German Central Europe and the Hundred Days
This chapter explores the varied reaction to Napoleon’s escape from Elba in German Central Europe. The primary reaction to the news of Napoleon’s return was concern, but this ranged from anxiety to outright paranoia over the activities of supposed French spies. For German nationalists, however, Napoleon’s seizure of control in France represented an opportunity to reinvigorate the patriotic sentiment that had supposedly infused the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 and that had been diffused by the reactionary political settlement hammered out in Vienna. Although soldiers from various German states played a key role in the victory at Waterloo, the armed struggle nevertheless resembled an older-style Kabinettskrieg and, consequently, the Befreiungskriege of 1813/14 overshadowed the Waterloo campaign in German memory.