The German Confederation (German: Deutscher Bund) was a loose association of 39 German states in Central Europe, created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries and to replace the former Holy Roman Empire. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia. According to Lee, most historians have judged the Confederation to be weak and ineffective, as well as an obstacle to German nationalist aspirations. It collapsed due to the rivalry between Prussia and Austria, known as German dualism, warfare, the 1848 revolution, and the inability of the multiple members to compromise.It dissolved with Prussian victory in the Seven Weeks War and the establishment of the North German Confederation in 1866.
In 1848, revolutions by liberals and nationalists were a failed attempt to establish a unified German state. Talks between the German states failed in 1848, and the confederation briefly dissolved but was re-established in 1850.
The dispute between the two dominant member states of the confederation, Austria and Prussia, over which had the inherent right to rule German lands ended in favour of Prussia after the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, and the collapse of the confederation. This resulted in the creation of the North German Confederation, with a number of south German states remaining independent, although allied first with Austria (until 1867) and subsequently with Prussia (until 1871), after which they became a part of the new German state.