2D.2: The unification of Germany, c1840–71 New AS/A-Level


Popular pressure and causes of revolution, 1840–48

Diet - local parliament

Junkers - Conservative aristocrat of Prussia

Zollverein - Prussian Customs Union 1818, renamed Zollverein in 1834 when Bavaria and Wurttemberg joined, had 18 states and 23 million people - Austria rejected invitation to join - In 1851, it tried to set up and extended trade union between Austria and Zollverein - Hesse Cassel joined in 1830 due to financial difficulties and revolutions - By 1848, Prussia had 1,444 steam engines, Saxony was 2nd with 419

Kleindeutschland solution - Little/Lesser Germany, Prussia, Economic power - Free trade

Grossdeutschland solution - Greater Germany, Metternich, Austria, Protectionism

French Revolutions 1789, 1830, 1848 - influenced 1848 Revolutions in Germany

Rhine Crisis 1840 - France tried to invade states along the Rhine to try and change the 1815 settlement and the Rhine Frontier. Nationalists were outraged and the ruling class feared calls for a united Germany from Nationalists

Schleswig-Holstein Crisis 1846 - Two duchies were pressured to be incorporated into Denmark but Holstein had a strong German background. Nationalist enthusiasm grew and the ruling class didn’t want to incite a Nationalist feeling in the country.

Economic crisis 1846-7 - Bad harvests caused food prices to increase

Friedrich Wilhelm III - Reactionist - died 1840

Friedrich Wilhelm IV - Fluctuated between liberal and conservative - 1840-58



Industrialisation - 1782, Saxony - Chemnitz, Steam Engine

Population growth - urbanisation - doubles in 18th Century

Ideological Challenges - Liberalism/Nationalism v Conservatism/Absolutism

Romanticism - French revolution, rationalism, reason, Enlightenment

Repressive Measures/Suppression of Liberalism - Carlsbad Decree 1819

Agricultural crisis - poor cereal harvests - food rises 60% - Potato blight 1847 - Hunger politics

Financial crisis - unemployment, investment crashed - railways, iron, coal

Peasants and Landless Labourers: wanted affordable food and food security, better quality of life, political reform

Middle Class - Political representation equal to economic influence

Liberals - The right to vote and economic changes - better trade routes - Universal manhood suffrage

Those inspired by French Revolutions - Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Meritocracy

Nationalist - Unitary state

Zollverein members - closer economic co-operation

Urban Workers - Better quality of life - living conditions and working conditions - Political reform

Many states like Westphalia, Saxony and Thuringia had violent protests and broke industrial machinery

Reasons for success: Middle Class and Working Class united, Industrial and technological advances, Radicals in Europe, Increasing cultural unity - Railway

Vorparlament - committee to discuss the arrangements of a constitution - Pre-Parliament

Forced conscription - Landwehr (civilian army) 1813, changed to second line of defense in 1859

Failure of revolution, 1848–51

Heckler’s radicals and German exiles from Paris wanted Vorparlament to take over and become the rightful government - Led an uprising with peasants, chased out of Germany or were dispersed by military

Austria, Prussia and Hanover - had a lukewarm attitude to it - refused to authorise it with the Imperial Administrator

Members of the Vorparlament supported it, negotiated with princes about the constitution

Reasons for failure:


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