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Memoria e Ricerca

Monarchy and Nation in Germany (1848-1914)

di Volker Sellin
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 42 (2013), p. 33

During the revolution of 1848 the Frankfurt national assembly failed in their attempt to create a German national state by reconciling the existing monarchies with popular sovereignty. When in 1871 the unification of Germany was accomplished under Prussian leadership, the monarchical principle was respected. The preservation of the monarchies, however, had made the exclusion of the multi-national Austrian empire and of the Austrian Germans from the process of German national unification inevitable, since Austria refused to accept division into a German and a non-German part, connected by personal union only. Ideologically, the new Reich was styled as a restoration of the Holy Roman Empire, regardless of the fact that it was national and not universal and that the Hohenzollern dynasty of Prussia was protestant and not catholic. While monarchy in Germany was increasingly identified with the national emperor alone, the visibility and political importance of the other German princes declined. Key words: German unification, Frankfurt national assembly, monarchical principle, German empire of 1871, Austrian question, national and monarchical monuments