German Confederation

German Confederation

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The German Confederation was the loose association of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

an states created by the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia. Britain approved of it because London felt that there was need for a stable, peaceful power in central Europe that could discourage aggressive moves by France or Russia. According to Lee (1985), most historians have judged the Confederation to be weak and ineffective, as well as an obstacle to German nationalist aspirations. It collapsed due to the rivalry between Prussia and Austria (known as German dualism
German dualism
Austria and Prussia had a long running conflict and rivalry for supremacy in Central Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, called in Germany. While wars were a part of the rivalry, it was also a race for prestige to be seen as the legitimate political force of the German-speaking peoples...

), warfare, the 1848 revolution, and the inability of the multiple members to compromise.

In 1848, revolutions
Revolutions of 1848 in the German states
The Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, also called the March Revolution – part of the Revolutions of 1848 that broke out in many countries of Europe – were a series of loosely coordinated protests and rebellions in the states of the German Confederation, including the Austrian Empire...

 by liberals
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 and nationalists
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 were a failed attempt to establish a unified German state. Talks between the German states failed in 1848, and the confederation briefly dissolved but was re-established in 1850.

The dispute between the two dominant member states of the confederation, Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 and Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

, over which had the inherent right to rule German lands ended in favour of Prussia after the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 in 1866, and the collapse of the confederation. This resulted in the creation of the North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

, with a number of south German states remaining independent, although allied first with Austria (until 1867) and subsequently with Prussia (until 1871), after which they became a part of the new German state
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

.

Background


The Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 was dissolved on 6 August 1806 when the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated, following a crushing defeat at the Battle of Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition...

 by the French under Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 resulting in the Treaty of Pressburg. Francis II continued to reign as Emperor of Austria
Emperor of Austria
The Emperor of Austria was a hereditary imperial title and position proclaimed in 1804 by the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, and continually held by him and his heirs until the last emperor relinquished power in 1918. The emperors retained the title of...

 and King of Hungary
King of Hungary
The King of Hungary was the head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 to 1918.The style of title "Apostolic King" was confirmed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all the Kings of Hungary, so after this date the kings are referred to as "Apostolic King of...

.

Following the Battle of Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition...

 of December 1805 in the War of the Third Coalition, sixteen of France's allies among the German states (including Bavaria and Württemberg) established the Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...

 in July 1806. Following the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia...

 of October 1806 in the War of the Fourth Coalition
War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition against Napoleon's French Empire was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and the United Kingdom....

, various other German states, including Saxony and Westphalia, also joined the Confederation. Only Austria, Prussia, Danish Holstein, and Swedish Pomerania stayed outside of the Confederation of the Rhine.

These nations would later join in the War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

 from 1812 to 1814.

Establishment


The German Confederation was created by an act of the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 on 8 June 1815 after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1814)
The Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 May 1814, ended the war between France and the Sixth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars, following an armistice signed on 23 May between Charles, Count of Artois, and the allies...

.

The original signatories of the act were:
  1. Austria
  2. Prussia
  3. Bavaria
  4. Saxony
  5. Hanover
  6. Wirtemberg
  7. Baden
  8. Electorate of Hesse
  9. Grande Duchy of Hesse
  10. Denmark on account of Holstein
  11. Netherlands on account of Luxemburg
  12. Brunswick
  13. Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  14. Nassau
  15. Saxe Weimar
  16. Saxe Gotha
  17. Saxe Cobourg
  18. Saxe Meiningen
  19. Saxe Hildburghausen
  20. Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  21. Holstein-Oldenburg
  22. Anhalt-Dessau
  23. Anhalt-Bernburg
  24. Anhalt-Kothen
  25. Swartzburg-Sondershausen
  26. Swartzburg-Rudolstadt
  27. Hohenzollern-Hechingen
  28. Lichtenstein
  29. Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  30. Waldeck
  31. Reuss, elder line
  32. Reuss, younger line
  33. Schaumburg-Lippe
  34. Lippe-Detmond


To these were afterwards added:
  1. Hesse-Homburg
  2. Lübeck
  3. Frankfort
  4. Bremen
  5. Hamburg

Dissolution and Empire


The German Confederation ended as a result of the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

 of 1866 between the constituent Confederation entities of the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 and its allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 and its allies on the other. The war resulted in the Confederation being partially replaced by a North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

 in 1867 which included Prussia but excluded Austria and the South German states. During November 1870 the four southern states joined the North German Confederation by treaty.

