Introduction To The German Revolution History Essay

Introduction to The German revolution of 1848/49 had a great impact on national-liberal and societal motions within the German people. Although the revolution can be considered as failed, one should non bury about the people who fought for freedom, fusion and societal security. There are several celebrated combatants, but the existent battle was fought in the towns and metropoliss by people who are rather unknown to most of the people.

One of them was Johann Gottfried Kinkel. He was born on August 11th 1815 in Bonn – Oberkassel, the town I live in. He died on November 13th 1882 in Z’rich ( Switzerland ) .

After he had studied divinity, he became more and more interested in political relations, which in the terminal culminated in his battle for these ideals in the revolution. He was one of several others ( for illustration Carl Schurz and Ernst-Moritz Arndt ) who became celebrated in Bonn and its milieus for their extraordinary committedness during that clip.

Therefore, Kinkel is one of the most of import work forces who lived and worked here in Bonn. In Oberkassel, there is even a primary school named after him, which I attended several old ages ago, and a commemoration is still reminding the people non to bury about him. He shaped the heads of people in Bonn and mobilized them non to accept societal depression but to stand up for their ideals.

In the clip of the revolution, the German people showed their desire for a united Germany with a social-minded society. That revolution, although it failed, can be seen as a strong pursuit for national individuality and societal security.

And in the terminal, that revolution united the German people, although non right off but subsequently on, by reminding the people of what had happened.

Gottfried Kinkel is reasonably celebrated here in Bonn, but most of the people merely retrieve his name. No 1 truly knows about the things he truly did. Therefore, I want to look into that farther. What did he truly make? What were his political positions? Did he accomplish anything? Can he be seen as a symbol for local opposition against governmental subjugation? And what can we larn from him for our life-time and future coevalss?

Therefore, I want to reply the research inquiry ‘What was the function of Gottfried Kinkel in the German revolution of 1848/1849? ‘ .

General information on my proceeding and my beginnings

In the undermentioned essay, I will analyze Gottfried Kinkel ‘s function in the revolution of 1848/49. First of wholly, it is really of import that the reader gets to cognize what Kinkel did in the old ages 1848 and 1849, because that is the clip when he was largely politically active. After that, I will contemplate and reconsider these actions critically, whether they were necessary or non and whether he achieved any of his ends. Furthermore, one needs to understand the political orientation of Kinkel and what he was convinced of.

In the undermentioned, I used several different beginnings to look into the facts and to back up my point of position. I think that these beginnings are dependable: Prof. Dr. R’sch studied Gottfried Kinkel for a long clip, so he is really familiar with this subject. Furthermore, Dr. R’sch ‘s surveies are based largely on primary beginnings. However, there were some things incorrect, but they do non slake my trust in this beginning, because they do non play an of import function in my overall feeling. I was even able to interview him. The other beginnings are dependable as good, because frequently, they merely contain facts of the clip or they are primary beginnings. I tried to utilize beginnings which are non truly dependable merely in order to acquire a good overview over the subject and to obtain relevant links and of import literature.

What did Gottfried Kinkel do in these old ages?

In the undermentioned, I will analyze his actions in these old ages and justice whether his actions were successful or non. Each of these activities played an of import function and influenced his head, the manner other people thought about him and the manner in which some people are still retrieving him.


Kinkel started his political calling by establishing the Maik’ferbund ( engl: May overhang group ) together with his married woman Johanna in 1840. It was a group of poets and immature writers, who met, discussed and published intelligence about their Acts of the Apostless. Although that group merely existed until 1847, Kinkel began to develop political thoughts in his verse form. The group besides distributed a magazine, the Maik’fer ( engl: the may overhang ) . Its caption is magazine for non- anti-intellectuals That name is evidently an allusion to the more affluent categories, so one can see that Kinkel began to develop thoughts against the taking societal categories.

