Final Reflection

a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

Some of the main obstacles I have faced included deciding on what dissertation research project topic to do as I was picking between doing my Dissertation on Otto Von Bismarck, the interwar period between the aftermath of the First World War and before the start of the Second World War, and the rise of Syrian nationalism in the Ottoman Empire from the nineteenth century until 1923. I chose the latter but it was a difficult decision. Another challenge will be looking and obtaining more primary sources as I have few primary sources to work with at the moment but optimistically in the summer I will have more to work with plus most of it may be in Arabic and Turkish so the translation of some of the sources will be a challenge.

b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

I talked to my dissertation supervisor about what topic I wanted to my dissertation and I decided on the rise of Syrian nationalism and the conversation led to that decision. For the primary sources, I will need to expand my internet research during the summer and also do some traveling, depending on the easing of restrictions, to museums and libraries to gather and look into more primary sources.

c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

My approach to my dissertation is to start preparing, planning, and doing most of the research, including the collection of primary sources and reading into secondary sources such as the author’s main argument, in the summer as this will give me a great deal of time to get a lot of my research done and it will help me plan more.

d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

Talking to my dissertation supervisor has been one of the most useful features in helping me get ready to start the dissertation as by talking to him, I had a better idea of what to do my dissertation on and he gave me good sources to look into to help me with my planning and research.

Annotated Bibliography

I am still undecided on what I want to do my dissertation on. Some ideas on topics I may want to do include: the rise of Syrian nationalism in the Ottoman Empire, Otto Von Bismarck’s starring role in the unification of Germany, and the aftermath of World War One helping start the Second World War. For now, I will do my Annotated Bibliography on Otto Von Bismarck’s part in the unification of Germany.

Primary Sources

I found this document by looking into the German History in Documents resource. After quick Prussian victories against Denmark and Austria in 1864 and 1866 respectively, Bismarck was trying to find a reason to start war with France. The editing of the Ems telegram (which was a report of the meeting between King Wilhelm I of Prussian and Count Vincenti Benedetti, the French ambassador, at Bad Ems) gave him the ideal scenario to provoke war with France whilst making them look like the aggressor after concerns they had about a family member of Wilhelm I of Prussia, Prince Leopold, being presented with the throne of Spain. This document can help me with my dissertation as it shows how Bismarck manipulated the telegram which was then sent to the media which then led to the Franco-Prussian and how it was a part of unifying the German states into the creation of the German empire.

Secondary Sources

  • Macdonald, John. “Sedan/1 September, 1870.” In Great Battlefields of the World, edited by Anthony Livesey and Patrick Harpur, 102-105. London: Marshall Editions Limited, 1984.

I found this on my bookshelf and the chapter is about the Franco-Prussian war specifically the Battle of Sedan from the 1st to the 2nd of September 1870 that led to the fall of the French Second Empire under Napoleon III. The weapons that were used in the battle by both sides are written about. Additionally the origins of the Franco-Prussian war is mentioned which was the editing of the Ems telegram by Otto Von Bismarck to goad France into war after the French demanded that no German royalty would take the Spanish throne.

  • Goddard, Stacie E. “When Right Makes Might: How Prussia Overturned the European Balance of Power.” International Security 33, no. 3 (2008): 110-42. Accessed February 7, 2021.

I came across this journal article on JSTOR and then I typed in ‘Otto Von Bismarck’ in the search engine. Goddard writes about how the balance of power in Europe was changed by Prussia within ten years and three wars that brought together German provinces into a united German state by 1871. Furthermore, the failure of the other great powers in preventing the rise of Prussia, especially in 1864 with the Second Schleswig-Holstein war between Prussia and Denmark, led to the alteration of the power balance in Europe. Bismarck’s position as President-Minister of Prussia during this period presented him many opportunities to start and win the wars, increase Prussian territorial expansion, and change the balance of power.