroccan Crisis; the 1905-1915 Liberal government continued this re-alignment with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. Like the Anglo-Japanese and Entente agreements, it focused on settling colonial disputes but by doing so paved the way for wider co-operation and allowed Britain to refocus resources in response to German naval expansion.
Since control of Belgium allowed an opponent to threaten invasion or blockade British trade, preventing it was a long-standing British strategic interest. Under Article VII of the 1839 Treaty of London, Britain guaranteed Belgian neutrality against aggression by any other state, by force if required. Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg dismissed this as a'scrap of paper,' but British law officers confirmed it as a binding legal obligation and its importance was well understood by Germany; the 1911 Agadir Crisis led to secret discussions between France and Britain in case of war with Germany. These agreed that within two weeks of its outbreak, a British Expeditionary Force of 100,000 men would be landed in France. Britain was committed to support France in a war against Germany but this was not understood outside government or the upper ranks of the military; as late as 1 August, a clear majority of the Liberal government and its supporters wanted to stay out of the war. While Liberal leaders Herbert Asquith and Edward Grey considered Britain and morally committed to support France regardless, waiting until Germany triggered the 1839 Treaty provided the best chance of preserving Liberal party unity.
The German high command was aware entering Belgium would lead to British intervention but decided the risk was acceptable. On 3 August, Germany demanded unimpeded progress through any part of Belgium a
The German Empire known as Imperial Germany, was the German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918. It was founded in 1871 when the south German states, except for Austria, joined the North German Confederation. On 1 January 1871, the new constitution came into force that changed the name of the federal state and introduced the title of emperor for Wilhelm I, King of Prussia from the House of Hohenzollern. Berlin remained its capital, Otto von Bismarck remained Chancellor, the head of government; as these events occurred, the Prussian-led North German Confederation and its southern German allies were still engaged in the Franco-Prussian War. The German Empire consisted of 26 states, most of them ruled by royal families, they included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, one imperial territory. Although Prussia was one of several kingdoms in the realm, it contained about two thirds of Germany's population and territory.
Prussian dominance was established constitutionally. After 1850, the states of Germany had become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron and railways. In 1871, Germany had a population of 41 million people. A rural collection of states in 1815, the now united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire was an industrial and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country. By 1900, Germany was the largest economy in Europe, surpassing the United Kingdom, as well as the second-largest in the world, behind only the United States. From 1867 to 1878/9, Otto von Bismarck's tenure as the first and to this day longest reigning Chancellor was marked by relative liberalism, but it became more conservative afterwards. Broad reforms and the Kulturkampf marked his period in the office. Late in Bismarck's chancellorship and in spite of his personal opposition, Germany became involved in colonialism. Claiming much of the leftover territory, yet unclaimed in the Scramble for Africa, it managed to build the third-largest colonial empire after the British and the French ones.
As a colonial state, it sometimes clashed with other European powers the British Empire. Germany became a great power, boasting a developing rail network, the world's strongest army, a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II in 1890, the Empire embarked on Weltpolitik – a bellicose new course that contributed to the outbreak of World War I. In addition, Bismarck's successors were incapable of maintaining their predecessor's complex and overlapping alliances which had kept Germany from being diplomatically isolated; this period was marked by various factors influencing the Emperor's decisions, which were perceived as contradictory or unpredictable by the public. In 1879, the German Empire consolidated the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, followed by the Triple Alliance with Italy in 1882, it retained strong diplomatic ties to the Ottoman Empire. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, Italy left the alliance and the Ottoman Empire formally allied with Germany.
In the First World War, German plans to capture Paris in the autumn of 1914 failed. The war on the Western Front became a stalemate; the Allied naval blockade caused severe shortages of food. However, Imperial Germany had success on the Eastern Front; the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1917, contributed to bringing the United States into the war. The high command under Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff controlled the country, but in October after the failed offensive in spring 1918, the German armies were in retreat, allies Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire had collapsed, Bulgaria had surrendered; the Empire collapsed in the November 1918 Revolution with the abdications of its monarchs. This left a postwar federal republic and a devastated and unsatisfied populace, which led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazism; the German Confederation had been created by an act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris.
German nationalism shifted from its liberal and democratic character in 1848, called Pan-Germanism, to Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck's pragmatic Realpolitik. Bismarck sought to extend Hohenzollern hegemony throughout the German states, he envisioned a Prussian-dominated Germany. Three wars led to military successes and helped to persuade German people to do this: the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in 1864, the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, the Franco-Prussian War against France in 1870–71; the German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the partial replacement of the Confederation in 1867 by a North German Confederation, comprising the 22 states north of the Main; the patriotic fervour generated by the Franco-Prussian War overwhelmed the remaining opposition to a unified Germany in the four stat