Bonner Zeitung

Furthermore, Kinkel ‘s attempt in Bonner Zeitung was one of the most of import things he did in his political calling. Kinkel became the editor of that newspaper on August 6th 1848. In that newspaper, he published articles which include democratic and broad thoughts, in order to beef up the lower category in Bonn ‘s milieus and in order to promote the thought of a united Germany and a socialist democracy. Kinkel called the newspaper ‘the realisation of democracy ‘ . The newspaper was besides non directed to the aristocracy, but to the center and lower category of Bonn ‘s society. In his articles, he protested against the monarchy really openly. He did non conceal his thoughts in verse forms and wordss as he did earlier, but he named the jobs and demanded a proper solution. By redacting that newspaper, Kinkel was able to act upon the heads of the people in and around Bonn. Therefore, I think, the Bonner Zeitung can be seen as a communicating medium.


The Neue Bonner Zeitung besides had a hebdomadal insert called Spartacus. That insert was edited by Kinkel every bit good. It was particularly directed to the people who were interested in what he did and who supported the thought of a socialist democracy. Indeed, he published rather extremist thoughts in that insert. For illustration, he appealed for tax-refusal. This, as Kinkel thought, would take to national bankruptcy, which would pave that manner for a new German democracy. In the entreaty for that tax-refusal in one of the inserts, he argues that this manner would be legitimate because the people do non necessitate force but a political overthrow of the Prussian province would be still possible.

Democratic nine

The foundation of a ‘democratic nine ‘ is another of import portion in Kinkel ‘s radical activities. He founded that political party together with Carl Schurz and several others, but Schurz stated that he was ‘the recognized leader ‘ . That democratic nine combined all the like-minded people who supported democracy. Kinkel besides frequently went to the milieus of Bonn, where people of his mark group ( craft- and countrymen ) were largely populating. He used these visits to distribute his thoughts among the people. One can besides see that democratic nine as the foundation of a footing of democracy. Indeed, he established a footing ulterior coevalss could construct on. Prof. Dr. G’nter Wollstein says that the revolution of 1848/49 did non neglect at all, but that it enabled the political parties to ‘rest in a standby place ‘ . That facet can besides be found in Kinkel ‘s democratic nine: He placed the democratic thought in the caputs of the people in and around Bonn.

Craftsmen-education nine

Kinkel besides founded a ‘Craftsmen-education nine ‘ to back up these people. His thought was to stand for the involvements of the craftsmen and to assist them out of their bad ( material and rational ) place.

Deputy in the Prussian Landtag

However, Kinkel ‘s committedness such as in the democratic nine, Bonner Zeitung and the craftsmen-education nine paid off:

In the election to the 2nd chamber of the Prussian Landtag on Jan. 24th 1849, Kinkel and his protagonists won surprisingly, which shows the great desire of the people for political engagement. An article in Neue Bonner Zeitung says that ‘every ballot, which falls into the ballot box for democracy, is a suspiration for the new German democracy ‘ , which shows how the socialists dealt with this election.

Kinkel became the deputy of Bonn in the Prussian Landtag. He became celebrated for his endowment of giving good argumentative addresss. In that assembly, Kinkel had an statement with Otto von Bismarck. At the clip of the assembly, Bismarck was a normal deputy. In one of his addresss, he claimed that there were merely two rules of province ( the monarchy and the ‘barricade ‘ ) which could non be combined and that a battle had to be fought about which rule would predominate in the terminal. Kinkel replied that if there had to be a battle, they ( Kinkel and his protagonists ) would utilize ‘the spirit, the hungriness, the affliction, the labor, and the choler of the people ‘ One can reason that he did non really average existent force, but to my head, he meant that they would meet the Prussian military with the ‘anger of the people ‘ , so that they would utilize force in order to win that ‘decisive conflict ‘ . It is obvious that Kinkel had become one of the extremist collectivists.

Although Kinkel was elected and participated in the Prussian Landtag, he did non accomplish and make any of his political ends. During the clip Kinkel was in Berlin, the national assembly in Frankfurt offered the imperial Crown to King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who refused to take it and dissolved the Prussian Landtag in Berlin. Therefore, Kinkel returned to Bonn.

