The Unification of Germany

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The Unification of Germany

Chapter 1 Germany 1815-1848
1. The Situation in Germany 1815
2. Reform and Repression 1815-40
3. Economic Development 1815-40
4. Germany 1840-8

1813 – Battle of Leipzig
1814-15 - The Vienna Peace Settlement
1815 – German Confederation established
1817 – Wartburg Festival
1818 – Constitution granted in Baden and Bavaria
1819- Carlsbad Decrees
1832 – Nationalist festival at Hambach, The Six Articles
1834 – Zollverein came into operation
1840 – Frederick William IV became King of Prussia
1847 – Meeting of the Prussian United Diet in Berlin

1. The Situation in Germany by 1815
• 23million divided between 314 states
• Under rule of Holy Roman Empire (Emperor of Austria) • Empire collapsed after Prussia was defeated by Napoleon, 1805-6

Napoleons Impact on Germany
• France annexed Rhine
• States reduced to 39
• 17 states formed confederation of Rhine, under French rule • Feudal Restrictions – landowning class limit freedom of workers

Prussia 1806-13-determined to become leading German State
• Army reorganized
• Government overhauled, more efficient central authority • New system of education

The War of Liberation
• Frederick William III made alliance with Russia against France, where French armies were driven back • Austria declared war on France, and at Battle of Leipzig, Napoleon was defeated • Allied armies invaded France, Napoleon abdicated

• Seen as ‘first collective action of German unity, but is known as a myth • Unacceptable behavior of French troops fueled nationalism

The Vienna Settlement
• 1814-15 – Austria and Prussian rivalry prevented unity • Metternich described as peaceful ‘dualism,’
• Austria gained territory in Italy
• Habsburg rulers in central Italian duchies (Parma, Modena, Tuscany) • Prussia gained Saxony, Rhineland, Westphalia, Pomerania • Rhineland Catholic, supported French, Prussia Protestant

The German Confederation
• Metternich’s aim was to keep traditional authority over Germany • Status quo – maintenance of states in times of danger, e.g. rebellion, no rulers wanted independence limited by central German government

The Diet
• Confederation that had power or authority in government to carry out laws (parliament) • No permanent conference, representatives not elected • Representatives more concerned over their state then confederation

The Weakness of the German Confederation
• Prevented from making foreign alliances, threatening confederation • Each state had own army, independent ruler, government • Diet organized a federal army, and develop commercial and economic co-operation, but was not successful due to rivalry, jealously and guarded independence • Dominated by Austria (wanting traditional authority over Germany)

2) Reforms and Repression 1815-40
• Absolute Rule restored in German States, 1815
• Only 4 states were not dynastic (ruled by family)
• Articles of Federal Act – Rulers should set up some sort of Parliament ‘Constitution of Regional Estates’ • Some rulers ignored
• Most north states allowed ‘estates,’ not always elected, usually nobles • South/central states agreed with the act, and elected assemblies which had powers to pass laws, control tax etc. Monarchs still had real influence

Developments in Austria and Prussia
• Francis I (1804-35) and Ferdinand I (1835-49) wanted to keep absolute power • Frederick William III (Prussia) showed little interest in liberal reform • Prussia divided economically, religiously, culturally, each state had a president • Provinces were independent, controlled by large landowners, no constitution until 1848

Student Movements
• Defeat of Napoleon huge influence
• After 1815, young middle-upper class Germans joined societies campaigning for a united Germany • 1817, Wartburg...
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