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Revolutions of 1848 Prussia: population increase of 75% 1815-1848

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  1. Revolutions of 1848 • Prussia: population increase of 75% 1815-1848 • Prussian junkers—landowners, landless peasants, in other parts, tenant farmers with high rents • 1846 and 1847 crop harvests bad, potato blight as well • Disease, unrest and starvation • Cereal prices rose by nearly 50% in towns in 1847 • Wages were cut in the textile industry due to 1847 recession • Low wages coincided with high food prices=low standard of living • Workers poorly clothed, inadequately fed, 13h workdays, bad working conditions, machines deformed and aged workers, cramped housing, high unemployment mid ‘40s • Most of the workers non-political, demands for better life only • Exception: cologne and bonn had their own skilled craftsmen trade associations and despised and feared unskilled factory workers—during 1848, demonstrations, elected representative assemblies, Industrial code drawn up to regulate work hours and pay (presented to frankfurt assembly and turned down) • Some workers in berlin march 1848 politically active, formed Worker’s committee, demanded trade unions, free education, minimum wage • Karl marx felt this showed working class consciousness—workers saw they had to unite in revolution if they were to improve their lot because the upper and middle classes held the means of production • But workers in 1848 were overshadowed by the educated middle classes—frustrated at lack of opportunity for middle classes as upper positions filled by nobility (esp civil service), lack of power, attracted to liberalism and nationalism, unification especially attractive for free trade

  2. Movement started in Baden, small constitutional kingdom, with wider franchise and representative assembly, and political consciousness • Assembly of liberals met in october 1847, agreed on need for unification and independent German people’s parliament • Radicals in southwest Germany wanted fairer taxation, free education, people’s army, better worker-employee relations, german republic • Dramatic news of french February revolution 1848 brought liberals and radicals together at Heidelberg, with representatives from six states, inclprussia • Issued declaration on need for unification and nationally representative assembly • Assembly at end of month—Vorparliament at Frankfurt • 574 delegates from almost all states met, decided on elected constituent assembly which would write constitution for united Germany • Parliament should have 1 representative for every 50,000 people • Citizens of age and economically independent vote—but no women, servants, farm laborers or people on poor relief • Frankfurt Assembly elected (mostly indirectly) and met in may 1848, mostly middle class, lawyers, teachers, government officials, very highly educated but politically inexperienced • Moderate liberals—aim to unify germany, with constitutional monarch and elected parliament • Declared its authority over all german lands, wanted more central government than the Diet of the confederation • Couldn’t agree on much, spent too much time debating, no leader or organization • Provisional central power established end of june, but no agreement about how and what it was supposed to do, so very ineffective

  3. Imperial regent/Vicar of the empire elected as head of provisional government (provisional central power) • Austrian Archduke with german nationalism and liberal sympathies, appointed ministers but no staff and no clearly defined duties, so did nothing • December 1848 50 articles on the fundamental rights declared, equality before law, freedom of worship, press and arbitrary arrest, no discrimination based on class • Interminable debate about grosdeutsche or kleindeutsche, former meant leadership by catholic austria, latter by protestant prussia • Prussian general was war minister of frankfurt parliament, but refused to act in any way contrary to Frederick William IV’s wishes, and said Prussian army must be independent, failed to persuade austria to join army to it if need arose, so new government left with no military power • March 1849, finally constitution ready on kleindeutsche model, two houses, lower house elected by secret ballot of citizens of good reputation, upper house of reigning monarchs, control over finance and legislation, but this would mean limitation on king’s power so prussia, bavaria, saxony and hanover rejected constitution • Parliament driven out of frankfurt, then dispersed by king in june 1849 • Parliament had started with the old Diet declaring it legal successor, had no other national rival • But divisions between members slowed proceedings, failed to fill power vacuum in time • Radical minority more concerned with overthrow of existing governments than making constitution, in conflict with liberals who wanted moderate settlement, individual and property rights, but no major social change • Small conservative group wanted individual states to keep control, not too centralized

