Bismarck and the Development of Germany: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871

By Otto Pflanze | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
FAILURE OF THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT

1. THE ZOLLVEREIN ELECTIONS

IS aim, Bismarck told the impatient Badenese, was to find the shortest path to the voluntary entry of all southern states into the North German Confederation. "Direct and immediate pressure" was to be avoided. To admit Baden alone would create a pressure upon Bavaria and Württemberg which would be resented, to the injury of the national cause. The simultaneous admission of Baden and Württemberg, on the other hand, might cause Bavaria to take a "regrettable course." It would supply the "pretext" for disunity at a time when Germany required the greatest solidarity.1

Through "patience" he hoped to save what would have to be sacrificed by the use of violence. "Force can be useful against a resistance which is to be broken by a single blow, but it can be justified only by necessity against a resistance which would have to be continually held down." The Badenese should be able to imagine for themselves what conditions would develop in Bavaria and Württemberg, "if in their present mood these two states were brought by force into the North German Confederation."2 Instead he hoped to rely upon the pressure of common interests eventually to unite both sides of the Main under the northern constitution. "If Germany should attain its national goal in the nineteenth century," he remarked, "that would seem to me something great. Were it in ten or even five years, that would be something extraordinary, an unexpected gift of God."3

"Everything depends," he wrote to Karlsruhe, "on the direction and swiftness with which public opinion develops in southern Germany, and a fairly secure judgment about that will first become possible through the customs parliament." The next task was to elect and summon that body as soon as possible and then

____________________
1
GW, VIA, 112-113, 133-136; also 127-128 and APP, IX, 289-293.
2
GW, VIA, 329-330.
3
RKN, I, 68; APP, IX, 474.

-395-

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