Going back in history, the year 1848 was a year of revolution all over Europe. Following the defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna in 1815 restored power to the previous princes and dukes with the constraint that they should become constitutional. The 38 German States were bound together in a Confederation and represented in a Bundestag (Federal Assembly) that met in Frankfurt under the presidency of the Austrian Emperor.
Constitutions the princes imposed on their people were in some cases not even worth the paper they were printed on. In the case of Baden having the most progressive constitution in all Germany, the Grand Ducal government frequently ignored the granted liberties. However, in the spirit of the American and French heritage, people demanded democracy and equal rights.
The revolutions that broke out in 1848 in most German states were violent with bloodshed as in Berlin (Prussia), Vienna (Austria), or Dresden (Saxony). Although the rulers eventually managed to quell the uprisings, they nevertheless were shocked and consented to the universal election of a Nationalversammlung in all German territories. This National Assembly likewise met in Frankfurt.
Without going into the detail of the many verbose deliberations at the Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) where the delegates met, it was the First Danish-German War that shaped the Nationalversammlung profoundly. The Danish king had annexed German-speaking Schleswig ignoring the motto of the two territories Schleswig and Holstein: Op ewig ungedeelt. The slogan Eternally unseparated expressed in Low German is still valid today.
A federal intervention army soon came to grips with the Danes on land who, however, remained masters of the seas blocking the German harbors. The Confederation had no navy.
|Admiral Brommy (©Wikipedia)|
|Frigates SMS Eckernförde and Deutschland (©Wikipedia)|
|The Federal Navy parading on the Lower Weser near Brake (©Bundesmarine)|
Unfortunately, the poster does not show a historical event. Nevertheless, it makes me dream about some Freiburgers who - following the occupation of their city on July 7, 1849, by Prussian troops - fled and eventually embarked for the States on a ship of the Federal Navy flying the Federal Insignia and Freiburg's flag with St. George's Cross too.
Click on the following links if you want to read more about the Revolution in Baden or about the Bundesflotte in German.