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Germans

Industrialization is at the forefront of German culture, whose ambition is to bring the fruits of progress and enlightenment to the rest of the world -- by any means necessary.

The dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, quickly followed by the withdrawal of the French army after the Battle of Leipzig, revived discussions about the borders of a future German nation state. Various political entities that had been indicated as parts of this future nation were reorganized through the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815), and pulled together by Prussia through “iron and blood” from 1864 onward.

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The German nationalist sentiment that had been growing in the second half of the 18th century began to spread and found resonance in a wave of nationalism generated by the French Revolution in 1789 and the struggle against a common enemy while under French occupation. In the German Confederation of the early 19th century, the sentiment of a unified German nation continued to grow among liberals, intellectuals, and the middle classes, brought together through the German Customs Union and the development of railroads. However, this did not result in the establishment of a permanent political body. Ultimately, it was the powerful kingdom of Prussia that provided the cornerstone for the new German nation state. Through a series of wars that began in 1864 led by the Hohenzollerns, it expanded into the territories north of the confederation, drove out the powerful Austrian Emperor in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and finally unified Germany following victory against France. In the long Hall of Mirrors at the Château de Versailles, Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871. Otto von Bismarck, Minister President of Prussia and Foreign Minister of Prussia (from 1862 until 1890), was the mastermind behind the creation of a German nation state centered around Prussia. This very conservative politician dreamed of a German nation that would be managed by a protestant land-owning aristocracy, as was the case in Prussia, and unsuccessfully attempted to curtail liberal, socialist, and Catholic influences in Germany.

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A skillful diplomat, Bismarck orchestrated a heightening of tensions with Austria and France to provoke these two countries into attacking Prussia. After these wars, as the victim of aggression, he could then set the conditions of peace.