German Confederation

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German Confederation,

1815–66, union of German states provided for at the Congress of Vienna to replace the old Holy Roman Empire, which had been destroyed during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It comprised 39 states in all, 35 monarchies and 4 free cities. Its purpose was to guarantee the external and internal peace of Germany and the independence of the member states. In case of attack the members pledged mutual aid. Certain princes, however, were exempt from this provision. These were the king of England, as king of Hanover; the king of the Netherlands, as duke of Luxembourg; and the King of Denmark, as duke of Holstein and Lauenburg. As it was constituted, the confederation was little more than a loose union for mutual defense. Its main organ, a central diet that met at Frankfurt under the presidency of Austria, functioned as a diplomatic conference. Unanimity or a two-thirds majority was required for most decisions, and, in voting, the delegates were bound to instructions from their respective governments. The diet thus was ineffective. The strong reactionary influence of the Austrian statesman MetternichMetternich, Clemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar, Fürst von
, 1773–1859, Austrian statesman and arbiter of post-Napoleonic Europe, b. Koblenz, of a noble Rhenish family.
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, backed by Prussia, dominated the confederation until 1848, when the liberal revolutions that swept Germany resulted in the creation of the Frankfurt ParliamentFrankfurt Parliament,
1848–49, national assembly convened at Frankfurt on May 18, 1848, as a result of the liberal revolution that swept the German states early in 1848. The parliament was called by a preliminary assembly of German liberals in Mar.
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. The diet was resumed in 1850. By the treaty agreed upon at Olmütz (OlomoucOlomouc
, Ger. Olmütz, city (1991 pop. 105,537), E central Czech Republic, in Moravia, on the Morava River. Olomouc is an industrial city, with factories producing machinery, appliances, and food products, especially candy and chocolate.
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), Austrian leadership was temporarily restored, but the Austro-Prussian WarAustro-Prussian War
or Seven Weeks War,
June 15–Aug. 23, 1866, between Prussia, allied with Italy, and Austria, seconded by Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, and several smaller German states.
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 (1866) led to the dissolution of the confederation and the establishment of the North German ConfederationNorth German Confederation,
1867–71, alliance of 22 German states N of the Main River. Dominated by Prussia, it replaced the German Confederation and included the states that had supported Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (1866).
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 under Prussian leadership.

German Confederation


(Deutscher Bund), an association of German states, formed on June 8, 1815, at the Congress of Vienna (1814-15).

At first, 39 states adhered to the confederation (by 1866 their number had fallen to 32), among them the free cities of Bremen, Hamburg, Liibeck, and Frankfurt am Main. In addition to the German and Austrian monarchs the members of the German confederation included the British and Dutch kings, in their capacity as rulers of Hanover and Luxembourg respectively, and the king of Denmark, in his capacity as ruler of Holstein and Lauenburg. The national assembly (the Diet), which consisted of representatives of the individual states, was established at Frankfurt am Main, with the Austrian delegate acting as president. The decisions of the assembly, in practice, were not binding on the members of the confederation. The activity of the Diet was directed toward suppressing the revolutionary and national-liberation movement. The Austrian monarchy, which played the leading role in the confederation, made use of it in the conflict with Prussia for hegemony over Germany. During the Revolution of 1848-49 the confederation fell apart, but it was restored by the Olmütz Agreement of 1850. After the defeat of Austria in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, the German Confederation was abolished. In its place the North German Confederation, under Prussian domination, was created in 1867.


Protokolle der deutschen Bundes-Versammlung, vols. 1-24. Frankfurt am Main, 1817-31.


Ilse, F. Geschichte der deutschen Bundesversammlung, vols. 1-3. Marburg, 1860-62.


References in periodicals archive ?
After the Napoleonic wars, the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) created the German Confederation, consisting of thirty-eight states and free cities including the kingdoms of Austria, Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria, and Wurttemberg.
This was tried in the German Confederation in 1819 with the Carlsbad Decrees and set socialpolitical development back for several decades in much of the German-speaking region.
This unique award is presented jointly every two years by the leading German business associations: the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the Federal Association of German Export Trade (BDEx), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH).
As part of the Audi Business Trip, the 25 Brazilian CEOs also took part in a luncheon with German businessmen at the headquarters of BDI, the German Confederation of Industry, in Berlin.
On September 15, 1874, Heinrich von Stephan, a senior postal official in the North German Confederation (an area that now forms parts of Germany, Poland and Russia), opened a conference in Berne, Switzerland, with delegates from 22 countries.
The stabilisation of the currency union should not be a goal in and of itself, regardless of the costs associated with that course," Otto Kentzler, president of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, wrote in a position paper published by the Handelsblatt newspaper on Friday.
2) The Prussian victory at Koniggratz also precipitated the dissolution of the German Confederation, an alliance of states that had included Austria and held Germany together since the 1815 Congress of Vienna.
Napoleon is credited with reorganizing what had been the Holy Roman Empire, made up of more than 1,000 entities, into a more streamlined network of 40 states, providing the basis for the German Confederation and the future unification of Germany under the German Empire in 1871.
His latest book also should be of particular interest to today's military professionals because he clearly and effectively explains how the various armies of the German Confederation organized and prepared for war, along with how the army of Prussia emerged as the most significant force in the unification of Germany.
Until the end of World War I Bavaria was a sovereign monarchy within the German Confederation.
Under the Code Napoleon, sodomy was not a crime in the German Confederation at that time.
Following the Berlin Revolution of 1848, and the formation of the North German Confederation in 1866, Berlin became the capital of the Confederation in 1867.

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