No one seems to have considered the terms 'first' or 'second' reich until the Führer notoriously proclaimed the Third Reich in 1933. Historians use the English terms Holy Roman Empire and German Empire for the two political 'umbrellas' that had previously brought some semblance of unity to the Germanic peoples. It was the grandiose expansion of self-crowned French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte that led to the abdication of the last Holy Roman Emperor in 1806 following military defeat by the French at Austerlitz. Over the next 65 years, there was movement along a continuum aiming at unification of the patchwork of autonomous German states. This entailed much diplomacy, many soul-searching questions of how to unite the German-speaking peoples, and military campaigns to assert political authority over portions of neighbouring states. These two sessions will seek to identify the dynamics of Prussian political power, nationalism, the realities of an industrial age, and the shared elements of German language, heritage and culture that inspired and motivated a desire for a federated sovereign German state in the 19th century, while acknowledging the dilemma of the widespread German diaspora.