How accurate is it to say Frederick William IV was responsible for the failure of the Frankfurt Parliament?
The Frankfurt Parliament was established to create freedom of press, German citizenship for all, fair taxation, equality of political rights and to create a unified Germany. However, countries like Austria greatly opposed it. Frederick William IV could be seen as responsible for the failure of the Frankfurt Parliament because he refused to accept any form of leadership and made it clear he distrusted the ‘gentlemen of Frankfurt’. However, many other factors played a role in the demise of the Parliament such as the fact that they were ill-organised, the lack of popular support and their inability to enforce decisions.
Frederick William IV was partially responsible for the failure of the Frankfurt Parliament as he was unwilling to accept the ‘crown from the gutter’. William IV was aware that acceptance of the leadership may lead to war with Austria. Austria had no wish to see a united Germany and wanted to keep it weak and divided in order to dominate. Frederick William shared this view and was unwilling to potentially cause a war with such a powerful state. This caused the Frankfurt Parliament to fail because Prussia did not grasp the opportunity to unite and neither did the King, therefore Germany remained divided. Although he desired power, William IV was not willing to put himself and Prussia under control of the Frankfurt Parliament as he distrusted ‘the gentlemen of Frankfurt’. This meant that the Parliament had no real leader, and so lost support because people distrusted the parliament as an influential figure stated he would not be associated with them. This aided in causing the failure of the Parliament because with no real leader, no one could influence the masses or help to make decisions. Therefore, the Frankfurt Parliament became ill-organised.
The inefficient organisation was majorly responsible for the failure of the...