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The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
, created by the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
in 1815 as a replacement of the former
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, which had been dissolved in 1806. The Confederation was weakened by rivalry between the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire and the inability of its multiple members to compromise, particularly over internal division of power and foreign policy. The
German revolutions of 1848–49 German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = Ge ...
, motivated by liberal, democratic, socialist and nationalist sentiments, attempted to transform the Confederation into a unified German federal state with a liberal constitution (usually called the
Frankfurt Constitution The Frankfurt Constitution (german: Frankfurter Reichsverfassung, FRV) or Constitution of St. Paul's Church (''Paulskirchenverfassung''), officially named the Constitution of the German Empire (''Verfassung des Deutschen Reiches'') of 28 March 1849 ...
in English). The ruling body of the Confederation, the Confederate Diet, was dissolved on 12 July 1848, but was re-established in 1850 after the revolution was crushed by Austria, Prussia and other states.Deutsche Geschichte 1848/49
Meyers Konversationslexikon ' or ' was a major encyclopedia An encyclopedia or encyclopaedia (British English) is a reference work or compendium providing summaries of knowledge either from all branches or from a particular field or discipline. Encyclopedias are ...
1885–1892
The Confederation was finally dissolved after the victory of the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
in the
Seven Weeks' War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia, with each also being aided by various allies within the ...
over the
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural ...
in 1866. The dispute over which had the inherent right to rule German lands ended in favour of Prussia, leading to the creation of the
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the Germans, German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. The Confederation came into existence after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 over the lordship of tw ...
under Prussian leadership in 1867, to which the eastern portions of the Kingdom of Prussia were added. A number of South German states remained independent until they joined the North German Confederation, which was renamed and proclaimed as the "
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
" in 1871, as the unified Germany (aside from Austria) with the Prussian king as emperor (Kaiser) after the victory over French Emperor
Napoleon III Napoleon III (Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 18089 January 1873) was the first President of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République française), is t ...

Napoleon III
in the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire (later the Third French Republic) and the North German Confeder ...
of 1870. Most historians have judged the Confederation to have been weak and ineffective, as well as an obstacle to the creation of a German nation-state. This weakness was part of its design, as the European Great Powers, including Prussia and especially Austria, did not want it to become a nation-state. However, the Confederation was not a 'loose' tie between the German states, as it was impossible to leave the Confederation, and as Confederation law stood above the law of the aligned states. The constitutional weakness of the Confederation lay in the principle of unanimity in the Diet and the limits of the Confederation's scope: it was essentially a military alliance to defend Germany against external attacks and internal riots. Ironically, the War of 1866 proved its ineffectiveness, as it was unable to combine the federal troops in order to fight the Prussian secession.


History


Background

The
War of the Third Coalition The War of the Third Coalition) * In French historiography, it is known as the Austrian campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Autriche de 1805) or the German campaign of 1805 (french: Campagne d'Allemagne de 1805) was a European conflict spanning ...
lasted from about 1803 to 1806. Following defeat at the
Battle of
Battle of
by the French under
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
in December 1805, Holy Roman Emperor
Francis II
Francis II
abdicated, and the
Empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". Narrowly defined, an empire is a sovereign state called an empire and ...
was dissolved on 6 August 1806. The resulting Treaty of established the
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common acti ...
in July 1806, joining together sixteen of France's allies among the German states (including Bavaria and ). After the Battle of of October 1806 in the
War of the Fourth Coalition The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers t ...
, various other German states, including Saxony and Westphalia, also joined the Confederation. Only Austria, Prussia, Danish ,
Swedish Pomerania Swedish Pomerania ( sv, Svenska Pommern; german: Schwedisch-Pommern) was a Dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded ...
, and the French-occupied
Principality of Erfurt The Principality of Erfurt (german: Fürstentum Erfurt; french: Principauté d'Erfurt) was a small state in modern Thuringia Thuringia (; german: Thüringen ), officially the Free State of Thuringia ( ), is a states of Germany, state of Germa ...
stayed outside the Confederation of the Rhine. The
War of the Sixth Coalition In the War of the Sixth Coalition (March 1813 – May 1814), sometimes known in Germany as the War of Liberation, a coalition of Austrian Empire, Austria, Kingdom of Prussia, Prussia, Russian Empire, Russia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
from 1812 to winter 1814 saw the defeat of Napoleon and the liberation of Germany. In June 1814, the famous German patriot
Heinrich vom Stein
Heinrich vom Stein
created the Central Managing Authority for Germany (''Zentralverwaltungsbehörde'') in Frankfurt to replace the defunct Confederation of the Rhine. However, plenipotentiaries gathered at the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
were determined to create a weaker union of German states than envisaged by Stein.


