11a The students

The Wartburg festival, a meeting of students at the Wartburg in October 1817 wanted to recall the year of the Reformation (1517) and the Battle of Nations in Leipzig (1813). The festival also showed that people were willing to bring about the unity of Germany. In addition to patriotic speeches and sports there was a burning of books that were opposed to the national idea. On the one hand the festival boosted the expansion of the student fraternity but on the other hand it forced restrictions that emanated from the Prussian Government. Görres disliked their aggressiveness and the book-burning but that did not mean that he approved the government’s demonstration of power. He put forward the thesis that the festival was the right occasion to demonstrate strength. The events have been aggrandized. « Instead of taking the circumstances with considerate calmness, […] to praise what was worth to be praised and [to criticize] what displeased, people were controlled by a first impression and the clamor of wounded vanity. They filled the world with accu- sations […], inquired […] and thus basically aroused the idea of great importance inside of the young.» The youth who could not calculate their power was challenged carelessly what led to a dangerous situation. The boys could not be made responsible for it. They still had to learn to live a life in idleness. They lacked the understanding of the slow evolving of things. Idealism which is an important aspect of the common weal can never stand alone. Eagerness and energy are reasonable but it has to be combined with the «wisdom of the old».