Austrian Foreign Minister
King of Austria
1847: Delegate to Prussian Landtag
1851 - 62: Ambassadorial roles (Frankfurt, St. Petersburg, Paris)
1862: Became Foreign Minister of Prussia
1867 - 71: Chancellor of the North German Confederation
1871 - 90: 1st Chancellor of Germany
1873 - 90: Minister-President of Prussia
The Vienna Settlement was led by Klemens von Metternicht, the foreign minister of Austria. The settlement dealt with the reorganization of Europe to achieve balance of power, restoration, legitimacy, and compensation after Napoleon’s conquests of Europe.
A time of political excitement, though much of this was intellectual and theoretical. There were small groups of workers who were politically active and discussed the possibility of revolution centred on the sovereignty of the people, and the possibility of republicanism.
This comprised of 39 states and was established with the aim of maintaining external and internal security as well as the independence of individual states. It's aim was not unification, as each ruler of each state did not want their independence limited by a strong central German government.
Nationalist students converted the 300th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther's 1517 stand against the Pope/Catholic Church (resulting in the creation of Protestantism) into a demonstration against the princes. However, less than 500 students actually attended this, and its importance is often exaggerated.
Metternich established a pervasive system of press censorship and regulation of the universities that dampened German intellectual life and hindered the publication of writings advocating the principles of liberalism. The decrees
- Provided inspectors for universities
- Ensured the disbanding of student societies
- Introduced press censorship
- Set up a commission to investigate 'revolutionary' movements
Reactionary (opposing political/social change and wanting to go back to the past) forces triumphed as some professors were dismissed and some radical leaders were imprisoned
This was the meeting of the Quintuple Alliance (Russia, Austria, Prussia, UK, France) to discuss the revolutions that had broken out in Spain, Portugal, Piedmont, and Naples. The powers signed the Troppau Protocol which announced that they would 'never recognise the rights of a people to restrict the powers of their king', and that Russia, Austria, and Prussia would act jointly to restore any government overthrown by force, using force if needed.
A coalition of 18 German states, including the most powerful, Prussia, set up a customs union called the Zollverein, where trade tariffs amongst the states were abolished. By 1850, almost every German state had joined the Zollverein, effectively forming a single German economic market, allowing much more rapid industrialisation.
It seemed likely that France would invade German states along the Rhine in attempt to make the major powers bow to its wishes over a crisis in the Near East. The German press supported nationalist upsurge and many songs such as 'Deutschland uber alles' became popular.
Liberal representatives of the south-western states met at Hippenhelm demanding an elected national Diet as they felt the current Diet had not fulfilled the tasks set to it by the Act of the Confederation. The representatives to this meeting supported constitutional change and proposed
- the liberation of the press
- open judicial proceedings
- end of feudal restrictions
- creation of a national guard
- reformed tax system
Influenced by the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the American Declaration of Independence, it proclaimed the equality of "every German before the law; freedom of speech, assembly, and religion; the end of seigneurial obligations; and the right to private property.