German Unification

German Unification 

The Situation in Germany by 1815

The Holy Empire was defeated and destroyed by Napoleon 1806 which lead to reform and then The Confederation of The Rhine. 

The War of Liberation against France 1813-14 lead to The Congress of Vienna 1815 

  • This gave Austria Lombardy and Venetia and replaced all of the Austrian rulers back throughout Italy 
  • Prussia got the Rhineland and almost doubled in size. 
  • It also led to The German Confederation which was dominated by Austria and consisted of 39 states. 
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Reform and repression 1815-40

Monarchial Rule was prevelant in both Austria and Prussia after 1815 which was massively influenced by anti-liberal Metternich. Which further lead to repression and:

  • Carlsbad Decrees 1819 - result of murder from Kotzebue by a student which allowed press censorship and investigation of universities
  • Congress of Troppau 1820

There were constitions in some states which gaves liberal hopes of freedom, but nationalism in others which was influenced by Herder. This was further linked to The Wartburg Festival 1817 - A student Nationalist festival which had the aim to unite Germany. This lead to The Hambach Festival 1832 and The Young Germany Movement 

Some states became more liberal after The Revolution in France 1830. 

Repression also led to The Six Articles 1832 - This limited the rights of The Diet in individual states.... Result of The Hambach Festival earlier that year. 

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Economic Developments 1815-48

Prussian Customs Union 1818 linked with The Hesse-Cassel problems, Prussia's strong geographical position and its already present links with other states led to: 

  • The Zollverein 1834 - MASSIVE SUCCESS 

Austria did not join due to protectionism because it already had massive interior and exterior markets in other Austrian-ruled lands and by joining The Zollverein would totally ruin this. 

Obviously, this lead to the isolation of Austria. 

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Germany 1840-8

Growth of Nationalism 

  • Railways, as Germany was becoming a large unit of railways which was great for transportation 
  • 1840 crisis - National feelings were high in Germany after news that France was due to invade. This prompted national songs and poetry such as 'Deutschland über alles'. France didnt invade. 
  • The Schleswig-Holstein Problem - The King of Denmakr threatenend to take both Schleswig and Holstein under the Denmark rule, Germans didnt want this. 

Growth in Liberalism 

  • People were taking a strong interest in politics which lead to the first newspaper 'Die Deutsche Zeitung' 1847 

The death of Reactionary Prussian leader FW III lead to the new king FW IV who was seen as a more constitutional monarch, therefore, the Prussian liberal hopes were up! 

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Causes of revolts from 1846-8

The causes were:

  • General widespread revolts throughout Europe 
  • High food prices 
  • Economic crisis 
  • Political situation - LIBERALISM OR NATIONALISM 

The French Revolution 1848 led to: 

  • The Declaration of Heidelberg 
  • General revolts 
  • Constitutional change 
  • Liberal governments
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The Frankfurt Parliament

The Vorparlament at 'Die Pauluskirche' after The Declaration of Heidelberg
Election of The Frankfurt Parliament, the problems were: 

  •  - No Financial power 
  •  - No military power 
  •  - Limited support 
  •  - Austrian opposition 
  •  - NO RULER 

It was also divided into - LIBERAL AND NATIONALS 

They then offered King Frederick William IV of Prussia the crown of The Frankfurt Parliament after they granted a constitution in 1849 - TOO LATE!! 

He refused to 'pick the crown up from the gutter' and declined. 

The Frankfurt Parliament was doomed to failure. 

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The Prussian Revolutions

Berlin revolts 1848 - this was a relatively prosperous year economically so therefore this shows the volkgeist and rural apathy they had! 

This liberal working class revolt pushed many liberal middle classes into the more Junker regime. 

More liberal Prussians insisted that ANY form of liberation came from the king and not via a revolt - King FW IV later set up a constitution in 1848. Many thought it was liberal, others thought it was authoritarian. Some of the things were: 

  • Freedom of religion
  • representative assembly with two houses
  • Voters divided into three classes, with the wealthy having more influence
  • In an emergency the king could suspend civil rights. 

As you can see, some of them were very liberal, others were very autocratic. 

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Why did these revolts fail?

These revolts failed because: 

  • Rural apathy 
  • Conservative strength 
  • revolutionary divides 
  • General European failure
  • Failure of The Frankfurt Parliament 
  •           - Division 
  •           - Too Idealistic 
  •           - Poor leadership 
  •           - Lack of power 
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