On 10 December 1870 the North German Confederation Reichstag renamed the Confederation as the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 and gave the title of German Emperor
German Emperor
This article is about the emperors of the German Empire. For full list of German monarchs before 1871, see List of German monarchs.The German Emperor was the official title of the Head of State and ruler of the German Empire, beginning with the proclamation of Wilhelm I as emperor during the...

 to the King of Prussia
King of Prussia
King of Prussia may refer to:* A ruler of the former German state of Prussia**List of rulers of Prussia* Place names** King of Prussia, Pennsylvania* Shopping Centers** King of Prussia Mall...

 as President of the Confederation. During the Siege of Paris
Siege of Paris
The Siege of Paris, lasting from September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871, and the consequent capture of the city by Prussian forces led to French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War and the establishment of the German Empire as well as the Paris Commune....

 on 18 January 1871, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors
Hall of Mirrors (Palace of Versailles)
The Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the Palace of Versailles and is renowned as being one of the most famous rooms in the world.As the principal and most remarkable feature of King Louis XIV of France's third building campaign of the Palace of Versailles , construction of the Hall of...

 at the Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

.

Members

  • The Austrian Empire
    Austrian Empire
    The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

     and the Kingdom of Prussia
    Kingdom of Prussia
    The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

     were the largest and by far the most powerful members of the Confederation. Large parts of both countries were not included in the Confederation, because they had not been part of the former Holy Roman Empire, nor had the greater parts of their armed forces been incorporated in the federal army. Each of them had one vote in the Federal Assembly.
  • Three member states were ruled by foreign monarchs: the King of Denmark, the King of the Netherlands
    Monarchy of the Netherlands
    The Netherlands has been an independent monarchy since 16 March 1815, and has been governed by members of the House of Orange-Nassau since.-Constitutional role and position of the monarch:...

    , and the King of Great Britain (until 1837) were members of the German Confederation; the first as Duke of Holstein
    Holstein
    Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

    , the second as Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Duke of Limburg
    Duke of Limburg
    The counts of Limburg rose to prominence when one of their house was appointed Duke of Lower Lorraine.Though Lorraine was soon confiscated, the ducal title was kept within the family, transferred it to the county of Limburg, which was eventually ratified by the Holy Roman Emperor...

    , and the latter as King of Hanover. Each of them had a vote in the Federal Assembly.
  • Six other greater states had one vote each in the Federal Assembly: the King of Bavaria
    King of Bavaria
    King of Bavaria was a title held by the hereditary Wittelsbach rulers of Bavaria in the state known as the Kingdom of Bavaria from 1805 until 1918, when the kingdom was abolished...

    , the King of Saxony
    Rulers of Saxony
    This article lists Dukes, Electors, and Kings ruling over different territories named Saxony from the beginning of the Saxon Duchy in the 9th century to the end of the Saxon Kingdom in 1918.-Dukes of Saxony:...

    , the King of Württemberg
    Rulers of Württemberg
    This is a list of the rulers of the German state of Württemberg, originally a county and eventually a kingdom until the ruling dynasty was overthrown in 1918.- Counts of Württemberg to 1495 :* Konrad I 1089–1122...

    , the prince-elector of Hesse, the Grand Duke of Baden
    Grand Duchy of Baden
    The Grand Duchy of Baden was a historical state in the southwest of Germany, on the east bank of the Rhine. It existed between 1806 and 1918.-History:...

     and the Grand Duke of Hesse
    Grand Duchy of Hesse
    The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine , or, between 1806 and 1816, Grand Duchy of Hesse —as it was also known after 1816—was a member state of the German Confederation from 1806, when the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt was elevated to a Grand Duchy, until 1918, when all the German...

    .
  • 23 smaller and tiny member states shared five votes in the Federal Assembly.
  • The four free cities of Bremen
    Bremen (state)
    The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is the smallest of Germany's 16 states. A more informal name, but used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen .-Geography:...

    , Frankfurt
    Free City of Frankfurt
    For almost five centuries, the German city of Frankfurt am Main was a city-state within two major Germanic states:*The Holy Roman Empire as the Free Imperial City of Frankfurt...

    , Hamburg
    Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

    , and Lübeck shared one vote in the Federal Assembly.

Situation in space and time


Between 1806 and 1815, Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 organized the German states into the Confederation of the Rhine
Confederation of the Rhine
The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation of client states of the First French Empire. It was formed initially from 16 German states by Napoleon after he defeated Austria's Francis II and Russia's Alexander I in the Battle of Austerlitz. The Treaty of Pressburg, in effect, led to the...

, but this collapsed after his defeats in 1812 to 1815. The German Confederation had roughly the same boundaries as the Empire at the time of the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 (less what is now Belgium). The member states, drastically reduced to 39 from more than 300 (see Kleinstaaterei
Kleinstaaterei
is a German word, mainly used for the political situation in Germany and neighbouring regions during the Holy Roman Empire and during the German Confederation...

) under the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, were recognized as fully sovereign. The members pledged themselves to mutual defense, and jointly maintained the fortresses
Fortresses of the German Confederation
Under the term of the 1815 Peace of Paris, France was obliged to pay for the construction of a line of fortresses to protect the German Confederation against any future aggression by France.Section C...

 at Mainz
Fortress Mainz
The Fortress of Mainz was a fortressed garrison town between 1620 and 1918. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, under the term of the 1815 Peace of Paris, the control of Mainz passed to the German Confederation and became part of a chain of strategic fortresses which protected the Confederation with...

