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Germany: Austria; Prussia; the New German Empire.

Modern History. (a.d. 1492-1898). Europe from 1815 to 1898.
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For many years after the Congress of Vienna, Austria, under the rule of Francis I. (1792-1835) and his son Ferdinand I. (1835-1848), in political alliance with Russia and Prussia, was the leading state of Germany, and greatly influenced Continental affairs. Home-government and foreign policy alike were chiefly directed by the able Prince von Metternich, a clear-headed, firm man, who had proved himself a match for Napoleon in diplomacy. His consummate art in negotiation and in intrigue, conducted with an ever-smiling face and winning ways, was used with great effect against the French emperor prior to his downfall. He was the steady opponent of constitutional freedom, and ever strove to repress any advances thereto, in speech or writing, by severe measures against the public press, combined agitation, and private utterance. The German princes, under this evil system, exhibited a horror of change and reform, and in 1819 a convention of ministers at Karlsbad, under the presidency of Metternich, adopted resolutions in restraint of the press, gagging university-teachers, forbidding societies and political meetings, and creating a kind of inquisition for the discovery and punishment of democratic agitators. The revolution of 1830 in France had its effect upon the German party of progress, and risings took place in some of the smaller states. In Brunswick, the palace of the unpopular duke was destroyed by fire, and he was in much personal danger. The rulers of Saxony, Hanover, and Hessen-Cassel, and the new duke of Brunswick, then granted "constitutions" on a more or less wide basis. In 1837 the kingdom of Hanover, which could not, under the Salic law, be ruled by a female sovereign, ceased to be connected with Great Britain on the accession of Queen Victoria, and the new ruler, Ernest Augustus, duke of Cumberland, a man of detestable character, restricted the new constitutional liberties, and dismissed from office seven distinguished professors of the University of Gottingen, including the two renowned brothers Grimm, for protesting against his tyranny.

A brief awakening came with the French outbreak of 1848. During a generation passed under despotic rule, the desire for freedom had become irrepressible, and the rulers of most of the smaller states, in presence of the popular feeling, showed their fear by taking ministers of more liberal views. The king of Bavaria abdicated in favour of his son, and the grand-duke of Hessen-Darmstadt made his son co-ruler. Austria became the arena of serious events. The repressive system of rule had specially affected some of the nationalities under her sway, and in 1846 a Polish insurrection had caused Cracow, made a "free state," under the protection of Russia, Prussia, and Austria, at the Congress of Vienna, to be incorporated with the empire. The troubles in Italy will be seen hereafter. Bohemia was clamouring for change, and Hungary took up arms. In March, 1848, an insurrection in Vienna overthrew the civil and military power, and Metternich, fleeing to England, vanished for ever from the scene of his long domination. The emperor and court took refuge in the capital of the Tyrol, leaving Vienna in the hands of the national guards and the armed citizens and students. A rising in Prague was crushed with sanguinary severity, but in Hungary matters, for a time, took a different and very serious course. The constitutional movement in that country, under the leadership of Francis Deak, Louis Kossuth, and other patriots, had become very formidable prior to the French revolution against Louis Philippe. Kossuth now became the leader of revolt, and Hungary demanded complete independence. In October Vienna was recaptured, after a siege of eight days, by the imperial troops under Field-Marshal Windischgratz, and quiet was restored in Austria proper on the abdication of Ferdinand in favour of his nephew, Francis Joseph, now (1898) in his 50th year of sovereignty. The Hungarians, joined by many Germans and Poles, but opposed by the Croatians and Transylvanians, defeated the imperial troops in several actions with great loss, and captured Buda-Pesth. Armies numbering 200,000 men were under the command of Bern and Dembinski, Polish generals, and of the Magyar princes Gorgei and Klapka, and a bold advance on Vienna, at the crisis of the struggle, might have overthrown the Austrian power. In his trouble, the new emperor appealed for help to Russia, and in May, 1849, her forces crossed the frontier. The Hungarian troops were now outnumbered, and, after a severe struggle, overpowered. Some of the leaders took refuge in Turkey; Count Batthyanyi was shot; and the revolt was punished by the infamous General Haynau with great severity in executions of leaders, imprisonments, floggings of men and women, and confiscations. The new constitution was abolished; Transylvania and Croatia were separated from Hungary; and the general struggle for freedom ended in the re-establishment of the former despotic system of rule, without any freedom for the press or trial by jury.

