Effect of the Legacy of the French Revolution on German Nationalism

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Effect of the Legacy of the French Revolution on German Nationalism


  • 1806-13, French occupation - Led to a growth in German identity as the natives of the German states mistrusted those who weren't 'German' speaking in memory of the harsh French rule.
  • 1806-13, Confederation of the Rhine - a group of 16 German states. Unified the states.
  • 1815, The Bund/the German Confederation was created at the Congress of Vienna - united all German states into one organisation.
  • The example of the French being successful as a united state.
  • The Battle of Leipzig, 1813 - Allied victory to defeat Napoleon was partially due to the military contribution of German states.
  • The German states realised that they needed the support of each other.


  • The Bund was chaired by Austria, who wanted to maintain its power. As all votes had to be unanimous, Austria opposed anything liberal or nationalistic, and it did not achieve much.
  • The Congress of Vienna sought to establish a balance of power in Europe - to restore Europe to the way it was before. The German states had no power.
  • The memory of the French Revolution left memories that political change led to pain and suffering.


The French Revolution led to an increase in German nationalism by creating the first 'German' identity and a realisation that in order to hold their own against other European powers, they needed to be united in some way. However, Chapman feels that "there was desperately little nationalistic sentiment in Germany and what there was existed in a small part of the middle class". This could be disagreed with though, as a considerable amount of nationalism was necessary to convince the German people to take part in the Battle of Leipzig, 1813, to overthrow Napoleon.


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