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For a long period, German states were victims of foreign domination, under Napoleon Bonaparte, the German states were grouped together to form the Rhine confederation, which was put under French control. After the downfall of Napoleon, the German states were again grouped together to form the German confederation, which was put under Austrian control.

Between 1815 and 1848, the forces of nationalism became very strong and the Germans began demanding for a united and a free Germany, but with little success because of the following obstacles as:-

(a) Disunity at the Frankfort parliament; The members of the parliament lacked a common plan; the nationalists wanted a united and free Germany, while the liberals wanted a democratic and a constitutional government. There were also divisions based on religion, whereby the Catholics wanted Austrian leadership to remain and the Protestants (Anglicans) wanted a united Republic.

(b) Austrian Military might; The Austrians had a well trained, equipped and a large army contrary to the Germans who lacked a strong and an organized army thus without it, they found it difficult to defeat the Austrians, so as to regain their independence.

(c) Lack of a sound economy; German states depended on agriculture as the basis of their economy. Transport and communication were not yet well developed, hence without a sound economic base; the Germans could not strengthen their military power and mobilize the local population against the Austrians.

(d) Lack of able leadership;The revolution in PRUSSIA lacked a strong and able leadership against Austria domination. King Fredrick William IV of Prussia would have led the revolution but he was opposed to liberalism, thus without a capable and able leadership, the nationalists movements failed to achieve their objectives by 1849.

(e) Foreign intervention of Russia; Czar Nicholas I was opposed to liberal movements both in Russia and its neighbours. He had used the militaryto crash liberal movements in Russia. It was therefore not a surprise that the establishment of a liberal government in Germans would face opposition from Russia, indeed in 1849; Russia sent her troops to crash liberal movements in Germany. Despite all their problems, German unification was attained in 1871 and the German empire was proclaimed at Versailles.

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