Turning now to Prussia, we find that country, under the rule of Frederick William III. (1797-1840), making great progress in commercial and educational affairs. Treaties of commerce were made with various maritime nations; steam-traffic on the great rivers was developed; a new and excellent system of roads was formed; and Germany at large began to receive benefit through the establishment of the - famous Zollverein or Customs' Union, which included, in 1838, 23 states. Many useless restrictions on trade were thus removed, and the idea of national unity was thereby fostered. The leadership in this movement was due to Prussia, and her influence in Germany was increased. The utmost efforts were made, and large sums were expended, in the spread of education, and the established Protestant Church was newly and liberally endowed. On the other hand, amidst all the legislative and administrative activity, no provision was made for promoting civil and political freedom, and efforts in that direction were repressed on the Metternich model, with violation of the pledges given by the king in 1815 for the establishment of a general representative government. Frederick William IV. (1840-1858), son of his predecessor, equally opposed political reform, and a crisis came in March, 1848, when an insurrection in Berlin caused the withdrawal of the troops, after some fighting, by the king's order, and some form of constitutional government was set up, only to be modified by degrees in its more valuable features. Material improvement went on apace, in the development of roads, railways, and river-navigation, and in the increase at once of educational and military efficiency, matters closely connected with the subsequent successes of Prussia in the field of battle.

The main feature of German history in and shortly after the middle of the 19th century is the contest for supremacy between the two leading states. In 1850 Austrian jealousy of Prussian efforts to rally the smaller states round herself as the centre of authority in a new "federal state" came near to causing civil war, but the bold attitude adopted by the Austrian absolutist statesman Prince Schwarzenberg, at the famous Olmutz conference in Novembe of that year, caused the somewhat feeble and vacillating Prussian monarch to give way, and the influence of Austria became for a time supreme. A change came with the accession to the throne of Prussia, in 1861, of King William I., brother of the former sovereign, for whom he had held power as "Regent" since 1858. The new monarch was one who aimed not at popular progress in the political sense, but at Prussian aggrandisement and at German unity through Prussia. He was not intellectually great, but he had firmness of character, clear perception of fitness in the instruments of his policy, and unswerving fidelity in their support. Bismarck, one of the greatest of modern statesmen in his union of sagacity with stern resolution, presided over diplomatic and political affairs, becoming chief minister in 1862 and imperial chancellor in 1871-Count von Roon, minister of war, organised the military forces in the style whose best eulogy is found in the brilliant results. Von Moltke, as the wielder of the mighty weapon forged we have already seen. The policy of "blood and iron," in Bismarck s_ words, as the one hope of Prussian predominance and German unity, was carried out with ruthless vigour, and all opposition in the parliament was met by dissolutions of the house of representatives, and, on the return of a still larger majority of opponents, by dispensing with the passage of money-bills as a preliminary to taxation for army expenditure. In 1863 Austria received a rebuff in Prussia's refusal to attend a congress of German princes at Frankfurt-on-the-Main, for the purpose of deliberating on a political reorganisation of Germany.

