• Crusader Kings II Expansion Subscription

    Subscribe to the CK II Expansion and enjoy unlimited access to 13 major expansions and more!


  • Paradox Midsummer Sale has arrived! Up to 75% off!

    Enjoy some sun and song this Midsummer, but when the sun goes down, the fun doesn't have to stop! Paradox has a festive sale on plenty of games to keep your summer nights going!


    June 18th - June 30th
  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

volksmarschall

DeFi
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.831
275
minervawisdom.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
Assassination ay? Well, it's a shame to see old Ludwig go under by assassination, and I presume we'll see what Karl has in store for the Duchy. And I wonder, since Hanover's army is non-existance, and since they're allied with Great Britain, if Great Britain will come to their aid sooner rather than later.

Great work, the assassination piece was a well-written.
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0
Robert EK: Who knows what the future holds? For the time being, however, Hanover belongs to Hesse-Darmstadt and the murder of the Grand Duke will certainly not endear his new subjects to Ludwig III.

Kurt_Steiner: Thinking big. I like it!

Enewald: Indeed not. Now it's Ludwig III's turn.

volksmarschall: Karl was already pretty marginalized before the assassination and will be only more so now that his brother is the Grand Duke. I certainly haven't made any friends over in England and future backlash might be possible once the Brits straighten out things in Asia.
 

mattkaru

Corporal
68 Badges
Mar 27, 2009
39
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
This is great stuff! Keep up the good work. :D
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0
ScreenSave3.jpg

Hesse-Darmstadt (light green) in 1845


XII. Revolution

The Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt's star was very much on the rise as 1845 began. In the seven years since the First Hanover War the Grand Duchy had increased it's size many times over and had increased it's population from 1.4 million to just over 3.2 million. In addition, the conquest of the remaining Hanoverian lands in the Second Hanover War had put Hanover's industry in the hands of the duchy. Hanover had been a major exporter of canned goods as well as liquor and once Hesse-Darmstadt took control of these industries money began pouring into the duchy's treasury. The money coming in easily paid off the debt incurred by the brief war and set Hesse-Darmstadt on the road to achieving Ludwig II's dream of the duchy becoming an economic powerhouse. The once insignificant little country was now a factor in the world of German politics. While certainly not as powerful or influential as Prussia or Austria, it could be argued that Hesse-Darmstadt now stood behind only Bavaria in terms of the strongest of the German minor states.

The increasingly strong position that the Grand Duchy found itself in excited no one more than the hero of the Hanover Wars, Prince Karl. Immediately upon concluding peace with Great Britain in November 1844, he began pressing his brother, Grand Duke Ludwig III, to increase the size of the standing army, both to enable him to better control the conquered territories and to open up the possibility of further aggressive actions. Karl, though by natural inclination and training a soldier, had a firm grasp of the Grand Duchy's economic situation. The Grand Duchy's economic base had expanded greatly, but it's industry was still dependent on foreign resources to produce goods for export. Only by seizing those resources for itself would Hesse-Darmstadt unlock it's economic and industrial potential. Karl would even go so far as to suggest possible targets for his expanded armed force- most notably Holland which he described as "Abundant in resources and lacking in the ability to defend them."

1806ludwig016082571.jpg

Grand Duke Ludwig III of Hesse-Darmstadt


The new Grand Duke, however, rejected his younger brother's request for more divisions and refused to discuss the possibility of further wars of aggression. Ludwig III had been opposed to his father's expansionist aims from the start and feared that the Grand Duchy may have already overstepped itself in the eyes of it's powerful neighbor, Prussia. He was convinced that any further bellicosity would bring Prussia down on him and his country and accordingly informed Karl that there would be no question of armed action outside of defense. The new Grand Duke briefly toyed with the idea of relieving Karl as Commander-in-Chief of the army to drive that point home, but was dissuaded by advisers who reminded Ludwig of his brother's popularity among both the military and civilian population.

