Frederick William III was King of Prussia during the Napoleonic Wars and would consequently see the expansion of Prussia both militarily, economically and politically. Prussia would become a major power under him and the unification process started to churn slowly near the time of his death.
Reign of Victor Emmanuel I
June 4, 1802 - March 12, 1821
Victor Emmanuel I ruled as King of Sardinia from the Napoleonic Wars until his abdication due to the Revolution of 1820-21 in Piedmont in favor of his son, Charles Felix.
Treaty of Chaumont
March 9, 1814
The Treaty of Chaumont was a treaty signed by Austria, Britain, Prussia, and Russia where the four nations agreed to cooperate in fighting against France and would wage war against France if it did not accept the terms of the peace treaty, which it did not. The treaty was the forerunner to the Congress system that would be set up later that year.
First Treaty of Paris
May 1, 1814
The First Treaty of Paris was the treaty that ended Napoleon's long fight against the rest of Europe and left France with the pre-1792 territory and no occupation or war reparations. The monarchy was restored with Louis XVIII made the king. Napoleon was exiled to Elba.
Congress of Vienna
September 1814 - June 18, 1815
The Congress of Vienna was a meeting between all the major European powers were borders were redrawn according to pre-revolutionary lines and former dynasties restored wherever possible. France was reduced in size and cornered off with a "cordon sanitaire" to prevent it from becoming strong again. The Congress system was developed out of the Congress of Vienna. The Congress system lasted until around 1830. The Congress system was highly conservative and denied the rights and freedoms of many in order to maintain peace and stability.
Establishment of the Carbonari
The Carbonari were a secret political society that aimed to bring about liberal reform to Italy and free Italians from Austrian oppression. The Carbonari included famous members like Mazzini and Garibaldi, but the Carbonari were not effective in achieving their goals in the Revolutions of 1820-21 or 1830-32.
Establishment of the German Confederation
June 8, 1815
The German Confederation was composed of 39 states of which the two most predominant ones were Austria and Prussia. The confederation had a diet in Frankfurt which was controlled by a Hapsburg President. The Confederation set the ground running for the eventual Unification of Germany.
June 18, 1815 - 1830
The Congress System was the system of alliances and congresses held by the five major powers in Europe to discuss matters of security and peace. The congresses eventually failed after repeated indecisiveness on numerous issues split the powers into a liberal bloc of France and Britain and an autocratic bloc of Austria, Prussia, and Russia.
Treaty of Vienna
June 18, 1815
The Treaty of Vienna sealed the fate of the Congress of Vienna were Austria, Britain, Prussia, and France agreed to meet regularly to discuss Europe's security issues, redraw the map of Europe according to previous borders, restore former monarchs to their thrones, and contain France. The treaty was put in effect with Napoleon's second surrender on June 22nd.
Reign of Louis XVIII
July 8, 1815 - September 16, 1824
Louis XVIII became King following the surrender of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy. He ruled alongside a constitution and was very peaceful and quite throughout this period, as France was stabilizing her economy following three decades of war. Conservative and Liberal elements began to pop up in France at this time as well.
Creation of the Holy Alliance
September 26, 1815 - October 16, 1853
The Holy Alliance was a coalition created by the monarchist powers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia at the behest of Tsar Alexander I to restrain liberalism and secularism in Europe in the wake of the devastating French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The alliance nominally succeeded in maintaining order in Europe until the outbreak of the Crimean War, where Austria refused to assist Russia and Prussia remained neutral, causing trust between the nations to collapse and the alliance to dissolve.
Creation of the Quadruple Alliance
November 20, 1815 - October 1, 1818
The Quadruple Alliance was an alliance between Austria, Britain, Prussia, and Russia and was created to constrain France and prevent her from waging such devastating wars ever again. The alliance effectively terminated with the creation of the quintuple alliance in 1818.
Second Treaty of Paris
November 20, 1815
The Second Treaty of Paris was much harsher than the first treaty and returned France to its pre-1789 borders and demanded stolen artifacts back along with an indemnity of several millions of francs. France was to remain occupied until 1818 and could not participate in the Congress system until then. The French monarchy was restored again with Louis XVIII made King again. The Holy Alliance and the Quadruple Alliance are also formed at this time as well.
October 18, 1817
The Wartburg Festival (German: Wartburgfest) was a convention of about 500 Protestant German students, held on 18 October 1817 at the Wartburg castle near Eisenach in Thuringia. The former refuge of reformer Martin Luther was considered a national symbol and the assembly a protest against reactionary politics and Kleinstaaterei. The demonstrators protested the conservative governing of the German states and demanded liberal reform.
Formation of the Zollverein
May 26, 1818
The Zollverein was a coalition of German states formed to manage tariffs and economic policies within their territories. The Zollverein traces its origins back to 1818 but did not become official until 1834. By 1866, the Zollverein included most of the German states. The foundation of the Zollverein was the first instance in history in which independent states had consummated a full economic union without the simultaneous creation of a political federation or union. Prussia was the prime motivating force behind the creation of the customs union. Austria was excluded from the Zollverein because of its highly protected industry and also because Metternich was against the idea.
Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle
October 1, 1818 - OCtober 9, 1818
The Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle was a meeting of the quintuple alliance were discussion about the containment of revolution in Europe was discussed (agreed to only use force to crush revolution in France) and the issues of piracy in the Mediterranean. France was added to the Congress system and now without a common enemy between the powers, the end of the Congress system was near.
Creation of the Quintuple Alliance
October 1, 1818 - December 1, 1825
The Quintuple Alliance was established at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818 as the quadruple alliance along with France and was established to maintain peace and stability in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars. The alliance collapsed following the death of Tsar Alexander I in 1825.
September 20, 1819
The Carlsbad Decrees were a set of reactionary restrictions introduced in the states of the German Confederation by on 20 September 1819 after a conference held in the spa town of Carlsbad, Bohemia. They banned nationalist fraternities ("Burschenschaften"), removed liberal university professors, and expanded the censorship of the press. They were aimed at quelling a growing sentiment for German unification. The meeting of the state's representatives was called by Metternich after a liberal student had murdered the conservative writer August von Kotzebue on 23 March 1819. In the course of the European Restoration Metternich feared liberal and national tendencies at German universities which might conduct revolutionary activities threatening the monarchistic order. At this time, the murder of Kotzebue was a welcome pretext to take action.