Matters were brought to a crisis between the two Powers after the war of 1864, in which their combined forces speedily crushed those of Denmark, and deprived that country of all rights in Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg. The victors quarrelled concerning the spoils, and in 1866 the Austro-Prussian War, one of the briefest on record, broke out. Known as the "Seven Weeks' War," its actual operations were confined to one month, from June 22nd to July 22nd. In this sharp, short, and decisive struggle the allies of Prussia were Italy, whose share in the war will be seen hereafter, and the smaller north German states. Austria was supported by Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, and the two Hesses. General Benedek headed the Austrian forces, comprising about 250,000 men; the Prussian armies were superior in numbers, somewhat inferior in artillery and cavalry, but had an enormous advantage, not only in von Moltke's daring and comprehensive strategy, but in the possession of the famous "needle-gun," a breech-loading rifle which could fire several shots for one delivered by the Austrian muzzle-loaders, and which was wielded by infantry thoroughly trained in its steady and effective use. Hanover and electoral Hesse (Hessen-Cassel) were at once invaded and subdued. Saxony was overrun, its sovereign and army retreating to Bohemia. Then two great bodies of men invaded Bohemia by different routes, each winning several actions on the way through the mountains. On July 3rd their united forces gained the great battle of Koniggratz or Sadowa (villages in the north of Bohemia), and, marching southwards and winning another battle, forced Austria to a truce when Vienna itself was threatened. Prague and Briinn had been occupied, and Hungary invaded, when French mediation brought negotiations ending the war with the Peace of Prague between Austria and Prussia. The new arrangement of Germany excluded Austria, and incorporated Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Hessen-Cassel, Nassau, and the "free" city of Frankfurt-on-the-Main, with Prussia, increasing her territory from 111,000 to 140,000 square miles, and her population from 19,000,000 to 23,500,000. An offensive and defensive alliance was concluded with Wiirtemberg, Baden, Bavaria, Hessen-Darrnstadt, and Saxony, those countries also engaging to place their troops, in case of war, under the supreme command of the king of Prussia. A North German Confederation was formed, with a Diet on a basis of manhood and direct suffrage, under the presidency of the Prussian sovereign, and an Imperial Diet (Reichstag) was also created on the same system. The military forces were centralised under the Prussian king's command, with universal compulsory service, and the customs, telegraph, and postal services were united. Count Bismarck became Chancellor of the Confederation. It was exactly 60 years since the old German ("Holy Roman") Empire had been ended by Napoleon's conquering power. The new organisation comprised 21 states, including Brunswick, Oldenburg, Saxony, the Mecklenburgs, Hamburg, Liibeck, Bremen, and Saxe-Coburg, in addition to those already named. Thus Prussia became the leading power in Germany, and one of the chief military powers in Europe, a position heightened, as we have seen, by the result of her conflict with France four years later.

The new Confederation had a brief existence, during which the Zollverein, in a remodelled form, was extended to every part of Germany except the cities of Hamburg and Bremen. The existing political condition arose after the grand success obtained against France. The southern states (Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Baden, and Hessen-Darmstadt) had been admitted to the "North German" Confederation, making it the "German Confederation," after the victory at Sedan, and on January 18th, 1871, the king of Prussia, in the halls of Versailles, the palace erected by Germany's great foe of old time, Louis XIV., was hailed as "Emperor of Germany" amid the cheers of the assembled chieftains. The new empire included 25 states and one Reichsland, or imperial territory - Alsace-Lorraine. There were four kingdoms - Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemberg; six grand-duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, and three free towns - Hamburg, Lubeck, and Bremen. The legislative functions lay in a Federal Council (Bundesrath) of 58 members, appointed for each session by the separate states, and in a Parliament or Diet (Reichstag) of 382 members, elected by universal suffrage and by ballot for three years, as representatives of the whole German people of the empire. A free, united, powerful Germany at last existed, realising dreams long cherished by Teutonic patriotism, with a territory of 217,000 square miles, and a population exceeding 41,000,000. The foreign policy of the new empire was conducted by Prince Bismarck with good judgment and success in favour of peace, to which end he concluded the famous "Triple Alliance" with Austria and Italy. In home-affairs a Protestant attack was made, in the Falk laws of 1873 to 1875, so-called from the Prussian Minister of Public Worship, on the ecclesiastical rights and claims of the Catholics. The German state sought thereby to interfere in the schools and the training of teachers, and with the appointment of bishops and ministers. The Jesuits had been expelled in 1872, and the Catholics now made a strong resistance. The Pope (Pius IX.) declined to receive the German ambassador, and the Catholic hierarchy treated the new legislation as non-existent. Several prelates were banished from the country, and the Reichstag, in 1874, made marriage a mere civil rite. The resistance continued, and the Catholic deputies in Parliament opposed every government-measure. The election, in 1878, of a new Pope (Leo XIII.), a man of statesmanlike capacity, caused a compromise. Falk resigned office in the following year, and peace was restored by concessions made between 1881 and 1887. The rapid spread of socialism in Germany, already noticed, was met by repressive laws of a somewhat stringent character, and, more wisely, by legislation conceived in a socialistic spirit, aiming at the improvement of the condition of the working-classes. With the same object, the commercial policy of the country became strongly "protectionist," and in 1884 a new colonial policy was undertaken, in order to provide new outlets for surplus-population and new markets for the rapidly improving manufactures. It was thus that Germany acquired extensive territories in western Africa, New Guinea, and some islands of the southern Pacific.

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