New title, new country: Welcome to Germany

Jessica Jost

When you look at a map, Germany is one of the first countries your eyes are drawn to because it is one of the biggest. It is hard to imagine that the country was once many fragmented states with little cohesion. In fact, Germany wasn’t even an official state until Jan. 18, 1871.                                                                                                         
On this day in history, the first emperor of the German Empire, Wilhelm I, was crowned.
Originally the King of Prussia, he was largely ineffectual during his reign; he took a back seat to his high powered Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck. Bismarck could strong arm the king into doing anything he wanted by simply threatening to resign. When Wilhelm came to power, the battle to create a united Germany was still ongoing. The main issue was whether to incorporate Austria into Prussia to create one large Germany or to not do so. 
The conclusion of efforts to create a singular German state came to a head when Bismarck altered a telegram sent by Wilhelm I. He made it seem as though the Prussian king had mistreated the French envoy, which insulted the French and war was declared within six days of the publication of the telegram. German troops were mobilized July 14. On Sept. 19 they began to besiege Paris. The city surrendered Jan. 28, 1871, but that did not stop the German army from prematurely crowning Wilhelm in the Hall of Mirrors in the Versailles Palace on the 18th.
On Jan. 18 the Douglass Park Forum took place at Douglass High School and bowling try-outs were at AMF Town & Country, but 141 years ago and 4,534 miles away, a new age began when a king became an emperor.
By Jessica Jost