On 28 February 1866 Bismarck spoke to the Prussian Crown Council [223, 6: 611ff; summary in 224, 3: 650–1]. War with Austria seemed but a matter of time. Bismarck provided an historical background to the conflict, an interpretation which also justified the Prussian position. Ever since 1815, he argued, there had only been one healthy element within German politics: the Prussian state. Austria was a negative force, blocking change. She had consistently frustrated Prussian attempts to reshape Germany. The Deutsche Bund (Glossary; henceforth referred to as the Bund) which had been established in 1814-15 had not helped as its purpose was only to protect Germany against France. Prussia had had opportunities to act decisively, most notably in 1848, but these had not been taken. Now the time had come. Prussia must act to destroy Austro-Prussian dualism in Germany and with it the Bund.
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