Sunday, September 9, 2012

Possibility of a Civil War in Germany

From the foreign papers it appears that the condition of affairs throughout the great Germanic Confederation, is, in many respects similar to that which existed here previous to the first act of Secession by a southern State.  The Confederation, which has a common Diet or Assembly, has heretofore consisted of the greater Teutonic Powers – Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Baden Baden, and some thirty-two inferior Dukedoms and Electorates – all, of course, monarchical in their form of government, and therefore, differing materially from the American States, but all represented in the Central Legislature, and all in some degree constitutional since 1849, and far more independent than the members of this Confederacy – each and all being free to make peace or war, within certain limits, uncontrolled by the Sister States.

This Band or League did not include other than the German possessions of Austria, and hence it was that in her struggles with the Hungarian and Italian rebellions, the latter Power has stood alone.  The frantic efforts made by the Viennese Cabinet to involve Prussia and all Germany in an alliance with her against Napoleon and Victor Emanuel during the recent memorable conflict in Northern Italy, must still dwell in the recollection of every reader.  Now Prussia and the group of states near to her have lately been distinguished from Austria and her Allies in Southern Germany, by progressive views and rapid improvements in consonance with the spirit of the age.  This advance has awakened the jealous apprehensions of all reactionary cabinets adhering to the old so-called “Wurzburg” Alliance and adroitly and secretly winning Saxony over to her views, Austria has put forward that power in the person of her minister of Foreign Affairs, Baron Von Buest, as a catspaw to propose the reconstruction of the Confederation in such a shape as to admit all of the Austrian Empire into it.  This proposition had already been ripened and approved by the Wurzburg Confederates, before Prussia was informed of it.  Then, suddenly, notes identical in meaning were sent in to her by Austria and all her accomplices proposing the new form, and inviting Prussia to join them, i. e., treating her as though she and her adherents, Baden, Saxe, Coburg, and a few other smaller States were out of the Confederation, or had seceded from it.  To yield would have been to recognize the supremacy of Austria, which will have a majority in the New Diet – to remain out is to invite the hostility of the coalition.  Hence the crisis!  Prussia, with dignity, declines the recognition of this new Wurzburg scheme, and is now menaced on all sides by the adherents of Austria.  The National Verein, an organization of the people extending throughout Germany, calls upon the Prussian King to throw himself into the arms of the progressive party, who have gained substantial victories in the elections and in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies.  As it was, civil war impends; but if Prussia goes with the Verein, the next steamer may bring us news of a Revolution. –{New York Sun.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 22, 1862, p. 3

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