Establishment

The German Confederation was created by the 9th Act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris, ending the War of the Sixth Coalition. The Confederation was formally created by a second treaty, the ''Final Act of the Ministerial Conference to Complete and Consolidate the Organization of the German Confederation''. This treaty was not concluded and signed by the parties until 15 May 1820. States joined the German Confederation by becoming parties to the second treaty. The states designated for inclusion in the Confederation were: In 1839, as compensation for the loss of part of the province of to Belgium, the
Duchy of Limburg The Duchy of Limburg or Limbourg was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the area of the duchy is today located within Liège Province of Belgium, with a small portion in the municipality of Voeren, an Enclave and exclave, exc ...
was created and became a member of the German Confederation (held by the Netherlands jointly with Luxembourg) until the dissolution of 1866. In 1867 the duchy was declared to be an "integral part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands". The cities of Maastricht and Venlo were not included in the Confederation. The
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural ...
and the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
were the largest and by far the most powerful members of the Confederation. Large parts of both countries were not included in the Confederation, because they had not been part of the former Holy Roman Empire, nor had the greater parts of their armed forces been incorporated in the federal army. Austria and Prussia each had one vote in the Federal Assembly. Six other major states had one vote each in the Federal Assembly: the
Kingdom of Bavaria The Kingdom of Bavaria (german: Königreich Bayern; ) was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom becam ...
, the
Kingdom of Saxony The Kingdom of Saxony (german: Königreich Sachsen), lasting from 1806 to 1918, was an independent member of a number of historical confederacies in French period, Napoleonic through German Confederation, post-Napoleonic Germany. The kingdom was ...
, the Kingdom of , the
Electorate of Hesse The Electorate of Hesse (german: Kurfürstentum Hessen), also known as Hesse-Kassel or Kurhessen, was a landgraviate whose prince was given the right to elect the Emperor by Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) w ...

Electorate of Hesse
, the
Grand Duchy of Baden The Grand Duchy of Baden (german: Großherzogtum Baden) was a state in the southwest German Empire on the east bank of the Rhine. It existed between 1806 and 1918. It came into existence in the 12th century as the Margraviate of Baden and subse ...
, and the
Grand Duchy of Hesse The Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine (german: Großherzogtum Hessen und bei Rhein) was a grand duchy in western Germany that existed from 1806 (the period of German mediatization) to the end of the German Empire in 1918. The grand duchy origi ...

Grand Duchy of Hesse
. Three foreign monarchs ruled member states: the
King of Denmark The monarchy of Denmark is a constitutional political system, institution and a historic office of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Kingdom includes Denmark proper, as well as the autonomous administrative division, autonomous territories of th ...
as Duke of the
Duchy of Holstein The Duchy of Holstein (german: Herzogtum Holstein, da, Hertugdømmet Holsten) was the northernmost state of the Holy Roman Empire, located in the present Germany, German state of Schleswig-Holstein. It originated when King Christian I of Denmar ...
and Duke of
Saxe-Lauenburg The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg (german: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg, called ''Niedersachsen'' (Lower Saxony) between the 14th and 17th centuries), was a '' reichsfrei'' duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of E ...
; the
King of the Netherlands This is a list of monarchs of the Netherlands (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch ...
as
Grand Duke of Luxembourg The grand duke of Luxembourg ( lb, Groussherzog vu Lëtzebuerg, french: Grand-duc de Luxembourg, german: Großherzog von Luxemburg) is the monarchical head of state of Luxembourg. Luxembourg has been a grand duchy since 15 March 1815, when it wa ...
and (from 1839) Duke of the
Duchy of Limburg The Duchy of Limburg or Limbourg was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the area of the duchy is today located within Liège Province of Belgium, with a small portion in the municipality of Voeren, an Enclave and exclave, exc ...
; and the
King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...
(until 1837) as
King of Hanover The King of Hanover (German language, German: ''König von Hannover'') was the official title of the head of state and Hereditary monarchy, hereditary ruler of the Kingdom of Hanover, beginning with the proclamation of the List of British monarch ...
were members of the German Confederation. Each of them had a vote in the Federal Assembly. As at its foundation in 1815, that left four member states which were ruled by foreign monarchs, as the King of Denmark was Duke of both Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg. The four free cities of , , , and shared one vote in the Federal Assembly. The 23 remaining states (as at its formation in 1815) shared five votes in the Federal Assembly: - 1. Saxe-Weimar, Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Saxe-Hildburghausen (5 states) 2. Brunswick and Nassau (2 states) 3. Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz (2 states) 4. Oldenburg, Anhalt-Dessau, Anhalt-Bernburg, Anhalt-Köthen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen (6 states) 5. Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Liechtenstein, Reuss (Elder Branch), Reuss (Younger Branch), Schaumburg-Lippe, Lippe and Waldeck (8 states) There were therefore 17 votes in the Federal Assembly.


