Growth of national feeling in Germany 1815-1850



  • Before 19th century Germany was divided into over 200 states (prussia and austria largest) and part of Holy Roman Empire
  • 1806 large number of states reduced to 38 and Napoleon established Confideration of Rhine, comprised of only 16 states
  • each state had own government, taxes, military, still under control of French
  • Cultural factors
  • military factors
  • economic factors
  • french revolution
  • defeat of Napoleon
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Cultural Factors

  • Language-25m spoke same language, shared culture, literature
  • ideas and thoughts of nationalism shared throughout country, educating the poor better on the matter
  • music and literature Van Beethoven , Ludwig, Grimm brothers wrote patriotic works
  • encouraged idea of volskstium, germans were united by history and heritage
  • composers supported nationalism inspired student societies called Burschenchaften, dedicated to seeing the french driven from german soil and had grown since 'germany's' success in Battle Of Nations in 1813
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Economic factors

  • population increase from 187m in Europe to 401m in 1900
  • Important because it presented traditional rulers with problems with governing rapidly expanding areas
  • Zollverein set up to encourage trade for manufactured goods important because people could transport goods without having to pay taxes. Many states saw the benefit and became closer to other states and spread from state to state
  • Buisnessmen wanted a more united market to enable them to compete with foreign countries
  • 25 states were members by 1836
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Military Nationalism

  • Napoleon defeated in 1815, showed working together states would always be reliant on foreign states help if their status be threatened by foreign countries
  • important since it was felt by Germans that if they fought as a united Germany they would be stronger hence fuelling growth of nationalism
  • The French Revolution led to a realisation that, individually, the German states were weak.
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French Revolution

  • arose in 1789 when people in France stood up and demanded social and political freedom
  • ideas of french rev appealed to middle classes in German states
  • Napoleon wanted to extend territory by extending into German states which was important because when he invaded, germans were united in their hatred for Napoleon
  • German princes had stirred national feeling to help raise armies to drive out the French, aiding the sense of a common German identity with common goals.
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  • throughout Europe new ideas of Liberalsm becoming very popular 
  • Johann Fichte, prominant liberal thinker and german nationalist who advocated that the german states should exist as one united and distinct country who conduct own government and affairs 
  • Important because promoted and encouraged nationalism to many people, many people listened to and trusted him
  •  Many Liberals were middle-class and were also receptive to nationalist ideas. 
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Political nationalism

  • Prince Metternich opposed to political change which would lead to unification.
  • Metternich passed the Carlsbed decrees and Six Acts to prevent the spread of political nationalism as he was reluctant to loose his authority 
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