The Danish War – 1864
- In 1864 Christian IX, King of Denmark, was also acting as the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein.
- When he became King of Denmark in 1863 Christian decided that he wanted to make Schleswig
part of Denmark – a simple unification.
- The problem here is that many of the people living in Schleswig at this time were German and were
opposed to the idea of becoming Danish.
- Bismarck saw this as an opportunity to declare himself Champion of the German people and divide
Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein.
- Bismarck was forced to ally with Austria who did not want Prussia acting alone in case it gave them
more power than Austria in Europe.
- Bismarck declared war on Denmark and quickly defeated them.
- After the war was over the Convention of Gastein took place in 1865 where Prussia gained the lands of Schleswig and Austria gained Holstein as a token thanks for their support in the conflicts.
- Bismarck was being clever with Austria by giving them Holstein because he would have a chance to quarrel with them if they did not run the new lands correctly.
The Austrian War (Seven Week’s War) – 1866
- Bismarck’s second war was against Austria.
- Bismarck had always opposed Austrian Power within Germany as a
diplomat and a politician.
- This war was not a reaction to situation that arose but more like a
war that he carefully planned in advance to weaken a stronger
- Bismarck made an alliance with the weaker country of Italy and
promised them Venetia (Venice) if the war was successful.
- In a meeting with France’s Napoleon III at Biarritz Bismarck also made vague promises of future compensation for France if they did
not get themselves involved in the war on Austria’s side.
- He was ensuring that Austria was completely isolated and had no
allies to turn to once the attack began.
- In 1866 Bismarck provoked Austria into war by suggesting that the
German Confederation should now be dissolved and a new
confederation set up that excluded Austria – Kleinedeutschland.
- The war only last 7 weeks due to the effectiveness of the enlarged
Prussian army with it’s new breech loading rifle.
- The Austrian army was soundly defeated at Sadowa in Bohemia.
- The resulting Treaty of Prague in 1866 abolished the German Confederation and set up a new North German Confederation in 1867 which excluded Austria and made the South German states independent.
- Success for Bismarck and Prussia.
- The lands of Schleswig-Holstein were now returned to Prussia by the defeated Austria and soon
afterwards Prussia also annexed Hanover and several other north German states to enlarge the
soon to be empire.
- Austria was also forced to hand over Venetia to Italy even though the Austrian army had actually
defeated the Italian troops helping Prussia in the war.
- Italy was rewarded for their loyalty despite their defeat.
- Aimed at Students studying across AS/A2 or equivalent
- Premium resource
- Use as you wish in the classroom or home environment
- Lesson fact file on the Denmark and Austrian War.
- Use with other German Unification resources.
- Includes challenging questions.