Revolutionary activities in Bonn

Kinkel recognized that there were battles fought in several parts of Germany. Kinkel and his protagonists wanted to move, and hence, they planned to assail the armory in Siegburg. The onslaught was supped to take topographic point on May 10th. In Siegburg, they wanted to utilize the arms and to back up the battles in Elberfeld. But alternatively of the mass that they expected, there were merely about 120 protagonists present. Still, they tried to set their program into action, but it failed. On the manner to the armory, soldiers arrested some of them. The group had been betrayed by an unknown individual.

Escape and apprehension

In the followers, Kinkel realized that his radical actions in Bonn could non be continued. Therefore, he fled to the Rhenish Palatinate. There, he worked as a secretary and as a imperativeness head for the provisory radical authorities. But on June 14th 1849, Prussian military personnels occupied the Palatinate and the revolutionists had to fly to Baden, which was the last and merely country where still some people were contending for the revolution. Kinkel worked as a soldier in the radical ground forces, which was led among others by Friedrich Engels. In a missive to his married woman, Kinkel claimed that there were a batch of people contending who belonged to the fourth category, to the labor, and that this category was still strong and brave. Friedrich Engels, stated that Kinkel showed extraordinary dedication to the battles. But on June 29th in 1849, Gottfried Kinkel got hurt and was eventually arrested by the Prussian military personnels.

In the terminal, Kinkel went on test. In the address he made to and to salvage himself from the decease punishment, he recanted parts of his positions. That address likely prevented him from the decease punishment ; he was merely sentenced to life imprisonment. At that point, Kinkel ‘s committedness in the revolution of 1848/49 ended.

Reasoning, one can state that Kinkel ‘s committedness in the revolution is based in his socialist position. He demanded a German revolution, performed by the lower categories, and that there would be a socialistic German democracy in the terminal, which would better the life conditions of the lower categories. During the clip of the revolution, he organized several things to make these ends: He edited a newspaper with a hebdomadal insert to print his thoughts among the people. Furthermore, he tried to recognize these thoughts by establishing a democratic party, the ‘democratic nine ‘ , which spreaded the democratic thought among the people. Bonn ‘s population elected him into Prussian Landtag, where he had an statement with Otto von Bismarck. Subsequently, he returned to Bonn, because the King disbanded the parliament. In Bonn, he organized several radical activities, but in the terminal, he was arrested by the Prussian ground forces and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Was it worth the attempt?

But was his battle during that clip worth the attempt, or was it merely ‘hot air ‘ ? And eventually, what can we larn from him for our life-time and hereafter?

Political accomplishments

First of all, one has to state that he did non make any political end.

If he had reached anything of what he planned, that surely would hold changed German history wholly. But to my head, he was unable to recognize his thoughts because the incidents during that clip prevented him from making so. If the national assembly in Frankfurt would non hold failed, that would hold had a great impact on the broad and democratic thoughts in Germany, and Kinkel possibly would hold been able to recognize the things he wanted. He did manner more than others, and he stood up for his ideals and thoughts. Gottfried Kinkel possibly even achieved things which were non that obvious at first but nevertheless utile in the long tally, even until today:

He imprinted the thought of democracy on the Germans ‘ heads. That already started with the people who supported him during his life-time and particularly in the yearss of the revolution of 1848/49. These people became convinced by Kinkel that democracy was necessary and that one should non accept the moral and mercenary suppression by sovereign and the aristocracy. Nevertheless, in his address he made in forepart of the tribunal, Kinkel himself admitted that his activities failed. He could non cognize that his activities would be remembered one twenty-four hours and that his thoughts would of all time be taken earnestly. Furthermore, he could non believe that these thoughts would of all time be realized.

But they have been realized. For illustration, one can state that the fundamental law of 1849 was sort of the base of the fundamental law of the Federal Republic of Germany which had been set up in 1949.

Gottfried Kinkel ‘s political orientation

In the undermentioned, I want to look into Gottfried Kinkels development in his political orientation, because now, we know what he did during the relevant old ages.

