Question Investigation:

By Tancredi Lo Cascio

To what extent was the Revolution of 1848 in Prussia considered a failure?

The Revolution of 1848 in Prussia is widely considered to be a failure for not being able to achieve its main goal of forming a more liberal and democratic government in the Constituent Assembly , despite the fact the revolution managed to call together the assembly and gain some liberal demands.


The Revolution:

Sparked by the Revolution in France, the Revolution of 1848 in Prussia were triggered by the people's demand and desire for political freedom, liberal reforms, freedom of press/speech, and for a democratic government. The revolts and demonstrations mainly took place between march 12 and 17, in the streets of Berlin between the demonstrators and soldiers. The people started to build barricades in the city and steal arms from gunsmiths shops; protesting against the king and government. This brought King Frederick William IV to respond to these demonstrations by issuing his 20,000 men Royal Army to "clear" the streets and regain control of the city. This led to lot of blood being shed in the streets and the destruction of many buildings in Berlin, . At this point King Frederick William IV realized things were just going to get worse, therefore he ordered his troops to withdraw and tried to restore order by saluting the dead rebels in a parade and granting freedom of press and speech to the people of Prussia.

Why the Constituent Assembly failed:

  1. The Composition of the Assembly was unbalanced: 100 were peasants/workers and 300 were middle-class & Junkers. (Total 400).
  2. Deadlocks: Different priorities and perspectives
  3. King Frederick William IV: wanted to regain power and was buying time. Resisted to give consent to the middle class for Liberal form of Government.
  4. Division between the extreme Left and middle-class: Development of Socialist ideas by extreme Left, which would lead to an attack on private property. This destroyed the chance of standing together against the Junkers and King.


The Ending of the Constituent Assembly

After the division of the extreme Left and the Middle-class, Frederick William IV knew this was the time to regain control and power of Berlin by using his army against the Assembly. On December 5th the royal army reoccupied Berlin and the Assembly was dissolved.