Though greatly disappointed, Karl accepted his brother's pronouncement without much in the way of complaint; the only comment made being that it would be difficult to hold down Hanover's population with such a small force. Ludwig did at least concede that point to him and though he would not finance a larger standing army, he did replace the Grand Duchy's woefully inadequate constabulary with a professional state police force. This was not only in response to a need to control and observe the conquered population of Hanover, but was also a response to the situation at home. As was covered previously, the constabulary force force that protected the Grand Duchy was seriously underfunded and understaffed. As one can well imagine, this resulted in a spike in crime and corruption in the Grand Duchy's urban centers. With so many people impoverished by the harsh taxes imposed in the years between the two wars, crime was rapidly becoming an epidemic in some areas.

The men of the new police force, dubbed the Hessen Polizei, were the complete opposite of the old constables. They operated on a military model and were well funded, equipped, and paid. They were also highly motivated and crime began to drop off quickly. Fighting crime was not their only duty, however. This new police force also made the "dangerous" liberal movement that was gaining ground in Europe and the Grand Duchy it's enemy. They routinely monitored and occasionally broke up political gatherings and generally harassed the country's liberal leaders.

No where were these activities more apparent than in Hanover. The people of Hanover had for years been chafing under the rule of Hesse-Darmstadt's Grand Dukes and hostility toward the conquerors always seethed just under the surface. That hostility had only grown in the months following Hanover's annexation. Since the assassination of Ludwig II, the occupation had turned more oppressive and brutal with the Hessian soldiers always seeming more than ready to take their anger over the Grand Duke's murder out on any Hanoverian they came across. It is not known how much of this Prince Karl was aware of, but it seems certain that it at least had his tacit approval. In response to this as well as the subjugation of their homeland, nationalist groups began to crop up all over Hanover. These groups began to stockpile weapons and an armed rebellion seemed only a hair's breadth away. To combat these groups and to generally keep the people of Hanover in check, Ludwig III created a special arm of the Hessen Polizei that would come to be called the Geheimpolizei and sent it all across Hanover. Their presence, while meant to calm the situation in Hanover, would only make it worse.

The Geheimpolizei set to work immediately and began raiding gatherings; public meetings having been made illegal in Hanover. The ringleaders of these meetings were arrested and imprisoned after brief and very biased trials. The effect was immediate, but not quite what the Geheimpolizei desired. Rather than be cowed by their actions, the people of Hanover only became more militant and angry. Meetings, rather than decreasing, began to increase and revolution began to be discussed more frequently and openly. When the Geheimpolizei broke up a meeting and arrested one of Hanover's most important liberal politicians, Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, in February of 1845, the situation finally came to a head.

220pxfriedrichchristoph.jpg

Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann


On the morning of February 17, a crowd gathered outside of Geheimpolizei headquarters in Hanover and demanded Dahlmann's release. The officers inside refused and ordered the crowd to disperse. At some point during this confrontation a weapon was fired. The officers barricaded themselves inside the station which was soon besieged by thousands of armed protesters. Gunfire was exchanged between the two groups for several hours before a detachment from the Hessen Armee's 2nd Regiment arrived and began firing volleys into the crowd to force it's dispersal. The crowd broke and fled. In the brief firefight one officer had been killed and three others wounded. As the army detachment marched across the area vacated by the protesters they found seventeen dead and scores more wounded. It was only the beginning.

As the crowd fled into the city they spread the word about the "massacre" at the police station and angry citizens began to assemble. Soon the mob numbered in the thousands and they began marching on the city center where they encountered the same soldiers from the 2nd Regiment. The two forces clashed and the Hessians were forced to give ground under the weight of the assault. Reinforcements were called in and a full fledged battle began in the streets of Hanover.

police.jpg

Protesters fire on Geheimpolizei headquarters in Hanover


Fighting went on in Hanover for three days before the rebellion was put down. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen were killed and wounded during the uprising. Casualty numbers among the rebels are unknown, but were sure to be in the thousands. As the army set about restoring order in Hanover, a far more serious situation was developing back home in Darmstadt. The uprising in Hanover had not gone unnoticed by the Grand Duchy's home-grown liberal leaders. Sensing that the time had come to sweep away the old order, they began to assemble in support of their "brothers to the north". Ludwig III responded by barring public gatherings and sending the police to arrest Heinrich von Gagern, though Gagern was uninvolved with these gatherings and was actually in Darmstadt at the time to argue for government support of the Grand Duchy's poor.

