history

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The reason the 1848 Revolutions failed in to make changes in many countries was because the government was still too powerful to force change with the government policy. In some countries, like Russia, the state was able to eliminate any dissent before it could really force the government to change. But by the end of the century it would be different in Russia, the time for a revolution to succeed grew. During this time the rulers of Europe told others that they supported the change, but supported the opposite. Like with Prussian king, Frederick William IV, who supported, “federal parliament at Frankfurt” (Hunt 713) but then he, “crushed the revolution in Berlin in the fall of 1848” (Hunt 713). When asked about taking emperorship from the parliament he, “contemptuously refused this ‘crown from the gutter’” (Hunt 713). As we see, the rulers used the time to regroup to take down the Revolution, and the one country to buy time would be the Austrian Empire.

The central country to look at during the 1848 Revolutions was the Austrian Empire. The Austrian Empire was a nation of many different races of people with Italians, Magyar, Germans, Croats, Romanians, Slovaks, and Slovenes to name a few. So keeping a nation that is very diverse like that together is not going to be easy with each race speaking a different language. With the famines, ethnic differences, and wanting more autonomy for the groups, the time for the Revolution to happen was growing. Once it did happen, all corners of the Empire would be touched by it. The internal threats were not the only thing they dealt with during this time, but also external threats from another country. They had Piedmont-Sardinia invade Lombardy and Venetia, part of the country for the goal of national unification under the King Charles Albert. In the beginning Albert’s forces, “were driving the Austrians out of their lands in northern Italy” (Hunt 713-714) but failed to take any land.

I believe at first the Austrian Empire tried to do many things to go with the revolution, so, in turn, to help themselves out. For the most part it was good giving the people a constitution and the Magyar more autonomy. This would only last as long as Emperor Ferdinand was in power to make the changes. The bad part about it at first is allowing the Magyars control over the minorities without insuring their rights or protection. The two parts would spell the doom to the revolution because only Ferdinand wanted most of the changes in the government, and the people who supported the old ways had a group of people to use against the Magyar. The next phase of handling the Austrian Empire was bad because they gave people freedom at first and then wanted to restrict that freedom they gave. They went after the Magyar “with Tsar Nicholas I, who marched into Hungary with more than 300,000 Russian troops.” (Hunt 714) Crushing the Magyar under the combined forces of the Austrian and Russian military. The only thing good during this part was the handling of the Italian army by defeating the Italians. The steps the government took made violence unavoidable by looking at it to make sure that it did not turn into a civil war. Even if the government went with the first part conflict was going to happen because Magyar and the minorities were going to fight since Magyar wanted it language spoken and cultural to be supreme over the minorities. The nobles would not stand for this happening since they would lose some power over the people with this a civil war would just be waiting to start. The only way to stop the internal conflict from happening was to give the Magyar self-rule, all the other minorities fall under the Austrian rule, with a government truly supported this along with the nobles. The last part would be the hardest to make happen. In the end violence was going to happen because they were at war with Piedmont-Sardinia and nothing would stop that without Austrian giving up land without a fight.

Cited

Hunt, Lynn, Thomas Martin, Barbara Rosenwein, Bonnie Smith. Making of the West, Volume II: Since 1500,  4th Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 01/2012. VitalBook file.

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