Was Germany A Meaningful Concept By 1815?

Before the 19th century, Germany as a state had no real meaning or political concept. It existed as only 314 different states with 23 million German speaking people residing within. These were loosely ruled by the Holy Roman Empire under the Holy Roman Empire. However, by 1815, a series of a few significant events had taken place which may have altered this forever. It included the impact Frederick the Great had, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, the Enlightenment and its ideas and the war of liberation.

The enlightenment was an 18th century intellectual movement which marked the end of the Middle Ages in Europe and a loss of power for the church. It opened up a path for ...

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believed that German people needed to remain pure and that mixing with other races would remove the German superiority. That the nation should be united by language and not geographical divisions. However, other Philosophes such as Johann Goethe believed that there was no need for a formation of a nation and rather should be based on a cultural community. These ideas brought in the question of what being German meant. It implanted a thought in the people’s mind which they would expand on. These ideas brought on by the Enlightenment were the enigma of the German unification. However, ideas and thought were not enough to unite such a diverse mixture of states. Also, due to the overall layout of Germany, much of the Enlightenment ideas did not reach each state, also aided by the fact that the rulers of each state stifled intellectual developments. There were many language barriers as well as no strong religious base. Many Germans refused to believe that the ideas of the ...

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Prussia to take control over the steps towards unification as Austria did not want to take part in it. Also, as these were the two main states in the Holy Roman Empire, it greatly weakened its structure and therefore allowed room for the idea of a unified Germany. Because he was a great leader and the citizens of Prussia looked up to him, he could influence and spread the ideas of liberalism more strongly and effectively. In doing this he influenced the Prussian culture which led them to question what bring German meant and therefore pushed further the ideas of a united Germany. The people of Prussia had already seen the effects of liberalism due to Fredericks tolerance of religion and ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 11/8/2012 04:32:00 PM
Submitted By: LiVv
Category: European History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2002
Pages: 8

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