Deutscher Bund (German Confederation): confederation of the German sovereign principalities and the free cities, established under the Act of the German Confederation during the Congress Of Vienna in 1815; it was dissolved in 1866. The members of the Deutscher Bund - initially 41, towards the end 33 - had internal power of decision; externally, however, they had to abide by the majority decisions of the confederation. Not all of Austrian territory was part of the Deutscher Bund; excluded were the lands of the Hungarian Crown, Galicia, Bukovinia, Istria, Dalmatia, Venetia and Lombardy. The kings of Denmark (for Holstein), England (for Hanover) and the Netherlands (for Luxembourg) were also members of the confederation. Federal organ was the Diet of the Deutscher Bund at Frankfurt, presided over by Austria, where all the delegates met; however, their work was largely dependent on the relationship between Austria and Prussia. Particularly due to the influence of Metternich, the Deutscher Bund turned more and more into a means of suppressing the reform movement which pleaded for greater unity and a German constitution. After the revolution of 1848 - in the course of which the Deutscher Bund was temporarily substituted by the German National Assembly - it was re-established in 1850 by Prince Felix Schwarzenberg, at first without the participation of Prussia. But in the Punctation of Olmütz (Olomouc), Prussia decided to re-enter the Deutscher Bund. The controversy over the "grossdeutsch" (or Pan-German solution, i.e. Austria as leader of the Deutscher Bund) and the "kleindeutsch" (i.e. Prussia as leader) solutions widened the gap between Prussia and Austria, which after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 led to the end of the Confederation. By the Treaty of Prague, Austria had to acquiesce in the dissolution of the Deutscher Bund.
Literature: K. O. Freiherr von Aretin, Vom Deutschen Reich zum Deutschen Bund, 1980; L. Benfeldt, Der Deutsche Bund als nationales Band, 1985; H. Rumpler (ed.), Deutscher Bund und deutsche Frage 1815-1866, 1990; A. Kaernbach, Bismarcks Konzepte zur Reform des Deutschen Bundes, 1991.