Armed forces

The German Federal Army (''Deutsche Bundesheer'') was decreed in 1815 to collectively defend the German Confederation from external enemies, primarily France. Successive laws passed by the Confederate Diet set the form and function of the army, as well as contribution limits of the member states. The Diet had the power to declare war and was responsible for appointing a supreme commander of the army and commanders of the individual army corps. This made mobilization extremely slow and added a political dimension to the army. In addition, the Diet oversaw the construction and maintenance of several German Federal Fortresses and collected funds annually from the member states for this purpose. Projections of army strength were published in 1835, but the work of forming the Army Corps did not commence until 1840 as a consequence of the
Rhine Crisis The Rhine crisis of 1840 was a diplomatic crisis between the Kingdom of France and the German Confederation The German Confederation (german: Deutscher Bund) was an association of 39 predominantly German-speaking sovereign states in Central ...
. Money for the fortresses were determined by an act of the Confederate Diet in that year. By 1846, Luxemburg still had not formed its own contingent, and Prussia was rebuffed for offering to supply 1,450 men to garrison the Luxemburg fortress that should have been supplied by Waldeck and the two Lippes. In that same year, it was decided that a common symbol for the Federal Army should be the old Imperial two-headed eagle, but without crown, scepter, or sword, as any of those devices encroached on the individual sovereignty of the states. King
Frederick William IV of Prussia Frederick William IV (german: Friedrich Wilhelm IV.; 15 October 17952 January 1861), the eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 7 June 1840 to his death on 2 January 1861. Also referred to ...
was among those who derided the "disarmed imperial eagle" as a national symbol. The German Federal Army was divided into ten Army Corps (later expanded to include a Reserve Corps). However, the Army Corps were not exclusive to the German Confederation but composed from the national armies of the member states, and did not include all of the armed forces of a state. For example, Prussia's army consisted of nine Army Corps but contributed only three to the German Federal Army. The strength of the mobilized German Federal Army was projected to total 303,484 men in 1835 and 391,634 men in 1860, with the individual states providing the following figures: ; Notes


Situation in history

Between 1806 and 1815,
Napoleon Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) refers to the period that began with the Estates General o ...

Napoleon
organized the German states, aside from Prussia and Austria, into the
Confederation of the Rhine The Confederated States of the Rhine, simply known as the Confederation of the Rhine, was a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common acti ...
, but this collapsed after his defeats in 1812 to 1815. The German Confederation had roughly the same boundaries as the Empire at the time of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
(less what is now Belgium). It also kept intact most of Confederation's reconstituted member states and their boundaries. The
member states A member state is a state that is a member of an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the be ...
, drastically reduced to 39 from more than 300 (see ) under the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, were recognized as fully sovereign. The members pledged themselves to mutual defense, and joint maintenance of the fortresses at
Mainz Mainz (; ) is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate (german: Rheinland-Pfalz, ) is a western state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine ...
, the city of
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
, , , and . The only organ of the Confederation was the
Federal AssemblyFederal Assembly may refer to: *Federal Assembly (Russia), the Russian federal parliament *Federal Assembly (Czechoslovakia), the former Czechoslovak federal parliament *Federal Assembly (Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland), the former federal par ...
(officially , often called ), which consisted of the delegates of the states' governments. There was no head of state, but the Austrian delegate presided over the Assembly (according to the Bundesakte). Austria did not have extra powers, but consequently the Austrian delegate was called and Austria the (presiding power). The Assembly met in Frankfurt. The Confederation was enabled to accept and deploy ambassadors. It allowed ambassadors of the European powers to the Assembly, but rarely deployed ambassadors itself. During the revolution of 1848/49 the Federal Assembly was inactive. It transferred its powers to the , the revolutionary German Central Government of the
Frankfurt National Assembly The Frankfurt Parliament (german: Frankfurter Nationalversammlung, literally ''Frankfurt National Assembly'') was the first freely elected parliament for all of Germany, including the German-populated areas of Austria-Hungary, elected on 1 May 18 ...
. After crushing the revolution and illegally disbanding the National Assembly, the Prussian King failed to create a German nation state by himself. The Federal Assembly was revived in 1850 on Austrian initiative, but only fully reinstalled in the Summer of 1851. Rivalry between Prussia and Austria grew more and more, especially after 1859. The Confederation was dissolved in 1866 after the
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
, and was succeeded in 1866 by the Prussian-dominated
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the Germans, German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. The Confederation came into existence after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 over the lordship of tw ...
. Unlike the German Confederation, the North German Confederation was in fact a true state. Its territory comprised the parts of the German Confederation north of the river
Main Main may refer to: Geography *Main River (disambiguation)Main River, more commonly simply ''Main'', is a river in Germany. Main River may also refer to: *Main River (Chukotka), a river in Far Eastern Siberia *Main River (Newfoundland), a river ...
, plus Prussia's eastern territories and the Duchy of , but excluded Austria and the other southern German states. Prussia's influence was widened by the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire (later the Third French Republic) and the North German Confeder ...
resulting in the proclamation of the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
at on 18 January 1871, which united the North German Federation with the southern German states. All the constituent states of the former German Confederation became part of the in 1871, except Austria,
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
, the
Duchy of Limburg The Duchy of Limburg or Limbourg was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the area of the duchy is today located within Liège Province of Belgium, with a small portion in the municipality of Voeren, an Enclave and exclave, exc ...
, and
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German-speaking The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europ ...

