The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History since 1815

By A. J. P. Taylor | Go to book overview

3

THE GERMAN CONFEDERATION: THE YEARS OF AUSTRO-PRUSSIAN PARTNERSHIP, 1815-48

In 1815 the victorious Allies, meeting at the Congress of Vienna, gave Germany a new political form: but they could not treat Germany as a clean slate. The war against Napoleon had been fought in the name of the independence of the European states; and the princes of Germany had as much right to exist as any other. They were, no doubt, the creation of Napoleon, but they had been accepted as allies, and their existence was an accomplished fact. There was little territorial shuffling within Germany in 1815; the great remodelling had been done in 1803. The King of Saxony lost nearly half his kingdom, as a penalty for having delayed too long his change of sides; and the kingdom of Westphalia, a Napoleonic appanage, was broken up - some of it restored to the King of Hanover (who was also King of England), the rest allotted to Prussia.

The one serious territorial problem was that of the lands on the left bank of the Rhine which had been part of France for the preceding twenty years and, before that, a tangle of ecclesiastical states. A secular

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