Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by wolf_brother, Apr 8, 2011.
Can we have a map? Of Europe? Please.
Well the 1849 period isn't over yet, and there's one more large event for Italy upcoming that will change the landscape quite a bit.
Thanks once again for the spelling/grammar check. Somehow I knew drinking and alternative history wouldn't go together well But it hasn't stopped me before..
I have roughly a dozen more posts to finish out this portion of the TL, at the end of which I plan to post a USC-style world map.
The biggest change I see is that Lombardy and Venetia have left the Habsburgs earlier, and with the devolution of the Empire into a federation, they won't be coming back.
Piedmont looks strong so far, especially with Cavour rising, but it does appear that Italy will be in for interesting times. The Two Sicilies looks to be the epicenter of Italian reaction, yet even they have feet of clay.
Some Damned Foolish Thing
"Ágyúval lő verébre."
('Shooting sparrows with a cannon.')
- traditional Hungarian proverb
Dawles, Richard. Trans. William McKnight. The Victorian Era. Brussels: Writer's Guild, 2007.
... With the collapse of Hapsburg power in Vienna there was little to stop Magyar expansion. Indeed, as the Hapsburgs were busy trying to put out the flames of revolution in Italy and rebellion once more in Bohemia, the Hungarians swiftly began a campaign of conquest against territories they held to be traditionally a part of the Crown Lands of St. Stephen; Transylvania quickly fell, though die-hard Hapsburg loyalists such as General Puchner continued to lead a guerrilla campaign against the Magyars until well into 1850. There were also limited campaigns of skirmishes and raids along the Hungarian-Bohemia border as the Czecks and Slovaks rose up against both the Germans and Magyars, though this was largely crushed by early 1849. The largest theater of combat however was in the south; the Voivoidinia, the Banat and Jelačić's Banship of Croatia-Dalmatia-Slavonia. The battle lines were almost immediate established after the fall of Vienna in the October Revolution and the Battle of Schwechat; Jelačić quickly retreated with what left of his forces back to Zagreb to ostensibly shore up support and fresh recruits for the Hapsburg cause. In reality he was planning his next move against the Magyars, whom he, correctly, believed would attempt to claim all of the Banship under any peace treaty signed between Austria and Hungary alone. This is partially true; as early as 1 November Hungarian worthies such as Kossuth had begun to claim that Hungary should, and would, one day stretch from the Adriatic to the Black Seas, though of course to reach the latter the Magyars would have to regard the Danubian principalities...
... However, regardless of the early warning signs, it can be easily and truthfully stated that Jelačić's Winter campaign of 1848 took the Hungarian government by surprise. Launched in late November Jelačić had rallied some 35,000 fresh recruits from across Illyria (1), augmented by a core of some 10,000 veterans and officers from his earlier campaigns in Hungary, and by 15 December Jelačić's forces were outside of the major Magyar city of Pécs. The city was a vital strategic point for Jelačić to deny the Magars; from here the Hungarians could launch an attack against nearly any point along the border of his native Croatia or Slavonia. Furthermore the city was a major economic powerhouse for the young Hungarian nation, with a strong industrial base, which would further hurt the Magyars to lose. Finally, as the city had been founded along the slopes of the Mecsek mountains it would have be well-shielded from Hungarian counter-attack. The Ban hoped to take the city in order to force the Magyars to the negotiating table, perhaps even to shore up the Hapsburg position, as the newly crowned Emperor-Archduke Karl V's platform of power was far from secure, and Hungary itself was still de-facto independent - absolutely free from Hapsburg control. However Jelačić's plans were for naught. Though the wise Marshal had planned for a siege, his Croatian units once again stirred up the Magyar peasantry against him by pillaging the countryside as the army advanced. As bands of armed peasants enclosed behind him and with word of a hastily thrown-together Honvéd army approaching from the north, Jelačić was forced to withdraw; however the Magyars in Pécs spent the night of New Year's Eve under heavy bombardment by Jelačić's nearly sixty field artillery a heavy siege mortars. By the time the Croats had pulled back most of the city was in flames, allowing Jelačić time to make good on his retreat as the approaching Honvéds stopped to combat the flames and save what they could...
... The Hungarian reaction to the opening shots of what would become known as the Hungarian-Croatian War, or in Magyar circles the simply the second phase of the Hungarian War of Independence, were mixed. While many were, obviously, aghast and angered by Jelačić's actions, a small but vocal minority had a more nuanced view of the Treachery at Pécs. Notably among this group was the newly raised General Görgey, who, under pressure from his more conservative officers and following his own convictions, made a proclamation at Vác that his Corps of the Upper Danube, stationed to defend the approaches to Budapest against any possible Austrian intrusion, was "faithful to its oath for the maintenance of the Constitution of Hungary [and] intends to defend that Constitution against all foreign and domestic enemies." Görgey went on, declaring that his forces would obey the legitimate Hungarian government - in other words one approved by a Hungarian King and responsible to the parliament, but not Kossuth's National Defense Committee. However, Görgey was no reactionary; later in the day after learning of the proclamation Görgey received a secret communication from the imperial family in Olmütz, calling on him to surrender his forces to Karl V and to bring his entire army with him, with the implication of using this force to swiftly capture Budapest and end the Hungarian 'rebellion.' Görgey replied by demanding negotiations on the basis of the April Laws (2). Furthermore, acting largely independent of the Hungarian government, Görgey moved his forces the next day north into the Slovakian hills to crush the rebellion brewing there, though...
Maverick Hungarian General Artúr Görgey
... Görgey himself was opposed to the plans of Kossuth and his associates in the Defense Committee; although he didn't recognize their legal authority, the he was astute enough to realize they held nominal control over the country, and so he was forced to communicate with them. The general, while still refusing to follow the commands of the Committee, did offer a plan of battle as early as 23 December. Under this recommendation the Hungarian forces would ignore the Croatian army at Pécs, maneuvering around them to swing at Croatia directly, taking the border fort of Bjelovar in the military frontier before marching onto Zabgreb, capturing the Sabor and effectively decapitating the Croatian government. However this plan was ignored by Kossuth, who once again leading a Honvéd army marched from the ruins of Pécs in early January into the Voivoidina. Kossuth's plan was based around his appreciation, some speculated anxiety, of Jelačić - the Magyar politician feared that without capturing or killing the Ban the Croatians would never stop fighting. Thus Kossuth's forced marched into the Voivodina, where rumor had placed Jelačić, capturing Zombor on 10 January after a three-day siege. At the same time, General Móga rallied another large Hungarian legion at Szeged, and on 12 January also marched into the Voivodinia, capturing Szabadka without a fight the next day. While unlike Görgey Móga recognized the ultimate civil authority of Kossuth, he however censured the politician's control of the military, and was as such also operating largely on his own initiative for the war. Móga believed the key to securing Hungary's southern borders lay not in the Croats, whom he did not wish to see within Hungary, but instead within the Magyar lands inside the Voivodina and the Banat region. However, after pleas from his radical officers, Móga sent a small relief force of some 5,000, mostly untrained men, to join Kossuth in Zombor before the general moved on again, routing the Serbian and pro-Hapsburg Croatian units in the region near the town of Nagykikind on 20 January before turning his forces further east to lay siege to the major Voivodinian fortress and supply depot of Temesvár...
... Joined with fresh troops Kossuth marched his army once again, encountering Jelačić's forces near the fortress of Vukovar. The Hungarian position was not fortunate; while the Magyars outnumbered their Croatian foes, Kossuth had with him only a few cavalry squadrons and a pitiful four cannon to accompany his 25,000 patriotic volunteers. A few miles outside of the city's walls this Magyar force meet Jelačić's legion, still 20,000-strong. However, unfortunately for the Croats, Jelačić himself was not there; the Marshall had fallen ill during the Pécs campaign and subsequent march to Voivodinia, and was in a small apartment in Vukovar confined by a strong fever. As such, the battle itself was a route for the Croatians, with Kossuth's Honvéds winning the day with barely 100 casualties, while the Croatians were forced to flee the field by mid-day in one of the worst flights in recorded military history.
The Battle of Vukovar
Fearing for their commander's life the Croats abandoned Vukovar, taking Jelačić with them just ahead, quite literally, of the approaching Magyars. As the Croats rounded the horizon the Hungarian forces entered the fortress, raising the red-white-green tricolor over the city's citadel in a defiant act of conquest. Harried by Hungarian forces the entire way over a three-day running battle immortalized in Sándor Petőfi's poem "Hunt of the Damned." Back in Vienna, Stadion desperately attempted to bring about an armistice over the next several weeks through the intermediation of the US chargé d'affaires William Stiles; however Stiles would later write in his personal journal that the Hungarian government was now 'in the proud consciousness of its own inexhaustible strength.' Meeting with Kossuth in Vukovar, where his troops had wintered, Kossuth remarked to Stiles that he could not 'treat with those who are in a state of rebellion.' The irony of the statement was not lost on Stiles, who immediately, and discreetly, sent word to Washington suggesting...
... As early as 15 January, recognizing his valor and heroism in organizing the resistance to Puchner's invasion in the autumn months, and legalizing the de-facto situation on the ground, Kossuth appointed Józef Bem (3) as commander of all the Hungarian forces in Transylvania. The next day however, in response to this appointment Tsar Nicholas of Russia gave Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich, his viceroy in Poland, 'full powers to cross the frontier and enter into battle with the insurgents in case Austrian officials request it.' Scarcely a month later after Bem won a string of victories in Transylvania with only a small force of less than a thousand men, General Puchner appealed to General Lüders, the commander of the Russian forces in Moldavia for military assistance. With the Tsar's agreement one small relief column (4) was dispatched across the border; however it was defeated by Bem's forces at the bridge of Piski in an all-day fight on 9 February after Bem successfully lured the Russians onto the bridge before turning his forces about, holding the bridge against the invading foes and skillfully destroying them with heavy artillery bombardment as they pressed against his defensive line. Though his line threatened to falter several times, Bem reportedly strengthened his legion's moral by walking up and down the line, declaring; 'I will hold the bridge or perish, onwards Hungary! With no bridge, there is no Fatherland!'
Polish émigré and Hungarian General Józef Bem
... Further west General Móga finally cracked the fortress of Temesvár on 25 February. With their food supplies long since run down into short-rations, and considering the harsh nature of the verbunkos warfare along the Magyar border, it should stand as no surprise to a contemporary reader that Móga quickly lost control of his troops, who went on a spree of killing, rape, arson, theft, blackmail, and etc. Modern historians now estimate that up to 70% of the non-Magyar population in and around Temesvár was either slaughtered or fled south into the Banat over the following weeks as Móga wrestled control back over his army. It wouldn't be until 17 March that he was able to march his legion out of a devastated Temesvár, swollen with 'volunteers' and carrying enough supplies for a second siege. With his forces now topping over 45,000 men, Móga was able to march unchallenged on the Voivodinian capitol of Zrenjanian (then known by its Serbian name of 'Veliki Bečkerek'), where he once again settled into lay siege to the city. However the Voivodinian leadership, including important figures such as the Voivod (Duke) Stevan Šupljikac and the metropolitan Patriarch Josif Rajačić, were able to escape the city ahead of Móga's forces, fleeing to the provisional capitol of Zemun, across the border from the Serbian Principality's capitol of Beograd. There the Voivodinian Serbs began to plead with the Serbian Prince, Alexander Karađorđević, for military assistance... (5)
... As winter gave way to spring Kossuth moved his forces out of Vukovar. Learning from Jelačić's mistakes, as well from the then on-going horrors in eastern Voivodina under General Móga, Kossuth organized his supply trains and his men, sometimes brutally, in order to not stir up the Croatian and Serbian countryside against him. Marching on Osijek, where Jelačić was still quartered, Kossuth hoped to end the war with one climatic battle, and did not wish to have to spend months after fighting Serbian and Croatian rebels along the military frontier. However, Jelačić, who had recovered from his illness only the previous week, learned of Kossuth's approach, and quietly moved his forces to the nearby city of Đakovo on the night of 9 March, while quickly sending runners to the Military Frontier fort of Brod, ordering the entire city's garrison to march double-quick to join him in Đakovo. After taking Osijek on 11 March Kossuth learned of Jelačić's escape, and leaving a mere 500 men behind with one cannon to hold the city he marched his already tired forces upon the fortified city. Though few surviving records of the battle survive to this date, due to the events in the region only a few decades later, we do know that the clash was of a truly epic scale. Kossuth had rallied to him another 45,000 Honvéd units, joining with his surviving 15,000 veterans of his Voivodinian campaign. Most importantly Kossuth had been able to bring over 120 Hungarian cannon under his command. While on the surface 1849 was a annus mirabilis for the Hungarians, the fragile liberal-radical coalition in that country held on by a hair's breath. She was at war with her southern neighbors, the Russians were beginning to look more and more threatening on the northern border, and if it weren't for her occupying forces in Vienna the Hapsburgs would have turned on her in the blink of an eye. In short, ...
... Yet liberal Hungary clung on. It was able to do so because of the vigorous efforts of the government to mobilize national resources and to encourage constant attack on all frontiers. Resolution and determination became the qualities that decided promotion for junior officers, something that would not change until the late 1860s, and while most of them were still of noble background, non-nobles began to quickly rise through the ranks. The army that would eventually crush the counter- (and sometimes democratic-) revolutions surrounding Hungary in 1849 was for the large part the citizen's forces of Honvéd battalions. Their number had expanded dramatically from just 16 in September 1848 to 140 by June 1849; in the same period, including regulars, the army had expanded from 100,000 to 170,000. Much of this was thanks to the introduction of conscription, which had been brought in at the outbreak of the war, so while a tenth of the ranks were filled with students, intellectuals and landowners, most of the recruits, about two-thirds, were drawn from the peasantry, and a fifth from artisans and journeymen. These figures though reflect the fact that those who drew a short straw in the conscription ballots and who were sufficiently wealthy would pay someone else, someone poorer, to take their place. Yet none of this precludes the patriotic fervor found among the rank-and-file. The hard patriotic core in the army was strengthened by the quality of the leadership. Officers from the old imperial army who joined the Honvéd units were almost always given a higher rank in the new units, while non-commissioned officers were made officers. While this on occasion causes problems as soldiers were elevated to positions without merit, for the most part these experienced soldiers and the educated rank-and-file who were NCOs formed a solid group of instructors who could train the rest. Equipping the army however proved to be a larger challenge than recruiting it.
The National Defense Committee purchased, and smuggled - notably from Belgium - arms from abroad, paying with Hungary's vast gold reserves. Meanwhile Hungarian workshops hammered out nearly five hundred muskets a day. This was down via an ingenious system devised by Kossuth himself, the forebearer of today's wide-fabrication (6) system, in which the government sent raw materials into the provinces, placing orders with local craft workers, while allowing the battalions raised locally by direct supply. The committee offered large loans to manufactures to switch to wartime production; it weeded out skilled workers from the Honvéd battalions, sending them into the workshops; it brought up grain surpluses for the military; and it created the first Hungarian military academy as well as field hospitals. Some one hundred government commissioners, with wide-ranging and in some cases almost absolute powers, were sent across the country to mobilize the population and its resources for the war effort, to supervise the military and to report back to the committee. While critiqued in their time and by contemporary historians, these commissionaires were needed as a strong counterweight against the local county officials, who were showing an alarming tendency to turn towards reactionary advocacy, including peace...
... The Hungarian momentum was not achieved without internal bloodshed however. The crisis gave renewed vigor to the radicals, who pressed for universal male suffrage, the proclamation of a republic, the abolition of the nobility, and a law that defined as treason the demands of the national minorities. In this latter they were, unfortunately, successful, as republican radicals and liberal moderates alike were angry and frustrated with the rebelliousness of the cultural minorities and, in the end, these tribunals handed some 400 death sentences - mostly against non-Magyars... (7)
... against this Hungarian assault Jelačić had a total of 55,000 hardened Croatian border troops from the Military Frontier and his own campaigns against the Magyars, with nearly twice the amount of artillery as Kossuth. On the morning 13 March the two forces clashed on an unnamed crest outside of Đakovo in the opening crescendo of a week long battle that ultimately would end in a draw after devastating much of the surrounding countryside, while Đakovo itself was burned to the ground after being captured by the Magyars and recaptured by the Croats, twice apiece. By the time Móga was able to capture Zrenjanin the two forces had ultimately whittled down their pool of manpower to less than 20,000 between the both of them. Kossuth was forced to retreat to Vukovar, as Osijek had rebelled against his tiny garrison force on 17 March, throwing the Hungarians out of the city. However the Croatian war effort had largely been destroyed in the battle, Jelačić limped home to Zagreb at the head of a train of less than 10,000 men, and was forced to spike most of his cannon behind him...
