Germany 1848-1849 Germany 1867-1871

Stamps issued by German States 1849-1871 : above, from the left : Preussen (Prussia, 2 stamps), Sachsen (Saxony), Hannover, Hamburg.
below : Baden, Bayern (Bavaria, this stamp issued after 1871), Thurn und Taxis, Bergedorf.
Thurn und Taxis was not a state, but a postal service established by a privilege granted by Emperor Charles V. to Francis de Tassis in the 16th century. Bergedorf was not a state, but a condominium, jointly owned by the cities of Hamburg and Bremen. They help to illustrate the highly complex political landscape of Germany before the unification.

Germany 1849-1866

Definition . Foreign Policy . Domestic Policy . The Economy . Demography . Cultural History

The German Confederation included Prussia except for the provinces of Posen, West Prussia and East Prussia, the Austrian territories of Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Salzburg, Carinthia, Carniola, Gorizia, Trieste, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, then Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Holstein, Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover, Oldenburg, Braunschweig (Brunswick), Anhalt, Schaumburg-Lippe, Lippe, Hessen-Kassel, Hessen-Darmstadt, Waldeck, Nassau, Frankfurt, Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria, Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, Sachsen-Meiningen, Sachsen-Altenburg, Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Reuss Elder Line, Reuss Younger Line, Saxony, Liechtenstein, the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, the Dutch province of Limburg.
Of these, the Austrian territories of Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Salzburg, Carinthia, Carniola, Gorizia, Trieste, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, the Dutch province of Limburg, the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg and Liechtenstein would not join in German unification in 1871.
On the other hand, unified Germany in the borders of 1871 was to include Schleswig, the Prussian provinces of Posen, West Prussia and East Prussia, as well as Alsace-Lorraine.
Patriotic German sentiment was strong and widespread; the geographic definition of Germany remained in a flux, with the two definitions of 1848-1849, a greater Germany including the parts of Austria perceived as German, and a smaller Germany without the latter, being the most discussed.

Foreign Policy
The year 1849 had postponed the matters discussed in the Paulskirche, had solved none of the issues. On May 26th 1849, Prussia, Saxony and Hannover concluded an alliance (Three Kings' Alliance); 28 smaller and medium-size states joined, but not Bavaria and Württemberg. The alliance was intended to provide a federation under Prussian Leadership, with close ties to Austria - Prussian forces had been instrumental in the defeat of the revolution in the smaller and medium size German states, while Austria had relied on outside (Russian) assistance to restore control over her own territory.
In 1850 Austria, with Russian backing, issued an ultimatum toward Prussia, demanding the discontinuation of the union project (which had emerged out of the Three Kings' Alliance) and restoring the German Confederation under Austrian presidency. Prussia, under the new prime minister Manteuffel, caved in and signed the Olmütz Punctation (Nov. 6th 1850). The Olmütz Punctation also meant the recognition of the rule of the Danish king over Holstein, the Schleswig-Holstein situation was, for the time being, resolved in the London Protocol (May 8th 1852), of which Prussia was a signatory power. An Austrian attempt to enter the Zollverein (and contest Prussia's leadership within the latter; 1849) was blocked (1850).
In 1863, during the Polish uprising in Russian Poland, Bismarck supported the Russians, while public sympathy was with the Poles. Bismarck thus secured Russian goodwill for his policy of unification. In 1863/64 the Danes played into Bismarck's hands. They passed a constitution declaring Denmark, including Schleswig, a unitarian state, thus violating the London Protocol of 1852 which guaranteed Schleswig's autonomy. The German-feeling population majority of Schleswig, together with the Holsteiners and Lauenburgians, rose in rebellion. Prussia and Austria declared war (German-Danish War, 1864); the Danes were quickly defeated; Denmark ceded Schleswig and Lauenburg to Prussia, Holstein to Austria. The German-Danish War of 1864 saw the German states support the Austro-Prussian effort to come to the aid of the Schleswig-Holstein rebels against Denmark. In 1866 several medium-size Zollverein members (Bavaria, Hessen-Kassel, Hannover, Nassau) joined Austria in the war against Prussia; after the war, Hannover, Hessen-Kassel and Nassau were annexed by Prussia and the German states located to the North of the Main founded the Northern German Confederation.

