Why did the German  Revolution of 1848 fail?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are three main reasons why the German Revolution of 1848 failed.

  1. The people at the Frankfurt Assembly did not really represent the full spectrum of people who wanted change.  The delegates to the assembly were all moderate, middle class liberals.  This meant that they did not represent the poorer, more radical people who had been behind many of the protests against the king.  This weakened the assemblies bargaining position, making the king less likely to accept their proposals.
  2. The people at the Frankfurt Assembly were not united.  Most importantly, they disagreed as to what countries should be included in the new, unified, Germany that they were proposing.  This, too, weakened them.
  3. By the end of the Frankfurt Assembly, King Frederick William IV of Prussia was in a much stronger position.  He had been weakened by protests in Prussia and had promised to grant a constitution to his people.  By the time the Assembly ended, however, he had used military power to suppress radicals and was feeling more confident.  In addition, he was strengthened because there was some degree of backlash against revolutions in general on the part of many of the people.

These three factors contributed to the failure of the German Revolution of 1848.


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