... By 1 April, under popular pressure and in the face of the disaster at Đakovo, Kossuth was forced to appoint Görgey commander of the Hungarian offensive. Distressingly to the radicals over the next week the Hungarians forces under Görgey concentrated all their power on crushing the last remnants of rebellion in the Slovakian hills, even offering their assistance to the Austrian-led pan-German forces fighting in Bohemia, though this was politely declined. It wasn't until 18 April Görgey that led an force of some 45,000 troops to Zagreb, against which the Croatians could muster only a pitiful force just barely topping 15,000-men. As the Hungarians camped outside of the city walls, Görgey remarked to one of his officers that his men were the most elite units in all of the Hungarian army, which was arguable, and that his men were completely loyal to him, which was not up for debate. Indeed while his officers expected mutiny none came when on the next morning Görgey meet with Jelačić under a white flag of truce to offer terms, declaring in a published letter that he sent back to Budapest and across Hungary, Croatia and Austria that it was 'an act of the last necessity adopted to preserve from utter destruction a nation persecuted to the limits of the most enduring patience' - it is not clear from Görgey's writings if he was referring to either Croatia or Hungary by this. While his actions have been analyzed by historians, politicians, psychologist, and even casual commentators thousands of times over the years, in hundreds of published histories, biographies, pamphlets and simple editions such as this one, it is still not widely understood why Görgey choose this route. While it is true that Görgey himself was strongly in favor of a constitutional monarchy ultimately beholden to the House of Hapsburg, it is also true that he was a devout Magyar patriot, and perhaps no man had done more damage to his home country during the 1848-49 campaign than Jelačić and his Croats. It might also be true, as many psychologists state, that Görgey had an instinctive urge to both cleave to monarchical authority and to strike out on his own to prove himself independent of Kossuth and his kin. However, it is this author's opinion that Görgey himself rested his entire decision upon the April Laws, and was now worried that Hungary was being steered towards a republic. Unlike the pragmatic radicals, however, who rightly viewed that a republican Hungary would become the target of both the Russian and Turkish empires, Görgey was against republicanism in-and-of itself. His army, unlike the many Honvéd units throughout Hungary, was riven with discontented officers from the former imperial army who believed that they would have legality, and implicitly right, on their side for as long as they were fighting for the constitution, but nothing more radical than that. Görgey himself viewed radical republicanism in Hungary as something akin to a pretext to another Terror, Revolutionary Wars, and Napoleonic period; he had been the only voice in Budapest regularly calling for the central government to take action against the Verbunkos in Transylvania and the Voivodinia, which though Görgey had not witnessed he had read nearly every report flowing into the capitol on the subject. Kossuth, faced with this mutiny against the National Defense Committee - the de-facto government of Hungar - privately accursed Görgey of being a 'traitor' and a member of the reactionaries; however the General had little political backing from the conservatives - the 'peace party' ought to have seen him as an ally, but they feared that Görgey himself aspired to a military dictatorship and Napoleonic imperialism. The soldier heartily reciprocated their distrust, feeling that all politicians were shady characters. In hindsight many have characterized Görgey as alternatively a Hapsburg reactionary villain and as the savior of the liberal regime. Perhaps Görgey was simply lucky enough to have been placed in the eye of a perfect storm. With there were still dozens of several thousand strong Honvéd units for Kossuth to regroup with, he was told privately in a closed meeting of the National Defense Committee following Görgey's actions that no Honvéd would fight against a fellow Magyar - and especially not against one as renowned and revered by the troops as Görgey. Indeed, while nominally the war would not end until the 5 May signing of the Vienna Accord, the Hungarian-Croatian War ended for all intents and purposes on that field outside of Zagreb on 19 April...
The Hungarian-Croatian War
... on 21 May, with the ink on the Vienna Accord still fresh as its many copies flashed to printing presses across Europe and even in North America, Emperor-Archduke Karl V traveled to Warsaw to meet with Tsar Nicholas for a congress little-known outside of history circles. There the Austrian monarch appealed to the Russian Autocrat to 'save modern society from certain ruin' and to share in the glory of maintain the 'holy struggle of the social order against anarchy.' However, the meeting broke down when Nicholas insisted that Karl V beg from his knees and kiss the Tsar's ring... (8)
... As per the Vienna Accord Franz Karl's second youngest son, Maximilian, became King of Hungary in a ceremony held in Budapest on 29 September 1849 in which the 17-year old monarch vowed to uphold the Hungarian Constitution and protect the lands of Saint Stephan. Though many contemporary commentators expected Kossuth to become Hungary's first Governor-General (9) and act as regent until Maximilian II came of age, the radical shocked the political circles of Budapest when he turned down the position, and instead elected to head Hungary's new Foreign Office. Kossuth had seen first-hand the dedication the Voivodinian Serbs had offered to Jelačić, though they had been of different cultural groups, different religions, and in fact had little in common to his eye asides from a common distrust of the Hungarian government. He had also witnessed the uprisings of Croats, Serbs, Romanians, Saxons and Slovaks within Hungary against the new liberal state - a position he had previously been unable to comprehend; or perhaps more accurately, unwilling to. With this in mind Kossuth's first mission was not to the capitols of the great European powers - London, Paris, Frankfurt - but instead to the Danubian principalities. There, before both the courts of Hospodar Sturdza of Moldavia and of Dominator Brătianu of Wallachia, Kossuth argued in favor of a 'Danubian Confederation.' Kossuth's goals in the principalities were largely two-fold; 1) to accommodate the strong forces of cultural nationalism within the Danubian basin while preserving Hungary's territorial integrity, and 2) to replace Austria's position in the European balance of power. Kossuth's ideas were not new, indeed during the 1848 revolutionary period Romanian representatives had traveled to Budapest to discuss the construction of a confederation with Batthyány, though the Hungarian Prime Minister had rejected it out of hand. Now it was the time for the Danubians to offer the same courtesy, as both Sturdza and Brătianu, politely, turned down Kossuth's offers. The Magyar orator even meet discreetly with the few remaining factional leaders of the Moldavian liberal movement and offered Hungarian assistance in overthrowing Sturdza, and even attempted to sweeten the deal by promising Transylvanian autonomy with Hungary; however to no avail. Thus in 1850 Kossuth finally traveled through the great European states and even to North America - perhaps for the better, as by that time the revolutionary wave had largely settled down, allowing for the return of normal relations between states...
Hungarian Foreign Minister Kossuth in New York City circa 1850
Note the text on the banner is anachronistic from the time of the painting's creation in the late 1860s
(1) An ITTL term referring to what was in 1848 Croatia-Dalmatia-Slavonia as well as the Ottoman territories in the upper Balkans.
(2) All OTL. Görgey was a staunch constitutional monarchists, and his calls for a liberal regime were largely the only uniting factor between himself and more radical figures such as Kossuth who were in favor of Hungarian independence. However, once again, Görgey was no traitor; after being put in command of the Hungarian military he was largely successful in keeping the Austrians out of Magyar territory, winning nearly every battle with the Hapsburgs, and was only defeated after the Russians entered the war IOTL.
(3) See Chapter #15 for details. Bem was both a former Polish general and an Ottoman Pasha; like earlier exiled émigrés, Bem fought outside Poland's borders for alliances to aid in Poland's future; effectively fighting anywhere his leadership and military skills were needed. Born in Austrian Galicia, Bem becoming an artilery lieutenant in the French empire, taking part of the Invasion of Russia and later distinguishing himself in the defense of Danzig in 1813, for which he earned the Legion d'honneur. He later took part in the November Uprising, becoming a general during the defense of his homeland, though he was eventually forced into exile during the Great Emigration after the Russian conquest of Warsaw. Interestingly Bem experimented with military applications of several new technologies, including rocketry and steam engines, publishing his works with several illustrations throughout his long career. Bem had originally taken part in the first Vienna Uprising of 1848, before moving to Hungary to offer his services there. Notably Bem's influence is said to have been magnetic; although none of his subordinates could understand Polish, most revered him. In Hungarian he is often affectionately referred to as 'Bem apó,' would roughly translates to 'Grandpa Bem.'
(4) IOTL it was two columns of moderate size; ITTL Nicholas' cautious nature, combined with events shaping up in Germany, caused him to be more leery of committing troops to a battle he doesn't have to join.
(5) Which he did IOTL, however only at the tail-end of the conflict, and only after it was clear that the Hungarians would be defeated. He never gets the chance ITTL.
(6) Essentially ITTL's wartime mass-production, done on a national scale several decades before OTL, albeit on a slightly less-than-industrialized scale. The notion will catch on outside of Hungary with mass industrialization in the ITTL Capitalist Revolution (OTL Second Industrial Revolution).
(7) 'Only' 122 IOTL, but with the Hungarians in a position of power ITTL..
(8) IOTL Franz Joseph did exactly that, and Nicholas agreed to invade by 17 June. Though IOTL the Vienna Uprising had not been successful, along with dozens of other 'minor' butterflies, up until the point of Russian intervention the Hungarian cause had been largely successful, with the Austrians pushed out of Magyar territory and the rebelling Slovaks, Croats, Voivodinians, and Transylvanians successfully crushed underfoot. It was when Hungary was caught between the hammer and anvil of Russian and Austrian forces that the revolution failed IOTL. ITTL the Hungarians are much more successful, and more importantly Franz Karl is older, wiser, and has more pride than Franz Joseph, and as he refuses to meet Nicholas' demands, the agreement is never signed. Russia stays out of the war.
(9) Somewhere between Prime Minister and President.
(10) Which OTL refers to Poland; however differences both immediately and down the line ITTL will shift the term's application to Hungary instead.
where the hell are you getting these pictures???? So Epic.!!! Beyond Epic.
Just Awesome. The entire story. Just awesome.
So, if I'm reading things correctly, Hungary gives up on Croatia, yet keeps the rest of the Crown Lands of St Stephen?
I am in awe good sir!
Well thank you
Most of the images I've used so far are easily found online either in reference websites or published text that has been put on the web. The maps and flags obviously I've made myself. Either way I host them all through my imagur account so I can keep track of things and insure the images stay up in case something were to happen to said original hosts.
Yes - well, sorta. The Banat also falls to Croatia, thanks to Kossuth's and Móga's focus on the Voivodinia instead of tackling Croatia directly, meaning the Magyars never were able to make any headway in the Military Frontier regions. So the Hungarians don't have quite all of the Crown Lands of Saint Stephan, which will play into the irredentist drama later in the timeline.
Thank you kindly
Another round of good updates. Keep up the good work, sir!
Napoléon le Petit
"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historical facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice.
He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."
- Karl Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
published summer of 1852
Wu, Kevin, Ofar Lahev, and Martin Jess. "20 Franc French Ceres." World of Gold Coins 397.2 (1993): 225-30.
The French 'Ceres' gold coins were minted from 1849-1851 during the Second Republic of France, immediately following the rule of Louis-Philippe. The Republic was formed when Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Napoléon I, was elected President on 10 December 1848 (1). Interestingly though the gold coinage presented here does not bear the visage of Louis-Napoléon; rather an allegorical figure symbolizing France, referred to as 'Marianne,' is seen on the observe of the coin. Her image is meant to resemble that of Ceres, the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture, fertility, and the love of a mother for her children. Ceres was worshiped for her service to mankind in giving them the gift of the harvest as a reward for hard work and dedication. On the reverse of the coin is the official motto of the Second Republic; "Liberté, égalité, fraternité."
The French Second Republic's 'Ceres' 20 Franc coin
McKnight, William. Trans. W. Scott Haine. The Revolutionary Tradition: France in the Nineteenth Century. 2011 Ed.
... Louis-Napoléon's overwhelming victory was above all due to the support of the then non-politicized rural masses, to whom the name of Bonaparte meant something, as opposed to the other, little-known contenders. He appealed with all the credit of his name, that of France's national hero who in popular memory was credited with raising the nation to its pinnacle of military greatness and establishing social stability after the turmoil of the French Revolution. Louis-Napoléon played up this allegory for all that he could, comparing the June Days to the horrors of the Terror, and himself to his legendary uncle, who even under the inefficient and backward Consulate - understood to be a stand-in for the current government - had brought law and order to the countryside before establishing the First Empire. Indeed, Louis-Napoléon styled himself as the Prince-President (Le Prince-Président) during his term. He based his wide platform of support on the restoration of order, strong government, social consolidation, and national greatness. Despite his landslide victory though, Louis-Napoléon was faced with a parliament riven between conservative monarchists, who saw his government only as a temporary bridge to a restoration of either the House of Bourbon or of Orléans, and the weakened but regrouping démoc-socs, who, correctly, perceived Bonaparte's election as the first step to...
... Louis-Napoléon was rather forced therefore to govern cautiously during his first year in office, choosing many of his ministers from the slightly 'center-right' Orléanist-led Parti de l'Ordre and generally avoided conflict with the conservative majority in the assembly. For the first few years there existed an indecisive struggle between the heterogeneous Assembly and Louis-Napoléon, who patiently waited for his opportunity. In order to strengthen his position he endeavored to conciliate the reactionary parties, without committing himself to any of them; notably, courting Catholic support by his actions in Rome where...
In this satirical lithograph Victor Hugo & Émile de Girardin unsteadily attempt to raise Louis-Napoléon upon a Roman shield
... The idea of a foreign invasion to restore the Pope had been raised almost from the moment when Pius fled to Gaeta. In February Cardinal Antonelli proposed that the Catholic powers of Naples, Spain, France, and possibly Austria should jointly occupy the Papal States to restore the Pius to Rome. King Ferdinand, enthusiastic reactionary that he was, had already assembled his forces along the northern frontier, while Spain marshaled a seaborne expedition, which she launched in late May. Austria was non-committed, and rather more concerned with her own affairs in Vienna, Bohemia and Hungary during the summer of 1849. This left France; Louis-Napoléon was uncertain of intervention, and initially was opposed to the venture. Indeed, while must of the conservative opinion in France sympathized with the Pope, on 31 March the National Assembly, with Louis-Napoléon's tactic approval, ordered a 6,000 strong force under General Nicolas Oudinot (2) to sail for Rome in order to offer support to the Republic against the conservation order, but strictly commanded Oudinot not to march into the city itself. However before this force sailed President Bonaparte issued Oudinot secret orders to occupy the metropolis and crush the republic, by which Louis-Napoléon hoped to consolidate his conservative base by appealing to the sensibilities of the French Catholic right. The French troops disembarked on 24 April, and six days later they marched on Rome, but assorted Italian democrats, with up to nine thousand men commanded by Garibaldi - beat them back. By the end of the day the French side alone had lost some five hundred men. Oudinot brazenly claimed this operation had merely been a 'reconnaissance,' and far from the disaster reported in Paris had actually been a 'gloriously executed' maneuver. Bonaparte though was now facing an intensely embittered Assembly hostile to Oudinot's 'new' mission. By 7 May a republican charge by Jules Favre (3) thoroughly rejected President Bonaparte's policy in Italy. As well, it would becoming increasingly clear that, unless he moved quickly, Louis-Napoléon would be denied his victory as the Spanish and Neapolitans made their move...
... The radical resurgence in France continued the day after the Assembly's vote to offer aid to Rome when a démoc-socs' Central Committee in Paris was elected from workers, petit bourgeois and academics from the surviving political clubs and worker's associations, representing a broad spectrum of left-wing thought. This committee tried, for the first time, to forge what had been lacking in the previous year; a truly nationwide electoral organization corresponding with other provincial committees and coordinating policies with the left-wing members of the outgoing National Assembly. The committee's first move in this vein was to issue a single electoral program for all the démoc-soc candidates standing in Paris and its environs, and declared that their deputies would resist all violations of the constitution, and that the 'right to work is the most important of all human rights; it is the right to life.' The government reaction, though tempered, was swift, with legal and electoral crackdowns leading up to the 1849 election, though the radicals won a great moral-boosting victory on 1 May when the government ended a long standing dispute by declaring that it was legal for Jeanne Déroin, as a woman, to stand for election to the National Assembly (4). The notoriously fractious French Left managed to remain united until the elections because much of the radical leadership was in prison, and had been since the June Days, allowing for more moderate and unifying voices to rise within the ranks. Certainly it showed when my 13 May the French elections to the National Assembly, the first officially under the Second Republic, were held. President Bonaparte's Party of Order won an outright majority, 398 of the 750 seats in the new Assembly (53%); most of them are monarchists, with some one hundred and fifty as ultra-reactionary loyalist Legitimists. The moderate republicans which attempted to work within the shrinking center gained a pitiful 82 seats, while the démoc-socs' La Montage earned 'only' 225 seats (30%), effectively making them the opposition party, with the remaining some one hundred seats spread among independent, though largely conservative, candidates (5). While small compared to the conservatives, the socialist' gains were impressive given their track record and the official hostility and obstruction that left-wing candidates faced, including voter manipulation, coercion, and fraud, as well as blackmail and several instances of brutal beatings of the radical candidates by plains-clothes police, and even a few arsons. Notably the démoc-socs' success was not limited to their traditional industrial districts in Paris and Lyon; capturing much of the vote in Marssif Central, the Rhône and Saône valleys, Alsace and in the Midi and far north. More than a few anxious commentators within conservative circles began to worry of a repeat of the June Days and a resurgent left, those there fears would not prove out until...
