Significant Events That Led To Prussia’s Expansion
The rise of Prussia started with one man, Frederick William. Fredrick was the first major ruler of Prussia. Fredrick was important to the rise of Prussia because he was able to get a large standing army.
To sustain a large army Fredrick had to tax his people. Having a large army was the key to Prussia’s expansion. During the Spanish war, he offered his army to the Holly Roman Empire and by doing so gave him the title of King of Prussia. Fredrick wanted Prussia to be a great power in Europe. To reach this goal he introduced a cabinet system of government. By doing this he could take full control of Prussia.
He also enforced a General Directory, which united all areas of the Prussian empire. Due to Frederick’s rule the Prussian army was able to double within forty years. This meant that Prussia had the third largest army in Europe. When they only had the thirteenth largest population. Frederick used Prussia’s large army as a symbol of power and not to be used for dominance but his son Frederick the second had other ideas. Fredrick the second took advantage of the Prussian army. During his reign Fredrick the second attacked Austria and conquered Silesia during the Silesian war.
Frederick II was able to claim polish territories to connect the empire. During his military campaigns he gained the title of Frederick the great. Frederick the great was also able to transform Prussia into an economically powerful state. After the conquering of Silesia Frederick was able to gain raw materials to fuel the Prussian infrastructure. He also added 150,000 acres of farmland, introduced new vegetables to harvest and introduced an indirect tax, meaning that the state would provide more revenue by this than it did with direct tax.
Otto von Bismarck and the unification of Germany Otto von Bismarck was a skilled diplomat and was the chancellor of Prussia/Germany. Bismarck started many wars that led to Prussia’s dominance over Austria and France. Bismarck used both diplomacies and the Prussian military to achieve a unified Germany. Bismarck brought all the smaller states of Germany and combined them with Prussia, also making sure that Prussia was the most dominant state. Controlling both army and navy.
In 1866 Bismarck had started a war with Austria that would cement Germany as one country. The Austro-Prussian war was a decider of who would have more German states. Due to Prussia having an alliance with Italy and better military tactician they were able to defeat Austria. This resulted in more German states under Prussian control over Austria. At the end of Bismarck reign he was able to say that he had connected Prussia with the northern German states creating one unified Germany.