  4. Large number of independent, politically uncommitted members • Difficult to reconcile all shades of opinion and aims • Unwise choice of leader, sincere and well-meaning but no force of personality • Authority of parliament never accepted wholeheartedly by individual states • Lacked effective administration, no proper government organization, no military backing to enforce decrees • New austrian emperor franzjoseph regained control of austria march 1849, no hope of grossdeutsch, no other ruler would cooperate in face of austrian power • Prussia: • Frederick william IV strange character, romantic, history of holy roman empire, divine right to rule, conservative • At beginning 1840, seemed reforming, released political prisoners, lessened censorship, greater power to eight provincial prussian diets, but this increased liberal vocal demands for constitution promised in 1815 and offended conservative junkers • Angered, suppressed critical newspapers, especially karlmarx articles • 1847 called meeting of united diet in berlin • News of paris revolution reached berlin, worker demonstration (mostly skilled craftsmen) in palace square March 1848, skirmishes and street fighting • Deputations of leading citizens called for political concessions • Originally about pay and work hours, then about rights • 16th march news of metternich’s dismissal in vienna revolution • Crowds grew, shots fired, rioting • King dismayed, disliked blood, said if barriers dismantled, troops would withdraw

  5. King appeared in German colours of red, black and gold and said he wanted german unity, seemed to support people • Seemed carried away by emotion, maybe wanted to act as head of national revolution to regain control • Granted series of reforms, accepted constitutional government idea, allowed elections for assembly to draw constitution • But once he escaped from berlin, change of heart • Still kept word, assembly elected, but before constitution complete, king dismissed it and proclaimed his own constitution • Representative assembly with two houses, upper by older property owners, lower by manhood suffrage, but king could suspend civil rights and collect taxes in emergency without parliament and could alter constitution • Ministers liked this better than frankfurt parliament, preferred prussian dominance • King refused crown offer by frankfurt parliament—not theirs to offer, he would only consort with princes and kings • Ships bought by parliament as nucleus of national fleet were sold off • Constitutional changes obtained from saxony, hanover and small states revoked • Liberals arrested, executed, exiled • Prussian police powers increased and local government powers decreased, three class suffrage for lower house, richest sectors best represented • Small states in southwest, peasants had attacked rural lords, Baden briefly proclaimed republic—no support, liberal government quashed it, most revolutionary activity didn’t involve violence • Princes sensibly gave way on easily reversible issues and bided their time, kept control of army, then regained power when liberals/radicals/conservatives divided

  6. 1848-Bismarck • Prussian king wanted to be head of united germany if he had princes’ approval • 1849 Prussian Union Plan: german federal reich, excluding austria, central government and ‘permanent union (alliance)’ between austria and germany • Tried to have both grossdeutsch and kleindeutsch solution, not approved by austria • Austrian CM schwarzenberg saw it as prussian dominance in germany, but too many domestic problems—hungarian rising • Three Kings’ alliance: prussia, saxony, hanover, then number of small states persuaded to agree to plan • Erfurt March 1950 meeting of 28 states, but opposed by austria—no domestic prob now • Austrian CM posed grossdeutsch model, governed jointly by prussia, austria and larger german states—larger german states saw more political power here, so turned to austrian model (hanover, saxony) • CM summoned old Diet May 1950 to frankfurt • 2 assemblies speaking for germany: erfurt union and frankfurt diet • Revolution in hesse-cassel (member of erfurt), important because it controlled communications between prussia and rhineland, leader asked diet for help, erfurt asserted itself, prussian army mobilized • Austrian ultimatum, Prussia capitulated November 1850, abandoned plan—humiliation of Olmutz • May 1851, old german confederation re-established—small states didn’t want austrian dominance, prussia wanted plan or nothing • Austria failed to include herself in zollverein or to form alternative customs union with german states outside existing zollverein, so isolated from economic union dominated by prussia, though nominally dominant in confederation

  7. Crimean war led to further financial problems for Austria, weak and crippled • Prussian economy boomed in 1850s, industrial production, railways, and foreign trade more than doubled • Good education system from primary to universal level, 85% literacy, widespread primary education • Plentiful supply of coal and iron and chemicals • Development of agriculture: crop rotation, ploughing of common lands, freedom of serfs, use of american and english equipment, agricultural chemistry, exhibitions, shows and information distribution, e.g. Oktober fest in Munich • Key individuals like Alfred Krupp • Fragmented money system simplified—more banknotes printed • General german commercial code in 1861 • Quick to advance in technological areas, chemistry, electricity, sophisticated machinery • Modern capitalism encouraged, laissez faire approach, English corn laws abandoned, german crop exports, bought consumer goods and machinery in exchange • National liberal associations and publications, growing middle class, but 1850s time of political apathy, right wing liberals remained suspicious of democracy and mass politics • All peasants freed from feudal obligations, special low interest government loans offered for peasants to buy land, financial help to move from highly populated areas to underpopulated areas • Standard minimum wage encouraged, financial support to industry, inspectors for working conditions, kids under 12 no work, industrial courts to settle disputes • Strict censorship continued, no political party meetings allowed • Neutrality in crimean war preserved economy and ties with great powers while austria lost friendship of russia

