Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Three Wars Equal One New Country: Part 1

Chet Geering


Students process a variety of information on how Germany became a nation. They are then asked to answer a series of short-answer questions on the topics discussed in class.


The student understands significant political developments in Europe in the 19th century.


-[World History The Human Experience]. New York: Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2001. (Or comparable text)
-Teacher Notes (See Associated File)
-Student copies of Questions for Unification of Germany (See Associated File)
-Teacher copy of Answer Key (See Associated File)
-Dry erase board and dry erase markers
-Pen or pencil


1. Read text Chapter 26 (or appropriate chapter).
2. Look over Teacher Notes (See Associated File) to be sure you are familiar with the material.
3. Make one copy of the Questions for Unification of Germany for each student. (See Associated File)


1. Ask students, “What two major countries of modern Europe were not even countries in the middle of the 19th century?” (Answer: Germany and Italy)

2. Put Germany on the board. Italy will be another lesson. (See Beacon Lesson, The Unification of Italy)

3. Ask students, “Other countries had been around for many centuries, why was Germany still not a country by the middle of the 19th century?” (Answers: There were a large number of German states (35) and it was hard to get them to agree on anything. The current confederation was working just fine. There were two different religions within the country. Outside influence of other nations, such as France, played a role and there was a rivalry between Austria and Prussia.)

4. Put the answers on the board.

5. There should be five main answers for question #3. These answers are listed in #3.

6. List the answers for question #3 on the board.

7. Discuss the answers with the students.

8. Be sure to define “confederation” and explain how it works. (A confederation is a group of independent states that choose to work together, but each state maintains its independence from the group.)

9. Ask students, “What were some factors for the unification of the German people?” (Answers: The people had a common culture, national music and heroes were held in common. Feelings of liberalism and nationalism were widely held by the population. The customs' union kept low tariffs between the states of the confederation. The Napoleonic Code of Laws created a common law code for all of the German states.)

10. Put the answers on the board.

11. Discuss the answers from question #9. Define “nationalism.” (Nationalism is the total belief in your nation, whether it is right or wrong.)

12. Ask students, “What was the German state that took the initiative in creating Germany?” (Answer: Prussia)

13. Put the answer on the board.

14. Ask students, “Who was the man that, more than any other, helped to create the nation of Germany?” (Answer: Bismarck)

15. Put the answer on the board.

16. Ask students, “What was the method that was used to create the nation of Germany?” (Answer: War)

17. Put the answer on the board.

18. Ask students, “If war was the method preferred by Bismarck, where did he attack first?” (Answer: Denmark)

19. Put the answer on the board.

20. Ask students, “Why did he attack Denmark first?” (Answer: Because it was weak, and he wanted the cooperation of Austria to get them overconfident.)

21. Discuss the answer to question #20.

22. Ask students, “What was gained by Prussia from attacking Denmark?” (Answer: Territory and the good will of Austria)

23. Pass out the list of Questions for Unification of Germany. (See Associated File)

24.Teacher evaluates students' answers to questions based on the answer key provided. (See Associated File)


1. Students are assessed by answering a series of short-answer questions on the topics covered in class. The questions and an answer key are provided in the associated file.
2. The teacher can also informally evaluate the students by monitoring and encouraging their participation in class discussion.
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