Liechtenstein
.


Impact of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic invasions

The late 18th century was a period of political, economic, intellectual, and cultural reforms,
the Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
(represented by figures such as , , , and
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and ...

Adam Smith
), but also involving early
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
, and climaxing with the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, where freedom of the individual and nation was asserted against privilege and custom. Representing a great variety of types and theories, they were largely a response to the disintegration of previous cultural patterns, coupled with new patterns of production, specifically the rise of industrial capitalism. However, the defeat of Napoleon enabled conservative and reactionary regimes such as those of the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
, the
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural ...
, and
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
ist Russia to survive, laying the groundwork for the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
and the alliance that strove to oppose radical demands for change ushered in by the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
. The Great Powers at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 aimed to restore Europe (as far as possible) to its pre-war conditions by combating both
liberalism Liberalism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals ...
and nationalism and by creating barriers around France. With
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...
's position on the continent now intact and ostensibly secure under its reactionary premier , the
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
empire would serve as a barrier to contain the emergence of Italian and German nation-states as well, in addition to containing France. But this reactionary balance of power, aimed at blocking German and
Italian nationalism Italian nationalism is a movement which claims that the Italians are a nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation i ...
on the continent, was precarious. After Napoleon's final defeat in 1815, the surviving member states of the defunct Holy Roman Empire joined to form the German Confederation ()—a rather loose organization, especially because the two great rivals, the
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural ...
and the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
, each feared domination by the other. In Prussia the rulers forged a centralized state. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Prussia, grounded in the virtues of its established military aristocracy (the ') and stratified by rigid hierarchical lines, had been surpassed militarily and economically by France. After 1807, Prussia's defeats by Napoleonic France highlighted the need for administrative, economic, and social reforms to improve the efficiency of the bureaucracy and encourage practical merit-based education. Inspired by the Napoleonic organization of German and Italian principalities, the
Prussian Reform Movement The Prussian Reform Movement was a series of constitutional, administrative, social and economic reforms early in the nineteenth-century Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom ...
led by and Count was conservative, enacted to preserve
aristocratic Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
privilege while modernizing institutions. Outside Prussia, industrialization progressed slowly, and was held back because of political disunity, conflicts of interest between the nobility and merchants, and the continued existence of the guild system, which discouraged competition and innovation. While this kept the
middle class The middle class is a class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an an ...
at bay, affording the old order a measure of stability not seen in France, Prussia's vulnerability to Napoleon's military proved to many among the old order that a fragile, divided, and traditionalist Germany would be easy prey for its cohesive and industrializing neighbor. The reforms laid the foundation for Prussia's future military might by professionalizing the military and decreeing universal
military conscription Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service. Conscription ...
. In order to industrialize Prussia, working within the framework provided by the old aristocratic institutions, land reforms were enacted to break the monopoly of the ''s'' on land ownership, thereby also abolishing, among other things, the feudal practice of serfdom.


Romanticism, nationalism, and liberalism in the era

Although the forces unleashed by the French Revolution were seemingly under control after the Vienna Congress, the conflict between conservative forces and liberal nationalists was only deferred at best. The era until the failed 1848 revolution, in which these tensions built up, is commonly referred to as ("pre-March"), in reference to the outbreak of riots in March 1848. This conflict pitted the forces of the old order against those inspired by the French Revolution and the Rights of Man. The sociological breakdown of the competition was, roughly, the emerging
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, ...
bourgeoisie Bourgeoisie (; ) is a polysemous Polysemy ( or ; from grc-gre, πολύ-, , "many" and , , "sign") is the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple meanings, usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic fieldIn linguist ...

bourgeoisie
and petit-bourgeoisie (engaged mostly in commerce, trade, and industry), and the growing (and increasingly radicalized) industrial
working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation of workers by collar color ...

working class
; and the other side associated with landowning aristocracy or military aristocracy (the ''s'') in Prussia, the
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
monarchy in Austria, and the conservative notables of the small
princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with the East India Company and af ...
s and
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s in Germany. Meanwhile, demands for change from below had been fomenting due to the influence of the French Revolution. Throughout the German Confederation, Austrian influence was paramount, drawing the ire of the nationalist movements. considered nationalism, especially the nationalist youth movement, the most pressing danger: German nationalism might not only repudiate Austrian dominance of the Confederation, but also stimulate nationalist sentiment within the Austrian Empire itself. In a multi-national
polyglot in Seattle labeled in four languages: English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish ( Tagalog also uses the Spanish word). Multilingualism is the use of more than one language A language is a structured system of communication used by h ...
state in which Slavs and Magyars outnumbered the Germans, the prospects of Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Serb, or Croatian sentiment along with middle class liberalism was certainly horrifying to the monarchist landed aristocracy. Figures like , , , , , , and rose in the era. Father 's gymnastic associations exposed middle class German youth to nationalist and democratic ideas, which took the form of the nationalistic and liberal democratic college fraternities known as the . The Wartburg Festival in 1817 celebrated
Martin Luther Martin Luther (; ; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citiz ...