Gagern was tipped off by supporters well before the police arrived and managed to flee the city and go into hiding. News of his plight spread amongst his supporters like wildfire and soon people began pouring out of the Grand Duchy's rural areas and converging on Darmstadt. The crowd would eventually grow to over 10,000 strong. Without anything to oppose this force other than a few hundred police, Ludwig III fled the ducal palace in Darmstadt for one of his family's estates to the south.


Darmstadt Castle where Ludwig III took refuge

With the seat of government now vacant, the mob seized the city and immediately demanded Ludwig III's abdication. Faced with the prospect of a frenzied mob storming his estate, Ludwig agreed and formally abdicated the throne of Hesse-Darmstadt on March 1, 1845. The mob rejoiced and declared the formation of the Republic of Hesse-Darmstadt. Heinrich von Gagern, who had still not openly participated in this thus far bloodless revolution, was unanimously elected as the republic's first President. Gagern was reluctant to accept the position, but realized that the republic would need structure if it was to survive and agreed. He arrived in Darmstadt on March 4 and quickly set about forming a government and drafting a constitution for the new republic.

gagernheinrichvon182248.jpg

Heinrich von Gagern- President of the Republic of Hesse-Darmstadt

Gagern also began preparing for the republic's defense as well. He knew all too well that the abdication of Ludwig III had not magically swept away the old order. The former Grand Duke had been childless and so his abdication had transferred the throne to his younger brother, Prince Karl. Gagern knew Prince Karl fairly well and did not for a moment believe that he would give up power without a fight.

He would, of course, be proven right. Prince Karl received word of the situation in Darmstadt and his brother's abdication on March 6. He paused only long enough to be formally crowned as Grand Duke Karl I before leading the army south to reclaim his city.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
20.073
649
Go Karl, go! Teach those Republicans a lesson!

:D
 

Enewald

Enewald Enewald Enewald
58 Badges
Oct 17, 2007
23.941
1.814
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Impire
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Iron Cross
  • Leviathan: Warships
  • The Kings Crusade
  • Magicka
  • Majesty 2 Collection
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • 500k Club
  • Darkest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Deus Vult
  • Dungeonland
  • East India Company Collection
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • The Showdown Effect
Republik? :confused:
Ungeheuer!!! :eek:
Scheußlicher Unmensch!!! :p
Schauriger Pudels Kern des Deutschen Reiches! :D

The text above makes sense no.
But neither can I understand why a republic.
Trying to create a world revolution? :p
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0
Kurt_Steiner: That's his plan. Of course, it won't be easy.

Enewald: Maybe not a world revolution exactly, but certainly a national one and perhaps even a pan-German one. The revolutionaries are looking to overthrow the old autocratic order and set up a government in which the people are represented. Whether or not they involve themselves in the wave of revolutions that are sweeping across other German nations will depend on whether or not they survive Karl's attack. The situation in Germany will be covered a bit more extensively in the next updates.

Iain Wilson: Thanks, I'll try not to disappoint.
 

Morrell8

Lt. General
67 Badges
Jan 20, 2010
1.209
15
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Semper Fi
  • 500k Club
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Cities in Motion
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • 200k Club
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Pride of Nations
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Prison Architect
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I can't wait to see Von Gagern's head on a Pike! Or Bayonet! Either one is good.
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0
Morrell8: Such bloodthirsty enthusiasm is always appreciated.

Treppe: Interesting indeed. I suppose it mostly depends on how Karl's campaign against the revolutionaries turns out as well as the situation in Hesse-Darmstadt afterward.
 

volksmarschall

DeFi
31 Badges
Nov 29, 2008
5.831
275
minervawisdom.com
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Victoria 2
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Darkest Hour
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
Update! Update! We must know the fate of both the Republic and the Duchy!

Quite a late comment, but a great update as always! :cool:
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0
Morrell8: There will be more shortly.

volksmarschall: It took me awhile to get to putting the next update together. There has been a lot of overtime available at work and I've been helping myself. The next update is coming soon.

