The Zollvereins Significance

How far do you believe that the Zollverein was the most important reason for the change in the balance of power between Austria and Prussia in the years 1848-66?

As industrialisation increased in Germany, the German businessmen wanted to maximise their available markets in order to increases their profits. However as there was trade between the 39 countries but with so many tariffs cutting up the states it was impossible for the businessmen to get into the other states, this was where the Zollverein was introduced. This was created by Prussia, the most powerful and largest state in Germany, who scrapped all trade barriers and tariffs in its territory and offered the Zollverein with similar trade concessions to the other German states. They then began to build new networks of trains and road works allowing trade to flow in and out of the states freely and easily therefore increasing communication, trade and ideas throughout Germany.
The Zollverein was important in the change in the balance of power from 1848-66 for several reasons, firstly it allowed trade to travel far and wide throughout the German states, this allowed ideas and feelings to spread quickly over vast distances uniting the German people. This also helped to spread different languages. Secondly the Zollverein gained a better society with raw materials being transported in and out of the states creating further industrialisation but most importantly it helped Prussia become politically dominant. However it could be argued that this was not the most important reason for the change in the balance of power, there are reasons such as Austria trying to keep their large empire alive through fighting which ironically ended up weakening them further through losses in Italy for example. Also there is the fact that Austria had a large standing army which was very costly to keep active constantly therefore draining Austria’s wealth and resources. Another reason why the Zollverein may not have been the most...