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Austro Prussian Seven Weeks War

The Austro Prussian seven weeks war, also known as the Unification war, German Civil War, Prussian German War was a 1866 war fought between the German Confederation which was under the leadership of Austrian Empire and German allies on one side and Prussia Kingdom with Italy and German allies on the other hand. The war resulted to the Prussian dominance over German states. In Italian Unification process, it is known as the Third Independence War.

The major result arising from the war was the shift of power among German states from Austrian towards Prussian hegemony and the impetus towards unification of all northern German states in what was known as Kleindeutschland that excluded Austria.

Germany was shifting from what the British thought of as a land of tinkering forests and clockmakers and becoming more middleclass and urban. It was heading on a course that would by the end of the century make it a third power in the manufacturing industry globally with a 13.2% share behind the US which had a 23.6% share and Britain with 18.5% share.

Image 2Austria has been isolated during the war with Sardinia-Piedmont and France. It had interests of reviving partnership with Prussia’s monarchy against nationalism and liberalism and wished to lure Prussia to assist in reversing the settlement at Villafranca in order to recover Lombardy-Austria’s monarch.

The German states confederation was made up of thirty nine states. Out of these thirty five were monarchies while four were free city states. The confederation was a security arrangement for mutual defense with representatives at Frankfurt parliament which was one among the Free states.

Compared to the Austrians representing Emperor Franz Joseph, Bismarck was less opposed to the question of nationalism. He favored expansion of Prussian influence with Germany’s small states and removed Austria’s influence within the German States Confederation. After the death of King Fredrick of Denmark in 1963, the question of whether to go to war came up.

Christian of Glucksburg ascended to the Danish throne giving the duchy Holstein its independence. The war came to an end successfully in 1864 for Austria and Prussia with the Vienna treaty making Prussia the administrator of Schleswig while Austria was made the administrator of Holstein.

Austria continued with its support of the Duke of Augustenburg’s claim for 2 duchies but Bismarck was interested in taking control over both duchies and both to be integrated economically with Prussia. The war lasted for seven weeks. The good organization of Prussia and its railroads enabled it to get its troops to the battle quickly and Italy sent troops against Austrian troops in Venetia and Austria’s troops stopped that advance.

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