M4 Emperior: That's a very good question. Hesse-Darmstadt cannot supply it's factories with home-grown resources for the most part and the economy (though stronger than it has been) is not capable of too much growth thanks to the cost of bringing in all of these resources. Right now I'm looking for targets to "liberate" so that I can grab their resources for my industry. Of course, I have to be careful of angering my larger neighbors. As for the southern part of my lands, they could well fall behind in the future. With it's larger population and amount of resources, Hanover might well be the future of the Grand Duchy.
 

Markun120

Private
3 Badges
Apr 5, 2009
16
0
  • Magicka
  • 500k Club
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
Very nice... I'm surprised to see a micro doing so well, I could never really stand playing those tiny countries. :p

I'll be watching this.
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0
Markun120: Playing a minor can certainly be a test of patience, but I actually enjoy seeing what you can make out of them.

All: Sorry about taking so long on the next update. It's ready to go now, though, and will go up in a few minutes.
 

unmerged(61356)

General
Sep 30, 2006
2.431
0

Karl I- Fourth Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt


XIII. The Old Order Under Siege

The sudden revolution that had toppled Ludwig III from his throne at the beginning of March was far from an isolated incident. The flames of revolution quickly spread across all of Germany as the peoples of the varied German states set out to copy the achievements of their brothers in Darmstadt and pull down the old autocratic order. Even as the newly crowned Grand Duke Karl I marched south to do battle with the rebels who had seized the capital his counterparts in Prussia, Austria, Bavaria, Saxony, and Baden were likewise doing battle with revolutionaries seeking to change the face of Germany.

Particularly hard hit by these rebellions was the Austrian Empire. Being made up as it was of varied ethnic groups, the Empire was virtually being torn apart as each of the Empire's peoples decided it was time to take back what was theirs and evict their German masters. The first to rise were the people of Northern Italy. The area was one that had always been hotly contested and was one of the most turbulent in the Empire so the rebellion came as little surprise to Vienna. Unfortunately for the rebels, Northern Italy was where the majority of the Imperial Army was stationed and the uprising was put down quickly. No sooner had that fire been put out, however, than uprisings began in Bohemia, Dalmatia, and perhaps most seriously: Hungary. In early March of 1845, just days after the uprising in Darmstadt, the Hungarian Diet met and declared independence from Austria and called for a militia to be formed to counter any Austrian aggression.

The Empire's subjected ethnic groups were not the only ones to rise against the Hapsburg Emperor, however. Widespread uprising were also occurring within the German lands with troops even being forced to fire on a mob in Vienna itself. Though all of these varied uprising would be put down eventually, it would be years before peace returned to the Empire.


Hungarian Diet meets to discuss declaring independence from Austria

Prussia would also face it's share of rebellion as March 1845 unfolded, though nothing on the scale of what was facing the Austrian Empire. What would become a major uprising in in Prussian lands actually began peacefully enough. A crowd gathered in Berlin and approached the royal palace in order to petition the King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, for a reformation of the government to guarantee the people a voice and for government support of the poor. Troops confronted the crowd at the gates of the palace, but the crowd made no aggressive moves as it's leaders requested an audience with the king. Friedrich Wilhelm refused to appear, however, and the situation grew increasingly tense. Suddenly a brick flew from the crowd and struck one of the soldiers, knocking him down. His comrades immediately opened fire at point-blank range, killing and wounding many.

The crowd fled and barricades began to go up across Berlin. Prussian troops now poured into the city in force and the men at the barricades were ordered to disperse. When they refused Friedrich Wilhelm IV, now faced with an armed uprising within his own capital, ordered his troops to attack. The impromptu rebellion was completely crushed after four days of fighting that left thousands of rebels dead.


