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According to the traditional German view German unification was achieved in 1871 as a result of the actions of one great man Otto von Bismarck the Minister-President of Prussia who planned the events leading to unification in detail However more recent historians have argued that Bismarck had no such master plan Instead Bismarcks success was a result of his flexibility as a statesman combined with the advantages Prussia enjoyed both in its resources and its diplomatic situation the latter of which was improved by the mistakes and misjudgements of others There were essentially two halves to Bismarcks supposed master plan defeat Austria keeping her as an ally by treating her leniently and defeat France Defeating Austria required the neutrality of France and Russia and a way in which to trick Austria into declaring war with Prussia so that Austria would appear to be to blame According to the traditional view Bismarck planned ways in which to carry this out Originally it was said that Bismarcks handling of the rebellion in Russian Poland resulted in Russian neutrality the rebellion was a potential threat to Russia so Bismarck offered the Tsar military help thereby gaining Russias friendship However this was not entirely the case and Bismarck almost ruined the good diplomatic position he had inherited There was almost a French British and Austrian alliance of liberal opposition against Prussia over the matter and Russia resented Prussian interference In the end Russias friendship with Prussia remained intact and the Prussian benefit was that Austrias relations with Russia had worsened over Austrian opposition to Russias Polish policy Furthermore this could not have been part of a master plan since Bismarck had no way of knowing about the rebellion in advance It is more likely that Bismarck was simply following Prussias Polish policy and his ability to lie low in order to prevent any further damage to his position shows his flexibility as a diplomat It
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