, the city of Luxembourg
Luxembourg (city)
The city of Luxembourg , also known as Luxembourg City , is a commune with city status, and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg...

, Rastatt
Rastatt
Rastatt is a city and baroque residence in the District of Rastatt, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is located on the Murg river, above its junction with the Rhine and has a population of around 50'000...

, Ulm
Ulm
Ulm is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 , forms an urban district of its own and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and...

, and Landau
Landau
Landau or Landau in der Pfalz is an autonomous city surrounded by the Südliche Weinstraße district of southern Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is a university town , a long-standing cultural centre, and a market and shopping town, surrounded by vineyards and wine-growing villages of the...

.

A Federal Assembly
Bundesversammlung (German Confederation)
The Federal Assembly was the only central institution of the German Confederation from 1815 until 1848, and from 1850 until 1866. The Federal Assembly had its seat in the palais Thurn und Taxis in Frankfurt...

 under Austrian presidency met in Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

 (the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 Emperor and the King of the United Kingdom and Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

 were represented by 'envoy').

During the revolution of 1848/49 the German Confederation was inactive. It was revived in 1850 under Austrian presidency, but rivalry between Prussia and Austria grew more and more.

The Confederation was dissolved in 1866 after the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

, and was 'succeeded' in 1866 by the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation
North German Confederation
The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

. Unlike the German Confederation, the North German Confederation was in fact a true state. Its territory comprised the parts of the German Confederation north of the river Main, plus Prussia's eastern territories and the Duchy of Schleswig
Schleswig
Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

, but excluded Austria and the southern German states.

Prussia's influence was widened by the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 resulting in the proclamation of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 at Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

 on 18 January 1871, which united the North German Federation with the southern German states. All the constituent states of the former German Confederation became part of the Kaiserreich in 1871, except Austria, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

.

Impact of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic invasions


The late 18th century was a period of political, economic, intellectual, and cultural reforms, the Enlightenment (represented by figures such as Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

, Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, and Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

), but also involving early Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, and climaxing with the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, where freedom of the individual and nation was asserted against privilege and custom. Representing a great variety of types and theories, they were largely a response to the disintegration of previous cultural patterns, coupled with new patterns of production, specifically the rise of industrial capitalism.

However, the defeat of Napoleon enabled conservative and reactionary regimes such as those of the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 and Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

ist Russia to survive, laying the groundwork for the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 and the alliance that strove to oppose radical demands for change ushered in by the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. The Great Power
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

s at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 aimed to restore Europe (as far as possible) to its pre-war conditions by combating both liberalism
Liberalism in Germany
This article aims to give an historical overview of liberalism in Germany. The liberal parties dealt with in the timeline below are, largely, those which received sufficient support at one time or another to have been represented in parliament. Not all parties so included, however, necessarily...

 and nationalism and by creating barriers around France. With Austria
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

's position on the continent now intact and ostensibly secure under its reactionary premier Klemens von Metternich, the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 empire would serve as a barrier to contain the emergence of Italian and German nation-states as well, in addition to containing France. But this reactionary balance of power, aimed at blocking German and Italian nationalism
Italian nationalism
Italian nationalism refers to the nationalism of Italians or of Italian culture. It claims that Italians are the ethnic, cultural, and linguistic descendants of the ancient Romans who inhabited the Italian Peninsula for centuries. The origins of Italian nationalism have been traced to the...

 on the continent, was precarious.

After Napoleon's final defeat in 1815, the surviving member states of the defunct Holy Roman Empire joined to form the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) — a rather loose organization, especially because the two great rivals, the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 and the Prussian kingdom
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

, each feared domination by the other.

In Prussia the Hohenzollern rulers forged a centralized state. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Prussia was a socially and institutionally backward state, grounded in the virtues of its established military aristocracy (the Junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

s
), stratified by rigid hierarchical lines. After 1815, Prussia's defeats by Napoleonic France highlighted the need for administrative, economic, and social reforms to improve the efficiency of the bureaucracy and encourage practical merit-based education. Inspired by the Napoleonic organization of German and Italian principalities, the reforms of Karl August von Hardenberg
Karl August von Hardenberg
Karl August Fürst von Hardenberg was a Prussian statesman and Prime Minister of Prussia. While during his late career he acquiesced to reactionary policies, earlier in his career he implemented a variety of Liberal reforms...

 and Count Stein were conservative, enacted to preserve aristocrat
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

ic privilege while modernizing institutions.

Outside Prussia, industrialization progressed slowly, and was held back because of political disunity, conflicts of interest between the nobility and merchants, and the continued existence of the guild system, which discouraged competition and innovation. While this kept the middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

 small, affording the old order a measure of stability not seen in France, Prussia's vulnerability to Napoleon's military proved to many among the old order that a fragile, divided, and backward Germany would be easy prey for its cohesive and industrializing neighbor.

The reforms laid the foundation for Prussia's future military might by professionalizing the military and decreeing universal military conscription. In order to industrialize Prussia, working within the framework provided by the old aristocratic institutions, land reforms were enacted to break the monopoly of the Junkers on landownership, thereby also abolishing, among other things, the feudal practice of serfdom.

