Explain why a nationalist movement came into existence in Germany by 1848





Each separate state in the Germanic Confederation (GC) was run, basically, within itself. The royal leader was often in interaction with other state officials, but before the industrial revolution really hit the GC there lacked the cheapness of transport and ease of transport between the separate states, especially as these were often separated by big natural obstacles such as marsh land and rivers. As well as this there were differences in culture, different weight measurements and different dialect, and apart from anything else in the harsh lifestyle of a serf there simply wasn’t the time to travel to see friends, or see different customs. So why did a nationalist movement which strongly supported the idea of a united Germany come about?


There were many good reasons for this. First and foremost was the industrial revolution that hit the GC. This allowed the advent of a class system, and more people had the chance to travel, whether in work or in leisure, which was now a factor in some Germans lives. As they traveled between states, they realized the amount of similarities there actually were between the Germanic people, and the sense of pride they had before for their state grew outwards to envelop the whole of the GC. Along with the industrial revolution came a surplus production, and therefore the need for an external market; the other Germanic states were ideal, and conveniently the advent of railways came at the same time. These all allowed a much more interlinked GC, with people relying on people from other states for their livelihood, and so relationships began to develop between states. The industrial revolution also saw the printing press come in to culture, and a national press that spanned across the German Confederation meant that all Germanic people were hearing the same news, and following the same propaganda. With the abolition of trade borders, many people could no longer see the problem with abolishing political borders as well, and uniting the separate states. Finally, the Napoleonic wars had taken 23 years to finish, most people recognized that a united Germany would be far stronger than the divided Germany they had. With the combined powers of states like Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony and Austria a new ‘Germany’ would be a new force to be reckoned with, both militarily and industrially. Across the country people called out for the unification of the German Confederation; Nationalism.