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How Important Was The Strength Of Austria As An Obstacle For German Unification Between 1815 1850?

1451 words - 6 pages

How important was the strength of Austria as an obstacle for German unification between 1815-1850?
The importance of the strength of the state of Austria as an obstacle for German unification is something that is widely debated amongst historians and with the fact that the Emperor of Austria used to rule over the German states as part of the Holy Roman Empire gave Austria a degree of influence over the states by 1850. However, there were other factors that had some effect in repressing the nationalist feeling from spreading across Germany at this time and the first of which is the divisions among the German nationalists and the debate concerning the territory that should be included in a ...view middle of the document...

Also, by passing the ‘karlsbad’ decrees and the six articles resulted in student nationalist societies being banned and the level of political nationalism in Germany being brought down considerably and with the censorship of newspapers and with some writers having their work banned this resulted in a lot of nationalist ideas being stopped from spreading to the masses.
The primary obstacle that will be investigated is the divisions amongst the German nationalists themselves. The nationalists were divided into two groups over which territory should be included in any unified Germany and the two different types of unified Germany were, ‘grossdeutschland’ which was the view that more of the states within the holy roman empire should be part of a greater and larger Germany with a section of Austria included within. This created a division with the group of nationalists that believed it would be of a greater benefit to the German people if a smaller Germany was formed and this was referred to as a ‘kleindeutschland’. This was not the only division between the nationalists, as a result of the failure of the Frankfurt parliament, with a lack of clear aims and with the wrong types of people in charge to make and effective and influential decisions, this created a division amongst the revolutionaries in terms of their aims and objectives in terms of German unification. These issues clearly did have an effect on the German nationalists themselves but in terms of an obstacle for German unification it is not the most important factor as it did not prevent the nationalist ideas from spreading and the people who did not agree were still standing for the same principals of the need for a united Germany.
Furthermore, another obstacle that was in the way of the success of German nationalism was the issue of ‘particularism’. This issue falls under two types of ‘particularism’, the first of which being the obstacles that the German princes cause for nationalism in Germany. Once revolution had occurred and the Frankfurt parliament was formed in 1848 many of the German rulers had only their own self-interests at heart which led to much opposition to the actions of the parliament which resulted in the collapse of the Frankfurt parliament as no significant developments were made in the parliament and there were no real actions taken. The second type of ‘particularism’ is the religious differences between the northern and southern states in Germany. Due to the fact that the northern states were mostly protestant and the southern states being of the most part catholic it meant that the northern states looked to Prussia for help and the others looked to Austria. Resulting in the different beliefs and views preventing many people from working together and thus causing problems in terms of the growth of nationalism and the obstacle being the fact that many people would not accept the ideas of others.
The indifference of the masses within the...

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