Romanticism, nationalism, and liberalism in the Vormärz era


Although the forces unleashed by the French Revolution were seemingly under control after the Vienna Congress, the conflict between conservative forces and liberal nationalists was only deferred at best. The era until the failed 1848 revolution, in which these tensions built up, is commonly referred to as Vormärz ("pre-March"), in reference to the outbreak of riots in March 1848.

This conflict pitted the forces of the old order against those inspired by the French Revolution and the Rights of Man. The sociological breakdown of the competition was, roughly, one side engaged mostly in commerce, trade and industry, and the other side associated with landowning aristocracy or military aristocracy (the Junker) in Prussia, the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 monarchy in Austria, and the conservative notables of the small princely states and city-states in Germany.

Meanwhile, demands for change from below had been fomenting since the influence of the French Revolution. Throughout the German Confederation, Austrian influence was paramount, drawing the ire of the nationalist movements. Metternich considered nationalism, especially the nationalist youth movement, the most pressing danger: German nationalism might not only repudiate Austrian dominance of the Confederation, but also stimulate nationalist sentiment within the Austrian Empire itself. In a multi-national polyglot state in which Slavs and Magyars outnumbered the Germans, the prospects of Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Serb, or Croatian sentiment along with middle class liberalism was certainly horrifying.

The Vormärz era saw the rise of figures like August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben
August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben
' , who used Hoffmann von Fallersleben as his pen name, was a German poet. He is best known for writing "Das Lied der Deutschen", its third stanza now being the national anthem of Germany, and a number of popular children's songs.- Biography :Hoffmann was born in Fallersleben , Brunswick-Lüneburg,...

, Ludwig Uhland
Ludwig Uhland
Johann Ludwig Uhland , was a German poet, philologist and literary historian.-Biography:He was born in Tübingen, then Duchy of Württemberg, and studied jurisprudence at the university there, but also took an interest in medieval literature, especially old German and French poetry...

, Georg Herwegh
Georg Herwegh
Georg Friedrich Rudolph Theodor Herwegh was a German revolutionary poet.-Biography:He was born in Stuttgart on 31 May 1817, the son of an innkeeper...

, Heinrich Heine
Heinrich Heine
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine was one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century. He was also a journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann...

, Georg Büchner
Georg Büchner
Karl Georg Büchner was a German dramatist and writer of poetry and prose. He was the brother of physician and philosopher Ludwig Büchner. Büchner's talent is generally held in great esteem in Germany...

, Ludwig Börne
Ludwig Börne
Karl Ludwig Börne was a German political writer and satirist.-Early life:Karl Ludwig Börne was born Loeb Baruch on May 6, 1786, at Frankfurt am Main, son of Jakob Baruch, a banker. His grandfather had been a government bureaucrat.-Education:Börne and his brothers were privately tutored by Jacob...

 and Bettina von Arnim
Bettina von Arnim
Bettina von Arnim , born Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, was a German writer and novelist....

. Father Friedrich Jahn's gymnastic associations exposed middle class German youth to nationalist and democratic ideas, which took the form of the nationalistic and liberal democratic college fraternities known as the Burschenschaft
Burschenschaft
German Burschenschaften are a special type of Studentenverbindungen . Burschenschaften were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas.-History:-Beginnings 1815–c...

en
. The Wartburg Festival in 1817 celebrated Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 as a proto-German nationalist, linking Lutheranism to German nationalism, and helping arouse religious sentiments for the cause of German nationhood. The festival culminated in the burning of several books and other items that symbolized reactionary
Reactionary
The term reactionary refers to viewpoints that seek to return to a previous state in a society. The term is meant to describe one end of a political spectrum whose opposite pole is "radical". While it has not been generally considered a term of praise it has been adopted as a self-description by...

 attitudes. One item was a book by August von Kotzebue
August von Kotzebue
August Friedrich Ferdinand von Kotzebue was a German dramatist.One of Kotzebue's books was burned during the Wartburg festival in 1817. He was murdered in 1819 by Karl Ludwig Sand, a militant member of the Burschenschaften...

. In 1819, Kotzebue was accused of spying for Russia, and then murdered by a theological student, Karl Ludwig Sand
Karl Ludwig Sand
Karl Ludwig Sand was a German university student and member of a liberal Burschenschaft . He was executed in 1820 for the murder of the conservative dramatist August von Kotzebue the previous year in Mannheim...

, who was executed for the crime. Sand belonged to a militant nationalist faction of the Burschenschaften. Metternich used the murder as a pretext to issue the Carlsbad Decrees
Carlsbad Decrees
The Carlsbad Decrees were a set of reactionary restrictions introduced in the states of the German Confederation by resolution of the Bundesversammlung on 20 September 1819 after a conference held in the spa town of Carlsbad, Bohemia...

 of 1819, which dissolved the Burschenschaften, cracked down on the liberal press, and seriously restricted academic freedom
Academic freedom
Academic freedom is the belief that the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment.Academic freedom is a...

