The position of Austia after 1848

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1851 - Austrian constitution of March 1849 was revoked:

  • Emperor Franz Joseph ruled as an absolute monarch 
  • army acted as a police force 
  • martial law was enforced 

The Austrian government was determined to maintain its power within Germany 

King Frederick William IV was attracted to the idea of a united Germany with himself at its head, providing he had the consent of the princes 

1849 - Radowitz came up with the Prussian Union Plan

  • Kleindeutschland under Prussian leadship 
  • there would be a German Federal Reich which would exclude Austria
  • based on the constitution drawn up by the Frankfurt Parliament
  • there would be a permanent 'union' between the Reich and Austria

Austrian Prime Minister Schwarzenberg saw it as a scheme to reduce Austrian influence in Germany

However, he was unable to mount effective opposition to it as he was occupied with a Hungarian uprising, this allowed Germany to press on with the plan 

1849 - 'Three King Alliance' between Prussia, Saxony and Hanover was the first step in the plan and then the smaller states were persuaded to fall in with the proposals 

March 1850 - meeting at Erfurt to launch the new Reich

Several important states declined to join as they were fearful of Austria's reaction

Schwarzenberg put forward a Grossdeutschland to be governed jointly by delegates from Austria, Prussia and the larger German states - larger states abandonded PUP and gave their support…

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