Revolutions of 1820-21 (Naples, Piedmont, Sicily)
January 1820 - April 1821
Revolution started in January 1820 in Naples, where the Carbonari demanded liberal reform based on the Spanish constitution and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. Sicily revolted a month later in an attempt to gain independence from Naples. Piedmont also revolted and Victor Emmanuel I abdicated in favor of his son, Charles Felix. Charles Albert took control of the country for a brief time, declaring it the "Kingdom of Italy" and declaring war on Austria for Lombardy. All revolts were suppressed by intervention from Austria as a result of the Congresses of Troppau and Laibach. Charles Albert was defeated at the Battle of Novara and fled Piedmont. Charles Felix was restored. Ferdinand I was placed back on his throne in Naples and recapture Sicily from the rebels. The Carbonari were poorly organized and could not organize a large enough revolt to spread their liberal ideas across Italy.
Congress of Troppau
October 20, 1820 - November 19, 1820
The Congress of Troppau was another meeting of the great powers were the powers discussed the revolutions taking place in Spain, Portugal, Piedmont, Naples and the German states, who demanded freedom. The outcome of the Congress was the signing of the Protocol of Troppau (November 19th), which allowed states to use force against other states in the alliance that had a change in government due to revolution. Britain and France were strongly opposed to this while Austria, Prussia, and Russia were in favor.
Congress of Laibach
January 26, 1821 - May 12, 1821
The Congress of Laibach was another meeting of the great powers where the King of Naples pleaded for help in quashing revolution in his kingdom. Austria and Metternich agreed to send in troops to quash the rebellions in Piedmont and Naples but was alone in acting. The move was not supported by Britain nor France but they did not resist Austria/s moves in Italy. The Congress finally split into western and eastern blocs following the results of the Congress at Laibach.
Greek War of Independence
February 22, 1821 - September 29, 1829
The Greek War of Independence was a war fought by the Greeks to gain their independence from the Ottoman Empire and resulted in a Greek victory to attain independence following the Anglo-Franco-Russian intervention at the Battle of Navarino in 1827. The war then sparked the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29 which saw the Ottomans defeated by the Russians and an increase in tensions on the continent and further complicated the power struggle of the Balkan region, also known as the "Eastern Question".
Reign of Charles Felix
March 12, 1821 - April 27, 1831
Charles Felix ruled as the King of Piedmont from the abdication of his father until his own death on April 27. His rule was initially plagued by revolution and conflict with his relative Charles Albert and terminated with revolution again as well.
Death of Napoleon Bonaparte
May 5, 1821
After being in exile for nearly six years, Napoleon dies on St. Helena due to declining health and old age.
Congress of Verona
October 22, 1822
The Congress of Verona was the final Congress of the great powers where they agreed to support the Greeks' cause for independence and the entrance of 100,000 French troops to quash the rebellion in Spain. With the suicide of British foreign minister Castlereagh on the eve of the Congress, Britain undertook an isolationist policy at Verona and decided to isolate itself from European politics. With the death of Tsar Alexander I in 1825 the Congress system terminated as well.
The Monroe Doctrine was a speech delivered by American President James Monroe about how the Americas were no longer to be subject to European colonization and that the United States would defend the Americas from foreign aggression and protect it. Britain saw this policy as beneficial as it allowed it maintain ties with nations in the Americas without facing opposition in the Americas or Europe. Britain would now rule the Atlantic unopposed.
Reign of Charles X
September 16, 1824 - August 2, 1830
Charles X ruled under a period of greater political instability within France and was eventually overthrown during the July Revolution of 1830 after attempting snap elections to the parliament and a censorship of the press.
Death of Tsar Alexander I
December 1, 1825
Alexander I died after having fought in the Napoleonic Wars and having seen the rise and fall of Napoleon's empire. He was crucial to the establishment of the Congress System and the Holy Alliance and after his death, the two inevitably collapsed.
Treaty of London
July 6, 1827
The Treaty of London was a treaty signed by Britain. France and Russia calling for an end to all hostilities between Greece and the Ottoman Empire and for the Ottomans to recognize the independence of the Greeks and would result in war if the Ottomans refused to accept the terms of the treaty, which they did. Russia was also forbidden from gaining territory at the expense of the Ottomans under the treaty, which it, however, did following the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29.
Battle of Navarino
October 20, 1827
The Battle of Navarino was a naval battle between the Ottoman Empire/Egypt and the forces of Britain, France, Greece, and Russia. The battle resulted in the Turko-Egyptian fleets being almost entirely destroyed and the Ottoman recognition of an independent Greece in fear of further attacks from the other powers. The high loss of life in the battle prompted Britain and France to maintain a policy of neutrality in European politics afterward and heightened tensions between the Ottomans and the Russians that spilled into war in 1828.
June 1828 - September 14, 1829
The Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29 was a war between the Ottomans and Russians that occurred after the Ottomans closed the Dardanelles to Russian ships and resulted in a Russian victory and the Treaty of Adrianople, which gave Russia land on the Black Sea coast and free access to the Dardanelles. The war worsened relations between Russia and Britain/France.
Treaty of Adrianople
September 14, 1829
The Treaty of Adrianople was a treaty signed between the Ottoman and Russian empires following the defeat of the Ottomans in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29. The Ottomans were to give Russia access to the Danube and territories in the Caucasus mountains on the Black Sea coast. The treaty also opened the Dardanelles to all commercial vessels and forces the Ottomans to pay an indemnity to Russia. The treaty was regarded by Britain and France as a violation of Russia's commitments under the Treaty of London (1827) and heightened tensions between the nations.
Uprisings of 1830-31 (Modena, Parma, Romagna)
July 1830 - April 1831
The revolutions of 1830-31 happened after the July Revolution in France. Enrico Misely protested Duke Francis iV's rule in Modena and he was arrested. Student revolts ensued in Modena and Parma as well, against the Duchess Marie-Louise. Uprisings in Romagna (Bologna) against the Church were widespread and the "Government of the Italian Provinces" was created. All of these students' and Carbonari-led revolts were brutally suppressed by Austria. In the case of Romagna, France sent its navy to the Adriatic to defend its position in the Papal States and to deter Austria.
