History of the Baden Revolution in Rastatt

By the summer of the following year, only a faint spark remained of the blazing flame of revolution that had flickered so brightly across the German-speaking countries in the spring of 1848. At the beginning of May 1849, the regular troops in Rastatt fraternized with the population to protect the Paulskirche constitution. The revolution had taken hold of the Rastatt garrison and could no longer be contained; the federal fortress was in the hands of the democrats. The fate of the revolution in Germany was decided in Rastatt in the summer of 1849.

20. March 1849

In Freiburg, the trial of the revolutionaries Gustav Struve and Karl Blind begins in the Basler Hof before a jury court. The convicts are taken to Rastatt Fortress to serve the eight years in prison they have been sentenced to.

9. May 1849

In the course of the May Uprisings of 1849, with which the people wanted to force recognition of the revolutionary achievements of the imperial constitution in individual states of the German Confederation, soldiers from the Baden garrison mutinied in the federal fortress of Rastatt. They solemnly fraternize with parts of the revolutionary militia, "swearing allegiance and love for the people".

9. and May 10, 1849

Soldiers and citizens in Rastatt fraternize and declare their common allegiance to the people in public speeches. Among them are some prominent Rastatt citizens such as umbrella and comb maker Franz Comlossi, freight forwarder Carl Müller and Mayor Ludwig Sallinger.

13. May 1849

A popular assembly in Offenburg adopts a 16-point program. Among other things, it calls for the unconditional recognition of the imperial constitution and the formation of a new government under the liberal politician Lorenz Brentano. The Grand Ducal government in office rejects the demands of the Offenburg assembly.

In the evening, the revolutionary state committee of the people's associations travels to Rastatt, where revolutionary Amand Goegg proclaims the Offenburg resolutions from the balcony of the town hall and Brentano swears in the citizens' militia and soldiers to the imperial constitution.

The Baden revolutionary Amand Goegg announces the Offenburg resolutions from a window of Rastatt town hall on May 13, 1849

On the same night of May 13-14, Grand Duke Leopold fled from his residence in Karlsruhe into exile in Koblenz.

Flight of the officers on May 13, 1849

14. May 1849

Lorenz von Brentano swears in the militia and soldiers to the imperial constitution on the Rastatt market square. Mayor Sallinger is appointed civil commissioner.

The State Committee goes to Karlsruhe to take over the government.

25. June 1849

Battle near Durlach, in which Johann Philipp Becker's Volkswehr covers the army's retreat to the Murg Line. The revolutionary government flees to Freiburg im Breisgau and with it units of the revolutionary troops.

The Prussian commander Moritz von Hirschfeld occupies Karlsruhe.

The Polish officer and revolutionary Theophil Mniewski, who was not released by the revolutionaries during their retreat, is later sentenced to death by a Baden-Prussian court martial and shot in Rastatt on August 25.

25. June 1849

Under the leadership of General Ludwik Mieroslawski, the revolutionary army arrives in the federal fortress of Rastatt with 13,000 men after being forced to retreat by the Prussian army. This exacerbates the supply situation in the town of around 7,300 inhabitants.

29./June 30, 1849

Losing battles on the Murg with the battle in Gernsbach on June 29. Ludwik Mierosławski appoints Major Gustav Tiedemann from Gustav Struve's circle as governor of the Rastatt fortress.

Gustav Tiedemann, the revolutionary governor of the fortress of Rastatt

The revolutionary units retreat to southern Baden. The Second Prussian Corps under Karl von der Groeben surrounds Rastatt.

23. July 1849

After three weeks of encirclement, the revolutionaries capitulate to the Prussian General Karl von der Groeben. The revolution has failed. Prussian General Heinrich von Holleben becomes governor of Rastatt.

The insurgents surrender the fortress of Rastatt to the Prussians. In front of the Niederbühl Gate, the Prussian troops have formed up around Prince William of Prussia, who gives a speech of praise to his troops.

The garrison of the fortress moves out of the gate in sections and silently lays down their weapons. Then everyone is immediately escorted back to the casemates and imprisoned there.

Around 5,600 officers, crew, irregulars and Volkswehr men are imprisoned in the forts under inhumane conditions after the fortress is surrendered. Around 90 people from Rastatt, including Mayor Sallinger, are also imprisoned.

The revolution is therefore considered a failure

The Baden army is disbanded and later rebuilt under Prussian command.

Many revolutionaries managed to flee into exile. Others are arrested and tried by the Prussian-Baden tribunals.

After the fall of Rastatt, the Prussian command assigned Karl Alois Fickler, the brother of the Baden agitator Joseph Fickler, to defend the accused.

The summary courts sentence 27 revolutionaries to death by firing squad (including the last fortress commander of Rastatt, Gustav Tiedemann) and impose long prison sentences in Prussian prisons on others.