Germany 1848-90 Essay

681 Words3 Pages
Why did the Frankfurt Parliament fail to achieve greater German unity? The Frankfurt Parliament was harshly criticized particularly by Marxists who mostly wanted to emphasize internal weaknesses. Engels even called it ‘an assembly of old women’ because all they did was discuss and waste time. However, modern historians place the blame more on external factors such as the role of Austria and Prussia. Firstly there was lack of mass support since the Frankfurt Parliament was mostly made out of middle class people, with only one peasant and no workers. Therefore this overwhelming majority did not represent the people who were about 70% peasants. According thus to the demographics a revolution would fail because it would lack manpower, and instead of asking help from the peasants, the revolutionaries preferred to ask help from the rulers. Frankfurt Parliament has also been accused of wasting valuable time. Marxists argue that if the Parliamentarians, who were neither extreme nor violent, had taken faster action, Wilhelm IV and the other rulers would be unable to refuse the new state and its constitution. They wasted six months discussing the fundamental rights of the people in the new state and therefore failed to fill the power vacuum in Germany in 1849. There were also divisions within the parliament regarding the territorial extent of the new Germany, the Kleindeutschland or the Grossdeutschland solution. The Kleindeutschland ("Smaller German Solution") aimed for a Germany under the leadership of Prussia and excluding imperial Austria, so as to avoid becoming embroiled in the problems of that multi-cultural state. The supporters of the Grossdeutschland ("Greater German Solution"), however, supported Austria's incorporation. In reality though, even if the Parliament had worked faster it would’ve been put down since it had no way of imposing its decisions as it had no

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