July 26, 1830 - July 29, 1830
The July Revolution was an overthrow of the Bourbon dynasty within France as a result of a snap election and the censorship of the press by orders of the King. Charles X abdicated in favor of his cousin, Louis Philippe.
Reign of Louis Philippe
August 9, 1830 - February 24, 1848
Louis Phillipe, or the "citizen king", ruled as a modest constitutional monarch and oversaw a period of rapid change in France that saw the development of the socialist movement and the industrialization of the nation. Louis Philippe would abdicate when economic woes escalated into revolution in France in 1848.
Founding of Young Italy
Mazzini founded Young Italy, a new secret political society out of the failures of the revolts of the 1820s and 1830s. It was open to youth (under 40) and was designed to bring together the various splinter groups throughout the peninsula around the central idea of unifying Italy.
Reign of Charles Albert
February 27, 1831 - March 23, 1849
Charles Albert ruled as the King of Piedmont from the death of his relative Charles Felix until his abdication in 1849 following the disastrous events of the First Italian War of Independence. He attempted to become ruler of an "Italian Kingdom" following the abdication of Victor Emmanuel I but was brutally suppressed by Austrian forces. His reign was known for being unstable and was characterized by the failure of the Italians to free Lombardy from Austrian rule, which forced him to flee to Portugal on March 23, 1849.
May 27, 1832 - May 30, 1832
The Hambacher Festival was a German national democratic festival celebrated from 27 May to 30 May 1832 at Hambach Castle near Neustadt an der Haardt in present-day Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The event was disguised as a non-political county fair. It was one of the main public demonstrations in support of German unity, freedom, and democracy during the Vormärz era.
Strengthening of the Carlsbad Decrees
June 28, 1832 - July 5, 1832
After the events of the Hambach Festival, the Diet of the Confederation under Metternich undertook to strengthen the Carlsbad Decrees in a series of articles, which started cracking down on liberal dissent and began an operation to spy and arrest any liberal opposition in the Confederation. All Liberal newspapers, universities, professors, students, and writers were shut down and removed. This wave of repression subdued the liberal and nationalistic cause in Germany and is known as the "quiet years".
Attempted Invasion of Savoy
Mazzini;s Young Italy attempted insurrection in Chambery (then part of Savoy) and was expected to spread to the rest of Sardinia-Piedmont, however, the Savoyard government discovered the plot before it could begin and many revolutionaries (including Vincenzo Gioberti) were arrested. The repression was ruthless: 12 participants were executed, while Mazzini's best friend and director of the Genoese section of Young Italy, Jacopo Ruffini, killed himself. Mazzini was tried in absentia and sentenced to death. Mazzini fled to London where he lived in exile for several years.
First Steam Railway Built in Germany
December 7, 1835
The first railway opened in Germany in Bavaria in 1835, which then precipitated the expansion of the railways into Prussia by 1839 and by 1845 over 8000 km of track would be laid in Germany. The railways became essential to the Germany economy and would be utilized by Prussia heavily when fighting wars. This would give Prussia an advantage over her neighbors and allow her to defeat Denmark, Austria, and France in war.
Reign of Frederick William IV
June 7, 1840 - January 2, 1861
Frederick William IV was King of Prussia when Prussia was rapidly industrializing and witnessed her economic expansion and survival of the revolutions of 1848-1850. He would continuously press for military reform but rarely received it due to the tight budgets of his government. He passed away shortly before Otto von Bismarck bypassed the parliament and increased the spending of the military by three-folds. Frederick William was incapacitated in 1857 and his brother William served as regent from 1858 until his death in 1861.
Gioberti Publishes "On the Moral and Civil Primacy of the Italians"
Vincenzo Gioberti publishes his book, which calls for the unification of Italy under an Italian-led government with no foreign intervention and with the Church's power placed in check by the state.
Uprising of the Silesian Weavers
1844 - 1845
Silesia's industry was in bad condition in the decades after 1815. Silesian linen weavers suffered under Prussia's free trade policy and British competitors that already used machines destroyed the competitiveness of Silesian linen. The situation worsened after Russia imposed an import embargo and the Silesian linen industry began to mechanize. In several towns this traditional craft died out altogether, costing many linen weavers their profession. As social conditions worsened, growing unrest culminated in the Silesian cotton weavers' uprising (German: Schlesischer Weberaufstand) of 1844. Silesia then recovered quickly following the expansion of the railroads to become one of Germany's main economic centers but did not escape the Revolution of 1848-1850 unharmed.
Election of Pope Pius IX
June 16, 1846
Pope Pius IX is elected to become the new head of the Catholic Church. He is viewed as a liberal reformist. He provided amnesty for political prisoners, explored judicial, economic, and political reforms, relaxed censorship laws, expanded railways into the Papal States and Rome, and organized a consultive assembly made up of representatives from the various Papal States. Mazzini and Garibaldi wrote him letters of encouragement, hoping that Pius IX could inject religious fervor into the Italian cause.
Unrest in Bavaria
February 17, 1847 - March 20, 1848
The unrest in Bavaria was due, not to popular agitation, but to the resentment of Ludwig I at the clerical opposition to the influence of his mistress, Lola Montez. On 17 February 1847, Karl von Abel was dismissed for publishing his memorandum against the proposal to naturalize Lola, who was an Irishwoman; and the Protestant Georg Ludwig von Maurer took his place. The new ministry granted the certificate of naturalization; but riots, in which Ultramontane professors of the university took part, resulted. The professors were deprived, the parliament dissolved, and, on 27 November, the ministry dismissed. Lola Montez created Countess Landsfeld, became supreme in the state; and the new minister, Prince Ludwig of Öttingen-Wallerstein (1791–1870), in spite of his efforts to enlist Liberal sympathy by appeals to pan-German patriotism, was powerless to form a stable government. His cabinet was known as the Lolaministerium; in February 1848, stimulated by the news from Paris (Revolution of 1848 in France), riots broke out against the countess; on 11 March the king dismissed Öttingen, and on 20 March, realizing the force of public opinion against him, abdicated in favour of his son, Maximilian II.