Martin Luther
as a proto-German nationalist, linking Lutheranism to German nationalism, and helping arouse religious sentiments for the cause of German nationhood. The festival culminated in the burning of several books and other items that symbolized
reactionary In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such a ...
attitudes. One item was a book by . In 1819, was accused of spying for Russia, and then murdered by a theological student, , who was
executed Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone is punished with the death penalty is called a dea ...

executed
for the crime. Sand belonged to a militant nationalist faction of the . used the murder as a pretext to issue the
Carlsbad DecreesImage:Der-Denkerclub_1819.jpg, 250px, A contemporary lithograph mocking the new restrictions on the press and free expression imposed by the Carlsbad Decrees. The sign on the wall behind the table reads: "Important question to be considered in today' ...
of 1819, which dissolved the , cracked down on the liberal press, and seriously restricted
academic freedom Academic freedom is a moral and legal concept expressing the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; ...
.


High culture

German artists and intellectuals, heavily influenced by the French Revolution, turned to
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
. At the universities, high-powered professors developed international reputations, especially in the humanities led by history and philology, which brought a new historical perspective to the study of political history, theology, philosophy, language, and literature. With (1770–1831) in philosophy, (1768–1834) in theology and (1795–1886) in history, the
University of Berlin Humboldt University of Berlin (german: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, abbreviated HU Berlin) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) ...
, founded in 1810, became the world's leading university. , for example, professionalized history and set the world standard for historiography. By the 1830s, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology had emerged with world class science, led by (1769–1859) in natural science and (1777–1855) in mathematics. Young intellectuals often turned to politics, but their support for the failed Revolution of 1848 forced many into exile.


Population


Demographic transition

The population of the German Confederation (excluding Austria) grew 60% from 1815 to 1865, from 21,000,000 to 34,000,000. The era saw the
demographic transition In demography Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek δῆμος (''dēmos'') meaning 'the people', and ''-graphy'' from γράφω (''graphō'') meaning 'writing, description or measurement') is the statistics, statistical s ...
take place in Germany. It was a transition from high birth rates and high death rates to low birth and death rates as the country developed from a pre-industrial to a modernized agriculture and supported a fast-growing industrialized urban economic system. In previous centuries, the shortage of land meant that not everyone could marry, and marriages took place after age 25. The high birthrate was offset by a very high rate of
infant mortality Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of 1. This death toll is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the probability of deaths of children under one year of age per 1000 live births. The under-five mortali ...

infant mortality
, plus periodic epidemics and harvest failures. After 1815, increased agricultural productivity meant a larger food supply, and a decline in famines, epidemics, and malnutrition. This allowed couples to marry earlier, and have more children. Arranged marriages became uncommon as young people were now allowed to choose their own marriage partners, subject to a veto by the parents. The upper and middle classes began to practice
birth control Birth control, also known as contraception, anticonception, and fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woma ...
, and a little later so too did the peasants. The population in 1800 was heavily rural, with only 8% of the people living in communities of 5,000 to 100,000 and another 2% living in cities of more than 100,000.


Nobility

In a heavily agrarian society, land ownership played a central role. Germany's nobles, especially those in the East called ', dominated not only the localities, but also the
Prussian court The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian: ''Prūsa'' or ''Prūsija'' was a historically prominent Germans, German state that originated in 152 ...
, and especially the
Prussian army The Royal Prussian Army (1701–1919, german: Königlich Preußische Armee) served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power. The Prussian Army had its roots in the cor ...
. Increasingly after 1815, a centralized Prussian government based in Berlin took over the powers of the nobles, which in terms of control over the peasantry had been almost absolute. They retained control of the judicial system on their estates until 1848, as well as control of hunting and game laws. They paid no land tax until 1861 and kept their police authority until 1872, and controlled church affairs into the early 20th century. To help the nobility avoid indebtedness, Berlin set up a credit institution to provide capital loans in 1809, and extended the loan network to peasants in 1849. When the German Empire was established in 1871, the nobility controlled the army and the Navy, the bureaucracy, and the royal court; they generally set governmental policies.


Peasantry

Peasants continued to center their lives in the village, where they were members of a corporate body and helped manage community resources and monitor community life. In the East, they were serfs who were bound prominently to parcels of land. In most of Germany, farming was handled by tenant farmers who paid rents and obligatory services to the landlord, who was typically a nobleman. Peasant leaders supervised the fields and ditches and grazing rights, maintained public order and morals, and supported a village court which handled minor offenses. Inside the family, the patriarch made all the decisions and tried to arrange advantageous marriages for his children. Much of the villages' communal life centered around church services and holy days. In Prussia, the peasants drew lots to choose conscripts required by the army. The noblemen handled external relationships and politics for the villages under their control, and were not typically involved in daily activities or decisions.


