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History of Germany in the Nineteenth Century

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Heinrich von Treitschke
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Honoured friend, accept the dedication of these pages as a sign of our old friendship. During the lengthy preliminary labours you have so often given me ardent encouragement it is a pleasure to me to declare to you, first of all, what I have to say to my readers regarding the design and purpose of this book. It was my original plan to write only the history of the Germanic Federation, and after a brief introduction to proceed immediately to the deliberations of the Congress of Vienna. I soon came to recognise, however, that a book which was not intended solely for historical experts must extend further back. The destinies of the Germanic Federation constitute no more than the conclusion of the two hundred years' struggle between the House of Austria and the newly-arising German state they would remain incom prehensible to the reader unless he were well-informed regarding the beginnings of the Prussian monarchy and the destruction of the Holy Empire. In our so recently reunited nation, a national historical tradition common to all cultured persons has not yet been able to develop. That unanimous sense of joyful gratitude which older nations feel towards their political heroes, is by us Germans felt only for the great names of art and science. Opinions still differ widely upon the question, which facts in the medley of our recent history have been genuinely decisive.

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