Domestic Policy
The forced dissolution of the German National Convent in 1849 the liberal dream of a unified, constitutional Germany was shattered and a new period of restauration, of police states with press censorship, secret police and infringements upon (claimed) civil rights set in. Many disappointed German patriots chose emigration over staying in restauration Germany; most went to the United States, among them Carl Schurz.
While unification ceased to be a realistic opportunity, the hope for unification, as well as the dissatisfaction with (too many) petty monarchs and princes continued. There are plenty of German folk songs dating from the years before and after 1848, expressing just these feelings. German liberal patriots conceded to have lost the 'battle' (against the princes, for unification) but not the 'war'. When Bismarck took office and adopted his policy of unification by war, he could count on a public opinion which was not prepared to love him, but wholeheartily agreed with the results his policy produced on the political map.
Yet, 1848 had brought many changes on the regional level. Prussia now had a unified landtag, an assembly representing the entire state. The states of post-1848 Germany still were police states, but now they conceded the Right of Assembly. The formation of political organizations was forbidden, but Vereine - sports clubs, marksmen's guilds, choirs etc. sprang up everywhere.

The Economy
By 1850, most German states, except for Austria, Hannover, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and - Strelitz and Schleswig-Holstein, were members of the Zollverein, under Prussian leadership. In 1850 the Austro-German Postal Union was established. In 1854 Hannover and Oldenburg joined the Zollverein. In 1857 the Zollverein currency, the Vereinsthaler, was placed on a decimal footing. The Zollverein states and Austria formed the Austro-German Monetary Union, which was to last only until 1866. According to a report from 1862 the Zollverein was using the meter and half kilogram as bases of measurements. The Seven Weeks War of 1866 paralyzed the Zollverein, as it was split in a Prussian and an Austrian camp.

Jan Lahmeyer gives the population of what was to become unified Germany in 1871 for 1850 as 35,3 milliion, for 1867 as 38.4 million.

Cultural History
The sports clubs and marksmen's guilds were regarded by many as organizations where citizens could prepare for a future round in the fight against the government, for the next revolution. The choirs cultivated songs which expressed the political view of the liberals and patriots, to a degree that the police present at every single Verein gathering could not step in.
In 1858 Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm IV. was declared incapable to govern, and succeeded by Wilhelm I. Under him, the formation of political parties was permitted; the Deutsche Fortschrittspartei (German Progress Party) was established in 1861, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein (General German Workers' Association) in 1863, the Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei (Social Democratic Workers' Party) in 1869. All these party organizations were established on a nationwide basis, as German parties, not as parties within the limits of the states existing in the 1860es.
While German literature of the 1830es to 1850es is dominated by thoughts of liberalism and nationalism, not all Germans were liberal patriots. There were those who could live with the traditional order, the Prussian Junker nobility traditionally dominating the officers' corps, diplomacy and state administration, patriotic when it came to the state of Prussia, Bavaria's Catholics, especially on the countryside, patriotic in a Bavarian sense (some Bavarians still regret that monarchy was abolished in 1918) and in Hannover, where a part of the citizens had become accustomed to close toes with England.
On the social level, the growing Proletariat came to realize that the liberal revolutionaries of 1848, mostly professors and businessmen, did not represent their interests. Having to live under deplorable conditions, they established organizations of their own, Arbeitervereine (workers' associations) and Gewerkschaften (trade unions). In 1854, RichardWagner completed Rheingold, in 1856 Walküre, in 1859 Tristan und Isolde; in 1864 he moved to München, where he enjoyed the patronage of King Louis II. of Bavaria.

Historical Encyclopedia Entries on Bismarck 1878-1886

Articles General German Workers' Association, Richard Wagner, Zollverein, Punctation of Olmütz, Erfurt Union, German Confederation, London Protocol 1852, from Wikipedia
Articles Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, from Wikipedia German edition
Economic Integration and Political Sovereignty : Saxony and the Zollverein, 1834-1866, by Richard J. Bazillion, from the Canadian Journal of History 1990
Zollverein, from historyhelp
The Forerunner of Germany - Zollverein, from The Henry George School of Social Science, downloadable
From the Taler to the Euro. How much is that in Real Money ? by Robert Selig, from German Life, on the history of currencies in Germany
On the Zollverein Monetary Union : Sam Vaknin, Deja V-uro : History of Previous Monetary Unions, scroll down
Austro-German Postal Union, from Austrian Stamps Homepage
Austro-German Monetary Union, in : Faith Stackhouse, Draft: European Integration and the Probability of Perpetual Peace, in : Seminar for European Studies at Univ. of California, one titled paragraph, scroll down
DOCUMENTS Liberal and Patriotic Songs : Die Gedanken sind frei (English version, from the Mudcat Cafe)
Maps on the development of the various Zollvereine, from IEG Maps (in progress, maps for 1828, 1834 available); Maps on the development of the Railway and Canal Network, from IEG Maps (in progress, canal maps available)
Adressbuch der Deutschen in Paris 1854, at Univ. Regensburg

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on January 12th 2008

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