Revolutions of 1848-49 (Italy)
January 1848 - August 1849
Following the abdication of Louis Philippe in France, revolution swept across Europe. Revolutions first erupted in Sicily against the Neapolitan government, and then revolution hit Naples and Ferdinand II was forced to grant a constitution. Many states in Italy granted constitutions, including Leopold in Tuscany, Pius IX in the Papal States, and Charles Albert in Piedmont (Statuto Alberto) Riots in Milan in March and cries for help, led Charles Albert to declare war against Austria and fight for Lombardy. Revolutions in Rome forced Pope Pius IX to flee and the Roman Republic was established by Mazzini and Garibaldi in November 1848. Louis Napoleon sent in troops to crush the Roman Republic and defeated them by July 1849. In the end, the revolutions of 1848-49 failed to make any progress in Italy, with all states being restored and most reforms never implemented. Ferdinand II reconquered Naples and Sicily and quashed the revolts there. The only success of the revolutions was the implementation of the Statuto Alberto in Piedmont. Although there was more commitment demonstrated towards reform, there still wasn't enough internal cooperation to overcome Austrian, and now French military might. There was no clear political vision for the future of Italy and the movement still lacked broad mass support, remaining a middle-class intellectual movement.
Abdication of Louis Philippe
February 24, 1848
After a wave of uprisings struck Paris against the Orleans monarchy, Louis abdicates for fear of his life after seeing what happened to Louis XVI in 1792. Revolution sweeps over France, ending the monarchy and creating the Second French Republic. This sparks a wave of revolutions across Europe and affects every European nation apart from Britain and Russia one way or another.
Revolutions of 1848-1849 (German States)
February 27, 1848 - July 1849
The Revolutions of 1848-49 that swept across Germany were a result of the abdication of Louis Philippe and a strong national and liberal fervor that was present within the Germanic states. The revolutions began in Baden where the people forced the Grand Duke of Baden to grant reforms, which initiated a domino effect of other states issuing reforms to prevent violent revolutions from taking place. In Prussia, demonstrations in Berlin turned violent and forced troops to fire on the crowds, killing hundreds. After the deadly battle, King Frederick William IV agreed to grant reforms and create a Constituent Assembly for all of Prussia. However, with the increased confidence of the Prussian King, he retracted his reforms and dissolved the assembly by December 1848. This led to a sweep of change in the German states where monarchs retracted their reforms and constitutions and culminated with the restoration of Austrian dominance over the German Confederation by November 1850.
Creation of the Vorparlament
March 5, 1848 - May 1, 1848
The Vorparlement was a pre-parliament design to prepare for elections to the National Constituent Assembly (Frankfurt Assembly) and also proceeded to invite 500 individuals to Frankfurt to sit in the new assembly. The Vorparlament was in-session at the Paulskirche (St Paul's Church) in Frankfurt from 31 March to 3 April, chaired by Carl Joseph Anton Mittermaier. With the support of the moderate liberals, and against the opposition of the radical democrats, it decided to cooperate with the Bundestag, to form a national constitutional assembly which would write a new constitution. For the transitional period until the actual formation of that assembly, the Vorparlament formed the Committee of Fifty (Fünfzigerausschuss), as a representation to face the German Confederation. Elections were held on the 1 of May 1848 and the first session of the new Frankfurt Assembly began on May 18, 1848.
Revolutions of 1848-49 (Austria)
March 13, 1848 - November 1849
The Austrian empire was plagued with horrid revolutions across all aspects of its empire, ranging from government reform in Vienna to the breaking away of Hungary, Croatia, Lombardy-Venetia, Silesia, Galicia, and Bohemia. The revolutions forced Metternich to flee for London and the Hapsburgs to hide in the Tyrolian Alps until August 1848 to restore order to the empire. Uprisings in Hungary were not crushed until Tsar Nicholas I intervened with 300,000 troops, destroying rebellion and at last bringing the revolutions to an end for the Austrian empire.
Flee of Metternich
March 14, 1848
Klemens von Metternich fled Vienna for London after violence erupted in Vienna against him and his family. Metternich's era of conservative, reactionary politics was over and the peace and stability he brutally achieved would no longer be secure.
First Italian War of Independence
March 23, 1848 - August 6, 1849
After riots in Milan against the Austrian government took place, Charles Albert declared war against Austria to gain Lombardy and Venetia for Piedmont and defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Goito, but was then defeated at the Battle of Custozza. Charles Albert decided not to push further into Lombardy focused on unifying the Central Italian States with Piedmont instead. This allowed the Austrians to regroup themselves. An armistice was signed, but Charles Albert broke it after seven months and resumed fighting, only to be crushed in the Battle of Novara by Radetzsky's troops and Charles Abdicated in favor of his son, Victor Emmanuel II. A peace treaty was signed on August 6, 1849, and Piedmont was forced to pay an indemnity to Austria. Austria recaptured Milan and Venice and executed those who supported the Piedmontese.
April 29, 1848
Pope Pius IX issued an allocation demanding that the Piedmontese and the Austrians cease fighting since they were both Catholic Christians and that fighting was wrong. This dealt a serious blow to the Italian cause as many Italians were loyal Catholics and did not want war with Austria. Pope Pius IX also excommunicated all of those who tried to reduce the temporal powers of the church and denounced the Roman Republic as well.
Creation of the Frankfurt Assembly
May 1, 1848 - December 18, 1849
The Frankfurt Assembly was the elected assembly created to represent the German states in Frankfurt during the revolutionary period. It contained 586 members of who a majority were middle-class men and was led by the Austrian Archduke John. The assembly went to work to create a constitution for Germany which would provide for civil rights and freedoms and create a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral legislature for all of Germany (excluding Austria) that would be led by the King of Prussia. The Assembly was split between a radical group who wanted to set up a democratic republic and the majority of moderate liberals who wanted a federal constitution that preserved the existing states and provided for a limited monarchy. The constitution was much debated and was not finished until March 1849, and then the offer was given to Frederick William IV to rule the nation. Frederick William IV however brutally rejected the offer in April, saying he would not take the crown made of mud and would only rule with the consent of the other 38 monarchs. The Frankfurt Assembly also failed to support the Germanic uprisings in Denmark in 1848. Prussia attempted to support the people of Schleswig-Holstein but was pressured by Britain and Russia not to. This spelled the end of the Frankfurt Assembly, which was kicked out of Frankfurt in June and moved several locations until its dissolution in December 1849.
