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Grossdeutschland (German for "Greater Germany" or "Large Germany") is a term referring to the concept of one German nation-state. The counter-concept is known as Kleindeutschland ("Lesser Germany", "Small Germany", or "Little Germany").
History Greater Germany.
In the 19th century, Grossdeutschland was the idea of a unified Germany including Austria, as opposed to the Prussian-promoted alternative of Kleindeutschland, which excluded Austria. With the foundation of the German Empire in 1871, which did not include Austria, the Kleindeutschland solution was put into practice.
Others proposed a unified Germany including all lands of the Austrian Empire. One of the main obstacles to this vision was the large Hungarian and Slavic component of the Austrian Empire (including Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Rusyns, Ukrainians, Slovenians, Croatians, and Serbs) that had no desire to be united with the German speaking lands. For this reason, the liberals of 1848 proposed an alternative Grossdeutschland vision which would include Austria proper, Bohemia-Moravia-Silesia and the Austrian Slovenian lands, but not the lands of the Kingdom of Hungary (Hungary and Croatia) or Galicia. However, this would have required the dismantling of the Austrian Empire, and the Czechs anyway rejected the idea.
After World War I, the Austrian National Assembly and the German National Assembly supported the unification of the successor-states of the two reichs, but this was prohibited by the Allies. In a reference to the earlier concept of Grossdeutschland, after the Anschluss (attachment) of Austria to the Deutsches Reich (German Reich) in 1938, the state was first informally and from 1943 formally renamed to Grossdeutsches Reich.
Initially, the movement can be understood as part of a more general nation-building process in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries when the multi-national Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman empires were replaced by nation-states. The German nation-building process can be compared to similar movements in Italy (Italia irredenta), Hungary, Serbia, and in pre-1914 Poland. A century later, with the Nazi movement in power, it became a propaganda screen to dominate other, non-German countries.
Creating a German national state integrating the German-speaking territories in Austria, i.e. Grossdeutschland, was also an attempt to balance the power of the authoritarian Prussian monarchy within a future Germany by a larger weight of the more liberally-minded South German states. In fact, the large weight of Prussia within Germany became a political problem for all German governments up to 1933.
The idea of Grossdeutschland translates the idea of nationality based on a common culture and language, contrary to the idea of nationality based on the birth on the national territory, such as in France.
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