Germany History - The Problem of National Unity

Germany History – The Problem of National Unity Part I

Thus for the Novalis the concept of nation is understood in an exclusively cultural sense, nor is the thought of William of Humboldt different on this point; Germanicity is, according to AG Schlegel, cosmopolitanism, which in no way contradicts the affirmation and expansion of the most marked personality. The conviction of a universal mission of the German people is common to all romantics and cosmopolitans, like Schiller, while Goethe comes to consider nationalism as a return to barbarism. For Fichte, cosmopolitanism and patriotism are intimately connected and inseparable; in the Speeches, in which the essence of Pan-German thought is clearly announced, he shows how true cosmopolitanism becomes of necessity patriotism. Stein himself conceives of the German national state, but not autonomous, but based on universal principles. Only with Hegel did the movement begin for the liberation of political thought, and therefore of the national state, from universal ideas. And in the footsteps of Hegel the historical conception of Ranke will be based and the political thought of Otto of Bismarck will mature.

The Restoration and the German states. – The Germanic states did not undergo major changes in the Congress of Vienna. To the three already existing kingdoms is now added the Hanover who acquires new territories; Bavaria obtained the lands of the Palatinate, on the left of the Rhine, with Lindau, in addition Ansbach and Bayreuth, Würzburg and Aschaffenburg; vice versa, Saxony has lost half of its territory, incorporated by Prussia; the electoral principality of Hesse was enriched by the bishopric of Fulda; Prussia bought, over a part of Saxony, the province of Poznań and Danzig, which were already its own, and was compensated for the lands ceded to Bavaria with Cologne and Trier and other territories of the Rhine and Westphalia. Finally, the Grand Duchy of Hesse bought Mainz and Worms; the statelets of Oldenburg, of Saxe-Weimar, of Mecklenburg and Luxembourg became grand duchies; Württemberg was enlarged; Baden has retained the rank of Grand Duchy and the territories attributed to it by Napoleon; the three Hanseatic cities, Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck, and Frankfurt remained “free cities”.

In all, thirty-nine states, including the “free cities”, governed by princes or governments, most of them jealous of their prerogatives and intransigent conservatives, loyal to the reactionary directives of the Holy Alliance. It is not overlooked that the idea of ​​the reconstitution of the Empire, albeit vague and imprecise, is still dear to the popular soul, is advocated by politicians, such as Stein, and is not rejected by many of the lesser German princes; but this idea, in order to begin to become a reality, could only rely on Austria or Prussia, of which the former fears the opposition of kings and princes, jealous of their full sovereign rights, nor does it attach great value to the imperial crown, while for the other one,

Thus the ethnic and political need for a union of the German people must for the moment be satisfied with the constitution of a Deutscher Bund, the declared aim of which is to guarantee internal and external security and the independence and intangibility of individual states. Germans. On June 8, 1815, after long discussions and negotiations, the formulation of the constitution is reached, by virtue of which Austria with its German territories, Prussia without the eastern provinces, become part of the Bund, as these lands were not included in the old Reich, and all other German states. Representatives of all Bund states, among which are included the king of England for Hanover, the king of Denmark for Holstein and Lauenburg and that of Holland for Luxembourg, form the Bundestag which meets in Frankfurt am Main under the presidency of the Austrian delegate (v. deutscher bund). Basically, the Bund results in a bad replacement of the Empire and to the detriment of the unity and freedom of the German people, as on the one hand it consolidates the full sovereignty of the principles and is placed, on the other, through its constitution. approved by the Congress of Vienna, under the guarantee of the European powers. The Deutscher Bund it is still an indication and expression of the weakness and disunity of the German people; constitutionally conservative, it also marks the disappointment of patriots, in the face of which it will not be late to assume reactionary attitudes.

Burschenschaft and reaction. – According to answermba, the opposition against principles and governments had so far remained isolated and ineffective in protesting and grieving individuals; but suddenly the young German scholars, enthused by the words and writings of professors, such as H. Luden, JF Fries, L. Oken, and made politically mature by the direct experience of the recent war, dissolve their old organizations and founded in Jena (June 12, 1815) a new great Burschenschaft, which soon welcomed thousands of fervent adherents, pervaded by new spirits. His motto is Godhonorfreedomhomeland ; its colors black, red, gold. From Jena, mainly through the gymnastic organizations of Jahn, the father of German youth, the Burschenschaftspread rapidly and conquered almost all universities. Here the profound feeling for Germanism and a lively political idealism against the narrow-mindedness, philistinism, particularism and coarseness of student life are reaffirmed.

Germany History - The Problem of National Unity

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