.

High culture



German artists and intellectuals, heavily influenced by the French Revolution, turned to Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. At the universities, high-powered professors developed international reputations, especially in the humanities led by history and philology, which brought a new historical perspective to the study of political history, theology, philosophy, language, and literature. With Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

 (1770-1831) in philosophy, Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) in theology and Leopold von Ranke
Leopold von Ranke
Leopold von Ranke was a German historian, considered one of the founders of modern source-based history. Ranke set the standards for much of later historical writing, introducing such ideas as reliance on primary sources , an emphasis on narrative history and especially international politics .-...

 (1795-1886) in history, the University of Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
The Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...

, founded in 1810, became the world's leading university. Von Ranke, for example, professionalized history and set the world standard for historiography. By the 1830s mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology had emerged with world class science, led by Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt...

 (1769-1859) in natural science and Carl Friedrich Gauss
Carl Friedrich Gauss
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum...

 (1777-1855) in mathematics. Young intellectuals often turned to politics, but their support for the failed Revolution of 1848 forced many into exile.

Demographic transition


The population of the German Confederation (excluding Austria) grew 60% from 1815 to 1865, from 21,000,000 to 34,000,000. . The era saw the Demographic Transition
Demographic transition
The demographic transition model is the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system. The theory is based on an interpretation of demographic history developed in 1929 by the American...

  take place in Germany. It was a transition from high birth rates and high death rates to low birth and death rates as the country developed from a pre-industrial to a modernized agriculture and supported a fast-growing industrialized urban economic system. In previous centuries, the shortage of land meant that not everyone could marry, and marriages took place after age 25. The high birthrate was offset by a very high rate of infant mortality, plus periodic epidemics and harvest failures. After 1815, increased agricultural productivity met a larger food supply, and a decline in famines, epidemics, and malnutrition. This allowed couples to marry earlier, and have more children. Arranged marriages became uncommon as young people were now allowed to choose their own marriage partners, subject to a veto by the parents. The upper and middle classes began to practice birth control, and a little later so too did the peasants. The population in 1800 was heavily rural, with only 8% of the people living in communities of 5000 to 100,000 and another 2% living in cities of more than 100,000.

Nobility


In a heavily agrarian society, land ownership played a central role. Germany's nobles, especially those in the East called Junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

s, dominated not only the localities, but also the Prussian court, and especially the Prussian army. Increasingly after 1815, a centralized Prussian government based in Berlin took over the powers of the nobles, which in terms of control over the peasantry had been almost absolute. They retained control of the judicial system on their estates until 1848, as well as control of hunting and game laws. They paid no land tax until 1861 and kept their police authority until 1872, and controlled church affairs into the early 20th century. To help the nobility avoid indebtedness, Berlin set up a credit institution to provide capital loans in 1809, and extended the loan network to peasants in 1849. When the German Empire was established in 1871, the nobility controlled the army and the Navy, the bureaucracy, and the royal court; they generally set governmental policies..

Peasants


Peasants continued to center their lives in the village, where they were members of a corporate body and help manage the community resources and monitor the community life. In the East, they were serfs who were bound prominently to parcels of land. In most of Germany, farming was handled by tenant farmers who paid rents and obligatory services to the landlord, who was typically a nobleman.. Peasant leaders supervised the fields and ditches and grazing rights, maintained public order and morals, and supported a village court which handled minor offenses. Inside the family the patriarch made all the decisions, and tried to arrange advantageous marriages for his children. Much of the villages' communal life centered around church services and holy days. In Prussia, the peasants drew lots to choose conscripts required by the army. The noblemen handled external relationships and politics for the villages under their control, and were not typically involved in daily activities or decisions.

Rapidly growing cities


After 1815, the urban population grew rapidly, due primarily to the influx of young people from the rural areas. Berlin grew from 172,000 1800, to 826,000 in 1870; Hamburg grew from 130,000 to 290,000; Munich from 40,000 to 269,000; Breslau from 60,000 to 208,000; Dresden from 60,000 to 177,000; Konigsberg from 55,000 to 112,000. Offsetting this growth, there was extensive emigration, especially to the United States. Emigration totaled 480,000 in the 1840s, 1,200,000 in the 1850s, and 780,000 in the 1860s..

Zollverein: economic integration


Further efforts to improve the confederation began in 1834 with the establishment of a customs union
Customs union
A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas...

, the Zollverein
Zollverein
thumb|upright=1.2|The German Zollverein 1834–1919blue = Prussia in 1834 grey= Included region until 1866yellow= Excluded after 1866red = Borders of the German Union of 1828 pink= Relevant others until 1834...

. In 1834, the Prussian regime sought to stimulate wider trade advantages and industrialism by decree — a logical continuation of the program of Stein and Hardenberg less than two decades earlier. Historians have seen three Prussian goals: as a political tool to eliminate Austrian influence in Germany; as a way to improve the economies; and to strengthen Germany against potential French aggression while reducing the economic independence of smaller states.