Creation of the Prussian Constituent Assembly
May 22, 1848 - December 5, 1848
The Prussian Constituent Assembly was an assembly created out of the March Days that plagued Berlin and resulted in hundreds dead. Frederick William IV agreed to implement liberal reform and grant an assembly that would govern the people. The assembly met for the first time on May 22 and deputies were elected by universal male suffrage. Most of the deputies elected to the Berlin Assembly, called the Prussian National Assembly, were members of the burghers or liberal bureaucracy. They set about the task of writing a constitution "by agreement with the Crown." King Frederick William IV of Prussia unilaterally imposed a monarchist constitution to undercut the democratic forces. This constitution took effect on December 5, 1848. On December 5, 1848, the Berlin Assembly was dissolved and replaced with the bicameral legislature allowed under the monarchist Constitution. This legislature was composed of a Herrenhaus and a Landtag. Otto von Bismarck was elected to the first Landtag elected under the new monarchical constitution.
Creation of the Roman Republic
November 15, 1848 - July 2, 1849
Rioting and protests in Rome forced Pope Pius IX to flee Rome for Gaeta on November 24th. Without a government, Mazzini, Garibaldi, and other liberals flocked to Rome to establish their own nation, the Roman Republic. Elections were held throughout Italy to form a constituent assembly. The Republic was proclaimed on February 9, 1849. After Charles Albert's defeat at Novara in March, the Pope called out to foreign powers for assistance. Louis Napoleon sent in 40,000 troops who besieged Rome and captured it, forcing the Republicans out and the Roman Republic collapsed by July 2nd. Garibaldi fled to San Marino while Mazzini fled to Switzerland. French troops were to remain in Rome until the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.
Reign of Victor Emmanuel II
March 23, 1849 - January 9, 1878
Victor Emmanuel II was the King of Piedmont following Charles Albert's abdication in 1849 and was one of the key figures in the fight for Italian Unification, alongside his Prime Minister Camillo Cavour. Victor Emmanuel II became King of Italy following the Unification of Italy on March 17, 1861, until his death on January 9, 1878.
Ecclesiastical Laws Passed in Piedmont
Ecclesiastical Laws were passed in Piedmont which allowed for all civilians to run for positions in the church and brought the church under the control of the state.
Establishment of the Erfurt Union
March 20, 1850 - November 29, 1850
The Erfurt Union (German: Erfurter Union) was a short-lived union of German states under a Federation, proposed by the Kingdom of Prussia at Erfurt, for which the Erfurt Union Parliament (Erfurter Unionsparlament), lasting from March 20 to April 29, 1850, was opened. The union never came into effect, and seriously undermined in the Punctation of Olmütz (November 29, 1850) under pressure from the Austrian Empire. Elections to the Erfurt parliament, held in January 1850, received very little popular support, or even recognition. Democrats universally boycotted the election, and with electoral participation below fifty percent, Saxony and Hanover exercised their reservation to leave the Alliance of Three Kings. No government, in the end, agreed to the constitution, and even though the document was readily accepted by the Gotha Party (incidentally narrowly defeated in the elections), it never took effect. The Erfurt parliament never materialized. The Erfurt Union was then forced to dissolve by accord of the Punctuation of Olmutz, which was demanded by Austria, restoring the Diet of the German Confederation and cutting down the size and capability of Prussia's military. The Punctuation of Olmutz was a massive blow to the nationalistic and unifying causes of the Germanic states.
Punctuation of Olmutz
November 29, 1850
The Punctation of Olmütz was a treaty between Prussia and Austria, dated 29 November 1850, by which Prussia abandoned the Erfurt Union and accepted the revival of the German Confederation under Austrian leadership. The treaty was the result of a conference held in Olmütz in the Austrian Margraviate of Moravia (now Olomouc, Czech Republic). It is also known as the "humiliation of Olmütz", as the treaty was seen by many as a capitulation of the Prussians to the Austrians. The reason for the treaty was a conflict between Prussia and Austria about the leadership in the German Confederation. The confederation, dominated by Austria, had been dissolved in the Revolutions of 1848 and partially succeeded by the Frankfurt Assembly. After the Frankfurt Assembly failed, Prussia in early 1850 had taken the initiative of the Erfurt Union, a Prussia-led Federation of most German states. In the Punctation, Prussia gave up its claim to the leadership of the German states. At the same time, the German Confederation was restored. Prussia submitted to Austrian leadership of the Confederation, agreed to demobilize; agreed to partake in the intervention of the German Diet in Hesse and Holstein, and renounced any resumption of her union policy (abandoning the idea of the Erfurt Union).
Camillo Cavour Appointed Prime minister of Piedmont
Camillo Cavour is appointed Prime Minister and begins a period of radical reforms in Piedmont that bring in economic prosperity, social reorganization, and reformation of the military. Cavour would become one of the dominant figures in Italian Unification as he attempted to bring the north of Italy under Piedmontese administration through both war and diplomacy.
October 16, 1853 - March 30, 1856
The Crimean War was a war fought between Russia and Britain, France and the Ottomans. The war was caused as a result of Russia's refusal to back down from territorial and naval claims and an unprecedented attack against the Ottoman navy at Synop. The Allied forces besieged Sevastopol and thousands of soldiers died on both sides, with the war ending with an inconclusive victory for the Allies and the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Piedmont joined the Allies only after the two major battles in the war took place, but was granted a seat at the negotiating table in Paris following the war.
Treaty of Paris
March 30, 1856
The Treaty of Paris settled the Crimean War between Russia and an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Britain, France, and Piedmont. The treaty, signed on 30 March 1856 at the Congress of Paris, made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all warships, and prohibited fortifications and the presence of armaments on its shores. The treaty marked a severe setback to Russian influence in the region. Conditions for the return of Sevastopol and other towns and cities in the south of Crimea were clear; "not to establish any naval or military arsenal on the Black Sea coast". The treaty was not effective since war erupted between the Ottomans and Russia a mere 20 years later.
