Palatine uprising

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The Bavarian Rhine Palatinate

The Palatinate Uprising or Palatinate Uprising took place in the months of May and June 1849 in the Palatinate (Bavaria) and was part of the imperial constitution campaign . The goal of the revolutionaries was to defend the Frankfurt constitution and to break away from the Kingdom of Bavaria . The uprising lasted from May 2 to June 19, 1849.


The movement of the March Revolution in the member states of the German Confederation led to the election of the Frankfurt National Assembly as the first all-German parliament.

The outbreak of the March Revolution in 1848 led to the formation of the Frankfurt National Assembly. On March 28, 1849, this parliament finally proclaimed a constitution for the German Empire , which provided for the form of a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV rejected his election as emperor.

In the Kingdom of Bavaria - to which the Rhine Palatinate belonged at the time - the first state elections took place on December 7, 1848 after the new electoral law enforced in March, with a majority for the left ("supporters of popular sovereignty and the unity of Germany"). In the Bavarian Rhine Palatinate in particular, voters had all 19 seats occupied by representatives of the left. At the opening of the state parliament on January 22, 1849, King Maximilian promised reforms. On February 9, the majority of the state parliament put the catalog of fundamental rights of the Frankfurt National Assembly from December 1848 into law. The king did not recognize the resolution and adjourned the state parliament on March 8th. On April 23rd, the King and his government rejected the Paulskirchenverordnung, and on April 14th the Bavarian Supreme Court had already denied the validity of basic rights for Bavaria. This was viewed as a coup d'état by the left. Palatinate members of the National Assembly submitted a resolution to the Palatinate communities, according to which the non-recognition of the imperial constitution “is a punishable rebellion against the newly created legal order; every violent attack is high treason against the German nation ” . The March clubs in the Bavarian territories of the Palatinate , Franconia and Swabia now demanded the abolition of the monarchy and the separation of the Palatinate and Franconia from the Kingdom of Bavaria in addition to the adoption of the imperial constitution.

On May 3, 1849, the Dresden May Uprising broke out, which was suppressed by Saxon and Prussian troops on May 9. On May 11th, the third uprising in Baden began with the mutiny of the Baden troops in the federal fortress of Rastatt .


National Defense Committee

On May 1, 1849, a meeting of the democratic people's associations took place in Kaiserslautern . Around 12,000 people gathered under the motto “If the government becomes a rebellion, the citizens of the Palatinate will become the enforcers of the law”. On May 2nd it was decided to set up a ten-member state committee for the defense and implementation of the imperial constitution . There was no proclamation of the republic, as happened in Baden. Within a short time, the province came completely under the influence of the committee. As a result, people's militia were formed, officials had to swear an oath on the constitution. Soldiers of the royal Bavarian army also joined the established revolutionary army .

On May 7, 1849, the Reich Commissioner of Central Power for the Palatinate, Bernhard Eisenstuck , legitimized the National Defense Committee, for which Eisenstuck was dismissed on May 11 for exceeding his powers.

Provisional government

On May 17th, a meeting of 28 representatives of the Palatinate cantons in Kaiserslautern voted with a narrow majority (15:13 votes) for the establishment of a five-member provisional government under the leadership of the notary Joseph Martin Reichard . Philipp Hepp and the absent August Ferdinand Culmann , Georg Friedrich Kolb and Friedrich Schüler were also elected to the government . Peter Fries , Ludwig Greiner and Nikolaus Schmitt were elected as substitutes . They moved up when the absentee later rejected their election.

The Provisional Government of the Rhine Palatinate was composed as follows:

  • Joseph Martin Reichard ( MdN ), President and Minister of War
  • Nikolaus Schmitt (MdN), Minister of the Interior
  • Dr. Philipp Hepp ( MdL ), Minister of Finance
  • Dr. Ludwig Greiner (MdL), Foreign Minister
  • Peter Fries (State Committee), Minister of Justice

This government committed itself to the imperial constitution and prepared the final separation from Bavaria. Thus, if only for a few weeks, the Rhine Palatinate de facto broke away from Bavarian rule. On May 18, 1849, an alliance was concluded with the Baden Republic . It was not until May 23 that they wanted to take over the government treasury in Speyer, which had long been in the safe fortress of Germersheim. Instead of the expected 200,000 guilders, the revolutionaries found only 10 guilders, 10 kreuzers and 2 pfennigs. The government president Alwens was asked to continue running the government.

Three of the five members of the provisional revolutionary government of the Palatinate
Peter Fries - Minister of Justice
Joseph Martin Reichard.jpg
Joseph Martin Reichard - President and Minister of War
Nikolaus Schmitt.jpg
Nikolaus Schmitt - Minister of the Interior

Revolutionary army

Battle at Kirchheimbolanden on June 14, 1849; with the flag of Mathilde Hitzfeld

The supreme command of the revolutionary associations was transferred to Daniel Fenner von Fenneberg on May 9, 1849 , who gave up this position on May 20. On that day a military commission was set up, chaired by Gustav Adolph Techow , he was also appointed chief of the general staff . On May 21, the military command passed to Franz Sznayde . Free corps commanders were u. a. Ludwig Blenker , Gustav Struve (Adjutant Wilhelm Liebknecht ), Fritz Anneke (Adjutant Carl Schurz ), August Willich (Adjutant Friedrich Engels ), Franz Zitz and Ludwig Bamberger .