Inadvertently, these reforms sparked the unification movement and augmented a middle class demanding further political rights, but at the time backwardness and Prussia's fears of its stronger neighbors were greater concerns. The customs union opened up a common market, ended tariffs between states, and standardized weights, measures, and currencies within member states (excluding Austria), forming the basis of a proto-national economy.

By 1842 the Zollverein included most German states. Within the next twenty years the output of German furnaces increased fourfold. Coal production grew rapidly as well. In turn, German industry (especially the works established by the Krupp
Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...

 family) introduced the steel gun, cast-steel axles, and a breech loading rifle, exemplifying Germany's successful application of technology to weaponry. Germany's security was greatly enhanced, leaving the Prussian state and the landowning aristocracy secure from outside threat. German manufacturers also produced heavily for the civilian sector. No longer would Britain supply half of Germany's needs for manufactured goods, as it did beforehand. However, by developing a strong industrial base, the Prussian state strengthened the middle class and thus the nationalist movement. Economic integration, especially increased national consciousness among the German states, made political unity a far likelier scenario. Germany finally began exhibiting all the features of a proto-nation.

The crucial factor enabling Prussia's conservative regime to survive the Vormärz era was a rough coalition between leading sectors of the landed upper class and the emerging commercial and manufacturing interests. Marx and Engels, in their analysis of the abortive 1848 Revolutions, defined such a coalition: "a commercial and industrial class which is too weak and dependent to take power and rule in its own right and which therefore throws itself into the arms of the landed aristocracy and the royal bureaucracy, exchanging the right to rule for the right to make money." Even if the commercial and industrial element is weak, it must be strong enough (or soon become strong enough) to become worthy of co-optation, and the French Revolution terrified enough perceptive elements of Prussia's Junkers for the state to be sufficiently accommodating.

While relative stability was maintained until 1848, with enough bourgeois
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 elements still content to exchange the "right to rule for the right to make money", the landed upper class found its economic base sinking. While the Zollverein
Zollverein
thumb|upright=1.2|The German Zollverein 1834–1919blue = Prussia in 1834 grey= Included region until 1866yellow= Excluded after 1866red = Borders of the German Union of 1828 pink= Relevant others until 1834...

brought economic progress and helped to keep the bourgeoisie at bay for a while, it increased the ranks of the middle class swiftly - the very social base for the nationalism and liberalism that the Prussian state sought to stem.

The Zollverein was a move toward economic integration, modern industrial capitalism, and the victory of centralism over localism, quickly bringing to an end the era of guilds in the small German princely states. This led to the 1844 revolt of the Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

n Weavers, who saw their livelihood destroyed by the flood of new manufactures.

The Zollverein also weakened Austrian domination of the Confederation as economic unity increased the desire for political unity and nationalism.

The Revolutions of 1848


News of the 1848 Revolution in Paris quickly reached discontented bourgeois liberals, republicans and more radical workingmen. The first revolutionary uprisings in Germany began in the state of Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

 in March 1848. Within a few days, there were revolutionary uprisings in other states including Austria, and finally in Prussia. On 15 March 1848, the subjects of Friedrich Wilhelm IV
Frederick William IV of Prussia
|align=right|Upon his accession, he toned down the reactionary policies enacted by his father, easing press censorship and promising to enact a constitution at some point, but he refused to enact a popular legislative assembly, preferring to work with the aristocracy through "united committees" of...

 of Prussia vented their long-repressed political aspirations in violent rioting in Berlin, while barricades were erected in the streets of Paris. King Louis-Philippe of France
Louis-Philippe of France
Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the French Revolution but was nevertheless guillotined. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile, including considerable time in the...

 fled to Great Britain. Friedrich Wilhelm gave in to the popular fury, and promised a constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, a parliament, and support for German unification. But at least his regime was still standing.

On 18 May the Frankfurt Parliament
Frankfurt Parliament
The Frankfurt Assembly was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany. Session was held from May 18, 1848 to May 31, 1849 in the Paulskirche at Frankfurt am Main...

 (Frankfurt Assembly) opened its first session, with delegates from various German states. It was immediately divided between those favoring a kleindeutsche (small German) or grossdeutsche (greater German) solution. The former favored offering the imperial crown to Prussia. The latter favored the Habsburg crown in Vienna, which would integrate Austria proper and Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 (but not Hungary) into the new Germany.

From May to December, the Assembly eloquently debated academic topics while conservatives swiftly moved against the reformers. As in Austria and Russia, this middle-class assertion increased authoritarian and reactionary sentiments among the landed upper class, whose economic position was declining. They turned to political levers to preserve their rule. As the Prussian army proved loyal, and the peasants were uninterested, Friedrich Wilhelm regained his confidence. The Assembly issued its Declaration of the Rights of the German people, a constitution was drawn up (excluding Austria which openly rejected the Assembly), and the leadership of the Reich was offered to Friedrich Wilhelm, who refused to "pick up a crown from the gutter". Thousands of middle class liberals fled abroad, especially to the United States.

