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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Tyler

Part 4 of the German Story: From an Old to a Modern Europe

The story begins with the Napoleonic Wars and the humiliating defeat of Prussia by France at the Battle of Jena in 1806. It continues with Napoleon's reorganisation of the German Lands. He established The Confederation of The Rhine, which expanded far beyond the Rhine, and he destroyed the old Holy Roman Empire. Prussia remained outside The Confederation and played a major role in the ultimate defeat of Napoleon, firstly at Battle of Leipzig in 1813, and then at Waterloo in 1815. But if Napoleon was defeated, his ideas lived on. He had lit the fire of German nationalism.

That fire burst forth in The European Year of Revolutions in 1848. Although at The Congress held at Vienna, the Anciens Regimes across Europe sought to return the continent to a pre 1789 world, they were fighting against what is now seen as progress. The situation exploded across much of Europe, not least in Germany, in 1848.

That Revolution failed, but not before it placed a marker on the road to a unified Germany- even if that was not to be a fully democratic Germany.

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