I am curious about why kingdom of Bavaria was assimilated by Prussia instead of Austria-Hungary

If I consider following facts in 1854

  • Bavaria is Catholic country (same as majority of Austria-Hungary), Prussia is Protestant
  • The royal family of Austria is connected with Bavaria nobles. Moreover in this year Franz Joseph marries Elizabeth of Bavaria
  • Bavaria is a strong ally of Austria that proved its loyalty in past decades. Moreover this alliance is oriented mainly against Prussia.
  • Bavaria is geographically and economically strongly connected with Austria-Hungary (Alps, Danube river,...)
  • Bavarians share similar cultural origins with Austrians and Western Bohemians

then something happened and in 1871 Bavaria joins Germany forever. Why?

  • 3
    ...and both speak Bavarian
    – knut
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:07
  • 3
    Austro-Prussian War of 1868 perhaps (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austro-Prussian_War), in which Austro-Hungary was crushed in seven weeks. (Blitzkrieg without tanks or aircraft, if one can believe it.) Oct 30, 2016 at 22:03
  • This verges on speculation/counterfactual analysis which is out of scope. I think the question would be stronger if it included research into the reasons why Bavaria is German rather than Austrian.
    – MCW
    Oct 30, 2016 at 22:25
  • there was an attempt to 'swap' the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria sometime pre 1800
    – pugsville
    Oct 31, 2016 at 0:58
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens: In which Austria (it didn't become Austria-Hungary until 1867, a year after - and as a direct result of the Austrian defeat in - the Austro-Prussian War, which, BTW, happened in 1866, not 1868) and Bavaria (and Hannover, and Saxony, and Baden, and Württemburg, and Hesse-Darmstadt, etc., etc., etc.) were crushed in seven weeks. Most of the German states allied with Austria against Prussia; many were annexed outright by Prussia following the war, with the rest of the northern states being subsumed into the North German Confederation the following year; (1/2)
    – Vikki
    May 10, 2019 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


Bavaria joined Prussia after the Franco-Prussian War.

Prussia had emerged as the state that could defend "German" interests by leading the Germans in the defeat of France. Earlier, Prussia had beaten Austria in the Seven Weeks War of 1866.

Austria had to settle accounts with Hungary after the 1866 war (after having quashed that country's bid for independence in 1848). So in 1867, she elevated Hungary to a "dual" Austro-Hungarian monarchy, allowing Hungary to administer about half the combined empire. In so "partnering" with a non-Germanic country (as opposed to say, Bavaria, and letting the Hungarians go their way), Austria signaled that German affairs were of secondary importance to her. That signal was further reinforced when Austria declined to join the Germans (or France for that matter) in the Franco-Prussian War.

Under the circumstances, Prussia appeared to be the "coming" German power. With Austria no longer a viable alternative, it was a case of "let's jump on the bandwagon before it's too late."

  • I would argue that the defining momemt was the overwhelming success of Prussia in 1868 - which by coercing the formation of the Dual Monarchy resulted in Austro-Hungarian ambitions becoming focused on the Balkans instead of Germany. Anu good answer must account fr Austria' lack of interest in German affairs during the 1870 war bwteen Prussia (and its allies) against France. Oct 30, 2016 at 22:43
  • @Pieter Geerkens: OK, adopted your excellent suggestion about the Dual Monarchy.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 31, 2016 at 0:20

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