In 1849, Friedrich Wilhelm proposed his own constitution. His document concentrated real power in the hands of the King and the upper classes, and called for a confederation of North German states (the Erfurt Union
Erfurt Union
The Erfurt Union was a short-lived union of German states under a federation, proposed by the Kingdom of Prussia at Erfurt, for which the Erfurt Union Parliament , lasting from March 20 to April 29, 1850, was opened...

). Austria and Russia, fearing a strong, Prussian-dominated Germany, responded by pressuring Saxony and Hanover to withdraw, and forced Prussia to abandon the scheme in a treaty dubbed the "humiliation of Olmütz
Punctation of Olmütz
The Punctation of Olmütz , also called the Agreement of Olmütz, was a treaty between Prussia and Austria, dated 29 November 1850, by which Prussia abandoned the Erfurt Union and accepted the revival of the German Confederation under Austrian leadership....

".

Bismarck and the Wars of Unification


A new generation of statesmen responded to popular demands for national unity for their own ends, continuing Prussia's tradition of autocracy and reform from above. Germany found an able leader to accomplish the seemingly paradoxical task of conservative modernization. Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 was appointed by Wilhelm IV of Prussia (the future Kaiser Wilhelm I) to circumvent the liberals in the Landtag
Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

who resisted Wilhelm's autocratic militarism. Bismarck told the Diet, "The great questions of the day are not decided by speeches and majority votes...but by blood and iron" --that is, by warfare and industrial might. Prussia already had a great army; it was now augmented by rapid growth of economic power.

Gradually Bismarck won over the middle class, reacting to the revolutionary sentiments expressed in 1848 by providing them with the economic opportunities for which the urban middle sectors had been fighting.

Territorial legacy



The current countries whose territory were partly or entirely located inside the boundaries of German Confederation 1815–1866 are:
  • Germany (all states
    States of Germany
    Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

     except part of Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

    )

  • Austria (all states
    States of Austria
    Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder . Since Land is also the German word for a country, the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms...

     except Burgenland
    Burgenland
    Burgenland is the easternmost and least populous state or Land of Austria. It consists of two Statutarstädte and seven districts with in total 171 municipalities. It is 166 km long from north to south but much narrower from west to east...

    )

  • Luxembourg
    Luxembourg
    Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

     (entire territory)

  • Liechtenstein
    Liechtenstein
    The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

     (entire territory)

  • Netherlands (province of Limburg
    Limburg (Netherlands)
    Limburg is the southernmost of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. It is located in the southeastern part of the country and bordered by the province of Gelderland to the north, Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and part of the west, andthe Dutch province of North Brabant partly to...

     - the province joined the Confederation after 1839)

  • Czech Republic (entire territory)

  • Slovenia
    Slovenia
    Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

     (except for Prekmurje
    Prekmurje
    Prekmurje is a geographically, linguistically, culturally and ethnically defined region settled by Slovenes and lying between the Mur River in Slovenia and the Rába Valley in the most western part of Hungary...

     and the municipalities of Koper, Izola
    Izola
    Izola is an old fishing city and a municipality in southwestern Slovenia on the Adriatic coast of the Istrian peninsula. Its name originates from the Italian Isola, which means island.- History :...

     and Piran
    Piran
    Piran is a city and municipality in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the three major towns of Slovenian Istria. The city resembles a large open-air museum, with medieval architecture and a rich cultural heritage. Narrow streets and compact houses give...

    )

  • Poland (West Pomeranian Voivodship, Lubusz Voivodship, Lower Silesian Voivodship, Opole Voivodship, part of Silesia)

  • Belgium (German-speaking community
    German-speaking Community of Belgium
    The German-speaking Community of Belgium is one of the three federal communities of Belgium. Covering an area of 854 km² within the province of Liège in Wallonia, it includes nine of the eleven municipalities of the so-called East Cantons...

     and some other territory at the east of the province of Liège
    Liège (province)
    Liège is the easternmost province of Belgium and belongs to the Walloon Region. It is an area of French and German ethnicity. It borders on the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and in Belgium the provinces of Luxembourg, Namur, Walloon Brabant , and those of Flemish Brabant and Limburg . Its...

    ); the larger province of Luxembourg had left the Confederation at its accession to Belgium in 1839

  • Italy (autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, the Province of Trieste
    Province of Trieste
    The Province of Trieste is a province in the autonomous Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Trieste.It has an area of 212 km², and a total population of 236,520...

    , most of the Province of Gorizia
    Province of Gorizia
    The Province of Gorizia is a province in the autonomous Friuli–Venezia Giulia region of Italy.-Overview:Its capital is the city of Gorizia. It belonged to the Province of Udine between 1924 and 1927 and the communes of Sonzia, Plezzo, Bergogna, Caporetto, Tolmino, Circhina, Santa Lucia d'Isonzo,...

     except the Monfalcone
    Monfalcone
    Monfalcone is a town and comune of the province of Gorizia , located on the coast of the Gulf of Trieste. Monfalcone means "Mount of Falcon" in Italian....

     enclave, and the municipalities of Tarvisio
    Tarvisio
    Tarvisio is a town in the Province of Udine, in the northeastern part of the autonomous Friuli–Venezia Giulia region in Italy...

