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Prussia was one of a large number of German principalities, including Austria, Bavaria, and other areas which had previously comprised the Holy Roman Empire. Prussia and Austria were the two largest entities. Germany as a nation state did not exist. Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian Prime Minister, was largely responsible for the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership and for the exclusion of Austria from Germany. Bismarck did so by first provoking a war between Austria and Prussia, the Seven Weeks War, which ended with the cession of Schleswig-Holstein to Prussia. Thereafter, Prussia declared war on France; this was the Franco-Prussian War. France suffered a humiliating defeat, and was forced to cede the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. Thereafter, Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia was crowned Emperor of the German Empire, and Bismarck was named Chancellor in 1871.
Much later, Adolf Hitler attempted to re-join Austria to Germany as part of the Auchluss ("union.") However, Austria has remained an independent country separate from Germany.
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