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European Power and the Seven Weeks War

European Power and the Seven Weeks War

The Seven Weeks War, also known as the Austro-Prussian war, was a brief struggle between two rising European powers. On June 14, 1866 Austria and Prussia engaged each other in battle. Prussia received support from only a few small north German states in the country of Italy. Austria’s allies Saxony, Hanover, the Hesses, Bavaria, Baden, and Wurttenberg.

This war was deliberately provoked by Otto von Bismark who was the prime minister of Prussia under King William I. King William ordered Bismark expel Austria from the German Confederation. William hoped this step would unify Germany under Prussian control. The German unification would loosely tie together the German states. Bismark used the Seven Weeks War as a part of his campaign to force Austria out of the German Confederation making Prussia the dominant power in Germany.

Otto von Bismark had planed to arrange the unification of all the German states except for Austria and Switzerland, who were under Prussian control. To accomplish his objectives, Bismark went to war three times. The first of the three wars was The War Against Denmark. Bismark cleverly persuaded Austria to join Prussia in declaring war against Denmark in 1864. Austria and Prussia won the war and forced Denmark out of the dispute over the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein. Prussia got control of Schleswig and Austria took control of Holstein. This was the treaty of Gastein which both Austria and Prussia accused each other of breaking. The treaty stated that Austria would get Schleswig and that Prussia would get Holstein. They both agreed to have peace between them. This war accomplished two objectives for Bismark. It heightened Europe’s awareness of Bismarck’s military power. Also, the tensions resulting from the war gave Bismark the excuse he needed for going to war with Austria.

Later, came the second war called The Seven Weeks War. Bismark prepared for this war by removing all possible allies from Austria. He even obtained Russian help by offering aid against Polish rebels. He also forged an alliance with Italy by supporting its claim to Venetia. In return for these alliances Bismark gained military superiority over Austria. Austria attempted to side with the Duke of Augustenburgh, yet Bismark prevented this alliance...

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