To What Extent Was Bismarck Responsible for the Unification of Germany?

To what extent was Bismarck responsible for the unification of Germany? Bismarck to a certain extent was responsible for German Unification. Bismarck possessed the audacity to break the traditions of traditional Prussian Diplomacy and to choose the anti-Austrian policy as means of splitting parliamentary opposition that threatened to freeze the Prussian Government.
However, there are arguments against this. It can be argued that Germany would have been pulled towards the wrench of nationalism sweeping through Europe, whether Bismarck had existed or not. When Otto von Bismarck was called to become Minister-President of Prussia in 1862, German Nationalism was already decades old.
German Nationalism dated back to 1815 when Napoleon first occupied the German States. “First apparent in the opposition to Napoleon’s occupation of the German states, national feeling grew into a movement after 1815 as the emotional appeal of nationalism had been experienced by increasing numbers of Germans due to the defeat of France, resulting in the Vienna Settlement.”
The nationalist feels were pushed further by the interest in literature and music through increased economic stability between the north German States and the custom unions.   Therefore resulting in the creation of the Zollverein customs union, in 1834. This brought about unity in Germany with 18 states and 23 million people. The abolition of internal custom barriers also aloud trade and industrialisation. This benefitted the German people and made it clear to them that unifying the states was a way forward.
Bismarck who was the Prussian Chancellor at the time, made his contribution in many different ways. You can clearly see the effectiveness of his power in unifying the states through his primary goals, unifying the north German states under Prussian control, weaken Prussia's main rival, Austria, by removing it from the Bund, make Berlin the centre of German affairs - not Vienna and strengthen the position of the...