14 January 1858
The Orsini affair was an assassination attempt on Napoleon III, where Count Felice Orsini attempted to blow up Napoleon's carriage outside of the Paris Opera in the name of the Republican cause of Italy. Napoleon III was uninjured but 8 other died and 150+ more were injured. The attempt forced Napoleon III to meet with Cavour a few months later at Plombieres.
Meeting at Plombieres
july 21, 1858
Napoleon III and Cavour met at Plombieres to discuss the potential reshaping of the Italian political map in Piedmont's favor and the mechanics of a Franco-Piedmontese war against Austria. France would provide most of the troops and the peninsula would be divided into four separate states. France would receive Nice and Savoy as compensation for its assistance in the war. Victor Emmanuel II's daughter would also marry Napoleon III's cousin and Rome and the Pope would remain untouched. Napoleon III assisted Piedmont in fear of another assassination attempt, in desire to gain Nice and Savoy and possibly make Piedmont a French client state, to replace Austria as the hegemonic power in the peninsula and to extend the Napoleonic Legend.
Second Italian War of Independence
April 29, 1859 - July 11, 1859
The Second Italian War of Independence was fought between Austria and Piedmont/France over the territories of Lombardy and Venetia. Piedmont mobilized on the Austrian border and when Austria demanded they demobilize, Piedmont refused and Austria declared war on April 29th. The Franco-Piedmontese troops defeat the French at the Battles of Magenta (June 4) and Solferino (June 24), however after seeing the bloodshed caused by the war, Napoleon III signed the Armistice of Villafranca with Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, which gave Lombardy to France, who handed it over to Piedmont shortly after. France did not receive Nice or Savoy, and Venetia was not taken from the Austrians. Infuriating Cavour, he resigned.
Unification of Central Italian States
May 1859 - March 1860
During the Second Italian War of Independence, Tuscany, Parma, Modena, and Romagna all revolted in favor of unifying with Piedmont. Piedmontese troops then occupied these territories and following plebiscites in January, Tuscany and the new state of Emilia-Romagna joined Piedmont in March 1860, significantly enlarging Piedmont. Cavour returns to office by this time seeing an improvement in Piedmont's condition.
Annexation of Nice and Savoy to France
After Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna voted to join Piedmont, Cavour agreed to allow France to annex Nice and Savoy from Piedmont in return for not attacking the recently-expanded nation. Savoy was the cradle of the House of Savoy, to which Piedmont's kings (like Victor Emmanuel II) belonged to and Nice was the hometown of Garibaldi, who was outraged by the French occupation and set out for Sicily to unify Italy entirely.
Garibaldi's Mille Expedition
May 5, 1860 - September 7, 1860
After the annexation of Nice to France, Garibaldi was enraged and attempted to stop the plebiscite from taking place. After failing to do so, a revolt in Sicily in April led Garibaldi to gather men and ammunition to set sail for Sicily. Garibaldi left for Sicily on May 5 with around 1000 other redcoats and landed at Marsala on May 11. Garibaldi then marched onto the Sicilian capital Palermo and fought 25,000 Neapolitan troops until an armistice was reached with the help of a British admiral. Napoleon III opposed Garibaldi's advances but the British came out publicly in support of him. Garibaldi was an ineffective ruler over Sicily and let landlords crush many peasant revolts. Garibaldi crossed the Straits of Messina into the mainland in July and marched onto Naples, which Francis II deserted on September 6 with 4,000 troops. Garibaldi entered Naples on September 7 and proclaimed Naples and Sicily as territories of the Kingdom of Italy.
Piedmontese Invasion of the Papal States and Naples
September 9, 1860 - October 9, 1860
Seeing the success of Garibaldi in Sicily and Naples and fearing an invasion of Rome. Cavour and Victor Emmanuel II set about to protect the Pope and Rome by invading the Papal States and the remainder of unconquered Naples to stop Garibaldi. Papal troops helplessly fought against the Piedmontese but were easily defeated. Victor Emmanuel II then entered Neapolitan territory after occupying most of the Papal States (apart from Rome) and met with Garibaldi at Teano on October 9. Garibaldi bowed down to Victor Emmanuel II and proclaimed him as the first King of Italy. Garibaldi then retired to Caprera, where he lived for the remainder of his life. Garibaldi did, however, attempt to attack Rome twice, in 1862 and 1867, being arrested by Piedmontese troops and stopped by French troops respectively. Eventually, Francis II of Naples surrendered the fortress of Gaeta after several months of siege. All of Italy, apart from Rome and Venetia, was unified.
Reign of William I
January 2, 1861 - March 9, 1888
William, I was the King of Prussia when Bismarck came to power and assisted him in increasing the military budget of Prussia and expanding Prussia's military so that it was able to defeat Denmark, Austria, and France in three different wars. William, I supported Bismarck's policy to the point where he was crowned the first emperor of the German Empire in 1871 with the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. He ruled as Emperor until his death in 1888.
Proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy
March 17, 1861
After the deputies of the First Italian Parliament assembled on February 18 in Turin, the Parliament proclaimed Victor Emmanuel II as the first King of a united Italy and on March 27 Rome was declared the capital of the new kingdom despite not being physically within the kingdom. Cavour died on June 10, 1861, having seen Italy unified under one flag.
Prussian Budget Crisis
William, I inherited a conflict between Frederick William IV and the liberal Landtag. In 1862 the Landtag refused an increase in the military budget needed to pay for the already implemented reform of the army. This involved raising the peacetime army from 150,000 to 200,000 men and boost the annual number of new recruits from 40,000 to 63,000. However, the truly controversial part was the plan to keep the length of military service (raised in 1856 from two years) at three years. When his request, backed by his Minister of War Albrecht von Roon was refused, William first considered abdicating, but his son, the Crown Prince, advised strongly against it. Then, on the advice of Roon, William appointed Otto von Bismarck to the office of Minister President in order to force through the proposals. According to the Prussian constitution, the Minister President was responsible solely to the king, not to the Landtag. Bismarck, a conservative Prussian Junker and loyal friend of the king, liked to see his working relationship with William as that of a vassal to his feudal superior. Nonetheless, it was Bismarck who effectively directed the politics, domestic as well as foreign; on several occasions, he gained William's assent by threatening to resign.