... Worries of a second clash between radicals and conservatives continued to escalate when on 14 May the démoc-socs' Central Committee sent a delegation to the new parliament, warning that if the government insisted on using force against Rome, the government in Paris would be overthrown. Just two days later Charles-Auguste-Louis-Joseph, Duc de Morny - Louis-Napoléon's half-brother from Louis Bonaparte - wrote to a close friend that 'the empire is the only that can save the situation. Some of the leading politicians have been nibbling at the idea.' Indeed, conservative forces continued to gather strength for another round of conflict, and on 2 June none other than Alexis de Tocqueville was appointed Prime Minister under Louis-Napoléon's new government. Writing later he recorded that "The first thing I learned when I joined the cabinet was that the order to attack Rome had been sent three days previously to our army. This flagrant disobedience against the injunctions of a sovereign Assembly, this war begun against a people in revolution, because of its own revolution, and despite the very terms of the constitution made inevitable and very close the conflict which everyone feared. All the letters from the prefects which we saw, all the police reports which came to us, were of a king which threw us into a deep sense of alarm." Tocqueville was right to be alarmed; not only did the Left balk at war against a sister republic, but also a declaration of war on Rome went against both the earlier proclamation issued by the Assembly, and against the Constitution itself, which stated France 'respects foreign nationalities, as she intends to have her own respected; she will not undertake any war of conquest or employ her forces against the liberty of any other people.' Things swiftly came to a head following the events in Rome, and...
(1) ITTL text showing more than a dash of historical bias, ignorance and general misunderstanding.
(2) Who was in the very late stages of his life at the time. Oudinot was born in 1767 and had served in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, eventually becoming a Marshal of France. He was also made Duke of Reggio in 1810, and administrated the Kingdom of Holland until 1812. Notably after Napoléon I's abdication he rallied to the Bourbon Restoration, and during Napoléon's Hundred Days did not rally to Bonaparte once again.
(3) Favre, a career lawyer, had played an active part in the July Revolution as a staunch republican, and during the 1848 period he was successively elected as a deputy for Lyon. Leader of the moderate center, he actively worked to oppose both the radical démoc-socs and the conservative Parti de l'Ordre. IOTL after the fall of Louis-Napoléon he played an important role in the formation of the Third Republic, and led the Modérés (Moderates), also known as the Opportunist Republicans, who believed that French republicanism could only be consolidated by successive phases, as opposed to dramatic revolutions.
(4) The opposite of IOTL; ITTL under radical and growing feminists pressure the Party of Order takes Barrot's advice and allows for women to not only continue to vote, but also to be elected to national office.
(5) The difference from IOTL to ITTL is a shift of nearly roughly 13% from the conservatives to the moderate republicans and démoc-socs, and a corresponding stronger showing of non Parti de l'Ordre (non-Bonapartist) conservatives.
il Risorgimento, Act V
"We must act like men who are working for eternity."
- Roman Triumvir Giuseppe Mazzini, during the French Intervention
29 March 1849
"Even Death has cast me off."
- King Ferdinand I of Sicily, after the Betrayal of Palermo
26 April 1849 (1)
... As Mazzini arrived, still marching with his Italian Legion under the banner of 'God and the People,' in Rome on 1 March 1849 'with a deep sense of awe, almost worship,' he later wrote, 'I felt an electric thrill run through my - a spring of new life.' Elected to the new Roman Constituent Assembly Mazzini immediately took part in launching a new campaign of liberal reform across the country. He also began to print new copies of his newspaper the Itali del Popolo, and called on all patriotic Italians, of whatever political stripe, to unite and confront their enemies - though Mazzini was careful not to explicitly name whom the enemies of the Italian people were...
... Just to the north, with the same week, fresh elections were held for the Tuscan Constituent Assembly, with a simultaneous election for the choice of delegates to the Roman constituente; however only some 35% of the electorate turned out. As in Rome moderate liberals and conservatives largely stayed away from the polls, handing the radicals a second overwhelming victory in another Italian state. As has been analyzed by numerous historians since the events of the 1849 revolutionary period, by removing themselves from public life the moderates and conservatives in the central Italian states largely gave the radical-liberals a wide mandate to do as they please; unlike other revolutions across Europe in the same period, in which often times the radicals had to fight for their rights, and nearly lost, thereby forcing them to moderate and join with the liberals. This difference in opinion, public participation, and the political atmosphere led to clashes between Italian and other European democrats years later when...
... On 5 March Guerrazzi was forced to mobilize troops and civic guards to defend Florence from a peasant counter-revolution in support of Leopold. Interestingly, the revolt was not inspired by conservative or liberal nobles, priests or bourgeois who would favor a constitutional monarchy over Leopold; instead it appeared the peasants themselves were frightened by the threat of Piedmontese invasion to crush a republican government, which was still quite possibly in the early spring; as well as an, unfounded, rumor that the nascent republic planned to raise taxes...
... In the first of the Italian republics, Venetia, on 5 March, a protesting crowd, abetted by the civic guard's benign neutrality, stormed the Doge's Palace to demand that Manin be made dictator. However it was Manin himself, sword drawn, blocking the doorway to the chamber room who forced the crowd back. Within two days though, under continuing popular pressure and protest marches throughout the city, Manin ceded to the mob's wishes. The Assembly voted unanimously to give Manin full governmental powers, including the right to dissolve the parliament for a 15-day period, and in its absence to issue emergency decrees. Though highly modified, this basic governmental model continues to reign in Venetia, and was later exported to...
... The final stages of the initial Italian Risorgimento continued in the early spring period of 1849, when, under intense domestic pressure from both radicals and moderates within Turin, as well as from pan-Italians at his liberal constituente in Milan, Charles Albert announced the formation of the Kingdom of North Italy and Sardinia on 12 March. A direct progression from the earlier Piedmontese-Sardinian kingdom, the KNI as such wholly adopted the liberal constitution bequeathed by Charles Albert in the previous year, with the modifications that were be discussed in Turin and Milan to be adopted later in the year. Under the guidance of the liberal Prime Minister Cavour the new kingdom was, contrary to popular expectations, quite successful in its initial stages of life, with Charles Albert's proclamation being received, on the whole, quite well across the Savoyard north Italian plain. This has been traditionally attributed to two facts. First, while Charles Albert become King of North Italy, his eldest son and heir Victor Emmanuel become Prince of Lombardy; and further the Prince, at Charles Albert's own initiative, was to loge in Milan and act as the executive of the parliamentary system put in place there, as well as the Savoyard crown's representative. Within this system the Kingdom of Lombardy was largely crafted out of the Lombard portion of the previous Austrian Regno Lombardo–Veneto, which constitutionally enshrined the autonomy the Lombards had been granted under the Treaty of Guastalla. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly though, Charles Albert did not attempt to claim his second son's nascent Kingdom of Sicily under his rule, a position which was tested within mere weeks when...
Prince Victor Emmanuel (of Lombardy)
... The Lombards quickly took advantage of the situation, with Casati swiftly moving to establish a working relationship with the young Prince, a decision that would pay its dividends later...
... A conservative reaction to these liberal and radical developments soon unfolded in the south of Italy. At the end of March the Sicilian-Neapolitan conflict resumed when the Anglo-French armistice expired. Ferdinand Bourbon immediately sent forth his forces to recapture the island, now defended by a thinly-spread army of only 9,000, led by Ludwik Mierosławski (2), only recently released by Germany, who didn't speak Italian. Catania was taken by 29 March - though only after the Neapolitan forces had razed over half the city to the ground...
... Within a few short days, hearing of the events further north in the new North Italy, and from the south in Naples and Sicily, the Roman Constituent Assembly appointed an emergency triumvirate of Maazini, the moderate liberal lawyer Carlo Armellini, and Romagnol radical Aurelio Saffi (3), whose wide mandate was nominally to prepare for war against either Naples or Piedmont, but in reality quickly became the executive branch of the republican government. All three men, and Mazzini in particular, felt that the Roman republic would not, perhaps could not, survive the reactionary onslaught, and as such they took action with forethought and care so that the republic would be remembered favorably by posterity in order to inspire future revolutions. Mazzini specifically choose to live a now famous life of modesty, sleeping in a humble, unguarded room, and regularly ate in a local trattoria, open to be approached by all citizens - many of whom who exercised that very right, and led to several policy changes in the young republic - a tradition that continues to this day in Rome. However unlike the earlier 'Venetian-model' of Italian republicanism the Roman triumvirate largely worked alongside the Assembly as equals, and quickly established religious protection in the republic, most importantly formally abolishing the Papal Inquisition, censorship, and the ecclesiastical courts. The latter were replaced with secular ones, and furthermore the Church's monopoly on education was broken with the introduction of secular, public, schools funded by the state in which priests were disallowed from teaching. As well some church property in and around Rome was confiscated to help fund poor relief and was eventually refurbished into housing for the urban Roman poor. The latter in particular was used in Papal and reactionary proselytism (4) in the immediate period and years afterward as signs of the republic's decadence and even 'paganism.' On 8 April, working to protect Catholic sensibilities, Mazzini himself attended Easter Mass in Saint Peter's. With this and other maneuvers the republic's Catholics largely supported the triumvirate's actions, even in religious matters, as nationalist and radical ideals were held in higher esteem than that of a reactionary Church. Indeed, by early April the streets of Rome were quantifiably safer than under the Pope - and this was under a democratic regime without the death penalty - a surprise to many of the regime's contemporaries. In both Britain and the United States, north previously viewed as liberal havens but swiftly turning to hold stereotypes of backwardness with the continuing successes across Europe in the 1848 revolutions, the chattering classes of the period could not stop themselves from talking of the new Rome. The American consul, Lewis Cass, famously described Mazzini as 'a man of great integrity and character and of extensive intellectual acquirement.' In Rome itself both the Assembly and the Triumvirate were viewed as patriotic Italians, occasionally as first Romans and secondly Italians, while Mazzini himself was widely celebrated throughout the former Papal States and across the Italian peninsula. Indeed his influence extended so far that...
The Roman Triumvirate. From Left to Right; Armellini, Mazzini, and Saffi
... On 11 April Florentines outside of the church of Santa Maria Novella rioted against the swaggering, brutish behavior of volunteers from Livorno brought into the city by Guerrazzi. The moderates took the opportunity to lead a peasant army out of the surrounding countryside into the city; however as the 'Peasant Legion' approached the Tuscan capitol an even larger 'counter-counter-revolution' rose up, led by the urban poor, workers, and peasants from the surrounding towns who enjoyed their new political liberties under the republic. In a three-hour skirmish outside of the city walls the reactionary rebellion was crushed, the conservative peasants scattered, and the moderate leadership was captured and imprisoned. Indeed, the city council, which still remained in moderate hands, was nearly murdered as the radical mob moved back into Florence until Guerrazzi offered them sanctuary in return for their surrender (5). While Tuscan liberals and radicals would have to spend a great deal of time working out their differences in order to come to a compromise, it was evident Tuscany would not be anything other than a republic...
Reza, Ahmad. Reform: A History. Istanbul: Central Press, 1999.
... On 15 April Syracuse was captured by Neapolitan forces without a fight. Against Ferdinand of Sicily's wishes the parliament sought French mediation in the conflict, however, in return they were told by the French embassy to disengage from the enemy, and to expel the 'less compromising' revolutionaries. Against this advice, and supported by the British, Ferdinand Savoyard quickly rallied the patriotic Sicilians, and, alongside Ruggiero Settimo, who had proved to be decisive to the Sicilian cause early in the previous year. Of Ferdinand's early moves in this period, perhaps the most important was his meeting personally with the squadre, allegedly telling the criminal organization's leaders that 'Under me, you will be free to continue your racket. Under Bomba, you will be dead.' This new-found alliance of interest was tested when by 22 April the Neapolitan fleet appeared off of Palermo. As the radicals and the National Guard units whose loyalty to their king was unquestionable began to prepare for the coming assault, the moderates and few conservative deputies convinced the remaining National Guards to promise only to protect property from 'popular violence.' Indeed, as Francesco Cripi later wrote, 'the moderates feared the victory of the people more than that of the Bourbon troops.' While red- and Sicilian tricolor- topped barricades were erected throughout the city, the moderates opened negotiations with the Neapolitan host, and having agreed to surrender, the liberal leadership helped guide the royalist troops into Palermo. Devastated by this Tradimento by his adopted island home Ferdinand of Sicily personally led a regiment of patriotic National Guards into the midst of the unfolding the Battle of Palermo. Instead of attempting to hold the historic center of the ancient city, as had been expected by the invading Neapolitans, the Sicilian loyalists quickly broke out of their fortified center, and by the afternoon Ferdinand's force was the point of a spearhead driving towards the port. The five-day battle, compared repeatedly throughout historical texts to the Five Days of Milan, has been reported and commented on by historians too numerous to list, though this author would direct his reader to consider Joseph Lebedev's Bomba or Rahul Hernández's Squadre; A History. Suffice to say that the mere list of noteworthy events that happened during the battle would be enough to fill an entire volume of its own, from well-known events such as Settimo's Sacrifice, which allowed Mierosławski and his squadre translators to capture several Neapolitan cannon, to the little-known rising up of the peasantry in the countryside against the invading Neapolitans by Francesco Crispi, who had fled to the island after the failure of the liberal revolution in Naples the previous year. Of course perhaps the most important and well-known facet of the battle to consider was that of the Sicilian Royal Navy. Formed from a core of four frigates - three of steam and one of sail - 'on loan' from the Piedmontese navy as a gift from one Savoyard monarch to another, the Sicilian Navy, which also included several corvettes and brigs, had been sailing to re-capture Syracuse when news of the landing at Palermo reached the small fleet. Swiftly turning about, the formation arrived in the early morning hours of the forth day of the battle, and were able to catch the Neapolitan force unawares, as the latter had believed, fomented by a rumor purposefully spread by Ferdinand Savoyard, that the frigates had fled back to Genoa. Trapped between the Sicilian navy offshore and the advances of Ferdinand's Legion, which by the afternoon of the fifth day had pressed to within a block of the docks, the entire remaining 8,000-strong Neapolitan force was forced to surrender on 27 April. Though the Sicilian throat bayed for blood, Ferdinand, who did not share his subjects temper (6), instead opted to use the prisoners of war as political leverage, though he did proclaim that 'As you have opted to reduce our homes to naught but ash, so too shall you live.' Indeed, by the time the final peace treaties were signed in 1850 at least 800 of the captured Neapolitan troops had died from poor living conditions, exposure, and malnutrition, a fact that did not earn the young King praise from the other Princes of Europe, though after reading of the reports of the treatment of the Sicilians throughout the revolutionary period, Queen Victoria of Britain, the 'grandmother of Europe,' wrote in her diary that she could 'find no fault in the Savoyard's [Ferdinand's] actions.'
The French Intervention & Rise of the Confederacy
... On 1 May the French envoy to Rome, Ferdinand de Lesseps, noted in a letter to his President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte that even the most devout Roman Catholics in Rome wished to see Pope Pius IX return - but only as a religious leader. However Bonaparte was committed to the Papal cause in order to bolster his own support back. Under the command of General Chalres Oudinot some 6,000 French troops, supported by Spanish General Fernando Fernández de Córdova who landed in Gaeta, where the Pope remained in refuge, with another 4,000 men, the French expected little resistance from the 'usurpers;' republican resolve was surprisingly stiffened therefore by the support of Garibaldi's Red Shirts. Indeed by 16 May the Neapolitans, still reeling from their loses in Sicily, invaded the republic and occupied the countryside around Palestrina, were routed within a day Garibaldi's 'Italian Legion' made up of patriotic Italian volunteers at Velletri. As the broken Neapolitan force flew from the field back across the border, those had been at the front and seen Garibaldi in his distinctive shirt described him as 'bullet-proof,' and far more damaging to the reactionary Neapolitan morale, as the 'red devil.' Three days later de Lesseps was recalled to Paris by Bonaparte, while Oudinot oversaw the hauling ashore of several heavy siege guns at the French-occupied Civita Vecchia. With volunteers and reinforcements arriving to support both sides, by the time de Lesseps left the city Oudinot commanded some 30,000 professional fighting men opposing a determined but mostly force of 19,000 royal regulars, carabineri, civic guards, volunteers and Red Shirts. However hope was not lost for the Romans. As word trickled north of the French intervention and the Neapolitan defeat, Manin rallied the Assembly and the Venetian crowds to send aid south to Rome, reminding his countrymen that it was only with a (republican) pan-Italian force that the Austrians had been defeated (7), and that the same united Italian effort could defeat the French. Working up the mood in the assembly's chamber room the Venetian Dictator challenged the deputies;
'Does the Assembly wish to resist the enemy?'