Gottfried Kinkel was the boy of a Protestant reverend of the local church. His male parent was rather conservative and strongly believed in governments. That belief was based on his spiritual political orientation, which says that there is a higher power which is necessary to steer the people. Gottfried was raised in that political orientation, so it is no admiration that he studied divinity and became a professor at Bonn University. Therefore, in his first 30 old ages, Kinkel believed in a male monarch by the Grace of God, and joined the enthusiasm which came up when Frederik William IV became Prussian King.

But his height and strong beliefs changed in the undermentioned old ages: He married Johanna Mockel on May 22nd 1843, which resulted in a interruption with his faith and the church. Kinkel besides developed constitutional thoughts, so that there would still be a male monarch, but a sovereign controlled by a parliament, which would be elected by the German people. That demand becomes seeable in the address he gave on March 20th in 1848. In that address, he proclaimed that the promised reforms would liberate the people and would unify the German provinces. We can see that Kinkel was foremost of all a Democrat who demanded a democratic province in which the people could act upon the political personal businesss, including a fundamental law. Furthermore, he demanded a incorporate German national province, so he shared broad thoughts every bit good.

That same twelvemonth, Kinkel began to demand more than merely a fundamental law. He asked for a democratic democracy. The ‘social inquiry ‘ dramas an of import function here every bit good. During the clip Kinkel and Schurz began to develop the democratic thoughts, they besides began to inquire for reforms for the lower categories such as the craftsmen and countrymen. That becomes seeable in the articles he wrote for Bonner Zeitung: He asked for instruction of the lower categories, alterations in the tax-policy, vocational and agribusiness schools, betterments in the banking system, alterations in the statute law in order to protect the people from indigence and a sort of disablement insurance. These demands were rather progressive ; some of them are still discussed in today ‘s political relations.

To accomplish these ends, to underscore and to stress his demands, Kinkel became positive that force might be necessary. In a address he published in his newspaper, he talked of a ‘fight of rules ‘ stating that this ‘fight is non a political one, but a societal 1 ‘ . In the same article, he stated that ‘the choler of the people will be inflamed to go a enormous and higher blazing ‘ . Furthermore, in an statement with Otto von Bismarck, Kinkel mentioned a ‘decisive conflict ‘ which had to be fought. One can see in these quotation marks that he really tolerated force, which can besides be seen subsequently on in the assault on the armory in Siegburg.

We can see that Kinkel did non merely alteration from a constitutionalist into a broad and a Democrat, but he besides became extremist. To his head, a 2nd revolution ( a revolution after the neglecting one in 1848/49 ) was needed. Therefore, it is obvious that his strong belief and sentiment of a German revolution changed with the clip every bit good. Because of that, he was frequently in an statement with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Both of them, working in Cologne, were convinced that the category battle between the labor and the upper categories had to be fought. In the terminal, the labor would subvert the government system and make a new socialist province, ‘under the absolutism of the labor. ‘ Kinkel agreed that a revolution was needed to make a new province including a new, more socialist authorities, but in contrast to Marx, Kinkel demanded a socialist democracy, in which there would still be free properties to every citizen.

Subsequently, when Kinkel was brought to test because of his radical activities, he claimed that all he said was merely nonsensical and if the sovereign had been able to better the state of affairs of the lower categories, he would hold been all right with that, excessively. Marx and Engels resented that behaviour, because they thought that Kinkel denied his strong belief merely in order to salvage his life.

Therefore, we can see that during the clip of the revolution in 1848/49, Kinkel demanded a socialistic democracy and a revolution, accomplished by the lower categories.

One can besides state that he wanted to educate the people, particularly the members of the lower categories, such as crafts- and countrymen. In an article he publishes on August 6th 1848, he states that his point is to better the instruction of these people.


Although many people forgot or even do n’t cognize about Kinkel, some are still retrieving him. That is of import, because these people were largely able to determine the heads of the people, because they were and are really celebrated.

