Bismarck Course Essay- "evaluate the reasons for the growth of Prussia's influence in Germany by 1862"
In 1815 there was no such thing as a German State or Nation. In the geographical area known as Germany the most powerful state was Austria which was the biggest factor in the increase of Prussia's influence by 1862. Prussia was the second most powerful state but she was far behind Austria politically and economically. In 1815 the Austrian foreign minister Metternich made a big mistake by giving Prussia the area of Westphalia and the Rhineland. Prussia was also given parts of Silesia. In trying to make Prussia more 'German' Metternich had effectively signed Austria's death warrant. The Rhineland was full of iron ore, coal and other valuable raw materials that had not yet been discovered.
In 1818 Prussia passed a tariff law which did four things, firstly they abolished most internal Prussian customs and allowed most raw materials duty free into Prussia.
The tariff law also allowed only ten- percent tariffs on manufactured goods and it passed a weight duty on goods travelling through Prussia. These laws effectively made Prussia a tariff free zone and therefore increased trade greatly. This was a huge boost to the Prussian economy and it was extremely significant that Austria didn't really take notice and follow Prussia into reducing tariffs. During the 1820's the Prussian economy became bigger and stronger. What was really important for Prussia to do was to build good relations with her neighbours who, in particular, could be very important to her success. Crucially, Prussia did do this. To cement these relationships with her neighbours the Prussian free trade zone became a Prussian customs union.
When Napoleon had invaded Prussia he had begun a massive road building program so that his forces could easily...