THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN AUSTRIA AND PRUSSIA
 AS time went on the state of affairs between Prussia andAustria grew no better. The Emperor called together a
Congress of German Princes, and Prussia would have nothing to do with it. The King of Prussia, on his side,
proposed to call together an assembly, and Austria would have nothing to do with that. But Bismarck, who was
fast becoming the greatest statesman in Germany, had no faith in any peaceful means. "It is not by talk that
the great questions of the day must be decided," he said, "but by blood and iron." And so he became known as
the Man of Blood and Iron. And he made up his mind to force a quarrel between the two great powers.
Austria and Prussia had joined in fighting Denmark for possession of Schleswig-Holstein and Lauenburg. And
having defeated Denmark and won these duchies, they at once began to quarrel about what was to be done with
them. Austria wanted one thing, Prussia another, and soon it became plain that the quarrel would end in war,
and both sides began to prepare for it.
Many people looked upon this as little less than civil war, and they did their best to stop it. But nothing
could stop it. It had to come. And although the quarrel over Schleswig-Holstein was given as the reason, it
was not the real reason but only the excuse.
 Ever since the days of Frederick the Great, jealousy had been going on between Prussia and Austria, and the
question which was to be leader in the affairs of Germany had to be settled. Talk had been tried to no
purpose; now, as Bismarck said, it was to be settled by blood and iron. Bismarck hurried Prussia into war. But
he had little doubt how it would end. For Prussia was ready, her King was a soldier, and he had Von Moltke,
one of the greatest generals the world has ever known, by his side.
Yet although Bismarck at this time hurried his country into war, he was not always for war. Later on he did
his best to prevent a war. When he was asked why he had done so, he answered, "We thought of the terrible
losses, and of the sorrow and misery it would bring to thousands of homes. You stare at me! Do you think that
I have no heart? Believe me, I have one which beats just like your own. War will always be war. There will
always be the horror of desolated lands, the cries of the widow and the orphan. It is so terrible that I for
one would never turn to it but as a last necessity."
This "brothers' war" began in June, and on July 3 the great battle of Königgratz, or Sadowa, as it is someimes
called, was fought. Here the greatest hosts that had ever faced each other on any modern battlefield were met
together. The Prussian army was commanded by Prince Frederick Charles, the King's brother, but the King
himself was there also. At seven o'clock the fight began, and for hours it raged fiercely, neither side
gaining any advantage.
But the loss was terrible. Anxiously the Prince looked and listened for sight or sound of the second army
 under the Crown Prince Frederick which was marching to his aid. He waited and watched even as fifty-one years
before Wellington had waited and watched for Blücher. Would he come in time? the Prince wondered. At last
Frederick came, and with his coming the doubtful battle was turned into a victory.
The Austrians fled, the Prussians in hot pursuit. The King himself led the cavalry, and as he rode along he
was greeted with thunderous shouts of applause. Officers pressed round him to kiss his hands while cannon
roared, and muskets cracked and crashed about them. But the King seemed to have a charmed life, and he rode
along, thanking and cheering his men, heedless of danger.
After the battle of Königgratz the Prussians were everywhere successful, and soon Austria asked for peace. On
August 23 the Peace of Prague was signed, and the Seven Weeks' War was at an end. Never has so short a war had
such great results, for by the Peace of Prague, Austria was parted from Germany for ever, and Prussia became
the undisputed head of the German Confederation.
Now at length a united Germany was not far off. The South German states, indeed, still remained independent,
but the northern states all joined together into the North German Confederation acknowledging Prussia as their
head. A few months later the first Parliament of the North German Confederation met at Berlin, and began to
form a constitution.
The friends of union rejoiced greatly, but they were not yet satisfied. They could not be satisfied until all
South Germany had joined the Confederation, and they worked hard to bring this about.
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