  8. Austrian war with france and italy and defeat also weakening, prestige low • William I came to power 1861, absolutist, conservative, inflexible, practical, protestant • 1858 elections had given liberals small majority in parliament • As a soldier, king wanted reform of army—in italian war 1859, prussian mobilization had been too slow to gain advantage from austria, so appointed Roon as war minister • Roon proposed doubling regular army, increase service from 2 to 3 years, reduce role played by inefficient landwehr, improve armaments • Liberals feared bill, civilian landwehr would be loyal to parliament, royal army would not—thought maybe plan to overthrow parliament and constitution, used to crush revolts • King was determined army matters above parliament, liberals felt control of financing army essential to having meaningful power • 1860-2 constitutional crisis, liberals refused to extend military service, budget approved only for one year • June 1861 radical liberals formed progressive party, became largest party in december 1861 elections, committed to landwehr • William again dissolved parliament, replaced liberals with conservatives in cabinet, but 1862 elections progressive party majority in alliance with other opposition parties in lower house, refused to pass bill. William contemplated abdicating, but roon suggested Bismarck as CM • Bismarck seen as bigoted reactionary with no experience • Bismarck withdrew bill, financed army reforms with taxation illegally, gambled that liberals wouldn’t respond with force (they feared democracy and mob violence), liberals continued to hate him

  9. Bismarck • Main aim, initially, Prussian domination of northern germany • Then decided nationalism could be manipulated to encourage wider prussian dominance • Prussia still not equal to Austria at bismarck’s appointment—austria had 2x population, larger army, german states unwilling to be subjected to Prussia • 1863 polish revolt in russia, bismarck offered military assistance, feared general pole uprising (prussia had polish minority) • Danish problem, schleswig and holstein, holstein part of german confederation, schleswig, with german and danish population , both ruled by Danes for 400 years, new king of denmark 1863 faced with holstein refusal to swear allegiance, duke of augustenbergclaimed his father had not signed away rights to danes, dane king christian annexed schleswig—defied London treaty of 1952 • Smaller german states sent army to help augustenberg, nationalist feeling rose • Bismarck hoped to annex duchies, strengthen power in north germany and quiet liberals, sought help of austria to stop great powers from intervening, austrians agreed to curtail dangerous german nationalism under prussia, invaded denmark with prussia • Danish war gave army inside view of austrian army, revealed weaknesses reformed by roon and moltke • Treaty of Vienna transferred duchies to Austria and Prussia, Gastein convention had prussia with schleswig, austria with holstein, and dispute over duke of austenberg’s right to rule—prussia wanted both and bismarck championed unification of these german populations with prussia and germany at large, austria championed duke

  10. Building tension over schleswig-holstein=perfect opportunity for war with austria • Biarritz meeting with napoleon III, to try and obtain promise of neutrality, france promised venetia in return (to be handed over to italians), unclear exactly what happened, but napoleon wanted rhineland, bismarck may have led him to believe he would get it, but had no intention of handing it over, napoleon decided to stay out of it and watch the two weaken each other, and then step in as mediator • Secret alliance with italy 1866, italy would get venetia • Prussian crown council meeting, bismarck declared war with austria only matter of time • Austria isolated diplomatically—britain committed to non-intervention, french political adventure in mexico, russian domestic trouble after 1861 reforms • Austrian finances bad, holstein between prussian territories • Bismarck stoked up tensions over holstein, proposed to reform confederation—representative assembly, universal manhood suffrage (had no intention of this, but knew tensions would be raised, austria would refuse) • Austria mobilized at suggestion of prussian annexation of holstein, prussia mobilized in response, austria broke off talks and turned question of duchies to diet of confederation—breach of promise, prussians sent army to holstein, austrian troops allowed to withdraw peacefully, austria still not provoked into war • So bismarck took up cause of reform in diet, suggestion of excluding austria, all troops of northern germany under prussian control, national parliament, austria asked diet to reject proposal and mobilize for war, prussia withdrew from confederation, declared it dissolved and invited other states to ally against austria, but most mobilized against prussia—hesse-cassel, hanover and saxony sided with austria, invaded and defeated