'At every cost?'
By the end of the day Manin had commanded a brigade of hardened Venetian-led Italian veterans, 5000-strong, to march to Rome...
... Despite Garibaldi's urging, Mazzini was loath to follow up on the early Roman advantage, as he had not expected an attack by the French and still hoped that the Roman and French republics could become strong allies. The French prisoners captured in the 30 April assault were treated as ospiti della guerra and sent back to Oudinot with republican tracts citing Article V of the recent French constitution; 'France respect foreign nationalities. Her might will never be employed against the liberty of any people.' As a result of the near-month long stand off Oudinot was able to regroup and await reinforcements; time to proved to be on his side, and Mazzini's attempt at diplomacy nearly proved fatal to...
... The siege began in earnest on 1 June. By the early morning hours of 3 June French troops had overtaken the Italian outposts, the Pamfili and Corsini villas. While the former was taken easily the later, whose position on a high knoll gave it a commanding view of the San Pancrazio city gate, was only taken after twenty hours of relentless combat - ultimately the building was all-but destroyed by cannon fire and musketry. By the end of the day the Italians had lost over five hundred men, with the French sustaining only half that amount. The real loss though to the French cause was the, perceived, ability to take the ancient city by an overwhelming surprise assault. As malaria began to infect the invading host, huddle as it was in the backwaters along the coast, the French were constantly bombarded from the Vascello, still held by the Italians. The heavily fortified outpost, supported further by Italian guns on the city walls, blocked the only French route into the city; again, it appeared that the city would be able to hold out. Roman morale soared, with some six thousand women volunteering by the morning of 4 June alone, with a notable company of nurses led the Lombardy noblewoman Princess Belgiojoso. However, by sheer weight of numbers Oudinot's siege works came to within rushing distances of the bastions to the south of the Porta San Pancrazio by 21 June, and on the next day his forces breached Rome's southern defenses. The French were finally on the city walls. By 29 June the Vascello feel, the building quite literally blasted apart by relentless French cannon; by the time the Italian garrison inside surrendered the building itself was nothing more than a smoldering heap of rubble no higher than a man's thigh. Rome was now defended by her walls alone on the south and west. Garibaldi's Italian Legion fell back to the second line of defense, pivoting at the Villa Spada, with his pregnant, and indomitable wife, Anita rejoining the fighting force (8), famously bringing to the Legion more dyed cloth for the famous red shirts - within hours the entire 2,000-strong Italian Legion was wearing the blood red.
A statue of Giuseppe and Anita Garibaldi raised in Uruguay
Fighting tooth-and-nail the French took the shattered remains of the Spada the next day. Even as the Assembly was briefed on the military situation by Garibaldi and considered surrender Italian reinforcements approached the metropolis from the north. Built around the Venetian Legion and led by General Pepe, the force had swollen to an impressive 15,000 as it had made its way south; gathering volunteers from across Italy, especially from the northern Roman towns such as Bologna and Ferrara, the force had been further reinforced by some 4,000 soldiers presented to Pepe in Florence by Guerrazzi. Perhaps most surprising however had been the joining to Pepe's growing force of a squadron of elite North Italian cavalry - sent not by Charles Albert, but instead by his son Victor Emmanuel. Quickly understanding the situation in the metropolis, Pepe devised a tactic he had seen the Austrians attempt to use during the Siege of Venice but never perfected (9) in which guns with their barrels removed from their carriages were slipped into quickly-constructed wooden slides propped up at a 45-degree angle. This allowed Pepe to send twenty-four pound shells high over the Italian capitol and pound the French-occupied Civita Vecchia and their forces inside Rome itself; over the next two days over two hundred such shells would slam into the French from high above, well outside of the range of the French field cannon. Perhaps luckily for the Romans the loss of innocent life and fire causes by these guns' pounding their city was minimal, as while their cannonballs were red-hot, giving them their name 'French oranges,' that as they covered such a distance their force was often spent by the time they...
... As the Venetian-led Italians poured into the French lines the Roman Assembly defiantly ratified the constitution of the Roman republic while French shells burst around the parliament. The constitutional text, in a historical irony, stated that 'Republic declares all nations as sister; it respects every nationality.' Swiftly gathering the majority of the remaining Roman forces on Saint Peter's Square, Garibaldi told the Legion 'Dovunque saremo, colà sarà Roma' ('Whatever we may be, there will be Rome.') Leading this motley force Garibaldi skirmished forward towards the French lines, and with the support of the fresh Italian brigades was able to steadily push the French out of the city over the next two days. By 31 June Oudinot realized the Roman venture was a lost cause and what started as an orderly retreat quickly turned into a rout as the French lines collapsed; the invaders were driven back to the heavily-damaged Civita Vecchia. Many of the French transports were either sunk or captured in the port as the Italians swept across the land from the ancient capitol, with the port-city's previously cowed urban population raising up against their occupiers and driving them into the sea. By 1 July the French, in a devastating defeat and an embarrassment to President Bonaparte, had been completely driven from mainland Italy, while Oudinot himself drowned in the Tyrrhenian Sea when his burning flagship sunk with all hands aboard before it could reach Corsica...
Italian forces driving the French out of Rome
... Standing in Saint Peter's Square, hailed by the cheering Italians in the tens of thousands, Pepe, Manin, and Garibaldi established what would later be known as the 'Red Triumvirate' for their distinctive red clothing, most of it from the red blood spilled upon them, (10) which ultimately laid the foundation's for the political structure that was to come. Word of the Roman Miracle quickly ricocheted across the Italian peninsula and throughout Europe. Charles Albert initially feared French retribution for his son's actions, and for not his own in not 'ending' the Venetian, Tuscan and Roman republics earlier; however Louis-Napoléon was far too busy handling the Second June Days and eventually establishing the...
... In North Italy Charles Albert moved quickly, once again ordering the liberal constituente to move, this time to Rome, sending his son Victor Emmanuel to attend. Charles Albert himself stayed in Turin, shifting the vast majority of his forces from the Po River to the long, mountainous North Italian-French border, an action that was quietly but steadily remarked upon by Victor Emmanuel at the Roman constituente, citing the NIK as the 'shield of Italy.' Venice's Dictator also sent deputies to Rome, led by Tommaseo acting once again as Manin's personal representative. Indeed, deputies from across Italy steadily flocked to Rome so that by the official opening of the Roman Conclave on 8 September some five hundred elected representatives had descended upon the war-ravaged city. The only two Italian states not to send official representatives were Sicily and Naples, though the former did send observers from Ferdinand to take notes and offer suggestions, they did not actively vote or participate in the Italian debates - a fact which southern Italian separatist activists continue to argue to this day. The reasons though at the moment were clear and sound - the Sicilian-Neapolitan War was still raging across the Straits of Messina, and while the Neapolitan war movement largely petering out in mid-to-late 1849 as the Bourbon state simply lacked the troops to retake the island as well as maintain a large border garrison against potential Roman invasion (as well as to provide Ferdinand of Naples with a well-prepared army for his own invasion should he see fit to do so), the Sicilians themselves were continually plagued by issues of rebellion and counter-revolution while still attempting to drive the Neapolitans from their island kingdom. Most important to note though is that reactionary Naples - housing both Pope Pius IX and Tuscan Grand Duke Leopold - did not send any representatives at all to the Roman congress, and indeed continued to refuse to join the new Italian state after a forced Anglo-Italian peace in late 1850 recognized the sovereignty of the Sicilian state and forced Napes to pay a war indemnity of 15 million lire to the Roman Republic, and a further 25 million lire to the Kingdom of Sicily. Further Ferdinand of Naples was forced to promise to make no claims to territory outside of his own kingdom, which was explicitly defined as that of the historical nation of Naples...
... Many of the deputies to the Roman constituente, especially those whom were especially staunchly Catholic (conservatives) had dismissed the reports of the supposed 'rape of Rome;' unwilling or unable to believe that Catholic France, with the active support of equally Catholic Spain and Naples, could undertake such an action upon the holy city until seeing the cannon destroyed villas themselves. One Sardinian deputy is said to have broken down in tears seeing the bloodstained, musketry-riddled walls of the Colosseum, where the French had housed and executed hundreds of captured prisoners. As the pan-Italian constituente continued to deliberate the future of the Italian people the conservative base largely evaporated; with the sudden surge of 'new' moderates, the contest between liberals and radicals swiftly turned towards the former's favor. Indeed the Italian Constitution of 1849 largely drew upon the liberal constituente that had been under constant revision since early 1848 mostly in Savoyard North Italy. This was largely unacceptable to the militant radicals, and while ultimately they were able to prevent a Savoyard-led Italian Kingdom, there were calls for a continuation of the 'Italian Crusade' against Charles Albert's North Italian Kingdom, as well as opposing both Ferdinand's Naples & Sicily. However, neither the governments of Venice, Florence, or Rome, wishedd to rage war against their fellow Italians - who had twice saved them from reactionary destruction - in order to force their idealized unitary republican state. Indeed, much like other radical-liberal compromises across Europe in the 1848 period, the Italian constituente largely left all sides equally dissatisfied. Drawing heavily from the example of the United States, the Italian states - notably lacking Naples and Sicily until the former's joined in 1850 - united into the Italian Confederation. Each state was largely independent under this framework, without common currency or many other defining features of a united and sovereign 'state'. However the confederated Italian states were legally obliged to come to each others' defense, and further were constitutionally prohibited from interfering in domestic affairs of one another. A bi-annual Council of Italy was to be held in Rome by the elected (or chosen, in the case of North Italy) leaders of the individual states, with a continuously sitting Council made of representative deputies selected by the heads of the individual Italian states, which was to joined by a continuously sitting Italian Senate elected on universal male suffrage. The Council-members shared executive power and acted as the collective head of the state, with an elected President sitting on a rotating basis acting as primus inter pares - though this caused somewhat of a constitutional crisis until Sicily joined the Confederation, enlarging the council to five members. The Council was to advise each other upon the militaries of the individual states, which were retained, and to declare war, made treaties of peace, alliance and commerce; however these treaties needed to be ratified by the Senate, and the Council's declaration of war was checked by the Senate's command of the the Italian Navy and Army, the first Legion of which was formed out of Garibaldi's Red Shirts, with the General himself being swiftly elected Marshal of Italy, a position which acted as the Commander-in-Chief of the pan-Italian military, but explicitly not that of the individual state's armed forces. Though initially a fairly loose structure, the Confederation eventually became a stronger union with the events of the...
... With the signing of the Constitution of the Italian Confederacy ('Costituzione della Confederazione italiana'), celebrations erupted across all of the new Italian state. In Venice Manin, allegedly drunk, was said to have addressed the Venetian crowd on the Piazza San Marco with tears streaming down his face unashamedly, crying out 'Such a people! To live with such a people!'
(1) IOTL said by his father, King Charles Albert of Piedmont-Sardinia, after the Battle of Novara and the defeat of the Italian cause by the Austrians. Charles Albert attempted to die in the battlefield in order to reclaim his honor, but by luck he was never harmed, and later was forced to abdicate. ITTL his son issues the same phrase in a very different context.
(2) Who had been central behind the 1848 Greater Polish Uprising in Galicia. See Chapter #6 for details.
(3) IOTL considered the political heir to Mazzini, Saffi was a highly important if not widely known figure in the republican movement and Italian unification. Born in the Romagna region, he studied law in Ferrara, but swiftly turned to political activism, protesting the poor administration of the Papal Legates in his native area. It was during this era that he was exposed to Mazzini's political philosophy, and took to it like a fish to water. During the 1848 period he was first elected as a deputy in the Forlì Constituent Assembly before being selected as a minister in Rome for Pius' new government. IOTL after the failure of the republic he was imprisoned in Milan in 1853 for planning an uprising against Austrian rule, and while in prison met his wife, Giorgina Janet Craufurd, who was also a 'Mazzinian' and an early feminist. Upon his release he was elected a deputy in the parliament of the newly formed Savoyard Kingdom of Italy, where he represented the republican minority for several years.
(4) ITTL the term refers to political as well as religious influence meant to convert people to another religion and philosophical position. Basically ITTL's 'propaganda', of which IOTL the term did not come into standard usage until WWI.
(5) Essentially the opposite of OTL, in which the approaching Austrian army gave the moderates the impetus needed to overthrow the Tuscan republic 'in the name of Leopold.'
(6) A reference, not exactly 'politically correct,' to ITTL's (and IOTL's) stereotype of Sicilians and south Italians in general as being 'hot blooded.'
(7) Manin is stretching the truth to a large degree here; the Austrians were largely defeated by the Hungarians and radicals within their own country. See Chapter #15 for details.
(8) IOTL after the fall of Rome Garibaldi and his followers fled across the Apennines pursued by the French and shunned by the fearful peasantry; unfortunately Anita, and their unborn child, died near Ravenna in her husband's arms. It is said that Garibaldi had to be physically pulled away from her dead body by six strong men, and that he would not eat nor sleep nor talk for eight days afterward.
(9) IOTL the Austrians under Radetzky used this 'Terror-Programm' to great affect during the final weeks of the Siege of Vienna, though the initial concepts and applications had been tested much earlier in the siege by Marshal von Welden. Basically ad-hoc siege guns made out of field cannon.
(10) IOTL the term historically applied to the ruling group of cardinals that largely took over the city after the French conquest at Oudinot's invitation, who are particularly remembered for not only returning the Papal Inquisition, secret police, and public execution (by guillotine), but also for establishing a Papal commission to 'investigate' civil servants who had served under the republic; ultimately some two hundred people were killed under this commission, which was ultimately only stopped by President Bonaparte's intervention.
The Siege of Rome WON!!
Anita alive! Oudinot and Napoleon III beaten at their own rotten game! I salute you sir!
Sorry about the lack of updates. This weekend has been a rough one and its thrown off my updates schedule. I hope to have the next one out tomorrow or the next day. Hope you're all enjoying it so far.
I am certainly enjoying it!
Napoleon the IIIrd not being able to support Pius the 9th, whom I HATE for the Edwardo Mortara affair, if nothing else. Bomba seems to have lost Sicily, Anita Garibaldi probably alive because there is no retreat from Rome, and Garibaldi will not have to go into exile in the U. S. Garibaldi will never lead the Thousand to take Sicily and destroy the Neapolitan Kingdom, but the Neapolitans seem to be self-destructing anyway, and good ridance. The Austrians get a liberal constitution, the Poles are some kind of nation more than 70 years early, and the Balkans get to try and settle their awful mess more than 80 or 90 years than they had, free of Austrian dominion. France hopfully can become a stable Republic rather than a damn hodgepodge. The only true losers are the royal families and aristocracies involved, and since they are only AT MOST 1-5% of the population, who cares? It may not ALL end up better, but industrialization of those areas can probably proceed more rapidly, as well. Southern Europe, or at least the Balkans and Italy, will be WAY more industrialized in this ATL then in OTL. What is there not to like?
Deutschland Ueber Alles
"We had hoped that we were at the end of our great work. We had hoped that we would succeed in concluding the revolution.
Now it seems that an even larger, more terrible and difficult revolution than that of 1848 is presenting itself to us."
- Karl Welcher, a liberal member of the Frankfurt parliament, on the May Revolutions
27 April 1849
The German Constitution
... The parliament in Frankfurt, under Hessian protection and guidance (1), continued to work feverishly throughout the so-called 'Quiet Winter' in which the revolutionary wave in Germany entered a pronounced lull. Indeed, with the toppling of the Prussian and Austrian governments, previously the two most reactionary German states, and the de-facto ceasefire in republican-held Baden with the departure of Struve and his freischärlers, it appeared that the revolution was largely finished in Germany, with a strong victory for the moderately liberal cause. Throughout the later months of 1848 and into the early spring of 1849 a sense of normalcy apparently returned to the German states, and...
... After long, and controversial negotiations, on 27 March 1849 the German parliament ratified the Imperial Constitution (also known as Paulskirchenverfassung; 'Constitution of St. Paul's Church), declaring the German Empire. The act was carried without the 'nones' by some 330 votes to seventy abstentions as the entire 'new' conservative Café Milani and a majority of the center-right Casino refused to endorse the charter. (2) When the constitution was written, constitutional democracy was still in its infancy, and the drafter's of the text had little in the way of working examples. While they drew heavily on the US constitution for organization of the federal state as a whole, they also drew inspiration from French republicanism, of the First and Second Republic, and from the Consulate, as well as from the earlier Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and finally from the British Westminster system, and from the German liberal councils and radical guilds that were apart of the leading edge of the revolutionary movement. As such the constitution established a two-chamber Reichstag, whereby half of the 192-member upper house, the House of States (Staatenhaus), was to be chosen by the parliaments of the separate German states, while the other half was appointed by the state governments; only those who were citizens of the state in question and at least thirty years of age could be appointed or elected to the State House, and would serve for up to two periods of three year terms, with half of the house up for election every three years. The constitutional text also specifically stated how many representatives each state was to send to the German parliament, though this had to be amended later as the makeup of the German states changed over the years. As well, while some member-states only were to send one deputy to the State House, in order to assure their representation the government of that state would suggest three candidates from which that state's parliament would elect with an absolute majority. In order to assure this constitutional balance the German states were all obliged to create a popular elected assembly of their own, with ministers responsible to it; though this to a large extent this decree had already taken place throughout several of the German states during the March Revolution, with more arising in...
