The events leading up to the establishment of the German Empire in 1871. In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic wars
, the Congress of Vienna
(181415) created a German confederation of 39 states in the geographical area known as Germany (formerly a region divided into hundreds of German states). Its organization gave Austria and Prussia
, the largest German states, joint influence over the affairs of the confederation, although Austria was its nominal leader. The movement towards German unification was slow until the 1850s. The idea was popular with German nationalists and liberals, but opposed by their state governments. However, in the 1860s unification was taken up by an increasingly powerful Prussia and its chancellor, Otto von Bismarck
. By 1871 only two German states existed Austria and Germany; the states of Germany had been effectively taken over by Prussia, and were now united under the German Empire.
© RM 2014. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.