  11. Prussian army: standing army+reserves=large, prestigious and served by biggest families, military virtues ranked high in society, universal conscription, period in active army and longer time in reserves so large and well-trained back up for field army, mobilization prepared carefully in detail (roon and moltke), expert use of roads and railways, officer corps turned into professional body, general staff graduates of 3yr war academy, hardworking and sophisticated • Italian army very weak, but forced two-front war on austria • Prussian breech loading needle gun rate of fire 5x that of austrian weapons, so decisive despite artillery superiority of austria at sadowa • Bismarck rewarded, promoted to major general, insisted on leniency with austria despite king’s wishes • Treaty of prague: austria lost only holstein and venetia, but prussia annexed parts of germany: schleswig-holstein, hesse-cassel, hanover, frankfurt, nassau • All other german states north of river Main, including saxony, formed into north german confederation, pacified liberals and nationalists without crushing prussian dominance—constitution given in 1867, universal equal manhood suffrage to parliament, which had right to vote budget but government remained responsible only to head of confederation—king of prussia, individual states had independent rulers, laws, parliaments and administrative services. Bundesrat federal council (upper house), prussia had enough delegates to be assured of majority in vote, reichstag lower house, with limited power (given universal suffrage because bismarck believed peasants loyal to king, and only functioned as public opinion forum in his eyes) • Four catholic states (bavaria, baden, wurttemberg, hesse-darmstadt) remained independent so as not to provoke france

  12. Bismarck passed indemnity bill to excuse unlawful budget of past 4 years • New popularity—conservatives increased, liberals decreased in parliament, liberals split into national liberal party which supported bismarck, junker party railed at bismarck—accused him of losing prussia to north germany, whittling away at junker privileges, moderate conservatives split into free conservatives, supported bismarck • Bismarck involved southern states in zollverein and zollparlament—dealt only with economic matters, but seen as precursor to unity • Secret defensive treaties in event of war with france signed with southern states • Bismarck rejected napoleon’s demand for rhineland (part of bavaria and hesse) • Luxemburg crisis: napoleon tried to procure luxemburg from king of netherlands, but his anti-prussian speeches to luxemburg people (prussia had garrison there) provoked bismarck, who referred to it as german and raised anti-french hysteria in germany • Prussia threatened king of netherlands not to give in to france, great powers conference convened, luxemburg neutrality declared, prussian garrison to withdraw—greater defeat for france • Napoleon tried to get austrian alliance, but austrian public was very pro-germany and anti-france, so franzjoseph refused to give definite answer • Spanish succession crisis: queen isabella driven out, hohenzollern candidate presented in the running 1870, william head of hohenzollern family—personally disapproved of candidature as it would provoke france’s fears of encirclement, prince leopold himself didn’t wish to pursue candidacy, but bismarck persuaded king and bribed leopold and spain, so that leopold accepted, but news of acceptance was leaked and paris found out, beneditti (french ambassador) sent to king to persuade him to let candidature go in name of european balance of power and with threat of war, king agreed (bismarck wasn’t around)

  13. Crisis seemed over, but france overplayed her hand, demanded official renunciation from william on behalf of leopold for all time, and sent benedetti and obtain personal assurance, which insulted william as he had already given his word • He was still civil, however, and had an aide send telegram of events to bismarck and gave bismarck permission to tell press • Bismarck was smarting from humiliation, shortened the telegram to make it seem like napoleon had been much more offensive, published in press • Napoleon provoked into declaring war—but not all bismarck’s fault, french were ready to fight prussia before as well, mass war fever in both countries • Russia promised to fight with prussia if austria fought alongside france, so austria didn’t fight • Italy demanded rome for helping france, napoleon refused • Bismarck had published documents from 1867 that made it seem as if napoleon wanted belgium, which was protected by britain, so britain stayed out