Attempts to unify Germany actually started during the revolutions that swept through Europe in the spring of 1848 ¥
Germans lent their voices to the cry of national unity and equality.
Germany in 1848 was not a unified state.
It was a confederation of States made up of 39 individual German countries all under the rule of the hatred Austria ¥
Therefore German people were scattered all over Europe with no sense of identity, culture or feelings of national pride.
When revolutions broke out in France in Feb. 1848, Germans living in German states throughout Europe took this as a cue to make their voices heard as well.
The Berlin Revolts:
German liberals and peasants started to push for their claims with revolutionary violence in March. Barricades went up in Berlin and many other capitals of German kingdoms and duchies. ¥
Why were they revolting:
Liberal reforms such as freedom of the press, right to elect their own parliament. This was a pressing need particularly among the wealthy bourgeoisie and educated classes of students and university professors. 2.
Unemployment- particularly among the peasant class who were feeling the effects of bad harvest. 3.
A decline in the standard of living of working class Germans caused by industrialism. long working hours, low wages, poor diets, poor health conditions were characteristics of an industrial worker at this time. 4.
Most importantly: The desire to rid themselves of Austrian rule and unite all german people throughout Europe.
How Did Austria respond to these remands?
The Austrian princes and Kings throughout Europe led by Fredrick William IV of Prussia, frightened and poorly prepared for revolution, granted the right to form German parliaments and appointed liberal reforms all over Germany. Prussia was the largest German states of the 39 states.
Setting of the Frankfurt Parliament:
Having been given the right to establish their own parliament and constitution (law) by Austrian Emperor Fredrick William, Prussian liberals met at Frankfurt in may 1848 to discuss the following:
Which lands should be included in new united Germany? Some lands such as Hungary had many non-German people. What should be done about them? 2.
Should the parliament be headed by a President (republic) or should it continue to be ruled by a King (constitutional monarch?) 3.
Should Austria be excluded from the newly formed Germany?
Problems in Frankfurt:
Throughout the discussions several problems developed:
It was not clear whom the German professors represented and spoke of behalf of. Their demands would not benefit the working classes who made up the bulk of German populations. ¥
Secondly, no one appeared to be agreeing on anything! Some wanted Austria to still remain within the new Germany while others wanted this hated oppressor expelled. This showed the differences, which existed amongst German people. ¥
Of even greater concern however was the fact that while they deliberated in the political halls of parliamentary building, liberal were unaware that Austrians reaction on the outside was growing against them. ¥
Fredrick William IV who had regained much of is confidence by this time did two things. 1.
He renewed his ties and allegiance with Russia an old ally from the Vienna congress. Prussian armies along with the Russian and Austrian forces were mobilized to crush the remaining rebel forces. 2.
He also recalled many of the liberal reforms which had granted earlier in the year. The German liberals realizing that they were losing control, in a last act of desperation offered the crown to the Prussian King which he flatly rejected on the grounds that he would never accept a “crown form the gutter”.
By the turn of 1849 it was clear that attempts at German unification had failed and Austrian rule had not been overthrown. The liberals had failed at Frankfurt to secure national unity and liberal changes. ¥...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document