    , Malborghetto Valbruna
    Malborghetto Valbruna
    Malborghetto Valbruna is a comune in the Province of Udine in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about 100 km northwest of Trieste and about 50 km northeast of Udine, on the border with Austria. , it had a population of 1,025 and an area of 120.5 km²...

    , Pontebba
    Pontebba
    Pontebba is a comune in the Province of Udine in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It is located about 100 km northwest of Trieste and about 50 km north of Udine, on the border with Austria...

    , Aquileia
    Aquileia
    Aquileia is an ancient Roman city in what is now Italy, at the head of the Adriatic at the edge of the lagoons, about 10 km from the sea, on the river Natiso , the course of which has changed somewhat since Roman times...

    , Fiumicello
    Fiumicello
    Fiumicello is a comune in the Province of Udine in the Italian region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, located about 35 km northwest of Trieste and about 35 km southeast of Udine....

     and Cervignano in the Province of Udine
    Province of Udine
    The Province of Udine is a province in the autonomous Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy, bordering Austria and Slovenia. Its capital is the city of Udine....

    )

  • Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     (the Pazin
    Pazin
    Pazin is the administrative seat of Istria County in Croatia. The town has a population of 4,986 , the total Pazin municipality population is 9,227...

     territory in Istria county
    Istria County
    Istria County is the westernmost county of Croatia which includes the biggest part of the Istrian peninsula . The area of the county is called Istra in Croatian and Slovene...

     and the coastal strip between Opatija
    Opatija
    Opatija is a town in western Croatia, just southwest of Rijeka on the Adriatic coast. , the town proper had a population of 7,850, with the municipality having a total 12,719 inhabitants.-Geography:...

     and Plomin
    Plomin
    Plomin is a village in the Croatian part of Istria, situated approximately 11 km north of Labin, on an 80 meters high hill. It is a popular destination for tourists traveling through Istria by road....

     in the Liburnia
    Liburnia
    Liburnia in ancient geography was the land of the Liburnians, a region along the northeastern Adriatic coast in Europe, in modern Croatia, whose borders shifted according to the extent of Liburnian dominance at a given time between 11th and 1st century BC...

     region)

  • The Danish crown had been a member only in chief of its duchy of Holstein
    Holstein
    Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

    . Schleswig
    Schleswig
    Schleswig or South Jutland is a region covering the area about 60 km north and 70 km south of the border between Germany and Denmark; the territory has been divided between the two countries since 1920, with Northern Schleswig in Denmark and Southern Schleswig in Germany...

     first joined as part of Prussia following the Second War of Schleswig
    Second War of Schleswig
    The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.Denmark fought Prussia and Austria...

     (1864).

See also


  • States of the German Confederation
    States of the German Confederation
    The States of the German Confederation were those member states that from June 20, 1815 were part of the German Confederation, which lasted, with some changes in the member states, until August 24, 1866, under the presidency of the Austrian imperial House of Habsburg, which was represented by an...

  • History of Germany
    History of Germany
    The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul , which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the...

  • German Empire
    German Empire
    The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

  • North German Confederation
    North German Confederation
    The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood...

  • Former countries in Europe after 1815
    Former countries in Europe after 1815
    This article gives a detailed listing of all the countries, , that have existed in Europe since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to the present day...


Further reading

  • Blackbourn, David. The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918 (1998) excerpt and text search
  • Blackbourn, David, and Geoff Eley. The Peculiarities of German History: Bourgeois Society and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Germany (1984) online edition
  • Brose, Eric Dorn. German History, 1789-1871: From the Holy Roman Empire to the Bismarckian Reich. (1997) online edition
  • Evans, Richard J., and W. R. Lee, eds. The German Peasantry: Conflict and Community from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (1986)
  • Nipperdey, Thomas. Germany from Napoleon to Bismarck (1996), very dense coverage of every aspect of German society, economy and government
  • Pflanze, Otto. Bismarck and the Development of Germany, Vol. 1: The Period of Unification, 1815-1871 (1971)
  • Ramm, Agatha. Germany 1789-1919 (1967)
  • Sagarra, Eda. A Social History of Germany 1648-1914 (1977)
  • Sagarra, Eda. Introduction to Nineteenth Century Germany (1980)
  • Sheehan, James J. German History, 1770-1866 (1993), 969pp; the major survey in English
  • Werner, George S. Bavaria in the German Confederation 1820-1848 (1977)

Sources

  • Westermann, Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte (in German, detailed maps)
  • WorldStatesmen- here Germany; also links to a map on rootsweb.com
  • Barrington Moore, Jr. 1993 [1966]. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press.

External links