Rapidly growing cities

After 1815, the urban population grew rapidly, due primarily to the influx of young people from the rural areas.
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
grew from 172,000 people in 1800 to 826,000 in 1870;
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
grew from 130,000 to 290,000;
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
from 40,000 to 269,000; (now ) from 60,000 to 208,000;
Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous city, after Leipzig. It is the List of cities in German ...

Dresden
from 60,000 to 177,000; (now
Kaliningrad Kaliningrad ( ; rus, Калининград, p=kəlʲɪnʲɪnˈɡrat, links=y), until 1946 known as Königsberg (, ), is the largest city and the administrative centreAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local gover ...

Kaliningrad
) from 55,000 to 112,000. Offsetting this growth, there was extensive emigration, especially to the United States. Emigration totaled 480,000 in the 1840s, 1,200,000 in the 1850s, and 780,000 in the 1860s.


Ethnic minorities

Despite its name and intention, the German Confederation was not entirely populated by Germans; many people of other ethnic groups lived within its borders: *
French-speaking French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages (less commonly Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries. They are a subgroup of t ...

French-speaking
Walloons Walloons (; french: Wallons ; wa, Walons) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, ...
lived in western Luxembourg prior to its division in 1839; * the
Duchy of Limburg The Duchy of Limburg or Limbourg was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the area of the duchy is today located within Liège Province of Belgium, with a small portion in the municipality of Voeren, an Enclave and exclave, exc ...
(a member between 1839 and 1866) had an entirely
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...

Dutch
population; *
Italians Italians ( it, italiani ) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong att ...
and
Slovenians The Slovenes, also known as Slovenians ( sl, Slovenci ), are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), cust ...
lived in south and southeast Austria; * Bohemia and Moravia, of the
Lands of the Bohemian Crown The Lands of the Bohemian Crown were a number of incorporated states in Central Europe during the Middle Ages, medieval and early modern periods connected by feudalism, feudal relations under the List of Bohemian monarchs, Bohemian kings. The cro ...
were inhabited by a majority of
Czechs The Czechs ( cs, Češi, ; singular masculine: ''Čech'' , singular feminine: ''Češka'' ), or the Czech people (), are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person ...
; *
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
had a
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
minority due to taking over large areas of Poland, while
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
were present in the parts of
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...
and the Prussian
province of Brandenburg The Province of Brandenburg (german: Provinz Brandenburg) was a Provinces of Prussia, province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Brandenburg was established in 1815 from the Kingdom of Prussia's core territory, comprised the bulk of the historic Marg ...
known as
Lusatia Lusatia (german: Lausitz, pl, Łużyce, hsb, Łužica, dsb, Łužyca, cs, Lužice, la, Lusatia, rarely also referred to as Sorbia) is a historical region in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland. Lusatia stretches from the Bóbr ...
.


: economic integration

Further efforts to improve the confederation began in 1834 with the establishment of a
customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed ...

customs union
, the . In 1834, the Prussian regime sought to stimulate wider trade advantages and industrialism by decree—a logical continuation of the program of and less than two decades earlier. Historians have seen three Prussian goals: as a political tool to eliminate Austrian influence in Germany; as a way to improve the economies; and to strengthen Germany against potential French aggression while reducing the economic independence of smaller states. Inadvertently, these reforms sparked the unification movement and augmented a middle class demanding further political rights, but at the time backwardness and Prussia's fears of its stronger neighbors were greater concerns. The customs union opened up a common market, ended tariffs between states, and standardized weights, measures, and currencies within member states (excluding Austria), forming the basis of a proto-national economy. By 1842 the included most German states. Within the next twenty years, the output of German furnaces increased fourfold. Coal production grew rapidly as well. In turn, German industry (especially the works established by the family) introduced the steel gun, cast-
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appe ...

steel
axle An axle or axletree is a central shaft for a rotating A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center (or point) of rotation. The plane (geometry), geometric plane along which the rotation occurs is called the ''rotation p ...

axle
, and a
breech-loading rifle A breechloader is a firearm A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The term is legally defined further in different countries (see Legal definitions). The first firearms originated in 10th-ce ...
, exemplifying Germany's successful application of technology to weaponry. Germany's security was greatly enhanced, leaving the Prussian state and the landowning aristocracy secure from outside threat. German manufacturers also produced heavily for the civilian sector. No longer would Britain supply half of Germany's needs for manufactured goods, as it did beforehand. However, by developing a strong industrial base, the Prussian state strengthened the middle class and thus the nationalist movement. Economic integration, especially increased national consciousness among the German states, made political unity a far likelier scenario. Germany finally began exhibiting all the features of a proto-nation. The crucial factor enabling Prussia's conservative regime to survive the era was a rough coalition between leading sectors of the landed upper class and the emerging commercial and manufacturing interests. Even if the commercial and industrial element is weak, it must be strong enough (or soon become strong enough) to become worthy of co-optation, and the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
terrified enough perceptive elements of Prussia's ''s'' for the state to be sufficiently accommodating. While relative stability was maintained until 1848, with enough bourgeoisie, bourgeois elements still content to exchange the "right to rule for the right to make money", the landed upper class found its economic base sinking. While the brought economic progress and helped to keep the bourgeoisie at bay for a while, it increased the ranks of the middle class swiftly—the very social base for the nationalism and liberalism that the Prussian state sought to stem. The was a move toward economic integration, modern industrial capitalism, and the victory of centralism over localism, quickly bringing to an end the era of guilds in the small German princely states. This led to the 1844 revolt of the Silesian Weavers, who saw their livelihood destroyed by the flood of new manufactures. The also weakened Austrian domination of the Confederation as economic unity increased the desire for political unity and nationalism.


