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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson I: The Dual Forces of Nationalism

Activity 3: The Role of Bismarck in German Unification

As German nationalism grew in the 19th century, more and more people began to call for a united German nation-state to replace the German confederacy. Many historians argue that the political genius of Prussia's Chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, was the driving force behind the success of the unification of Germany. Others see Otto Von Bismarck's role as lesser in the greater scheme of German nationalism. Just how significant was the role of this important individual in the creation of the German nation-state? Use the following historical investigation to analyze some of the evidence of this debate.

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Historical Investigation — Bismarck and German Unification

Directions: For this activity, open the student resource titled "Historical Investigation - Bismarck and German Unification." Use the documents to investigate the role of Otto Von Bismarck in creating a unified German nation-state.

  1. Download: Historical Investigation - Bismarck and German Unification (doc).
  2. Select the link to review how to complete an Historical Investigation.
  3. Submit your answers to the completed historical investigation to your teacher as instructed.


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Classroom Activity - Historiography and Analyzing Secondary Sources


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Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion questions below. Follow your teacher's directions to participate in your class discussion.

  • What did historians write about Bismarck in the historical investigation?
  • Compare the views of these historians about Bismarck.
  • Why do you think that there are different views about Bismarck?
  • Why is it important to analyze secondary sources?
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Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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