Bismarck is made Minister President Of Prussia
September 23, 1862
King Wilhelm I became King of Prussia and he appointed Otto von Bismarck on 23 September 1862, Minister-President and Foreign Minister, who favored a 'blood-and-iron' policy to create a united Germany under the leadership of Prussia. When William I's request to increase spending on the military, backed by his Minister of War Albrecht von Roon was refused, William first considered abdicating, but his son, the Crown Prince, advised strongly against it. Then, on the advice of Roon, William appointed Otto von Bismarck to the office of Minister President in order to force through the proposals. According to the Prussian constitution, the Minister President was responsible solely to the king, not to the Landtag. Bismarck, a conservative Prussian Junker and loyal friend of the king, liked to see his working relationship with William as that of a vassal to his feudal superior. Nonetheless, it was Bismarck who effectively directed the politics, domestic as well as foreign; on several occasions, he gained William's assent by threatening to resign. Bismarck would remain as Prussia's most influential official up until the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871.
January 22, 1863 - June 18, 1864
The January Uprising/ Polish Revolt was an uprising in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (present-day Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia, parts of Ukraine, and western Russia) against the Russian Empire. It began on 22 January 1863 and lasted until the last insurgents were captured in 1864. The uprising began as a spontaneous protest by young Poles against conscription into the Imperial Russian Army. It was soon joined by high-ranking Polish-Lithuanian officers and various politicians. The insurrectionists, severely outnumbered and lacking serious outside support, were forced to resort to guerrilla warfare tactics. Public executions and deportations to Siberia led many Poles to abandon armed struggle and turn instead to the idea of "organic work": economic and cultural self-improvement. Bismarck offered support to Russia which allowed Prussia to wage war against the neutral, unsupportive Austria in 1866 without fear of Russian interference.
Danish War (Second Schleswig War)
February 1, 1864 - October 30, 1864
The Second Schleswig War was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question. It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig. Denmark fought Prussia and Austria. Like the First Schleswig War (1848–51), it was fought for control of the duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg due to the succession disputes concerning them when the Danish king died without an heir acceptable to the German Confederation. Decisive controversy arose due to the passing of the November Constitution, which integrated the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom in violation of the London Protocol. Reasons for the war were the ethnic controversy in Schleswig and the co-existence of conflicting political systems within the Danish unitary state. The war ended on 30 October 1864, when the Treaty of Vienna caused Denmark's cession of the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Saxe-Lauenburg to Prussia and Austria. The administration of Schleswig and Holstein was highly contested between Austria and Prussia, which was resolved with the Convention of Gastein on August 14, 1865, which gave Schleswig to Prussia and Holstein to Austria. This would be one of the reasons for the Austro-Prussian War in 1866.
Austro-Prussian War (Seven Weeks' War)
June 14, 1866 - August 23, 1866
The Austro-Prussian War or Seven Weeks' War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies on the other, that resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states. This conflict also paralleled the Third Italian War of Independence. Italy and Prussia formed an alliance on April 24 to join forces against Austria should a war break out. Prussia disputed the territories of Holstein and Hesse with Austria and when Prussia did not back down, Austria declared war against Prussia and was swiftly beaten by the much more advanced Prussian military. The major result of the war was a shift in power among the German states away from Austrian and towards Prussian hegemony, and impetus towards the unification of all of the northern German states in a Kleindeutsches Reich that excluded the German Austria. It saw the abolition of the German Confederation and its partial replacement by a North German Confederation that excluded Austria and the other South German states. The war also resulted in the Italian annexation of the Austrian province of Venetia. The Treaty of Prague forced Austria to pay an indemnity to Prussia, give Venetia to Italy, dissolve the German Confederation, remove all Austrian presence from Germany and create the North German Confederation led by Prussia. The war sped up the inevitable decline of Austria which caused the empire to be transformed into the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary in 1867.
Third Italian War of Independence
June 20, 1866 - August 12, 1866
After the signing of an alliance between Prussia and Italy and the onset of the Seven Weeks' War between Prussia and Austria, Italy declared war against Austria and attacked Venetia. Italy lost two battles (Custozza and Lissa) and won one (Bezzecca) but hostilities between the two nations quickly ended on August 12 with the signing of an armistice. Austria agreed to cede Venetia to France at the Treaty of Vienna (October 3) who in turn ceded it to Italy. Only Rome remained outside of Italian control.
July 13, 1870
The Ems telegram was a dispatch released by the German press in regards to the meeting of the French Ambassador and King William I. On 13 July 1870, King Wilhelm I of Prussia, on his morning stroll in the Kurpark in Ems, was stopped by Count Vincent Benedetti, the French ambassador to Prussia since 1864. Benedetti had been instructed by his superior, Foreign Minister Agénor, the Duc de Gramont, to present the French demand that the king should guarantee that he would never again permit the candidacy of a Hohenzollern prince to the Spanish throne. The meeting was informal and took place on the promenade of the Kursaal with the king’s entourage at a discreet distance. Politely, and in a friendly manner, "with the courtesy that never failed him," the king refused to bind himself to any course of action into the indefinite future. After their exchange, "the two departed coolly." From the meeting, the King's secretary Heinrich Abeken wrote an account, which was passed on to Otto von Bismarck in Berlin. Wilhelm described Benedetti as "very importunate." The King gave permission to Bismarck to release an account of the events. Bismarck took it upon himself to edit the report, sharpening the language. He cut out Wilhelm’s conciliatory phrases and emphasized the real issue. The French had made certain demands under threat of war, and Wilhelm had refused them. This was no forgery; it was a clear statement of the facts. Certainly, the edit of the telegram, released on the evening of the same day (13 July) to the media and foreign embassies, gave the impression both that Benedetti was rather more demanding and that the King was exceedingly abrupt. It was designed to give the French the impression that King Wilhelm I had insulted Count Benedetti; likewise, the Germans interpreted the modified dispatch as the Count insulting the King. Bismarck had viewed the worsening relations with France with open satisfaction. If the war had to come, now was as good a time as any. His editing, he assured his friends, "would have the effect of a red rag on the Gallic [French] Bull." The edited telegram was to be presented henceforth as the cause of the war.
