Holy Roman Empire - Chapter 58
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
On March 19, 1848, Frederick William IV was forced to announce the end of publication censorship and to send diplomatic notes to the German states, requesting the convening of the Confederate conference.
On March 23, Frederick William IV announced the merger of Prussia into Germany.
Metternich’s hope of establishing a three-nation alliance between Prussia, Austria, and Russia was shattered, and the diplomatic relations between Prussia, Austria, and Russia deteriorated sharply.
If Germany wanted to be unified, then Austria was an obstacle, and the core question was who would be the boss.
In terms of strength, Austria seemed to be a little stronger than Prussia, but because of its domestic problems, it did not have an absolute advantage over Prussia; in terms of influence, Austria was far greater than Prussia.
In history, Bismarck, the iron-and-blood Prime Minister, discovered this problem early. He first used diplomatic means to isolate Austria, then took advantage of the opportunity of the Austrian-French war to defeat Austria, and finally kicked Austria out of Germany.
Frederick William IV’s practices clearly exposed Prussia’s ambition to unify Germany, which Austria could not tolerate.
Also, it was also unacceptable to the Russians. The Tsar’s government did not want to see the reunification of Middle Europe, as it would shake their European hegemony.
Against this background, the relationship between Russia and Austria began to heat up. Franz waited and got the good news: Tsar Nicholas I had made a public statement that he was willing to help Austria suppress the Italian revolution.
Although this support was only verbal, as Russia would not send troops to help Austria fight the Kingdom of Sardinia, it was enough for Franz.
Since the war against France, there had remained a pattern of two major powers in Europe: Britain and Russia. At this point, with Russia supporting Austria, the British could not support the Kingdom of Sardinia without risking full-scale war.
“Prime Minister, we can close the net,” Franz said calmly.
“Yes, your Highness!” Felix replied.
“Mr. Ryan, hurry up, there’s bad news!”
“Coulson, slow down. What happened?” the man named Ryan asked with concern.
“The Austrian government decided to execute Vera and the rest of them, a total of more than one hundred political prisoners, all of whom will be executed in three days!” Coulson said with trepidation.
This was definitely the worst-case scenario. It was rare to execute political prisoners on a large scale in Europe, especially when capitalists and nobles, more than one hundred of them, were among the prisoners.
Ryan was silent. He was not a simple-headed teenager. The Austrian government had suddenly played tough, which was obviously not normal.
However, he could not abandon his people; otherwise, the cohesion of his team would evaporate, and he would not be able to lead them.
The enthusiasm of the people in the Czech region for the revolution was originally low, so they had relied on capitalists and nobles to launch the revolution. If he could not take effective measures, it would not be long before people began to change sides in the war.
In history, the outbreak of the Prague uprising was quickly suppressed because the local nobles and capitalists found that it was hopeless to work with the revolutionary party and sold them out.
How could he mobilize the people to revolution?
He couldn’t even think about it. The Revolutionary Party in the Czech region was formed mainly of the children of the capitalists and the branches of the noble families, and at the lowest, the middle class.
They wanted revolution only to protect their own rights and interests. They would never sacrifice their own interests to attract the people at the bottom.
In history, after the suppression of the Prague uprising, Austria could still organize troops to suppress the Hungarian rebellion in the Czech region, which showed where the popular opinion was leaning.
“How many troops left in the city?” Ryan asked with concern.
“I heard that the situation in the Italian battlefield is pretty serious, so yesterday, two thousand troops were transferred from here. The number of soldiers in the city will not exceed eighteen hundred,” the man with glasses whispered.
“Is this news reliable?” Ryan asked skeptically.
“This is what I heard when I chatted with friends in the City Defense Army this morning. It should be reliable. The Army transfer is obvious!” the man with glasses explained.
“Mr. Ryan, the news should be accurate. Yesterday, I saw an army march out of town, and it has not come back!” Coulson added.
“Well, we will make preparations immediately and take action tomorrow night to overthrow this decadent Austrian Empire and establish an independent Czech Republic!” Ryan said with passion.
“Mr. Ryan, how will we solve the problem of weapons? We can’t overthrow the Austrian government with only these few guns in our hands, can we?” an old man asked.
As a conservative in the revolutionary party, he opposed the most extreme military revolution. If it were not for the Austrian government’s plans to kill his comrades, he would not agree to launch an uprising.
“I can find a way to raise 20 guns from relatives and friends!” the man with glasses said.
“I can also collect a dozen guns from my home!” Colson thought for a moment and said.
In this way, everyone reported their contributions. After a while, the weapons to equip an infantry battalion were settled.
Obviously, the recent policy of the Vienna government had made the local nobles very dissatisfied; otherwise, the revolutionary party could not obtain weapons and equipment so easily.
A premeditated rebellion was launched just like this. All the members of the revolutionary party were there voluntarily, and there was not any mandatory binding force between them. They relied solely on the charisma of their leader.
It was impossible to keep it a secret. The Czech revolutionary party was originally a temporarily established team, so anyone from anywhere could be admitted in.
The people who attended the meeting were all of high status and considered reliable. In fact, after the meeting was over, the notes from the meeting were sorted out and sent to Prince Wentishgreitz that same night.
If the Vienna government wanted to put down the rebellion, the police in Prague could do it.
Obviously, this was not what the Vienna government wanted. Since the rebellion had not broken out yet, they would only catch some nobodies if they tried.
In this way, the Vienna government would miss the big boss behind the scenes, which would bring serious hidden threats to the future stability of the Czech region.
It seemed that Prince Wentishgreitz didn’t know anything. Before the revolution broke out, he organized a field training, in which most of the policemen and armies in Prague took part.
On April 12, 1848, taking the opportunity of Prince Wentishgreitz’s absence, the Prague uprising broke out. With the cooperation of local nobles and capitalists, the city of Prague was taken over in one stroke.
“Mr. Ryan, bad news: the arsenal is empty. It is said that the government’s corrupt officials sold all the ammunition inside; what should I do now ?” Colson said with fear.
This statement had to be false. Even if the Austrian government was corrupt, it was impossible for them to sell off all their weapons and ammunition.
“You must be being fooled by someone!”
This was his first reaction. Originally, the uprising was so smooth that it seemed unreasonable. He encountered almost no resistance before taking Prague. If he couldn’t see it then, Ryan would have to be a real fool.