Prussian economic strength

The rising economic muscle of Prussia, combined with the decline in Austrian production meant that Prussia could develop a more modernised army. It also meant that the smaller German states began to look to Prussia for trade, especially with the benefits the Zollverein brought.

Early economic development

Prussia had become the most industrialised state in Germany. She was now a force to be reckoned with in Europe:

  • Prussia was producing more key resources such as coal and iron than Austria
  • it surged ahead of its rival in building road and rail networks to help promote trade
  • Prussia had successfully set up the Zollverein with other German states - making trade between states easier and more profitable

Reforms to help the workers and peasants

Under Prussian Prime Minister Otto Theodor von Manteuffel, Prussia passed a number of reforms to help the lower classes:

  • taxes were lowered
  • the government helped peasants take out loans
  • there was less regulation for the coal and iron industries
  • workers experienced better working conditions.

Improved production

Acquisition of land on the Rhine and in the Saarland in 1815 gave Prussia access to vast amounts of raw materials including coal, iron and wood. This gave a boost to the development of industrial production. From the 1850s, Prussia began to overtake Austria in industrial output. By 1870:

  • Prussia had double the length of railway lines of Austria
  • production of iron was five times more than that of Austria
  • production of coal was five times more than that of Austria