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8   DAYS OF PREPARATION

next stage in his plan of campaign. The domination of the new Prussia over the rest of the German States must be established beyond all doubt. In making omelettes he was unsparing of eggs, but, on the whole, his work was done economically. Three wars of aggression were deliberately planned and prepared for by him. The first had for its purpose the acquisition of the northward-stretching strip of Danish territory that should give the eagle's head and neck to the natural conformation of Prussia, as the great Chancellor himself expressed the marauding enterprise. In 1864, the first of the planned offensives was launched against Denmark, and Schleswig-Holstein was wrested from Prussia's northern neighbour, thus preparing the way for the linking of the Baltic and North Seas, an achievement that has been accomplished in this later time by the construction of the Kiel Canal. While this outrageous theft was being perpetrated, with the aid and connivance of Austria, Great Britain stood aside, and it is something more than poetic justice to find that she has had to pay inconveniently for her indifference half a century ago. Having enjoyed the sympathetic aid of Austria in the Danish war, Bismarck had no compunction in administering to his ally of two years before, something of the same kind of treatment that Denmark had received at his hands. As he regarded matters, it was necessary to establish once and for all Prussian supremacy in the Germanic world, since there had long been a tendency for the South German States to lean toward Austria rather than toward the over-bearing and truculent Prussia. The operation was short and sharp. In seven weeks the might of Prussia shattered the armies of her proud neighbour. Henceforward the South German peoples might know how unreliable was the reed upon which they had been inclined to lean. This second task disposed of, Bismarck set up, under Prussian presidency, the New North German Confederation, which, however, embraced the reluctant South German States as well. Austria was shown to the door


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