BISMARCK AND THE TRIPLE ALLIANCE
With the successful termination of the last of the three wars that led to German unity, Bismarck completed the task which so many had attempted and which he alone had been able to carry through. But his diplomatic labors were not finished, for the problem which confronted him after 1871 was one of hardly less difficulty and demanded, perhaps, the exercise of even greater adroitness than all his diplomatic and military victories of the earlier period. The success of his policy in the political organization of the new Empire and the preservation of the European peace after the close of the war with France, was no less than that which he achieved in the unification of Germany, and it certainly affected the recent history of Europe to an equal degree.
His first problem was obviously the actual consolidation of the new federated Germany: the translation of the forms that had been fixed in 1871 into fact.1 The task was one of herculean character. As we observed, the states of southern Germany had always looked to Vienna for guidance and been jealous of Berlin; the victory of Prussia over Austria in 1866 had been regarded by them in the light of a national disaster. With their racial dislike and their political fear of Prussia, they were none too enthusiastic in their____________________