Notes: Episode 6, The Unification Of Germany (Part 2)

As with every show, I’ll list any corrections or clarifications here. If there’s anything I’ve overlooked, please contact me by email or in the comments and I’ll edit the notes to reflect the new information.


9:58 – It seems that the crowning of Wilhelm I at Versailles was meant to be a two-part affair: the original intent was to unify Germany and have France surrender. When it turned out that the French were willing to hold out longer, the German unification ceremony went ahead, with the war lasting another ten days before its Treaty of Versailles (one of many in history, and always a good bet as a guess on a test) was signed to end the war.


16:12 – There were in fact 26 founding states of the German Empire in 1871.


20:50 – Yeah I said that the First Vatican Council took place in 1968. It was 1868. You guys are smart; you probably figured it out. I believe in you guys. Gold star.


23:38 – A nunnery? I mean, I guess it’s technically a word, but I believe it traditionally refers to the building more than the group of people. Also it’s kind of old-timey. I think the word I was searching for here is “convent”, which does a much better job conveying my meaning of a religious community living under specific vows. Language is neat!


23:52 – The order of monks who make beer is called the Trappists, and interestingly enough, there are currently no official Trappist monasteries in Germany – they’re primarily in Belgium. There was one single abbey called Mariawald in Heimbach founded in 1860, and the monks were indeed exiled from 1875 to 1887 due to Bismarck’s initiatives. They were also forced out from 1941 to 1945, but kept making their beer when they could until 1956, at which point they lost a ready supply of brewing ingredients. In short, yes: Bismarck was willing to ruin beer in the name of running the Catholics out. That’s Prussian dedication for you.


32:50 – Okay, since I glazed over it in the podcast: the 1875 incident. Basically everyone was surprised at how quickly France bounced back from the Franco-Prussian War, despite the fact that Germany had been putting a squeeze on them politically with their allies, and there was an editorial in a major German newspaper about how it would be a good idea to launch a preventative war against France. The editorial was called “Krieg-in-Sicht” (War In Sight), which loaned its name to the almost-event. Britain and Russia both denounced the idea, even though it had no official backing, and obviously it made France pretty nervous. Bismarck explained that it wasn’t a thing that he was actually doing, but the incident reminded him that a) he could push too far, and b) Europe seemed to pull towards war whenever possible, so he needed to be careful.

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