Freischarendenkmal in Kirchheimbolanden

The first of the two army corps of the Operations Army of the German Confederation, which was under the command of the Prince of Prussia , was formed entirely from units of the Prussian army for use in the Palatinate . It consisted of individual battalions , squadrons and batteries of Army Corps IV (Magdeburg) , VII (Münster) and VIII (Koblenz) and the Gardelandwehr (Berlin). The command of the 19,000-strong force was Lieutenant General Moritz von Hirschfeld . On June 11, 1849, Major General von Hannecken near Kreuznach led the avant-garde division unchallenged across the Palatinate border.

On June 14th, near Kirchheimbolanden , there was a skirmish with Volkswehr men who were cheered on by Mathilde Hitzfeld , but who in the end were all killed or taken prisoner.

The poorly armed revolutionary troops were hopelessly inferior to the Prussians. There was hardly any resistance. In addition, it became clear that the Palatinate Uprising with increasing radicalism no longer had broad support among the rural population. On June 14, 1849, the provisional government fled and the Bavarian authorities resumed their positions. With the battle of Ludwigshafen on June 15 and the battle near Rinnthal on June 17, 1849, the fighting on Palatinate soil was practically over, and the remnants of the Palatinate Revolutionary Army moved over the Knielingen Rhine Bridge to Baden on June 18 ; The Willich Freikorps followed on June 19 as the rearguard.

Because of rebellion and treason 333 trials were held. Of the two death sentences against revolutionary Bavarian officers, the one on Lieutenant Count Fugger was carried out on March 9, 1850 in Landau in the Palatinate , while Major Fach, who was convicted, was able to flee.

Contemporary appreciations

Friedrich Engels , himself a participant in the Palatinate uprising , expressed himself critically, even mockingly, if not without inner affection, about the spirit and character of the movement in contrast to the conditions in Baden:

"Anyone who has only seen the Palatinate once understands that a movement in this wine-rich and wine-blessed country would have to take on an extremely cheerful character. At last they had gotten rid of the clumsy, pedantic old Bavarian beer souls and in their place appointed jolly Palatinate pint-glasses officials. One finally got rid of that profound Bavarian police chicanery, which was amusingly satirized in the otherwise so leathery "Fliegende Blätter" and which was more important to the brisk Palatinate than anything else. The establishment of the pub freedom was the first revolutionary act of the Palatinate people: The whole Palatinate was transformed into a large tavern, and the masses of spiritual drinks that were consumed "in the name of the Palatinate people" during these six weeks are beyond reckoning. Although active participation in the movement in the Palatinate was far from being as great as in Baden, although there were many reactionary districts here, the whole population was unanimous in this general pint-of-a-century trade, and even the most reactionary philistines and peasants were drawn into the general serenity . [...]

The whole outward appearance of the Palatinate Movement was cheerful, carefree and uninhibited. While in Baden every newly appointed sub-lieutenant, line and national armed forces, tied up in a heavy uniform and paraded with silver epaulettes, which later went straight into their pockets on the day of the battle, people in the Palatinate were much more sensible. As soon as the great heat of the first days of June was felt, all the cloth skirts, waistcoats and ties disappeared to make way for a light blouse. With the old bureaucracy one seemed to have gotten rid of all the old unsociable coercion. One dressed quite unabashedly, only according to the comfort and the season; and with the difference in clothing every other difference in social intercourse momentarily disappeared. All classes of society came together in the same public places. and a socialist enthusiast could have seen the dawn of general brotherhood in this unbound intercourse.

Like the Palatinate, so is its provisional government. It consisted almost entirely of cozy glasses, who were astonished at nothing more than that they were suddenly supposed to present the provisional government of their bacchus-beloved fatherland. And yet it cannot be denied that these laughing regents behaved better and achieved comparatively more than their Baden neighbors under the leadership of the "sensible" Brentano . At least they had a good will and, despite the pint, more sober mind than the bourgeois, serious gentlemen in Karlsruhe, and very few of them were indignant when one made fun of their comfortable manner of revolutionizing and their impotent little measures. "

See also


Web links

Commons : Palatinate Uprising  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Pfalz - Revolution 1848/49  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. s. Website of the House of Bavarian History.
  2. ^ Law on the basic rights of the German people of December 21, 1848, online at the University Library in Frankfurt am Main.
  3. s. Fleischmann, p. 106.
  4. quoted from G. Struve, p. 241.
  5. s. Website of the House of Bavarian History.
  6. ^ Müller, Frank Lorenz: The revolution of 1848/49. Darmstadt 2002, p. 137; Staroste, Volume 2, p. 261, estimates the number of deserters in the Bavarian army at 3500.
  7. ^ Rudolf H. Böttcher: A democratic industrial accident : The vote of the "people's representatives". In: The family ties of the Palatinate Revolution 1848/1849. A contribution to the social history of a bourgeois revolution. Special issue of the Association for Palatinate-Rhenish Family Studies. Volume 14. Issue 6. Ludwigshafen am Rhein 1999. P. 286ff.
  8. Rudolf H. Böttcher: The start-up capital - 10 guilders, 10 kreuzers and 2 pfennigs! In: As above. P. 290.
  9. Rudolf H. Böttcher: Military Units - People's Armed Forces and "Freebands". In: As above. P. 300.
  10. Overview of the troops deployed at Staroste: Diary of the events in the Palatinate and Baden in 1849 . Riegel, Potsdam 1853, pp. 268-271, digitized version in the Open Library
  11. ^ Müller, Frank Lorenz: The revolution of 1848/49. Darmstadt 2002, p. 138
  12. ^ Wilhelm Blos : The German Revolution. History of the German movement from 1848 and 1849 . Dietz, Berlin 1893, p. 598.
  13. Engels, Constitutional Campaign, pp. 146–148.