... the Imperial Constitution's lower chamber, the House of the People (Volkshaus) was to be elected by popular vote by 'every German [male] of good repute who had completed his twenty-fifth year' in a secret ballot 'by paper without signature.' Members of the People's House were elected to an unlimited amount of three year terms; however the first election for the house was constitutionally bound not to occur until three years after the document's enforcement as law; meaning the first Volkshaus did not sit until 1852. As well the Volkshaus' membership was limited so that one deputy was to be elected per every 50,000 inhabitants, a situation which clearly favored the larger states such as Prussia and Austria, as well as largely favoring 'new conservative' deputies who could appeal to the moderate urban bourgeois as well as to the reactionaries and the rural peasantry. Finally, the Emperor could dissolve the People's House, however the house was constitutionally bound to meet again with three months...
... Perhaps most surprisingly however was the parliament's negotiated decision regarding executive power. While, as had been expected by non-German commentators, a Kaiser der Deutschen, the position was an elected monarch chosen by a three-fourths majority in the Staatenhaus. On first reading, such a solution had been dismissed. The eventuality of the (Erwähltkaiser) position came about because all alternative suggestions, such as hereditary monarchy, or a Directory-style government under an alternating chair were even less practicable and unable to find broad support, as was the radical left's demands for a Presidential republic modeled upon that of the United States. The German constitution was heavily influenced by outside events during the revolutionary period, and many of the prominent 'founding fathers' were actually originally from outside of the Reich; Poles such as Janiszewski (3), and Germans apart of the Swiss Diaspora like Ochsenbein, Stämpfli, Furrer, Munzinger, and Naeff... (4)
... The emperor's power was further restricted by the creation of a seven-member imperial council, the Reichsrat, chosen from among Staatenhaus deputies by that chamber. The council was originally envisioned to be merely advisers to the emperor, with each councilor heading a governmental department, much like the ministers in the governments of other countries. As such seven departments were created; Justice (the courts & imperial law enforcement), Finance (taxes and spending), Foreign Affairs (diplomacy and trade, as well as, secretly, spies), War (and the individual state's militias), Production (commerce, industry, agriculture), Home Affairs (religion, education, transportation, communications, etc), and Labor (worker-employer/state relations). Colloquially and by the press, especially that of non-German papers, the councilors were referred to as ministers, e.g. the head of the War Department referred to was the 'war minister,' though no such post officially existed. However the councilors were responsible not only for their own department but also for the business of their colleague's departments as well, and for the conduct of the government the federal administration as a whole. As the councilors were raised from the State House and were ultimately responsible to the Reichstag and not to the emperor, while nominally they merely advised the emperor in his actions in reality they swiftly became the actual government of the German Empire, acting as a collegial executive in corpore with one among them acting as an elected president, also known as the Reichsverweser ('imperial regent). As such with the adoption of the Imperial Constitution a caretaker government was swiftly enacted, with Archduke John of Austria elected as the regent until... (5)
... Both of the houses were to also elect its own President, Vice-President and a secretary, and the meeting of the houses were to be open to the public; however neither the bearer of petitions, nor any deputations were allowed to be resisted in the houses. As well each house had the right to punish its members for 'unworthy behavior,' set by their own rules of procedure.
... For a bill to become law it first had to be initiated by either house of the Reichstag, or by either the Kaiser or the Reichsrat, at which point it was constitutionally bound to be allowed to be debated by the relevant minister or ministers, after which it required passage of exactly equivalent texts by a majority in both houses of the legislature, however at least half of the statutory number of members needed to participate to reach a quorum. The imperial council or the emperor could use a delaying veto to prevent a bill from becoming law, however in both cases the veto could be overcame by another simple majority. As well if a bill had been introduced but had not passed in one session of the legislature could not be introduced again in the same session; however if after three regular sessions immediately following the same decision taken without change if the bill had not been adopted due to lack of consent of the imperial government it was to become law without imperial consent...
A schematic of the German Imperial government
Constitutionally, the parliament was required in the following cases;
If the bill enacted, repealed, amended or interpreted the Reich's laws.
If the Reich budget was to be contracted using loans; if the government was to spend on a non-budgeted expenditure; or if the government was to raise or lower taxes.
If foreign maritime or river tariffs were to be raised or lowered.
If a state's fort(s) were to be declared imperial property.
If international treaties were to be concluded by the Reich government which involved trade.
If a foreign state was to be excluded from the German customs zone, or to be excluded from tariffs to create a free trade zone.
If a non-German territory was to be annexed by the Reich.
... The Imperial Constitution also created a Supreme Court, whose jurisdiction included;
disputes between individual states and the imperial government for violating the constitution by issue of imperial laws and measures of the national government, or vice-versa
disputes between the Staatenhaus and the Volkshaus, or between the Reichstag and the imperial government concerning interpretations of the constitutions
political and private legal disputes of all kinds between the individual German states
disputes over succession, the ability to govern, and the right to reign in the states
disputes between the government of a single state and its parliament as to the validity or interpretation of the state constitution; however claims of violations of state constitutions only applied to the Supreme Court if means of redress with said state constitution could not be used
disputes between individual German citizens and the state or imperial government regarding violations of a citizen's constitutionally guaranteed rights; however claims of violations only applied to the Supreme Court if means of redress of the state or imperial constitution could not be used
criminal jurisdiction over charges against a Reichsrat councilor, or a minister of a German state, insofar as they relate to their ministerial responsibilities
criminal jurisdiction over charges of treason against the Reich
actions brought against the Imperial Treasury
actions against individual states where the obligation to pay the claims sufficiently between several countries is doubtful or disputed, as if the shared commitment is made against a number of states in a lawsuit
... the constitution also eliminated many former, feudal, restrictions on the citizenry and between the German states and created a modern, streamlined, bureaucratic system. As such the various individual states, while remaining, were subsumed to the imperial government. The constitution also created a new customs and trade area, and eliminated all internal custom duties and tolls, and granted the exclusive purview of creating new customs, tariffs, tolls and taxes to the Reich government... (6)
The German Coat of Arms
... Immediately the question, and dispute, arose over who was to be the first Kaiser. While the constitution declared the position to be an elected position, it was initially assumed by many both within and outside of Germany that, like the empire of old (7), the emperor would quickly and quietly allow for hereditary succession and ruling Houses, though ultimately...
... Many at the assembly had previously supported Prussian King Frederick William IV, though it was well known that he had had strong prejudices against the work of the parliament; however with his abdication and sudden death late in the previous year Hohenzollern support largely dissipated throughout the winter months. While some rallied behind his son and heir King Frederick III, the republican left, led by Struve, countered this move by mockingly suggesting instead Frederick William's wife and young Frederick's mother Augusta as German Empress. A second, more reactionary, faction attempted to rally support for the Hapsburgs, putting forward newly-crowned Franz Karl of Austria, however Hapsburg succor within the parliament had also been weak, and in the aftermath of the Vienna Uprising and Magyar intervention, support for the Austrian position was at an all time. Perhaps most importantly though neither the Prussian nor Austrian governments actively worked to put forward a strong claim towards the German crown. The Prussians, under Augusta and Bismarck's 'new conservatives' were active in Berlin attempting to prevent a second Uprising and hold the fragile balance with the radicals, while simultaneously strengthening their position with the rural peasantry. Likewise even as late as the spring of 1849 the government in Austria was still working out the precious details of the Vienna Accord, even as the Hungarians and Croatians fought across southeastern Europe. Perhaps the greatest reason though for the lack of either of the major reactionary powers' activity in German politics at this period was that the governments of both states believed that any such pan-German union that lacked their particular involvement was bound to fail. Thus for the first time in recent history the course of the German nation was left to the smaller 'Third German' states...
... support quickly fell to the princes of the three next largest German states; Maximilian II of Bavaria, Ernest Augustus I of Hanover, and Frederick Augustus II of Saxony. Of the three, only Maximilian had actually personally attended the German parliament in Frankfurt, though Ernest Augustus had sent his own representatives in his stead. Further though, of the three only in Maximilian's Bavaria had liberal reformers succeeded; while Frederick Augustus had appointed a liberal ministry and other reforms, by late April of 1848 he had dissolved his new parliament, never to call it again. Thus liberal revolutionaries and moderate radicals, for the most part, supported Maximilian, while some moderate and right-wing liberal reformers and 'new conservatives' rallied to Ernest Augustus, leaving only the reactionaries to Frederick Augustus. The contest easily could have descended into a civil war as fault lines spread throughout the parliament, with the radical republican left waiting and plotting for an opportune moment to strike, and the three princely factions sharpening their bayonets, both rhetorically and literally as the armies of Bavaria and Hanover were already mobilized in light of the ongoing republican revolt in neighboring Baden. However the entire debate was mooted when both...
Republicanism & the May Revolutions
... on 15 April the liberal governments of the twenty-eight German states that had accepted the imperial constitution wrote a joint, public letter to the remaining eight states, urging their governments to follow their led; notably however the middle-states - Hanover, Bavaria, and Saxony - all refused to do so. Within a week however both chambers of the new, Bismarck-dominated, Prussian parliament accepted the imperial constitution, though Augusta refused to accept until well after the May Revolutions (8). By 16 April mass, pro-constitutional, protests broke out across Württemberg, particularly in the capital of Stuttgart. By the end of the month the Landtag of Saxony tried to force Frederick Augustus to accept the imperial constitution; however he refused to do so, and prorogued the parliament, and quickly appointed a new, reactionary, government (9). Immediately protests erupted throughout the capitol of Dresden and the surrounding countryside...
During the March Revolutions Saxony had not played a major role because of the weaknesses of its anti-governmental opposition. Public life in the capitol was not highly politicized until the appointment of the liberal march cabinet and its subsequent proroguing, and the preparations for elections to the Frankfurt parliament. Among the strongest local political organizations were the Vaterlandsverein ('Patriotic Association'), founded in early April 1848, which had four thousand members by the end of that year, half of them journeymen and workers. The closely connected Dresdner Zeitung became the leading publication for Saxon democrats, together with the Volksblätter, published by August Röckel, a friend of Richard Wagner, a paper with a radical-democratic and utopian-socialist profile. In opposition to the Patriotic Association the moderately liberal Deutsche Verein ('German Union') consisted mainly of established craftsmen, merchants, intellectuals, as well as civil servants and army officers. In January 1849 parliamentary controversies in the newly elected Landtag gave a strong impulse to political life in Dresden, with left-wing forces dominated both houses of the parliament. The twenty-one deputy club of the extreme left in particular exercised an especially prominent leverage, with its leader, the Bautzen lawyer Samuel Tzschirner, together with figures such as Röckel and Wittig formed the center of a conspiratorial junction which expected the outbreak of a second revolution and prepared for it be establishing manifold contracts. They worked closely with the Central Union of German Democrats via Karl D'Ester, and as a result by the spring of 1849 Dresden had become the center of a widespread cooperative between revolutionary activists...
... Despite its apparent progress, the assembly in Frankfurt depended upon the co-operation of the German princes; this became apparent when Frederick Augustus later disbanded his own state's parliament. At first the Saxon town councilors attempted to persuade the king to accept the imperial constitution in public speeches. The municipal guards who should have controlled them instead joined them, and made addresses of their own to Frederick Augustus. The king however was unyielding, and called the guards units to order, leading to further unrest. On 3 May the municipal guards of Dresden were told to go home; however the town council organized them into defensive units to stop the expected Prussian (or Austrian) intervention. As guards Dresdners built barricades throughout the city, Frederick Augustus, joined by the reactionary government, withdrew into the Zeughaus protected by royalist troops. At first the municipal guards were undecided whether or not to support the people, who threatened to use explosives to get the government out; however after the royalist Saxon troops fired upon the crowds the guards quickly joined the fray on the side of the insurgents. Within hours over one hundred barricades were erected throughout the city, as insurgents, joined by the guards, attacked the royalist troops who continually fell back. In the early morning hours of 4 May Frederick Augustus and his conservative government managed to escape the city to the fortress of Königstein. In their place a provisional government was quickly established, including radicals such as Stephan Born, the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, composer Richard Wagner (10), as well as three former members of the liberal parliament; lawyers Samuel Tzschirner and Karl Gotthelf Todt, and the doctor Otto Heubner. Tzschirner in turn summoned another member into this ruling circle, Alexander Heinze, while Born brought into foreign-born Marcus Thrane, to organize fighting and to recruit more communal guards and volunteers from outside Dresden. So widespread was the discontent with King Frederick Augustus that many of the volunteers were from far outlying cities throughout Saxony such as Chemnitz, Swickau and Marienberg. However, a twenty-four hour armistice negotiated by the provisional government's security sub-committee with the military governor of Dresden allowed the army to bring in fresh troops from other parts of the country
In the afternoon of 5 May Saxon troops marched into Dresden; while the royalist had planned to encircle the rebels and corner them on the Altmarkt (Old Market), they had seriously underestimated the extent of the revolt, and the number of barricades meant the royalist had to fight for every street, even in the houses. The city's opera house was set ablaze during the fighting, while Wagner himself climbed the church towers, ringing their bells to rally the revolutionaries and to reconnoiter the royalist troops. Elsewhere Born mobilized and organized the city's workers, ingeniously using internal walls of houses to allow messages to be hand-delivered between buildings, and in some cases allowing insurgents to pass through them. All-in-all some four thousand insurgents, many from outside of Dresden, took part in the revolt, against a nominally lesser number (2,500) of royalist soldiers. However as the revolution carried on many royalist troops defected to the insurgents, often later negotiating either a cease-fire between their former comrades and their new ones, or were able to talk the former into joining the revolution as well. By the fourth day many royalist troops simply threw down their arms and walked away to return to their homes in the rural countryside...
... Dresden was well-known as the cultural center of Germany (11) for liberals and democrats, and as such Dresden artisans and worthies quickly joined the insurrection, including such later famous names as the editor of the Dresdner Zeitung Ludwig Wittig, physicist Gustav Seuner who lead his students in making gunpowder and bombs for the insurgents, and opera singer/actress Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, who used her charisma and stage presence to rally the revolutionaries and personally lead several sorties. By 9 May the tide of the battle had obviously turned in the revolutionaries' favor, and the royalist were forced to withdraw from the city. In all some 250 insurgents were killed with another four hundred wounded; however the Saxon reactionaries lost over eight hundred killed or wounded in the campaign, many of whom were later captured and arrested by 'citizen's militias' as the royalist fled from Dresden (12)...
The ruins of the old Dresden Opera House
... support for the revolutionary Dresdeners poured into Saxony from throughout Germany, as the revolutionaries used their extensive contacts to call for support and aid from the other German radicals. The Saxon revolution was the sparked that reignited the combat in Baden, as the republicans launched a lightning campaign across the duchy to capture the initiative. Notaly, Struve's Legion, which had marched the last autumn to aid the Berlin Uprising - though they had been unable to arrive in time - now quickly moved on towards Dresden. Arriving in Dresden on 11 May Struve declared before the provisional government that 'For Saxony I can see no salvation as long as the royal family rules over it. Only a republic would ensure freedom.' Indeed, as revolutionary supporters rallied to Dresden in the thousand, the royal Wettin family fretted in Königstein. While many reactionaries and conservatism wishes to attack crush the revolutionary movement, others were tempted by the example of Prussia and Austria in the previous year. King Frederick Augustus, who had hoped for support from either state in putting down the rebellion, send delegations to both Vienna and Berlin begging for martial aid. While Franz Karl did not reply, Augusta immediately sent word back to Königstein; her messenger arrived on 12 May carry one word written boldly upon a single folded sheet of paper - 'Abdicate.' As a revolutionary army 10,000 strong converged on the royal fortress Frederick Augustus did just that, renouncing his claims to the Saxon throne and fleeing the country, first to Austria and then out of Germany altogether, to Russia. In his absence the crown should have passed to his younger brother, Johann. However this was a position that the radicals would not tolerate, and within a day of his brother's flight Johann did the same, also renouncing not his claim, but that of his two sons as well, to the Saxon throne. While this move's legality was and has been questioned since, the issue was mooted the next day when outside of Königstein, hearing of the Wettin's mass-abdication, the provisional government announced the formation of the Saxon Republic, with elections to a fresh parliament within three months, and a collegial executive council modeled upon that of the ruling circle of the provisional government...
