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1.A. Confederation or Nation-State?
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1. Government and Administration   |   1.A. Confederation or Nation-State?   |   1.B. Authoritarian or Parliamentary/Constitutional Rule?   |   1.C. Emancipation of the Jews   |   2. Parties and Organizations   |   3. Military and War   |   4. Economy and Labor   |   5. Nature and Environment   |   6. Gender, Family, and Generation   |   7. Region, City, Countryside   |   8. Religion   |   9. Literature, Art, Music   |   10. Elite and Popular Culture   |   11. Science and Education

Johann August Wirth (1789-1848), journalist and political activist, was also a proponent of a united German nation-state. His speech, given before the 30,000 participants of the Hambach Festival of May 1832, a mass oppositional political demonstration, called, as Arndt's poem did, for a German nation-state and denounced Germany's princes and their confederation. While Arndt's German nationalism was based on national hatreds, Wirth imagined a German nationalism that would cooperate with other nationalist movements in opposing authoritarian rule throughout Europe.

As with the two previous documents, the article "Germany's Unification" from the Düsseldorfer Zeitung of September 3, 1843, criticized the existing German Confederation, but its call for a united German nation-state emphasized other, more economic, issues that would become increasingly important to nationalists as the nineteenth century proceeded.

The first actual attempts to create a German nation-state, as opposed to writing poems about it, occurred during the revolution of 1848-49. A crucial problem that emerged during these efforts, and helped ensure their failure, was whether a German nation-state should include the German-speaking inhabitants of the Austrian Empire. These individuals had always been regarded as part of Germany (as can be seen from the three previous documents); the royal dynasty of the Habsburgs, who ruled Austria, had been the head of the old Holy Roman Empire and presided over the German Confederation. Some 80 percent of the Habsburgs' subjects were not Germans, though, but Magyars, Poles, Italians, Romanians, and members of different Slavic nationalities. Were the whole Austrian Empire to be part of a united German realm, then that realm would not be a German nation-state; were only the Germans of the Austrian Empire to be part of a united Germany, then the Austrian Empire would cease to exist.

One solution, first tried in 1849, was the creation of a "small Germany," a united German nation-state excluding the Germans of the Austrian Empire. With the exclusion of Austria, such a small Germany would have been dominated by the other Central European Great Power, the Kingdom of Prussia. The National Association, founded in 1859, pressed for such a little Germany. Its founding document, the Eisenach Declaration of August 1859, and the group's declaration on a German constitution of September 1860, both implied that a small German nation-state was only possible if the Kingdom of Prussia was led by a liberal, reforming government.

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