To what extent do you agree with the view that the period 1815-48 constituted a 'time when nothing happened' in 'Germany'?
The term “a time when nothing happened in Germany” is defined by in terms of unification between the 39 individual ‘German’ states and monarchies. Between the years 1815 to 1848, ‘Germany’ as one individual country still didn’t exist, and ''German' people continued to lack nationalist sentiment and liberalist views not until the end of 1848, a period when a series of 'German' revolutions took place. In 1815, the 'German' political system was heavily influenced by Metternich and Austria, and there was still no clear 'German' borders as all of the 39 states formed by the Vienna Congress still remained, and many had no intention of simply just joining borders with another state. However, it could be argued that 'Germany' developed economically and politically between 1815-48, through the formation of trade unions and new constitutions within and between 'German' states. It can be argued that the period 1815-48 was “a time when nothing happened” in 'Germany'. 'Germany' was still divided into 39 separate states and was still not represented in Europe as one nation. Despite the growing interests of nationalism and liberalism through popular events such as the Hambach Festival in 1832, which attracted 25,000 students and lecturers who all wanted to promote nationalism and make a unified 'Germany' a reality, by the end of 1848-49 'Germany' was right back where it started, as a dis-unified collection of states. 'Germany' itself wasn’t considered a major European power. Instead, it was Prussia that was considered one of the ‘Big Five’ in Europe during the 1840’s, alongside Austria, France, Russia and Britain. In terms of unification, nothing happened in 'Germany' as by 1848 even though economic trade links and agreements had been made between some 'German' states, demographically there was still 39 states making up 'Germany', the same number as in 1815.
Source 1: A cartoon of ‘Germany’ (the figure on the right) refusing the co-operation of Belgium (left)
Source 1 shows a cartoon from Punch magazine in the 1830’s. It shows an officer type of individual refusing access to a civilian. The officer represents ‘Germany’ and the civilian represents Belgium and the message the cartoon presents is that ‘Germany’ is refusing any help or co-operation from neighbouring countries of ‘Germany’, which was the case during the period 1815-48. Source 1 supports the point that ‘nothing happened’ in ‘Germany’ during this period of time, as the source refers to the situation in ‘Germany’ in 1815-48 as many ‘German’ states refused to co-operate with each other and join together to form one larger state. Instead, many states’ primary focus was to establish themselves as their own independent state, rather than to unite as one ‘German’ nation, which is very similar to the scenario that Source 1 is showing. Source 1 is picturing a senior citizen in society representing an unknown ‘German’ state – most likely a state within the industrialised Rhineland – refusing help from Belgium, represented by a more lower-classed citizen. Even though Belgium wasn’t considered even a minor European power during 1815-48, it still shows a lack of co-operation towards much larger powers such as France and more significantly Austria. It is kind of fair then to justify that 1815-48 in ‘Germany’ was a time when ‘nothing happened’ in terms of unification and development towards a unified, single ‘German’ state. Examples such as ‘Germany’ remaining being made up of 39 separate states by the end of 1848-49, even after the German Revolutions, and also the continued refusal of help from neighbouring European powers, provides a strong argument towards the thought of ‘nothing happening’ within ‘Germany’ during this time period.
Source 2: 'German' cartoon presenting trade within 'Germany' pre-Zollverein However, there is evidence to suggest that even...
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