Dr. Klaus Kinkel

For illustration former Minister of Foreign Affairs in Germany Dr. Klaus Kinkel ( who is non related to Gottfried Kinkel in any manner! ) honored Gottfried Kinkel, because he fought for ideals which were realized about 150 old ages subsequently. Furthermore, Dr. Kinkel praised Gottfried Kinkel ‘s dedication to making such a modern province, and considers him to be ‘the early representative of a democratic Germany. ‘

Theodor Heuss

Another really of import individual who referred to Gottfried Kinkel is former German President Theodor Heuss. In his first public address on September 12th 1949 ( the twenty-four hours he was elected ) on the steps of Bonn ‘s metropolis hall, he talked approximately Kinkel as a rememberable controversialist contending for societal reforms and democracy. And we can see a parallel to Gottfried Kinkel: Heuss gave his address on the steps of that town hall, merely about 100 old ages subsequently than Kinkel did.

Karl Marx

On the other manus, Karl Marx criticized him and stated that Kinkel was merely a normal citizen. But that unfavorable judgment is based on Marx ‘ defeat because Kinkel denied parts of his claims to avoid the decease sentence. All in all, I suppose, that Marx appreciated Kinkel ‘s work every bit good during the clip of the revolution, because although there were rather a few statements between them, they partially shared the same aspirations

Prof. Dr. R’sch

To Prof. Dr. R’sch, who has studied Gottfried Kinkel for a long clip, that inquiry is non that easy. To him, Kinkel ‘s committedness was non unneeded at all, but if one considers political actions merely to be successful if the demands are fulfilled, so, one has to state that he wholly failed, because none of his demands were even taken into history by any legislative power. On the other manus, Prof. R’sch thinks that the things Kinkel did were really of import, because they stirred up the general democratic demand of the people, and that he brought in really of import and progressive things.

As a immature adult male life in today ‘s society, I have to admit Kinkel ‘s committedness, because I profit from people like him who fought for the life criterions in today ‘s Germany. To my head, Kinkel is one of the best illustrations that one should non merely accept the things that are given by the authorities. Like him, one has to oppugn every action critically to forestall that groups come into power. Furthermore, Kinkel cared about others and largely fought for their life conditions, non even for himself. He was born in a reasonably affluent household, and raised in the political orientation of a reverend. I think it is singular that he disagreed with the sentiments of his male parent, escaped from that political orientation and turned towards socialism.

In my sentiment, Kinkel truly can be seen as one of the most of import sires of democracy, because he demanded these progressive things in a clip when the German society was out-in-out steeped in monarchist strong beliefs.

On the other manus, one has to admit that he became a group in the terminal. To his head, the revolution could merely be accomplished when force was used in order to destruct the present governmental system. Such an attitude is truly unsafe. Extremist forces can subvert a well-working system, and extremist swayers could come into power. Therefore, Kinkel ‘s extremist attitude is wholly unneeded. One can besides see that in the clip he developed that attitude, his programs began to neglect. In the clip before, he already reached a batch of things through democracy, such as the election into the Prussian parliament. If he had continued that manner, he possibly would hold been able T see at least some of his fulfilled ends.

However, Gottfried Kinkel became celebrated for his battle for democracy and societal equity.

I want to complete that essay with an quotation mark from Gottfried Kinkel, because I think it describes Kinkel ‘s ground to educate the lower categories really good and it besides works for state of affairss in other states presents, because I think that an educated people is manner harder to stamp down under absolutism and extremist autarky.

‘Regime is linked to rational predomination, power of the people to instruction ‘ .


Concluding, Gottfried Kinkel made a great part to the development of the democratic thought.

Gottfried Kinkel tried to distribute the democratic thought among the people in and around Bonn, in order to assist them out of the suffering stuff and rational place. By educating the people, he wanted them to believe on their ain and to develop their ain political thoughts. Furthermore, he fought against the governmental suppression: First poetically in his verse form, subsequently besides literally by naming for revenue enhancement refusal and by be aftering the onslaught on the armory in Siegburg. He was even elected as the representative of Bonn in the Prussian Langtag in 1949, but however, in the terminal, he did non make any political end.

Nowadays, some people consider him to be one of the of import sires of the democratic thought. Although he did non make anything, he established a footing on which our coevalss can swear. That footing is placed in the heads of the German population, and Gottfried Kinkel was one of the first individuals here in Bonn who fought for that.