THE HAMBACH FESTIVAL

(May 27 - May 30, 1832)


"Das ist des Deutschen Vaterland, wo Eide schwört der Druck der Hand,

wo Treue hell vom Auge blitzt und Liebe warm im Herzen steht"

-Ernst Moritz Arndt-

 

The Hambach Festival was a political festival in which 30.000 people demanded national unity, freedom of the press, and civil rights. In the 30s of the 19th century, there was no unified Germany only a loose Confederation of independent German states and territories.  
Because of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which had territories all over Central Europe,  fell apart in 1806. The Napoleonic Wars had left a sense of national unity among Germans. However, not to unify but to restore a sense of political order, 35 German-speaking principalities and four German-speaking cities formed the German Confederation. People soon started to turn against their rulers in demand of more rights within a unified Germany.

 

The Hambach Festival was the culmination of a movement in search of national unity, freedom of the press, individual civil rights, and democracy. In German history, this political festival is a milestone in the history of German democratic ideas and values.

 

Among numerous political speeches and songs, the black, red, and gold banner, the German Tricolor, was raised for the first time. The Hambach Festival is a symbol of freedom and liberty in German history in the same way as the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.