rheinbund

History Time: The German Confederation and German Unification

The Confederation of the Rhine (Rheinbund) was a precursor to a unified Germany and marked the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Confederation was established in July of 1806 by Napoleon Bonaparte (after defeating Prussia and seizing the land) in an attempt to section off Europe and lump together some German states to be his weapon and soldier provider, and as they did this, the Holy Roman Empire was declared formally dissolved. The Confederation was meant to assist the French in fighting against Prussia and Austria, but the French lost the territory in 1813 in the Battle of Leipzig.

The Treaty of Paris in 1814 officially declared the states that made up the Confederation independent.

In 1815, Prussia and Austria redrew the border lines between the states and officially formed the German Confederation.

Overall, the Confederation was weak and ineffective as a nation, and in 1848 it fell due to a failed attempt at actually unifying Germany (and a failed attempt at Prussia and Austria getting their shit together. It was re-established in 1850, then fell again in 1866 because Prussia and Austria started to fight over the land (get your shit together guys). In 1867 the Prussians established the Northern German Confederation, which Southern states eventually joined, and in 1871 it was declared the German Empire.

Germany and Holy Roman Empire
(warning: dark themes, headcanons
All headcanons are of my opinion and I do not impose them on anyone)

Ludwig would have been around, albeit a very small child at the time, for the death of Holy Rome. 

Holy Rome knew he was dying, and he knew Germany would be his successor. Though, instead of successor, he saw his replacement. And his replacement was a skinny, doe-eyed, weak little boy who depended on others to survive. It made him furious to know his legacy would be left to such a brat, and until his death he tormented Ludwig, reminding him constantly that Gilbert and Roderich loved him far more than they would ever love the younger. One night in his anger Holy Rome even tried to strangle the boy.

Ludwig has never told anyone about his interactions with the Holy Roman Empire. He grew up as a constant comparison to Holy Rome in childhood and who he could have been if he lived to adulthood. Ludwig grew up in his shadow.

It has led to only a small handful of identity crises; for a time Ludwig was convinced that maybe he was the Holy Roman Empire, or at least was supposed to be. Long after the wars he learned about Feliciano’s friendship with Holy Rome, and suddenly their own friendship made a lot more sense, as well as many occasions of hearing “You’re not him” in a disappointed tone under the Italian’s breath.

He feels like Holy Roman Empire is haunting him somehow.

Napoleonic Trivia : Russian Winter

People make jokes about France and later Germany trying to invade Russia and failing miserably, but what you didn’t know is that if you’re from Western Europe or not too far away, you might just be able to join the fun !

Here is the composition of the Grande Armée as it enters the Russian Campaign :
Total - ~690000 - 100%
French Empire - 355688 - 51,53%
Rheinbund - 127260 - 18,44%
Duchy of Warsaw - 79386 - 11,5%
Kingdom of Prussia - 36351 - 5,26%
Austrian Empire - 30000 - 4,34%
Kingdom of Italy - 19763 - 2,86%
Kingdom of Denmark - 9851 - 1,42%
Croatia, Illyria, Dalmatia - 8239 - 1,19%
Kingdom of Naples - 7987 - 1,15%
Switzerland - 6730 - 0,97%
Kingdom of Portugal - 5174 - 0,74%
Kingdom of Spain - 3695 - 0,53%

Note that at this point France also included Belgium, the Netherlands, Rome, Florence, Trieste, Barcelona and even Hamburg, with its allies spanning the whole of continental Western Europe bares Portugal and these weird islands where it rains all the time.
Meaning that all these fine people got to enjoy starving to death in the снег when the horses, the true victims in this whole conundrum, started to run out.