Revolutions of 1848

News of the The Revolutions of 1848 in France, 1848 Revolution in Paris quickly reached discontented bourgeois liberals, republicans and more radical working-men. The first revolutionary uprisings in Germany began in the state of in March 1848. Within a few days, there were revolutionary uprisings in other states including Austria, and finally in Prussia. On 15 March 1848, the subjects of of Prussia vented their long-repressed political aspirations in violent rioting in Berlin, while barricades were erected in the streets of Paris. King Louis-Philippe of France, of France fled to Great Britain. gave in to the popular fury, and promised a constitution, a parliament, and support for German unification, safeguarding his own rule and regime. On 18 May, the Frankfurt Parliament (Frankfurt Assembly) opened its first session, with delegates from various German states. It was immediately divided between those favoring a (small German) or (greater German) solution. The former favored offering the imperial crown to Prussia. The latter favored the Habsburg crown in Vienna, which would integrate Austria proper and Bohemia (but not Hungary) into the new Germany. From May to December, the Assembly eloquently (and leisurely) debated academic topics while conservatives swiftly moved against the reformers. As in Austria and Russia, this middle-class assertion increased authoritarian and reactionary sentiments among the landed upper class, whose economic position was declining. They turned to political levers to preserve their rule. As the Prussian army proved loyal, and the peasants were uninterested, regained his confidence. The Assembly belatedly issued its Declaration of the Rights of the German People; a constitution was drawn up (excluding Austria, which openly rejected the Assembly), and the leadership of the was offered to , who refused to "pick up a crown from the gutter". As the monarchist forces marched their armies to crush rebellions in cities and towns throughout Austria and Germany the Frankfurt Assembly was forced to flee, first to Stuttgart and then to Württemberg, where, reduced to so few deputies that it could no longer form a quorum, its final meeting was forcibly dispersed on 18 June 1849 by the Württemberg army. With the complete triumph of monarchist reaction rampaging across all of Europe, thousands of German middle class liberals and "red" Forty-eighters were forced to flee into exile (primarily to the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia). In 1849, proposed his own constitution. His document concentrated real power in the hands of the King and the upper classes, and called for a confederation of North German states—the Erfurt Union. Austria and Russia, fearing a strong, Prussian-dominated Germany, responded by pressuring Saxony and Hanover to withdraw, and forced Prussia to abandon the scheme in a treaty dubbed the "Punctation of Olmütz, humiliation of ".


Dissolution of the Confederation


Rise of Bismarck

A new generation of statesmen responded to popular demands for national unity for their own ends, continuing Prussia's tradition of autocracy and reform from above. Germany found an able leader to accomplish the seemingly paradoxical task of conservative modernization. In 1851, Otto von Bismarck, Bismarck was appointed by King Kaiser Wilhelm I, Wilhelm I of Prussia (the future Kaiser Wilhelm I) to circumvent the liberals in the Landtag of Prussia, who resisted Wilhelm's autocratic militarism. Bismarck told the Diet, "The great questions of the day are not decided by speeches and majority votes ... but by blood and iron" — that is, by warfare and industrial might. Prussia already had a great army; it was now augmented by rapid growth of economic power. Gradually, Bismarck subdued the more restive elements of the middle class with a combination of threats and reforms, reacting to the revolutionary sentiments expressed in 1848 by providing them with the economic opportunities for which the urban middle sectors had been fighting.


Seven Weeks' War

The German Confederation ended as a result of the
Austro-Prussian War The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War, known in Germany as ("German War") and by a variety of other names, was fought in 1866 between the Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was ...
of 1866 between
Austrian Empire The Austrian Empire (german: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling ') was a Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural ...
and its allies on one side and the
Kingdom of Prussia The Kingdom of Prussia (german: Königreich Preußen) was a German kingdom Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy * A realm ruled by: **A king, during the reign of a male monarch **A queen regnant, during the reign of a female ...
and its allies on the other. The Confederation had 33 members immediately before its dissolution. In the Peace of Prague (1866), Prague peace treaty, on 23 August 1866, Austria had to accept that the Confederation was dissolved. The following day, the remaining member states confirmed the dissolution. The treaty allowed Prussia to create a new (a new kind of federation) in the North of Germany. The South German states were allowed to create a South German Confederation but this did not come into existence.


