Bismarck’s Unification of Germany

Ref: C3747549

In 1790, there was no “Germany”, although there were over 300 states dominated by German speakers. But by the end of 1871, after winning the Franco-Prussian war, Germany was a massive, unified, powerful country. This course looks at how this happened and its consequences, covering major events including the formation of a Germanic Customs Union & the North German Federation, Prussia's wars against Denmark, Austria and France and the massive influence of Otto von Bismarck.

Course aim

This course will describe and analyse the unification of Germany in the 19th century and its immediate aftermath. It will include the 1815 Congress of Vienna, the customs union & North German Federation, the wars against Austria, Denmark and France

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • discuss the broad outlines of the 19th century unification of Germany
  • explain the importance of Prussia's wars with Austria and Denmark in the road to German unity
  • explain why the Franco-Prussian war was was fought and why Prussia won it so convincingly
  • assess the importance of Bismarck and the Hohenzollern monarchy to the Unification of Germany
  • assess how the Franco-Prussian war and the German annexation of Alsace-Lorraine influenced French strategy up to and including the First World War

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

There won't be a session on Tuesday 22nd March.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Bismarck’s Unification of Germany


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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