chapter  8
32 Pages

Issues of Free Trade and Recovery: 1815-1835

In 1815, after twenty years as a battlefield for the wars of the French republic and empire, Germany was largely exhausted and impoverished. The Hanseatic cities, though they had not been as war-ravaged as some areas of Germany (the Rhineland, for example), were wraiths of their former selves. Oceangoing shipping and intra-German transport were both devastated, and the capital needed to rebuild them was missing, largely absconded during the French occupation. Between 1789 and 1815 more than half of the established businesses in the Hanse went bankrupt or were liquidated. In some cases, their capital was absorbed by others, and thus the merchant circles grew ever smaller during the period of French dominance. Only the strong survived.1