... Many revolutionaries in the new Saxon state expected a conservative reaction from either Austria or Prussia, but it was not to be. In fact the only military response to the Saxon Republic was the formation of a united militia 'for defense of the homeland' in the Thuringian states, with Hessian promises of aid in case of a potential republican invasion...
... As early as 3 May at a mass meeting of the Landwehr (militas) in Elderfeld, in the Prussian Rhineland, proclaimed its support for the German constitution. Later in the same day in Bonn a day-long protest of the Landwehr quickly swelled in size as the Prussian government ordered more militiamen and troops to the city to put down the protest, where the soldiers promptly joined the protesters. The troops vowed to disobey the Prussian government if called to move against the pro-constitutional riots throughout the Rhineland. Three days latter five different provincial congresses were held throughout the Rhineland, two of them liberal, three of them democratic; all of them under the umbrella of the Central Union of German Democrats, whose membership had rapidly swollen in the past week to over a half-million strong. In response the Prussian government further called out even more of the Landwehr, though their loyalty was questionable, at best. Little under a week later delegates from over three hundred town and village councils met at one of the on-going liberal-worker's congresses in Cologne, where they demand that Augusta and the Prussian government in Berlin accept the imperial German constitution, rescind the call to arms, and dismiss the conservative Prussian ministry led by 'new conservatives' such as Bismarck. When asked by attending journalists whether they were 'German' or 'Prussian' the protesters began to chant; 'German! German! Succession from Prussia!' Within the day the revolution had spread, and the Landwehr of Elderfeld, Düsseldorf, and Solingen all mutinied, capturing their respective cities before sending Legions out marching to spread the revolution... (13)
Bernard, Chung-Ho. Foundations of the Modern World. Seoul: Imperial Directory, 1997.
... to understand why the Rhenish revolution was so successful one must understand the history of the region. The Rhineland shares a common history with the Rhenish Hesse, Luxembourg and the Palatinate, and in 1795 these areas all came under the control of Napoleonic France. Napoleon's armies smashed the forces of the Holy Roman Empire and the local German princes that weren't sent against him. Later the social, administrative and legislative measures taken by the French abolished much of the feudal rule in the area, a half century ahead of the rest of Germany. Importantly as well the Napoleonic Confederation of the Rhine was one of the first, if not the first, pan-Germanic polities to exist, bringing the idea of a modern 'German' nation to the populace. As well, the soil of the Rhineland is not the best for agriculture, and forestry had traditionally played an important role in Rhenish society. Thus the combination of the lack of strong agriculture or feudal restraint on the peasantry and the presence of a strong logging industry meant that manufacturing and all that it implies came early to the Rhineland. The close proximity of large deposits of coal and the use of the Rhine River for transportation to the North Sea and throughout the region meant that the Rhineland quickly became the premier industrial area in Germany, and arguably in all of Europe. The impact of industrialization was quck and quite thorough; at the beginning of the nineteenth century over 90% of the population was engaged in agricultural activities, while by the beginning of the 20th less than 20% of the population still lived in rural villages.
Accordingly in 1848-49 there was a large proletarian worker class in the Rhineland that was not only well education but also highly politically active. During the Vormärz Prussia controlled the Rhineland as part of "West Prussia." Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1814 and the reincorporation of the Rhineland into Prussian territory Berlin treated the Rheanish as subjugated and alien peoples, and reinstated many of the hated feudal structures once again. Accordingly much of the revolutionary impulse in the Rhineland was colored strongly by more anti-Pryssian sentiment than pan-German feelings. During the March Revolutions and the October Berlin Uprising the Rhineland had been unusually quite, something that the Prussian government mistook for loyalty to Berlin; however by the spring of 1849 the Prussians were forced to call upon a large portion of the army reserve and the Landwehr in Westphalia and the Rhineland. This caused a reaction in the region for several reasons; 1) it indicated Berlin was willing and moving to crush the pro-constitutional movement in the Rhineland, and 2) to order to call up the Landwehr and the army reserve was illegal in peacetime under the new Prussian constitution. As such in doing so the Prussian government had implicated that it was at war with another state - and as the Rhenish were to be treated, once again, as foreigners in their own land they quickly took to call for their own Rhenish state and succession from Prussia...
Republicanism & the May Revolutions
... by 10 May the uprising in Düsseldorf was suppressed by loyalist Prussian troops, however further east just outside Elderfeld an insurgent force of some 15,000 workers clashed with the Prussian troops that were sent to suppress the 'unrest' and collect the quota of Landwehr conscripts from the town. The Prussians were beaten back, and as they fled to Düsseldorf the 'Worker's Legion' rapidly gathered volunteers in its wake. By the next day as the revolution spread into the countryside several thousand armed peasants marched on the city, many of them joining the growing legion, and in a reversal of the earlier March Revolutions it was not the royalist Prussian troops who were besieged inside a barricaded city with radical republican forces on the offensive. The fighting was brutal but swift, as the Prussian line continually fell back. Unused to fighting in urban environments, ill-trained to handle such a situation, and unwilling to die for Berlin's unwillingness to accept the German constitution - a position of which many of the Prussian troops themselves disagreed with - by the morning of 14 May Düsseldorf was once again in the hands of the revolutionaries. Back in Elderfeld a Committee of Public Safety, including prominent revolutionaries such as the democrats Karl Nickolaus Riottee, Ernst Hermann Höchster and the liberals Alexis Heintzmann and Karl Hecker, brother of the revolutionary leader Friedrich Hecker of the previous year's infamous Badenese Uprising. However the Committee could not agree on a common plan of action, let alone control the various groups participating in the uprising, and the now awakened working classes largely organized themselves in one of the first German examples of a sociocratic state...
... Enter 16 May a group of workers and democrats from Trier and the neighboring townships stormed the arsenal at Prüm, capturing several thousand arms and ammunition for the revolutionaries. Later that same week another group of revolutionary workers from Solingen captured the arsenal at Gräfrath; notably the workers were lead by Frederick Engels, a socialist writer and theorist who had moved to join the revolution from his home in neighboring Belgium in early May...
... The sight of the working classes carrying of these, highly successful, military actions terrified the moderately liberal bourgeois, who fled the Committee of Public Safety in droves. Into this power-void of the fragmented Committee stepped in, once again, the Central Union of German Democrats, to which many of the leaders of the revolutionary were members or associations. On 20 May Bonn was captured by pro-democratic forces that rallied to the Rhenish cause, and by the end of the month the Prussians had totally been driven from both the Rhineland and Westphalia. In Bonn on 1 June the radical democrats proclaimed the Rhenish Republic (also known as the Republic of the Rhine); though strongly influenced by the Central Union, the Rhenish revolution was largely without intellectual leaders, and as such the organization of new Rhineland state took its inspiration from, and was modeled upon that of the vorstands ('worker's council's) (14) that had largely, though not wholly, lead the revolution. The radicals though were forced to give ground to the moderates who had joined the revolution, and who remained important players in the still extant Committee of Public Safety. Thus, drawing from its French heritage, the republic was established with a single-chamber legislative, made up of the worker's councils elected on universal male suffrage without property qualifications, while the executive was established as a three-man Directory-style institution of Engels, Hecker, and Heintzmann...
... The surrounding princely states were, with some merit, worried by these developments. However the Rhenish government, much like that of the French Second Republic in the past year, quickly moved to establish its peaceful intentions. Sending representatives to all of the surrounding states, including the non-Germans such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, the Rhenish also sent word to both Frankfurt and Berlin explaining why they had succeeded from Prussia, imploring the other German states to respect their 'right of accountable government,' and ending with a statement that the Rhineland Republic would 'join the new German Reich on equal terms with that of the princely states of the empire.' Of course not all German princes could quite believe this sentiment, however the Rhenish were good to their word; while the Hessians mobilized their small but professional army near Mainz to deflect any potential Rhensih assaults and the Prussians quickly gathered their army to make blunt any Rhenish offensives into Prussia proper, the Rhinelanders instead sent volunteer legions of radicals south along the Rhine to join the on-going revolution in Baden...
... When the revolutionary upsurge renewed itself in the spring of 1849 the uprisings soon spread once more to Baden and the Bavarian Palatine, when a riots broke out across the region, and in the Badensian capitol of Karlsruhe. Supports for either government few and mostly silent, and even among the military there was strong support for reform, constitutionalism, and even republicanism...
... With both Hecker and Struve out of the country radical democrat Lorenz Brentano quickly emerged as the leader republican left's, who used the conspiracy trials against Hecker and Struve, being held in absentia, into an indictment of the government. His colleague Amand Goegg brought together nearly five hundred local political clubs with their thirty thousands members in a state-wide network guided by a state committee of democratic clubs, an incipient modern party organization, that as early as January 1849 was widely acknowledged throughout Baden to wield more authority than the government. In the Badensian Diet the democrats demanded the chamber's dissolution and the election of a constituent assembly by universal male suffrage. The Diet's liberal majority voted down this proposal, knowing that such an election would return a republican majority. Although seven radical abandoned their mandates, the Diet managed to limp along, with Prime Minister Johann Bekk, a liberal civil servant, hoping for a favorable outcome in Frankfurt; as such he endorsed the national parliament's constitution and implement a newly passed imperial law to double the size of the army and abolish substitution, whereby men of sufficient income could hire others to serve their place in the military. Though widely supported, the reform crippled the princely state's armies, as officers had insufficient time to train the new, democratically-inspired recruits, and non-commissioned officers, the mainstay of substitutes, had their careers threatened. Further the bourgeois that had previously used substitution resented having to serve...
... on 12 May the army mutinied against the Badensian government, capturing the fortress of Rastatt. At this juncture the democrats called for a popular assembly in Offenburg; representing the petite bourgeoisie, they wanted to push beyond the liberal Frankfurt constitution, while moderates from the educated middle-classes want a revolution in support of the imperial constitution. The army revolt quickly spread, and two days later Grand Duke Leopold fled to France from his capitol in face of the approaching revolutionary army. Baden was declared a republic, with a provisional government made up of moderate democrats led Franz Raveuax, a former member of the German parliament who had who walked out during the Frankfurt Crisis. Raveaux immediately set to work coordinating the actions of the Badenish, Rhenish, and Palatine republican revolutionaries throughout the former-Grand Duchy. The rebels agreed on a joint attack along the Rhine towards Hessian Mainz to inspire a rebellion there, and to hopefully remove Hessian dominance from Frankfurt. Raveaux also hoped to hook up with the Rhenish revolutionaries further north, but did not believe the Prussians would let...
... A provisional government was also formed in the Palatine; however because support there was mostly driven by the military the insurgency quickly came to be lead by a Lieutenant Franz Siegal, who developed a plan by which using a corps of the Badensian army to advance on the Hohenzollern principalities and declare a republic there before turning to march on Stuttgart, in Württemberg, before moving to capture Nuermburg in Bavaria and establish a Franconian Republic, which would allow the southern republics to link with Saxony and unite for a common defense. However this plan was thoroughly rejected by the Badensian provisional government, revealing an unfortunate lack of communication and trust between the two republics...
... by 25 May the Badensian offensive was able to capture Worms, however four days later a Hessian army captured the city after bombarding it into submission, forcing the revolutionaries to withdraw. Brentano blamed his provisional war minister, Karl Eichfeld, for the set back and replaced him with Rudolph Mayerhofer. Though Brentano wielded absolute power in the provisional government, he was no fool, and now he turned to Siegal, under the advice of Mayerhofer, for direction in military affairs. However with the invasion of the Hessian troops into the Palatine on 29 May the nominally democrat rebellion swiftly became a national one, as some 20,000 Badensian peasants who had previously been largely indifferent to the revolution rose up against the invading army. The next day, despite the professionalism of the Hessians and the lack of military organization or discipline, this peasant militia defeated the Hessians at Waghäusel. Siegal now recommended a northern assault, joining up with the approaching Rhenish forces, and marching on the Hessian capitol of Darmstadt, a task which the exponentially growing revolutionaries took to with zeal. By 9 June the Rhinelanders, Palatinians, and Badensian revolutionaries were outside of Mainz with an army some 50,000 strong against a force of royalist less than half that size. However the Hessians were a professional military, armed with cannon, and locked inside the fortress of Mainz, then considered one of the largest and most difficult citadels to besiege. While the revolutionaries settled in for a long siege, events in the south rapidly outpaced them. Hohenzollern Prince Charles, a reactionary who had crushed the revolution movement in March of the previous year not only in his own country but also the neighboring principality of his cousin, had moved swiftly hearing of the revolutions occurring north along the Rhine. Gathering all of the available forces he could muster within both principalities, Prince Charles marched north, and, in a surprise night attack, captured the Badensian capitol of Karlsruhe on 14 June after an eleven hour bombardment by cannon before sweeping through the city street-by-street, shooting all 'insurgents' on sight. By the end of the assault most of Karlsruhe was in flames, and historians would later estimate that up to 80% of the city's civilian population had been slaughtered.
When word of the Hohenzollern assualt reached the revolutionary army outside of Mainz immediately splintered. The Badensian and most of the Palatinians, led by Siegal and Brentano, quickly decamped and marched south to defend their nascent republic from the reactionary count-attack, while the Rhenish opted to stay. Among the Rhinelander commanders still outside of Mainz was the Director Engels, who secretly sent word into Mainz offering a truce between the Hessians and Rhinelanders, who had previously not fought before the Rhenish siege of Mainz, on the conditions of Hessian neutrality in the 'southern conflict' between the revolutionaries and the Hohenzollerns. Louis III, Grand Duke of Hesse, quickly agreed, as he feared a second Frankfurt Crisis and a republican 'maw' closing around his Grand Duchy. On 16 June the Rhenish forces decamped from outside of Mainz, with half moving upstream to Koblenz to guard against Hessian betrayal while Engels led the rest of the Rhenish Legion south along the Rhine to support the revolutionaries...
... The Hohenzollern forces and the revolutionary legion of Baden and the Palatine met at the Palatine fortress of Landau on 15 June; though the reactionaries had managed to reach the fortress first, on the previous day, they had been unable to crack the even paltry garrison inside who had bravely fought on in face of the large Hohenzollern host before them. As the sun rose the Hohenzollern forces were caught flat-footed between the Landau fortress and the approaching revolutionaries, who, topping a hill and seeing the reactionaries spread out before them and the flag of the Palatine republic still flying above the citadel, swarmed over the field and smashed into the side of the Hohenzollern line before Prince Charles could turn his forces to face the new threat. In a pitched three-day battle that raged across the western side of the Rhine River from Landau back to the ruins of Karlsruhe Prince Charles' forces were eventually destroyed. Standing among the rubble of their capitol, the Badensians gave no quarter; the Hohenzollern corps was killed to the man, save for some initially taken for dead but only wounded, numbering less than one hundred, that were eventually taken for prisoners of war. Prince Charles himself was torn apart by the frenzied mob, his head removed by a sword, his eyes stuck out by bayonets, his hair burnt from the scalp, the head stuck from a pike in the town square. The body of the corpse, after being used for target practice hung from the tottering bell tower of one of Karlsruhe's cathedrals, was pressed into a coffin and set ablaze as it floated down the Rhine river...
... By the end of the year Prince Friderich Wilhelm of Hohenzollern-Hechingen 'sold' his country to his relative, newly raised Prussian King Frederick III, while Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was 'incorporated' into the Badensian Republic...
... The creation of the first four of Germany's republican states in 1849 was a shock to the establishment, both in Germany and across Europe. The oft-quoted reason for these states early success, and their, otherwise unexplainable, ability to play off one princely state against another, was that the rest of the powers of Europe were too busy dealing with their own revolutions and liberal-radical movements. However, this view is only partially correct. While it is true that the Prussians, Austrians, French, Dutch, and Belgians were all pre-occupied with internal issues in the spring and early summer of 1849, other states were not so complacent. It is important to note that if things had gone differently the republican element in the German Reich would have held...
... At the end of May agitators supporting the Rhenish republic arrived in Hanover from Berlin and from Frankfurt. Within days demonstrations were organized outside of the royal palace, demanding that King Ernest Augustus accept the imperial constitution, and to rescind his call-to-arms in the face of the budding republicanism south of Hanover on the Rhine river. However, refused to yield, and declared that if the demonstrators made any 'inappropriate demands' on him he would 'pack up his things' and leave for Britain, taking with him the Crown Prince. Whatever Ernest Augustus believed that such a proclamation would bring, it certainly was not what happened. The reaction was swift - the protests turned into an insurgency, and within hours barricades were erected throughout the city, and the call had been sent out to the radicals in the Rhineland and to the Central Union calling for arms and volunteers. By 1 June Ernest Augustus was forced to flee the country, reportedly shouting decrying that the revolutionaries were 'a fine lot of republicans.' (15) However, his promises to take the Crown Prince with him came to naught, as Prince George opted to stay in the country. Younger, more liberal, and more open to change than his father, George was swiftly crowned as King George V, and even more swiftly he gave into the demands of the crowds; Hanover accepted the imperial constitution, joining the German Reich, and George sent orders to the border garrisons order his troops to stand down and not to engage with the several roving bands of republican revolutionaries 'unless they fired first.' By the time the promised pan-German volunteers arrived in Hanover they found a staunchly liberal country that had already given into their demands, and had opted to re-open the debates for the only recently passed constitution in order to further sway the radicals from any violent clash...
