If German unification was going to happen in 1848-1849, what would Germany's final borders have been?

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,957
Las Vegas, NV USA
#11
Well I think a hypothetical Galicia like that would actually be sovereign and independent. And so would a potential Poland. The German republic would have no interest and claim on Galicia as Galician. BUT it would have a self-interest in supporting the creation of states politically and ideologically aligned with itself.
I agree. Galicia is much more geographically related to Hungary and could well be independent. It was not part of the Deutsche Bund. However the security of the new VSD would depend on a close alliance between it and both Hungary and an independent Galicia.

My understanding of the Frankfurt Assembly is that it was based on a constitutional monarchy. I would favor having Prussia, Hanover, Saxony, Württemberg and Austria as as royal members of the federation and the Austrian emperor as the head of state and king of Austria. He could also remain as King of Hungary cementing that alliance. However all monarchs would reign but would not rule. Each state would have its own parliament. Going directly to a republic means the Head of State would be elected and that office should be apolitical.



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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,101
#12
I agree. Galicia is much more geographically related to Hungary and could well be independent. It was not part of the Deutsche Bund. However the security of the new VSD would depend on a close alliance between it and both Hungary and an independent Galicia.

My understanding of the Frankfurt Assembly is that it was based on a constitutional monarchy. I would favor having Prussia, Hanover, Saxony, Württemberg and Austria as as royal members of the federation and the Austrian emperor as the head of state and king of Austria. He could also remain as King of Hungary cementing that alliance. However all monarchs would reign but would not rule. Each state would have its own parliament. Going directly to a republic means the Head of State would be elected and that office should be apolitical.
That's my understanding as well.

The question is what happens when the crowned heads, the important ones at least, Wilhelm of Prussian and Franz Jospeh of Austria, reject the offer to become figureheads of state of a constitutional democracy – as they would? We know how this worked in the French revolution, so odds are that royal intransigence leads to a radicalisation of the liberal demands. And since part of the OP means that the royals will lose by default, I think it more likely it ends up as a liberal republic, likely without royals in the end.

The tricky bits sticks in the inconsistencies of the 19th c. nationalist liberals. It can be summed up by J.S. Mill's famous observation that democracy isn't fit for barbarians... Extrapolated a bit it means the nationalist liberals did not necessarily consider ALL potential nation states equal. There was a lot of double book-keeping going on, with some nations deemed "viable", and "deserving", and some... not so much.

The Germans are obviously in. So are the Hungarians. I would be mighty surprised if the Poles weren't going to be actively courted. But considering fx the Bohemians would likely struggle with the German conception of the "natural borders" of the Germans nation, I think it rather probable the Galizians – raised specifically here — would end up shunted together with the Poles for expediency's sake as much as anything. And so the Galizians would have to put up a struggle of their own to assert their right to self-determination.

Possibly there would need to be a showdown about principles about national self-determination within the a liberal German USG/VSG over which European small nations would be deserving of nationhood and independence according to the same model as Germany – including Bohemians, Galizians etc.?
 
Dec 2017
269
Regnum Teutonicum
#13
I don't thinks this thread belongs in the Speculative History-Thread, because it really happened. Germany DID unify in 1849, the German Reich of 1848/49 (de facto (as a powerful entity) it existed until 1849, de jure until 1851). If find it a bit weird that an american is asking this, because the United States of America were one of the countries who recognized Germany in this time, like Switzerland, Sweden and a few other countries.

Territory:
§ 1 of the constitution says that the territory consists of the members of the former German Federation. The status of Schleswig would be decided at a later date.
§ 2 of the constitution says that, if a german head of state was a head of state of a non-german land, the non-german land needed a different constitution, government and administration. Personal unions were allowed. For example Austria had to split its territory (it wasn't fully done before Germany disappeared again until a few decades later).
Here is a photo of the constitution with the paragraphs:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Bilderrevolution0235.jpg

So the territory included the following regions: Hesse, Palatinate, Franconia, Rhineland, Saarland, (eastern) Limburg, (eastern) Luxembourg, Thuringia, Baden, Wuerttemberg, Vorarlberg, Liechtenstein, Bavarian-Swabia, Bavaria, Salzburg, Tyrol, Austria, Westphalia, Engern, Eastphalia, Holstein, East Frisia, Carinthia, Styria, Mecklenburg, Pommerania, Barndenburg, Anhalt, Saxony, Silesia, Posen and Prussia. There were 39 states.

I can write something about the foreign policy of Germany in this time in half an hour or so.
 
Likes: stevev
Dec 2017
269
Regnum Teutonicum
#14
The members of the parliament had the idea that it would be good for Germany to have an alliance with one of the other christian great powers. At first there were two factions in this question: those who wanted to ally with France and those that wanted to ally with Russia. At first France sent some god signals, e.g. foreign minister Lamartine informed, that although France didn't recognize the treaties of 1815 any more, it wouldn't seek any territorial changes without consultation and the republic wanted to be a model for Germany. But then the french decided that a divided Germany would be favourable to France. In southern Germany rumors of a french invasion spread and then France essentially said that it could imagine an alliance only if Germany ceded all territory on the left bank of the Rhine to Germany. That was exactly what Germany was working to end, it wanted the unification and not the fragmentation of the german people. So from 1848 to 1850 France had a negative attitude towards Germany.
The idea of Russia as a partner ended fast, too. Russia saw itself as the defender of the old conservative order. Already in March 1848 the tsar had reacted to the things happening in Berlin with a manifesto that seemed to indicate a russian intervention. Then Russia intervened in the hungarian revolution an crushed it. With this it achieved two thins vis a vis Germany: 1. it send a strong message to Germany, of what it wanted to do there and 2. with the shattered dreams of an independent Hungary, the austrian elites had much less insentive to split their realm and thus wanting to push for the Greater Austria solution instead of the Geater Germany or Little Germany-solutions. This of course was in contrast to most parliamentarians and the constitution, resulting in a weakening of the german state. So no alliance with Russia.
So why not ask the UK for an alliance. The UK essentially said "Thanks, no alliance, we won't recognize Germany, but do you want to by some state-of the art ships for your Reichsflotte?" The UK saw a united Germany as an increase in their national security, as a more powerful buffer against a revisionist France they had just fought and a despotic Russia they saw as a rival in other parts of the world. Palmerston noted that both Germany and the UK had to expect an attack by France or Russia or both.

Additionally envoys were send to and recived from other countries. The most important one of those countries is the USA. The president James Polk made Andrew Jackson Donelson the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plentipotentiary to the Federal Government of Germany. Friedrich von Rönne was the official envoy of Germany to the United States of America. The USA also worked with the germans to build up the Reichsflotte. Polk sent Commodore Foxhall Parker to inspect the navy in Germany, after the german government had asked them to. Von Rönne copied american navy laws and sent them to Frankfurt. As Germany bought some american ships (e.g. the Hansa) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard was ordered to help the german in every way possible (the new president Taylor stopped this). On of the german-built corvettes was named Franklin in honor of one of the american signatories of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Prussia and the USA.
 

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