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Type: Thesis
Title: The Kingdom of Württemberg and the making of Germany, 1815-1871.
Author: Ashton, Bodie Alexander
Issue Date: 2014
School/Discipline: School of History and Politics
Abstract: THE TRADITIONAL DISCOURSE of the German unification maintains that it was the German great powers - Austria and Prussia - that controlled German destiny, yet for much of this period Germany was divided into some thirty-eight states, each of which possessed their own institutions and traditions. In explaining the formation of Germany, the orthodox view holds that these so-called Mittel- and Kleinstaaten existed largely at the whim of either Vienna or Berlin, and their policies, in turn, were dictated or shaped by these two power centres. According to this reading of German history, a bipolar sociopolitical structure existed, whereby the Mittelstaaten would declare their allegiances to either the Habsburg or Hohenzollern crowns. The present work rejects this model of German history, through the use of the case study of the southwestern Kingdom of Württemberg. It demonstrates that Württemberg’s state government was dynamic and fully in control of its own policy-making throughout most of the nineteenth century. While it did often align itself with Vienna, it did so for pragmatic reasons of self interest; sometimes, it would forsake that alignment in favour of ties with Prussia, or its neighbouring Mittelstaaten, or even France, if it felt that such ties were in the state’s best interests. Keenly involved in the national question, successive governments and monarchs in Stuttgart manoeuvred the country so as to gain the greatest advantage. These manoeuvres included decades-long attempts by Stuttgart, in conjunction with state ministers in Munich, Karlsruhe, Darmstadt, and sometimes Dresden, Kassel, and Hanover, to unite the smaller German states to form a southern ‘bloc’ (the so-called ‘Third Germany’) against the aspirations of Austrian or Prussian hegemony in the German hinterland. This thesis demonstrates that the shape of German unification was not inevitable, and was in fact to a great extent driven by the particularist desires of the Mittelstaaten, rather than the great powers. The eventual Reichsgründung of January 1871 was merely the final step in a long series of negotiations, diplomatic manoeuvres, and subterfuge, with Württemberg playing a vital, regional role.
Advisor: Zuckerman, Fredric Scott
Prior, Robin Geoffrey
Pritchard, Gareth
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of History and Politics, 2014
Keywords: Württemberg; Germany; nationalism
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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