King George V of Hanover and his family c. 1850
... On 2 May Bavarian King Maximilian II rejected the imperial constitution, citing that he could not accept constitutional requirements without a separate agreement between the German princes and the Free Cities. In response a massive, several thousand-strong meeting of liberal and radical clubs and organizations gathered at Kaiserslautern, where a ten-member 'provisional committee' was established to act as a government 'until the King came to his sense.' It should be noted that this 'provisional committee' did not seek to establish a provisional government, nor to overthrow the reign of Maximilian or the House of Wittelsbach...
... It should be noted that the situation was in Bavaria at the time was a precious one of very recently development. The former king, Ludwig, had been forced from the throne the previous year only after his support among conservatives had been weakened by his controversial relationship with his mistress and in the midst of the March Revolutions (16). As such Maximilian's early reign in Bavaria was weak, at best. Bavaria's already liberal history was also important. Unlike many of the other German states Bavaria already operated under a liberal constitutional system, which had been implemented in 1818, and, with no changes in its make-up, began to debate the 'Maximilian reforms' after the new King's coronation in the summer of 1848. Over the next several months this parliament passed a wide-ranging series of laws providing for the abolition of most the older, feudal, restrictions on land-ownership and dues owed to noble landlords, reformed the court system, implemented freedom of the press, a new and liberal electoral law, and ministerial responsibility of the cabinet. Elections conducted under these news laws had taken place in November 1848 and resulted in an assembly dominated by moderate liberals...
... By the middle of the month all of Bavaria west of the Rhine was in revolutionary hands. The committee selected Carl Schurz, a student from Bonn, to mobilize the countryside in preparation of a royal counter-attack on 27 May. The events in Bavaria however were outpaced by those in Frankfurt and...
... with the flight of both Frederick Augustus and Ernest Augustus their factions within the German parliament largely fell apart, although in the case of the Hanoverians some attempted to rally support for Ernest's son and successor George. However even this position was discredited when, as part of his liberal reforms, George sent word to Frankfurt declaring that he would not accept the crown of the German empire. With that the path was cleared for Maximilian, although not without controversy; however what many saw as his weaknesses were in actuality his strengths. As a Catholic and a southern German Maximilian was acceptable to the sentimentalities of his own Bavarians, but also to the other Catholic southern German states, including the all-important Austrians, whose deputies had previously been largely silent on the issue. However with Hapsburg support with the parliament clearly non-existent the Austrian deputation, after a private meeting with Archduke John in which he reportedly implored them to 'settle for second best,' the Austrians threw their very weighty full support behind Maximilian. Perhaps more importantly though was that, among all of the German princes, Maximilian had been the most committed to the liberal cause, and had been the only one to actually attend the Frankfurt assembly, though he had not spoken during the debates his presence had been noticed by all of the factions and clubs, and was thought to have privately meet with many of the members behind closed doors.
Thus the German parliament voted to elect Maximilian the first Kaiser, and sent a twenty-two-man Kaiserdeputation led by Eduard Simson to meet with him. Arriving in Munich on 2 June, Maximilian accepted, promising the deputation that they could always rely on 'the Bavarian shield and sword' to defend German honor against foreign (and implicitly, domestic) enemies. Maximilian's first test was how to respond to the republican states, one of which - the Palatine - had broken away from his Kingdom only in the previous weeks, after encouragement and support from the Rhenish and Badensians. While many in Maximilian's Bavarian court - where he continued to reside until moving to the new German capitol of Frankfurt later in the year - urged the King-come-Emperor to declare war and crush the republics with the overwhelming forces. However, Maximilian hesitated. Perhaps he did not wish to turn the opening days of his reign into a German civil war. Perhaps Maximilian still felt his rule was without a strong foundation, and did not wish to threaten the established liberal-radical alliance. Perhaps he simply felt overwhelmed by his incredible good fortune in achieving the centuries-old Wittelsbach dream of regaining the throne of the German empire, which had been lost with the death of Charles VII in 1745. The reasons remain unknown to this day, as Maximilian kept his own counsel in the matter. What is known is that instead of going to war, Maximilian went to the negotiating table. Traveling to Frankfurt the newly-raised Emperor summoned not only the German princes, many of whom arrived believing that would take part in a grand campaign to reconquer the western republics, but secretly also the leaders of the republican governments. Although many in the latter's halls of power argued that such a move was obviously a trap, one-by-one all of the republican leadership agreed to meet in Frankfurt to convene with Maximilian. There, in what would later become known as the Großenpakt ('Great Pact'), the republican radicals agreed to Maximilian's demands; the republican governments would swear fealty to him as Kaiser, abide by the laws and constitution of the German nation, pay reparations to the states that they had invaded or seceded from (including his own Bavaria), and most importantly they would cease to send volunteer legions into the other German states into order to either foment or support republican revolutions there. In return for this extensive list however, Maximilian extracted a promise from the other German princes not to interfere in the internal affairs of the other German states - including the newly founded republics, and that any disagreement between states would be settled not by forces of arms but by the to-be created Reichsgericht (imperial supreme court), whose arbitration all sides would abide by or they would see 'punishment' by the remaining German states, led by imperial forces. Maximilian was also able to achieve his sought-after 'separate agreement' with the German princes, whereby the princely states further agreed not to mobilize their forces against each other, even if a neighboring state was in the midst of a liberal or even radical revolution. In this Maximilian was able to set the precedent that all internal matters of the German states were to remain internal affairs, and, while the pact was controversial, the radicals, liberals, and conservatives eventually agreed to it, settling the foundation for the German tradition of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states... (17)
... By 28 June the parliament issued a declaration demanding that the remaining German states - Prussia and Austria - accept the imperial constitution and Kaiser Maximilian. With no recourse available to them, and under the threat of a Germanic civil war and invasion by both imperial troops and German radicals, Augusta and Franz Karl both agreed to the parliament's demands within the week...
His Imperial and Royal Majesty, Maximilian the First, by the Grace of God and the Will of the Nation, Emperor of the Germans, and King of Bavaria
(Seine Kaiserliche und Königliche Majestät, Maximilian I., von Gottes Gnaden und dem Willen der Nation, Kaiser der Deutschen und König von Bayern)
(1) Troops from Hesse-Darmstadt took command during the September Frankfurt Crisis; See Chapter #16 for details.
(2) IOTL the motion just barely passed by four votes. The change reflects the stronger position of the liberal-radical alliance, and the weakened Prussian 'new conservatism' and the (general) lack of reactionary Austrian power.
(3) Last seen in Chapter #12 arguing forcibly for the Poles to be offered the entire Duchy of Posen as opposed to the mere 'Duchy of Gnesen,' a mere third in size and only a quarter of the population.
(4) Who IOTL were all the German members of the committee that created the Swiss Federal Council. You see this reflected in the unique governmental structure of Germany ITTL.
(5) Though he had previously been appointed regent of the realm by then Hapsburg-emperor Ferdinand I; however John was a popular leader, who had earned the respect of his peers in the Frankfurt assembly and through the September Crisis and the Schleswig War.
(6) The entire OTL 1848-49 German Constitution can be found online here, in German, which is largely followed ITTL except for the executive branch.
(7) A reference to the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation).
(8) IOTL Frederick William immediately dissolved both chambers.
(9) IOTL Frederick Augutus was assured of Prussian support, and after proroguing the parliament several thousand Prussian troops entered the country. ITTL that obviously won't happen, however Frederick Augustus was a staunch reactionary, so ITTL he still refuses even without outside aid.
(10) As happened IOTL. Wagner was heavily influenced and inspired by the 1848 Revolutions and the May Uprising in Dresden, and during this period he was highly involved in socialist activities throughout Saxony, and regularly received guests such as Bakunin and the radical Saxon editor August Röckel. Wagner was also an avid reader of the writers of the French socialist theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Indeed, Der Ring des Nibelungen was heavily influenced by the events of Dresden; and thus will be different to a noticeable ITTL.
(11) A title lost only to Berlin after the 1848 period and the OTL formation of the Prussian-led empire.
(12) IOTL the revolution was crushed with Prussian aid, and Saxony in essence became a satellite of Prussia, a fact that was only confirmed in 1918 when King Frederick Augustus III followed Kaiser Wilhelm II into abdication and exile following WWI even though support for the November Revolution in Saxony was weak, at best.
(13) IOTL they barricaded themselves in. With Prussian power significantly weakened though, and the radical republican revolution already successful elsewhere, they instead expand ITTL.
(15) IOTL the Hanoverians settled down after Ernst Augustus' pronouncement, fearing that removing their King would invite the Prussians to invade. However ITTL the Prussians are in no position to invade anyone, and Ernst Augustus' demands are taken very differently.
(16) See Chapter #5 for details.
(17) This point would be disputed by non-Germans ITTL.
All hail Emperor Maximilian!
Still most excellent
Sorry for the delay readers (all dozen of you), IRL saw fit to interfere with my AH responsibilities this week, which was only confounded by a severe case of writer's block. I hope you enjoy this chapter.
"One who has not heard the Marseillaise sung by thousands of voices in that state of nervous excitement and irresolution
which is inevitable before certain conflict, can hardly realize the overwhelming effect of the revolutionary hymn."
- Alexander Herzen (1), writing of the Second June Days
13 June 1849
Morrow, Francis. Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte: A Biography. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1892.
... Louis-Napoléon was in no hurry for power now. He knew that the sands running out for Louis-Philippe, and he let them run. The French King was seventy-four and concerned only with dynastic matters. Having exchanged visits with Queen Victoria, and made the most of the point that his daughter, Princess Louise, was married to Victoria's uncle, King Leopold of Belgium, Louis-Philippe had blotted his name in the Affair of the Spanish Marriages (2). He had thus earned a reputation for himself in Britain as being two-faced, and was well disregarded in international affairs. Even with this setback however, Louis-Philippe considered himself secure in Paris within the folds of the middle-class' support; Louis-Napoléon knew otherwise, as Jean Fialin, who had assumed the vicomte de Persigny, (3) sent him reports from the Parisian underground which pointed to the growing Republican and even Socialist strength and opposition. The pretender was not to be trapped again by risky adventure; this time France would come to him...
McKnight, William. Trans. W. Scott Haine. The Revolutionary Tradition: France in the Nineteenth Century. 2011 Ed.
... Since his early adulthood Louis-Napoléon had had two dreams - to found a Second Empire and live up to his imperial name; and to free Italy. Over a decade had passed since he had joined the failed Italian revolutionaries of 1830 and seen his brother die by the reactionaries, and while Louis-Napoléon would achieve both his dreams in 1849, neither would come about the way he had expected - or hoped for...
... By 10 June 1849 the first news of the French attack on Rome reached Paris; the Left was reported to have 'exploded' in anger. Early the next morning delegates of the démoc-socs' Central Committee meet to discuss tactics with the editors of the republican presses. The gathering agreed to a mass demonstration, even knowing - as one of their number, Victor Considerant (4), quickly pointed out - that such a demonstration woudl be met with violence by the state. The only attendee against the plan argued it was Émile Girardin of La Presse, on the grounds that a recent cholera outbreak had weakened the populist movement (5). The plan was a for a peaceful, unarmed protest to march on the National Assembly, where the deputies of La Montagne would declare the government and existing parliament 'incompetent' and proclaim themselves a new 'National Convention.' Later in the day said radical deputies met in caucus in the legislative chamber where they agreed to the Central Committee's plan. By that afternoon's legislative session Ledru-Rollin - who had quickly emerged as the leader of a broad leftist coalition against the Parti de l'Ordre - rose in the National Assembly to denounce the Roman War, declaring that he and his colleagues would defend the constitution by all means, even taking up arms. He then called for the impeachment of President Bonaparte and his cabinet. A furious, three day debate then ensued, which had not been sufficiently decided by the time of the Central Committee's planned 'coup'...
... On 13 June Paris awoke to find the démoc-soc protest in full swing; proclamations and posters had gone up overnight in the streets, while the same message was mass-published in the republican presses. La Montagne declared that the Assembly and the government, by violating the constitution and siding 'with the kings against the people,' had, de-facto, abdicated power, and called on the National Guard and the army to support the popular protest in a 'calm demonstration' of the people in defense of the constitution. Led by Étienne Arago, a crowd of some 35,000, including nearly ten thousand National Guards, gathered on the boulevards in the early morning hours and marched down the streets singing La Marseillaise and chanting 'Vive la constitution! Viva le république!' Among the many foreign eyewitnesses was Karl Marx, a German radical writer who was visiting Paris at the time, who was thoroughly unimpressed with the demonstration; calling the Central Committee's leadership 'petty bourgeois,' he decried the marchers, saying that their slogans were 'uttered mechanically, icily, and with a bad conscience,' a revelation that Marx would carry back with him to the German republican states...
A scene of the Second June Days in Paris
... As the protesters reached the rue de la Paix, they were confronted by infantry and cavalry led by General Changarnier, who succeeding in separating the crowd into sections and driving some of them northwards, away from the boulevards. Though the protesters called on the soldiers to defend the republic, many of these units are only new to the city from the provinces, and asides from the then-typical rural distrust of urban life they were also solidly conservative peasants who had yet to have been reached by the proselyting radical in the countryside. As such one anonymous protester wrote later that he found himself 'nose to nose with a horse which was almost snorting in my face, and a dragoon swearing likewise in my face and threatening to give me one with the flat [of his saber] if I did not move aside.' According to the original plan the démoc-soc deputies were to await the protesters' arrival before making their move, and as such while Changarnier dispersed the crowds the deputies sat wasting precious time away. Isolated, they did not even know of the failure of the attempted coup until a left-wing unit of the National Guards loyal to the radicals arrived, after which the deputies made their way to the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in the early afternoon, where a furious debate erupted between those who wishes to follow the plan, those who wished to carry out the coup by other means, and those who believed that valor is the better part of discretion and wished to return home to fight another die. All the while the more loyalist Guard units arrived and swiftly erected a protective cordon of barricades around the conservatory, while other such palisades were constructed throughout the city by the remaining protesters - who had rapidly turned to violence as the plan fell apart throughout the day - though these barricades were for the most part flimsy constructs erected in haste due to a shortage of hands. Indeed, most of Paris did not rise up to join this Second June Days, not least because Changarnier moved quickly to secure the main intersections and strategic points of the city. As the Montagnards began to hold elections for a provisional government, the debate having finally ended in the late afternoon in favor of following the Central Committee's plan, the futile work was interrupted by Changanier's troops breaking into the courtyard. Some of the deputies, mistaking the soldiers for reinforcements, rushed out to greet them, only to find themselves put up against the wall (6). Of the leftist deputies, only some half of the Montagnards escaped from the Conservatory Massacre...
... Tocqueville later wrote of the event that 'In June 1848 the leaders lacked an army; in June 1849 the army lacked leaders.' This was indeed the case, as attributed by several eye-witnesses who reported workers wandering aimlessly about the streets who, finding neither advice nor leadership, went home, convinced once more of the bankruptcy of the démoc-socs. Those that did continue to fight were the ones without anything to lose - they were starving, and fought without hope, without leaders, without cheers, shooting sullenly in the dreadful silence behind pitiful barricades of wooden planks. For two days Paris was alight once more with the dull glow of insurrection...
...Throughout this period the now solidly conservative-controlled National Assembly, though only a rump parliament, passed repressive law after law, largely undoing the entirety of the legal work managed in the past year in the space of a few hours; political clubs were banned, as well as public meetings, a new press censorship law was passed that defined new offenses - including insulting the president or 'inciting disobedience among soldiers - and included very harsh punishments, and a law that ordered sellers of political literature (colporteurs) to obtain a special permit from the local prefect or face up to ten years of jail time; however the law also made the licenses virtually impossible to obtain...
... However powerful the conservatives were in Paris, the failure of the 13 June counter-coup to completely incapacitate the radical leadership proved to be a fatal flaw. In less than a week the remaining survivors of the Central Committee gathered, a veritable who's-who of notable radicals from throughout the 1848 Revolutionary period including Considérant, Raspail, Thouret, Huber, and Barbès. These radical thinkers were quickly joined by revolutionary units of the National Guards and of the army who rallied to the Central Committee. This group, after fleeing Paris, quickly established itself in Lyon, a traditional bastion of radical support; and there a provisional government was declared. Perhaps more importantly though, especially considering the later events, were those who did not join this revolutionary movement. Not only radicals who were disillusioned with the Central Committee, but also moderates who rejected the Prince-President's intervention in Rome while refusing to join in a second revolution...
