The liberals of Germany had tried their best in 1848 and 1849 to achieve the national unity. They compelled the King of Prussia and other states to accept liberal constitution. The King of Prussia also promised to lead the movement for the unification of Germany.
The Parliament, whose members were elected on the basis of universal adult franchise, met at Frankfort in order to draw up a constitution for the new Germany.
The Parliament offered the imperial crown of new Germany to the King of Prussia, but he rejected the offer.
Consequently, the Parliament collapsed and it was a bitter disappointment to the liberals. Prussia and other states of Germany were again included in the old confederation.
In spite of the failure of the patriots of Germany their efforts cannot be termed as utter failure.
Owing to the events which occurred between 1815 and 1848, some facts came to light and much confusion was removed. After 1848, the patriots of Germany arrived at the following conclusions:
(i) Austria was the bitter enemy of the unity of Germany. The unification of Germany could not be completed without driving Austria out of Germany.
(ii) It was only Prussia which could lead the national movement of Germany. Prussia was an ideal state of Germany. The establishment of Zollverein helped this state in increasing its influence over the German states.
In addition to the above, in the wake of the Industrial Revolution German unity became inevitable. In the words of David Thomson:
“During the 1860’s various all-German associations were formed to push this trend of economic unification still further.
At a political level, the Deutscher Nationalverein of 1859 sought to unite liberal; and democrats of all states into a national movement behind Prussian leadership. It was supported by important financiers and industrialists.
The growing class of entrepreneurs gave to this new drive for national unification a social backing that previous movement had lacked.”