North German Confederation

Prussia created the
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the Germans, German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. The Confederation came into existence after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 over the lordship of tw ...
in 1867, covering all German states north of the river
Main Main may refer to: Geography *Main River (disambiguation)Main River, more commonly simply ''Main'', is a river in Germany. Main River may also refer to: *Main River (Chukotka), a river in Far Eastern Siberia *Main River (Newfoundland), a river ...
and also the Province of Hohenzollern, Hohenzollern territories in Swabia. Besides Austria, the South German states Bavaria, , , and Hesse- remained separate from the rest of Germany. However, due to the successful prosecution of the
Franco-Prussian War The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire (later the Third French Republic) and the North German Confeder ...
, the four southern states joined the North German Confederation by treaty in November 1870.


German Empire

As the Franco-Prussian War drew to a close, King Ludwig II of Bavaria was persuaded to ask King Wilhelm to assume the crown of the new German Empire. On 1 January 1871, the Empire was declared by the presiding princes and generals in the Hall of Mirrors, Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, near Paris. The Diet of the North German Confederation moved to rename the North German Confederation as the
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
and gave the title of German Emperor to the King of Prussia. The new constitution of the state, the Constitution of the German Confederation 1871, Constitution of the German Confederation, effectively transformed the Diet of the Confederation into the German Parliament (''Reichstag'').


Territorial legacy

The current countries whose territory were partly or entirely located inside the boundaries of the German Confederation 1815–1866 are: * Germany (all States of Germany, states except Southern Schleswig, Southern in the north of ) * Austria (all States of Austria, states except ) *
Luxembourg Luxembourg ( ; lb, Lëtzebuerg ; french: link=no, Luxembourg; german: link=no, Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, ; french: link=no, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg ; german: link=no, Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a landlocked ...

Luxembourg
(entire territory) *
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German-speaking The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europ ...

Liechtenstein
(entire territory) * Netherlands (
Duchy of Limburg The Duchy of Limburg or Limbourg was an imperial estate of the Holy Roman Empire. Much of the area of the duchy is today located within Liège Province of Belgium, with a small portion in the municipality of Voeren, an Enclave and exclave, exc ...
, was a member of the Confederation from 1839 till 1866) * Czech Republic (entire territory) * Slovenia (except for and the municipalities of , and ) * Poland (West Pomeranian Voivodship, Lubusz Voivodship, Voivodship, Lower Silesian Voivodship, Opole Voivodship, Voivodship, part of Silesian Voivodship, Silesia — overwhelmingly German speaking at the time; East Prussia, West Prussia, and much of the Grand Duchy of Posen were admitted into the Confederation on 11 April 1848, but the terms of the restored Confederate Diet removed these territories on 30 May 1851) * Belgium (nine of the eleven cantons of Eupen-Malmedy, Liège Province); the larger province of Luxembourg had left the Confederation at its accession to Belgium in 1839 * Italy (autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, /, the Province of Trieste, most of the Province of Gorizia except the enclave, and the municipalities of , , , , , and in the Province of Udine) * Croatia (the territory in Istria county and the coastal strip between and in the Liburnia region) * The Danish crown had been a member only in the context of its ownership of the and the Duchy of
Saxe-Lauenburg The Duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg (german: Herzogtum Sachsen-Lauenburg, called ''Niedersachsen'' (Lower Saxony) between the 14th and 17th centuries), was a '' reichsfrei'' duchy A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of E ...
. first joined on 12 April 1848 after a revolutionary government was formed in opposition to the new Danish Constitution.Wilhelm Eichhoff, ''How Schleswig-Holstein has become what it is''. Henry Gaskarth, 1864, page 18. The London Protocol (1852), London Protocol of 1852 removed Schleswig from the Confederation, but the Second War of Schleswig returned the Duchy to the Confederation under Prussian governance as per the Treaty of Vienna (1864), Treaty of Vienna in 1864.


See also

* States of the German Confederation * History of Germany *
German Empire The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
*
North German Confederation The North German Confederation (german: Norddeutscher Bund) was the Germans, German federal state which existed from July 1867 to December 1870. The Confederation came into existence after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 over the lordship of tw ...
* Former countries in Europe after 1815 * Federal Convention (German Confederation), Federal Convention * Frankfurt Parliament


Notes


References

* (in German, detailed maps) *


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:German Confederation German Confederation, History of Prussia Modern history of Austria Modern history of Germany Pan-Germanism 19th century in Germany 19th century in Prussia States and territories established in 1815 States and territories disestablished in 1848 States and territories established in 1850 States and territories disestablished in 1866 1815 establishments in Europe 1815 establishments in the Austrian Empire, . 1815 establishments in Germany, . 1815 establishments in Prussia, . 1866 disestablishments in Europe 1860s disestablishments in the Austrian Empire, . 1866 disestablishments in Germany, .