July 19, 1870 - May 10, 1871
The Franco-Prussian War was a decisive campaign waged by the Prussians and her allies against the Second French Empire under Napoleon III. The war was a result of French anger over the Ems telegram released by Bismarck, pertaining to the succession crisis in Spain. Prussia was able to defeat France with ease, capturing Napoleon III as a prisoner in the Battle of Sedan (September 1, 1870) and occupying Paris (January 1871). Prussia became Germany following the war and took Alsace-Lorraine from France. French determination to regain Alsace-Lorraine and fear of another Franco-German war, along with British apprehension about the balance of power, became factors in the causes of World War One.
Capture of Rome
September 11, 1870 - September 20, 1870
With the evacuation of the French garrison from Rome due to the Franco-Prussian War broiling, the Italian Army seized the chance to take Rome and crossed the Papal frontier on September 11 and reached Rome by September 19. The Italian Army under General Raffaele Cadorna besieged the city and bombarded its Aurelian Walls until a breach was made and the city was invaded and occupied on September 20. The Pope was imprisoned in the Quirinal Palace until he agreed to move to the Vatican, where he remained opposed to the actions of the Italian state. Rome was made the capital shortly afterward and the unification of Italy was complete.
Bismarck as First Chancellor of Germany
January 18, 1871 - March 20, 1890
Otto von Bismarck would continue to be the most important official in Germany, creating her domestic and foreign policy for three decades and maintaining her desire for peace and stability, as well as nationalism and economic growth. Bismarck was able to skillfully do this through his use of realpolitik, preventing a two-front war against Germany and securing colonies abroad for her. Bismarck had this policy in effect until his dismissal On March 20, 1890.
Proclamation of the German Empire
January 18, 1871
The German Empire is proclaimed at Versailles, with William I as the first emperor. This marks the beginning of the expansionist German Empire which would go on to gain colonies around the world and expand its military and navy up until the outbreak of World War One.
Treaty of Frankfurt
May 10, 1871
The Treaty of Frankfurt was a treaty signed between the victorious German Empire and the defeat French Third Republic that gave Germany the territories of Alsace and Lorraine from France, as well as demanding a large war indemnity and the occupation of certain areas of France until the indemnity was paid off (which it was, quickly). France also had to recognize the ascent of William I to the throne of the German Empire. The Treaty resulted in immense hatred of the Germans from the French and a revengeful desire to return back the lost territories.
Creation of the League of Three Emperors
October 22, 1873
The League of the Three Emperors was an uncertain understanding by which Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia agreed to peaceably settle differences in the Near East to uphold monarchical solidarity in the face of republicanism and socialism. Austria-Hungary and Russia could neutralize their rivalry by an agreement establishing respective spheres of influence in the Balkans. Germany could remain diplomatically apart from the two hostile empires and promote isolation of the French Republic. The dissolution of this alliance pushed Russia closer to France diplomatically as both countries increasingly opposed Germany, which would later reduce Germany in the outbreak of WWI.
Emergence of the Theory of Social Darwinism
Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution was adopted to apply to humans. Many nations and ethnic groups were seen as weak or not as developed, which led to the belief that they deserved to be conquered. This idea was legitimized by the scientific views apparent at the time. Linguistic or bodily characteristics were used to identify and eliminate the inferior. This changed war from being about gaining the power to the extermination of the other, as shown through the Armenian Genocide. The idea also furthered nationalism as many countries believed themselves to be the fittest and wished to prove so through war.
Death of Pope Pius IX
February 7, 1878
Pope Pius IX died in the Vatican, having seen the loss of the temporal powers of the Church in Italy and the disappearance of the Papal States from the map. He was buried on July 13, 1881.
Creation of the Triple Alliance
May 20, 1882
The Triple Alliance was a secret agreement between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. It declared that Italy and Germany would protect each other against France (Austria-Hungary would also aid Germany) if either is attacked. Also, Italy was to remain neutral if war between Russia and Austria-Hungary broke out. Bismarck wanted to prevent a two-front war and Italy, displeased by France claiming their “colony” overseas, wanted support if faced with conflict. The alliance was rationalized as a defense against foreign aggression. Due to the alliance, Germany was obligated by Austria-Hungary to declare war against Russia when they mobilized to defend Serbia. This caused the war to begin as many countries began to come to the defense of their allies.
Development of the Machine Gun
The machine gun developed to be an automatic gun that fired bullets in rapid succession designed to achieve mass killing across vast distances with ease, requiring little manpower. Killing scores of advancing infantry from a distance allowed the soldiers to avoid seeing the ramifications of their actions, letting the soldiers kill with anonymity and ease. Whereas wars used to be about occupying land and going to fight in the open, it became about taking cover to survive by digging trenches. There was a shift to fighting a defensive war rather than an offensive war.
November 15, 1884
This was a conference held to regulate European colonization and trade in Africa. It was done to establish effective communication to limit further conflict and to gain power and colonies faster. For public approval, the conference decided to end slavery by African and Islamic powers. The Berlin Conference led to countries building up their armies to defend against those who would undermine the conference and set the stage for alliances to be made. Resentment between others was increased. Many disliked effective occupation over a sphere of influence since legal right could not be claimed unless strong political control was displayed. This allowed for others to claim wanted land.
The Dismissal of Otto von Bismarck
March 20, 1890
Shortly after becoming Kaiser, Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck, as he sought to build a legacy outside of Bismarck’s shadow and viewed Bismarck as an icon of Germany’s past, not its future. Bismarck had kept France politically isolated, but his replacements sought a simpler foreign policy; refusing to renew the Reinsurance Treaty, thus alienating Russia, and aggressively pursuing colonial interests, estranging Britain. As a result, France, Britain, and Russia drew closer together; Germany faced a potential multi-front war and France became brasher. Germany had to serve Austria-Hungary’s interests or risk losing another ally. Conflict in the Balkans was heightened, as Germany could no longer effectively work out a compromise between Austria-Hungary and Russia.