Prussian troops attack the barricades in Berlin

When word of the events in Berlin spread throughout the rest of Prussia, there was widespread outrage. Fear of violent reprisal kept most from acting on that anger save for the people of Prussia's western lands who were far removed from Berlin and were not threatened by a large troop presence. The rebellion in western Prussian most firmly took hold in Aachen, and it was here that the revolution in Prussia gained significant ground and it was here that the idea of turning the various local rebellions among the German minor states into a larger, pan-German revolution was first proposed. As Prussian troops raced west toward Aachen, rebel leaders there sent delegates out to their counterparts in Darmstadt, Bavaria, Baden, Braunschweig, and Hesse-Kassel to make the argument that their movements could only succeed if they all stood together.

Heinrich von Gagern, the newly appointed President of the Republic of Hesse-Darmstadt, received the delegate from Aachen as he was preparing the defense of Darmstadt from Grand Duke Karl I's approaching army. Gagern immediately saw the wisdom in joining his movement with others struggling to succeed in Germany. He knew full well that just defeating Karl would not be enough to truly win freedom for the people of the new republic. He correctly guessed that Prussia would send troops in to put down these rebellions in the event that they could not be contained on a local level. The only way to resist Prussian aggression would be to present a united front. Gagern accordingly agreed to meet with the other revolutionary leaders and journeyed to Frankfurt. There, he and other liberal leaders (including those from states that were not currently in a state of upheaval) marched into the chambers of the Federal Assembly. Amid much celebration which included the first appearance of the federal tri-color during these uprisings, Gagern and others proclaimed the forming of a new pan-German Federal Republic.


Heinrich von Gagern speaks before the Federal Assembly in Frankfurt

The proclamation was a bold move indeed. It essentially turned the liberal uprisings into a widespread and organized rebellion in the eyes of the old autocratic order and guaranteed a fight to the bitter end. Not long after the proclamation in Frankfurt Gagern returned to Darmstadt and continued preparations to meet Karl's army which was now only a few miles away from the city.

When Karl and his army arrived before the city of Darmstadt at the beginning of April 1845 they found themselves confronted by armed revolutionaries numbering nearly 10,000 strong. The rebels had thrown up barricades across the city and were more than prepared to defend them. Though Gagern had done everything that he could to prepare for the coming battle, he was decidedly nervous about the outcome. He had hoped that the abdication of Ludwig III would touch off further uprisings throughout the rest of the Hesse-Darmstadt, but that had not come to pass. Further, Karl had arrived too quickly for any help to arrive from the other revolutionary groups that now made up the new Federal Republic. Gagern and his militia would have to face Karl and his battle-hardened professional troops on their own.

Karl spent April 3 positioning his troops to storm the city. When April 4 dawned Karl, rather than ordering the attack, rode forward with a small entourage under a white flag. When he reached the rebel barricades he demanded to be taken to see as he put it, "The man who dares call himself President of Hesse-Darmstadt". The Grand Duke's party, which ironically contained Heinrich von Gagern's brother Friedrich, was allowed to pass and proceeded into the city.

Karl met von Gagern before the ducal palace in which the latter had taken up residence since being appointed President. The von Gagern brothers seemed to go out of their way to ignore one another as the Grand Duke confronted the revolutionary leader. Karl declared that Gagern and his supporters were illegally in a state of rebellion against their sovereign and ordered them to lay down their arms and surrender. He further went on to state that if they did not comply immediately the only further treatment they could expect to receive would "be that which traitors deserve."

Heinrich von Gagern completely refused the order to surrender saying, "We are free men here and will not give up our God given right to be so." Karl immediately turned away without another word. As he and his party mounted their horses the crowd that had assembled to watch the meeting surged toward the palace and one of the crowd painted a defiant message on one of the walls. Karl watched in silence before turning his horse back the way he had come.


A crowd in Darmstadt cheers as a revolutionary paints the words "National Property" on the ducal palace

Karl and his party rode out of the city accompanied every step of the way by armed revolutionaries who hurled a constant stream of abuse at the Grand Duke. Karl cleared the barricade blocking entrance to the city and rode back to where his men were already waiting in battle formation. Upon passing through his own lines Karl turned to stare silently at the rebels blocking him access to his city. He stayed that way until General Ott- his co-commander during the Hanover Wars- approached him and requested orders. Without taking his eyes from the city the Grand Duke replied in a low voice, "Attack, General. Attack and show them no mercy."