... Perhaps the most important event in the drama of the Second June Days was the return of Adolphe Thiers, who had abandoned France to its fate during the February Revolution. Thiers, unlike many contemporary liberals, had stood beside King Louis-Philippe and had fled Paris, only days before Louis-Philippe, angered that the new government would turn against the revolutionaries who occupied the Parisian streets. However with the election of President Bonaparte Thiers had returned to the capitol, and though he continued to refuse to take office, he consistently had defended Louis-Napoléon. For this President Bonaparte personally took to visit Thiers cramped apartments in Paris to invite him to join his government as minister with portfolio, an invitation that Thiers is reported to have accepted only 'since French society has come to this state of perturbed moral ideas.' As he had before during the February Revolution Thiers quickly suggested that the French forces withdraw from Lyon and bring up the regular army to pound the revolutionaries into submission. While Louis-Philippe and his government had been aghast at such a position, Louis-Napoléon was not. Indeed, Barrot, who had previously exclaimed in the presence of Thiers and their king that they could not do such a thing, now hung his head and mumbled hoarsely 'Oui.' The revolution had now come full circle, and...
... No contemporary first-hand accounts survived to the modern day from within the so-called 'Lyon Commune,' and its three-week siege. As the records of the authorities on hand is of course colored by their own position and passion in regards to the revolutionary radicals, modern historians are forced to work with less than ideal sources to piece together the course of events throughout the siege. The most prominently quoted source is thus that of a farmer, one Jacques-Armand Leroy who lived outside of the city, and whose vantage point from atop a hill in his fields allowed him to witness the events happening below. Leroy is recorded by his local priest as having made this statement regarding the siege;
"Twas a dreadful thing to see. The army surrounded the city like a field of red roses bursting open in the dawn, glistening with the dew of their previous night's work. The city, ah the city, she sparkled in the moonlight every night as the fires raged throughout her three weeks of a halting death. Every night, my poor wife Maude and I sat up listening to the sounds of the guns firing, again and again, like a distant but never ending storm, until finally we would collapse from exhaustion. When the city was finally broken, I stood on my highest hill and watched the prisoners being marched off, and I prayed for each one; but I also prayed that I would never have to see such a thing again..."
Radical prisoners of the 'Lyon Commune' being marched to their fate
Most would be deported to Algeria and the African Commune(7)
... With the crisis of the Second June Days passed, and a firmly conservative parliament under-hand, Louis-Napoléon quickly moved to secure his rule further by establishing a second empire. However, such a move was premature, and the few moderates and republicans left in the parliament balked, while many monarchists, who saw Louis-Napoléon as only an upstart to be used as a bridge to a return to a proper monarchy and thus rejected the imperial tradition. In an ironic twist of fate Louis-Napoléon's greatest allies in the National Assembly turned out to be his distant cousins (8). Of them all, it was Pierre-Napoléon however who was the most important figure. A declared republican who often voted with the socialists - even supporting the National Workshops - Pierre-Napoléon had become something of a leader of the remnant Left after the Second June Days. He disapproved of any return to an Empire, and though Louis-Napoléon granted him the title of prince Pierre-Napoléon remained unconvinced. In the end it was Pierre-Napoléon that brokered a compromise, after much arm-twisting of the Leftist deputies, behind closed doors, in which the constitution was amended to extend the mandate of the President to unlimited number of ten-year terms, to be accepted by popular plebiscite. The motion narrowly passed the National Assembly, with the conservative vote splitting between those who saw it as a step towards a returned monarchy and those who rejected the Napoleonic tradition, while the Left, corralled by Pierre-Napoléon, voted as a bloc in favor of the amendment. The 18 July election further cemented Louis-Napoléon's rule, with over 90% of the electorate voting 'Oui,' and it was from this time forward that Louis-Napoléon began to style himself Le Empereur-Président. It is for this reason that many historians refer to the period of the Second Republic past 1849 as the 'second empire,' though arguably this title more properly belongs to...
... At the same time another great hurdle arose for Louis-Napoléon in the repercussions from the failed Roman Intervention and the subsequent Confederation of Italy. While he supported Italian unification, Louis-Napoléon was also a pragmatist who saw, correctly, that without Austrian power Italy was wide-open to either be influenced by France or rise to challenge her in the future. Unfortunately however the other Italian states were distrustful of Bonapartist France after the great Battle of Rome, and as such the Empereur-Président was forced to turn towards more reactionary elements. Hoping to shore up his support among the conservatives, especially with disillusioned Catholics, Louis-Napoléon offered to place Pope Pius IX under his personal protection. Neapolitan King Ferdinand, who feared retribution from the other Italian states for his invasions of Sicily and Rome, quickly accepted in the Pope's name, and by August French troops were garrisoned in Gaeta, Pontecorvo, Benevento, and Reggio, while French ships patrolled the Turrhenian Sea between Corsica and the Straights of Messina. However, Bonaparte also issed a stern warning to both Pius and Ferdinand, wiring that 'the French Republic has not sent an army to crush Italian liberty, but to regulate it, and to save it from its own excesses.' Louis-Napoléon leaked the telegram to the French presses, in which he denounced the cardinals repressive regime and lamented that French foreign policy had taken such a reactionary turn. However his critics in the press and on the streets, both on the left and the right, were unimpressed, and continued to attack Louis-Napoléon for the Second June Days, for the Roman Intervention, and for his 'unconstitutional' ten-year mandate. Finally, Louis-Napoléon had had enough, and on 31 September for failing to defend him Bonaparte dismissed his entire ministry. Explaining himself before the National Assembly, Louis-Napoléon presented himself as being above party politics, as the man who represented the will of the people who could provide firm leadership that France needed. "A whole system triumphed on 10 December , for the name of Napoleon is in itself a program. At home it means order, authority, religion, and the welfare of the people; abroad it means national self-respect. This policy, which began with my election, I shall, with the support of the National Assembly and of the people, lead to its final triumph."
de Tocqueville, Alexis. "To Gustave de Beaumont." 4 November 1849. Selected Letters on Politics and Society. Roger Boesche. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985.
... Before leaving what concerns you in order to tell of you something of the general situation, I must report that yesterday I received the letter you wrote me on the 21st, a letter which contains rectifications of the facts the Duke de Nomour's voyage to Vienna (9). These facts had produced no impression here. No one had believed them, no one had paid any attention to them, and above all everyone has forgotten them today. I therefore did not believe, after having taken the advice of Dufaure, who was on my opinion, that there was no reason to send your letter to Le National. That would have been to give this affair an importance that you supposed it to have from afar, but that it has never had from up close. I therefore restricted myself to giving the rectification who had transmitted me to Chambolle; I will try to have it reproduced today in Le Pays...
... If you remember the letter I wrote you by the courier of the 5th, you will recognize that I never believed either in an immediate coup d'état or in a series of violent moves on the part of the President. I therefore did not share in the surprise that was generally caused b the indecisive and soft attitude the President has resumed since the effort his message. It was in his nature. [...] But he is swept along by a movement and by a combination of circumstances that he has neither the capacity nor the will to combat effectively. We are marching every day, not rapidly, but invincibly, toward a crisis. The time and the forms alone remain to be known...
Morrow, Francis. Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte: A Biography. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1892.
... Nobody had expected anything more from 'Napoléon le Petit' than a passing incident in the story of France; he had been placed where he was by the mass of people because the nephew of the Great Emperor and because they knew his name. Those who were experienced in politics and who pulled the strings of power still saw him as an upstart, and they were not impressed by his performance in the Assembly. Monarchists accepted his presidency as a stage towards a return to kingship; but they underestimated their man, for Louis-Napoléon had grown up during his long years in the 'university' of Ham. Behind his expressionless face was a cold contempt for those who stood in his way. He played the parties of politics off against one another - monarchist against socialist, socialist against republicans. He put little value on the opinions of the men who played their power games in Paris; he worked the numbers, and knew that the plebiscite was the ultimate answer. His aim was the acquisition of absolute power; this could only be obtained from the people, and thus among the people he went...
... After the plebiscite of 18 July when Louis-Napoléon came downstairs after breakfast the anterooms of the Élysée were packed with friends and supporters. He had planned to ride out in the streets at half past nine, but so enthusiastic was his reception that he was delayed for an hour. The cavalcade left from the Court of Honor; the President, in a general's uniform, was in the lead. Behind him and to his right was Jérôme Bonaparte, former King of Westphalia and brother of the Great Emperor. As they road out the Cuirassiers roared 'Vive L'Empereur!' Infantry lined the streets all the way to the Place de la Concorde, and there the crowds where thick with cheering supporters. The gates of the palace were open and Louis-Napoléon cantered through, at which point Jérôme reportedly raced up alongside and warned; 'Louis, you are going too fast. Better not enter the Château yet.' The President took the hint, wheeled the column and came from the Tuileriers, crossed the Pont Royal, passed the Palais Bourbon and returned to the Élysée by way of the Pont de la Concorde. It was a magnificent piece of showmanship...
Punch's take on the ascension of Louis-Napoléon
... With his ascension to the post of 'Empereur-Président' in 1849, Louis-Napoléon saw himself as a parvenu, and quickly took it upon himself to achieve that last decoration of the upper-classes appropriate to his position; a Mme le Président (10). While Harriet Howard had been the mistress and financial backer of Louis-Napoléon since 1846, her past reputation (11) and lower-class background made her incompatible with Louis-Napoléon's new role. While she was set up at 14 Rue du Cirque, which was conveniently located along the route of Louis-Napoléon's evening stroll, she also had a ground floor apartment at St. Cloud where she lived with her son by Major Francis Martin and the two bastard sons of Louis-Napoléon by his former Elanor Vergeot, who had died, reportedly of a broken heart, in early 1849 after being told in no uncertain terms that her services were no longer necessary. Harriet however was devoted to all three, and the President was thus able to enjoy, for a short time, the comforts of a family life. However discretion forced her to be seen in public near the President only when chaperoned by M. Mocquard, Louis-Napoléon's secretary. There was bound to be criticism of such a liaison by certain members of the public. On his long journeys touring France to see the people Louis-Napoléon liked Harriet to be with him. Unfortunately, on a visit to Tours, the presidential party was lodged in the spacious home of General André, who was a Puritan in his religious views. When the General learned that his lined had been soiled by 'sin.' he quickly wrote to Prime Minister Barrot, who had been reappointed to his post, asking quite rudely that 'have we returned to those times when a King's mistresses promenade their vices throughout the length and breadth of France?' Barrot arranged for the letter to be seen by the President, who was furious. The Prime Minister decided that it would in the best interest of the parties involved that these events should go no further. While Louis-Napoléon would tolerate no criticism of the women with whom he associated - seeing such as criticism of himself - in his life women ran a very poor second to the Napoleonic legend. He never had any intention of making Harriet his wife, and had told her so early on in the relationship; she did not believe him. Louis-Napoléon however continued fashioning his dream empress in his own detached way. He must have had someone whose standing and title was fitting for the role. His first thought was thus of his cousin Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, the daughter of Jérôme, and tried to resurrect the romance of his younger days, but Mathilde said no (12). Her unhappy marriage could easily have been annulled, especially considering Louis-Napoléon hold over Pius, but she already had a lover. Moreover she prized her independence, and wished to remain free of politics so she could indulge in her love of the arts, of which she was a very charitable. Louis-Napoléon however was not perturbed, as he did not approve of marriages between cousins, and he assured her that she would always sit at his right hand until such time as an empress materialized. Too late Mathilde discovered how much she prized that seat on the right hand, and it was one of the reasons why she hated...
Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
(1) A Russian pro-Western writer and thinker, Herzen is OTL considered the 'father of Russian socialism.' Arrested and banished in 1834 for taking part in a protest against the Tsar, he was allowed to return in 1840, and become a state councilor in Novgorod until he emigrated to France in 1847. Herzen promoted both socialism and individualism throughout his lifetime, arguing that a full flowering of the individual could only be realized under a socialist order.
(2) A diplomatic crisis in 1846 in which the new British Foreign Minister, Lord Palmerston, rejected the prospect of Queen Isabella of Spain's marriage to a Spanish- or Neapolitan-branch Bourbon, viewing this as a violation of the 1712 Treaty of Utrecht, and suggested instead Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a suitor. The French Foreign Minister, François Guizot, rejected this position was it would leave a British-aligned dynasty on both France southern and northern borders, in Spain and Belgium. Though the French 'won' in that Isabella eventually did marry Francis, Duke of Cádiz, a Bourbon Spaniard, the affair significantly weakened royal support in Paris by liberals and moderates, who fled the crown in droves.
(3) A close friend and supporter of Louis-Napoléon who had served alongside the Pretender in the attempted Bonapartist coups of 1836 and 1840. During the 1848 Revolution he was arrested by the provisional government, however he was later released and played a vital role in drumming up support for Louis-Napoléon's election to the Presidency. IOTL he remained a key figure in the Bonapartist government, becoming a Duke in 1863, until the fall of the Second Empire in 1870. Louis-Napoléon once wryly commented that his wife was a Legitimists, his half-brother an Orléanist, his son a republican, and "I myself am a Socialist. There is only one Bonapartist, Persigny - and he is mad!"
(4) A French Utopian socialist, and a disciple of Charles Fourier, Considerant was the definer of much of the French left's program in the run-up to the 1848 period, defining the notion of a 'right to work' as well as coining the term 'direct democracy,' and devising the proportional representation system, which IOTL is now used by a clear majority of the world. Perhaps most importantly, and controversially, Considerant is often credited with inspiring Marx's and Engel's Communist Manifesto by publishing his own 'Democracy Manifesto' in 1843, five years before Marx & Engels.
(5) Who had convinced Louis-Philippe to abdicate during the February Revolution; see Chapter #3 for details. A staunch radical, Girardin had been elected to the parliament and had pressed eagerly both there and in his paper for the election of Louis-Napoléon; however after the coup 1851 he become one of then-Napoleon III's most strident critics.
(6) IOTL just as the deputies were about to be, apparently, summarily executed, for reasons unclear, the soldiers withdrew allowing all but six of the deputies to flee through back doors and windows and from there into exile. ITTL though the protesters are roughly 10,000 stronger due to the general relative strength of the radicals compared to IOTL, and the conservatives are still busy putting down the protests even as Changarnier's troops stormed the conservatory. Fearing a very-real possibility of a second revolution in Paris the conservatives would not be interested in letting possible leaders run about ITTL.
(7) IOTL French West Africa
(8) In the 1848 elections Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis Lucien Bonaparte, Prince Napoleon Lucien Charles Murat were elected to the National Assembly representing Corsica, and Nice in the case of the later, while Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain.
(9) Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours, was a son of the deposed King Louis-Philippe, and had been exile with his father since 1848. IOTL in 1849 he made a private visit to relatives in Austrian Vienna, at which point Le National reported that Prince Louis was regularly meeting with conservative elements of the French government; specifically with de Beaumont. By mentioning in his letter Tocqueville effectively warned de Beaumont and other monarchist elements in France that they were on notice.
(10) The term 'First Lady,' originated in the United States when President Zachary Taylor coined the term for former President's James Madison's wife, Dolley Madison, at her state funeral while reciting a eulogy written by himself. ITTL 'First Lady' remains a very American term, while Europeans liberal and republican states will use 'Mrs. President' or the like.
(11) To put it gently, she got around.
(12) In 1835, at the age of 15, Mathilde and Louis-Napoléon had enjoyed a brief but fierce romance and been engaged; however Jérôme was quite poor at the time, and was unable to resist the will of his step-father, King Frederick I of Württemberg, who disapproved of the marriage. Thus Mathilde was later married to a rich Russian tycoon, Anatole Demidov, rather against her will in 1840. Anatole was raised to the station of Prince by Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, before the couple was married in Rome to preserve Mathilde's position as a Princess; however the marriage was an unhappy one, mostly because Demidoff insisted on keeping his (gay) lover, Valentine de Sainte-Aldegonde. In 1846 Mathilde fled to Paris with her new lover Émilien de Nieuwerkerke, and all of Anatole's jewelry. As she was Tsar Nicholas I's first cousin, the Tsar supported Mathilde in her clashes with Anatole, a Russian subject, and thus Anatole was forced to live his remaining life outside of both France and Russia. As well he was forced by the terms of separation to pay an annual alimony of 200,000 francs.
Make it thirteen.
I would have left a comment or two, but I'm still about halfway with this TL and I don't like breaking the pace of updates with references to old (well, relatively) posts.
Anyway are you sure you spent only six months researching for TSPD? I've read books written by authors who studied European history for DECADES and I don't think they made a better job than you describing the Year of Revolutions. You really have either a natural talent or a limit-less passion.
My most heartful congratulations!
Jeez man, stop being so critical, he's trying!
But seriously, I agree and this is really fantastic.
Separate names with a comma.