Holy Roman Empire - Chapter 60
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
People are realistic, especially nobles who have passed on their own ways of surviving for hundreds of years. The functions of their survival strategies became clear now.
On April 13, 1848, after receiving the news of the Prague rebellion, Prince Wentishgreitz immediately led troops back to the city to suppress the uprising. With the cooperation of the local nobles, he recovered the whole city in less than three days.
In order to deter the local powers, Prince Wentishgreitz ordered the execution of all the leaders who took part in the rebellion. Basically, the small leaders and anyone above them were all executed.
More than two thousand heads hung on the streets of Prague, terrifying the remaining nobles.
The point was that it was not only the ordinary people who were killed this time, and at Franz’s request, the priority was to execute the big shots.
Ordinary people could still be used as laborers, while nobles and capitalists who’d participated in the rebellion weren’t useful for anything, so people with higher social status died faster.
At the time of the execution, the municipal government also picked out a group of notorious people and conducted a public trial to expose the crimes they’d committed in the past.
With these executions, the Vienna government also strengthened the loyalty of the local people. Looking at the cheering citizens of Prague, the government knew that these people had been hated.
There was no need for them to pay back the usury owed. A series of laws formulated by the Vienna government to protect the public’s interests would all be launched here, and capitalists, local ruffians, and oppressive hooligans were all guillotined.
The Czechs were Slavic, and they were similar to the Polish in terms of race, but their culture, national traditions, ways of thinking, reactions to reality, and even eating habits were very close to the Austrians, so much so that they were even known as “Slavic-speaking Austrians.”
Because they shared a cultural tradition, the Czech people considered themselves part of Austria.
In Franz’s view, the Austrian government could integrate the Czechs into the Austrian family with just a little more effort.
“Mr. Candley, I recommended you to the Vienna government as the Chief of Education in Bohemia. What do you think?” Prince Wentishgreitz asked.
(The Bohemia region is now the Czech region.)
Chief of Education? What kind of nonsense was that? He, an Austrian army colonel, was to be civilian staff?
The boundary between civil and military forces in Austria was not strict, and it was common for generals to become prime minister, but this change was just too much.
Under normal circumstances, changing from a military officer to a civil officer required a transition period, and only after the person had adapted to it would the transfer happen. It was rare to take such a big leap all at once.
However, in terms of administrative level, it was a promotion. Candley knew that he didn’t have much choice. Prince Wentishgreitz didn’t like to be refused.
“No, Prince!” Candley replied.
“Well, that’s it. You know that the Vienna government wants to unify the language and culture of the whole country, for which purpose we even spared some of the nobles who took part in the rebellion.
For now, your task is to urge them to fulfill their promised conditions. If someone dares to go back on their word, you should report it right away.
Of course, it is not enough to rely on them alone. A number of state-owned enterprises have been added to the Czech region, and you have to organize teachers to teach ordinary workers German, as it is spoken in the factories.
In other places, you can do it your own way. In short, you should popularize German as soon as possible. In textbooks, you should emphasize Austria and downplay other local names!” Prince Wentishgreitz said forcefully.
The benefits of unifying language were self-evident, but it was not so simple to do, and for now, the Vienna government could only promote it quietly.
Considering the resistance of the people, Franz dared not even publish the documents abolishing other languages and replacing them with German.
Still, not being able to say it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Franz was a pragmatist, and the subtle promotion of German could also achieve the goal.
Before long, many people would see the advantage of being able to speak German. For example, being able to speak German could get them higher wages in factories.
Most of the time, the carrot was more effective than the stick, and it didn’t cause as much resistance.
The act in the Czech region was just the beginning. After approaching the local powers, some nobles were recruited to promote German.
After all, these nobles were all from Germany. German was their mother tongue, and they could speak Slavic, too, so they were left to close the gap between language teachers and locals.
With the cooperation of these local powers, the people who dared to make trouble were almost cleared out. Ordinary people would not care so much and would learn anything for a higher salary.
“Don’t worry, Prince, I will do this job well!” Candley promised.
Since the Prague rebellion, Candley had found that the Vienna government attached great importance to popularizing German, which meant he was doing a promising job.
The Vienna government had not yet introduced specific incentives, but well-informed people already knew that the Crown Prince put great importance on this matter.
At that time, it was only because of the war that the energy of the government was restricted; once the domestic rebellion was suppressed, language unification would probably become Austria’s national policy.
There were many smart people remaining. There was never any harm in following the national policy. Many politicians had already started approaching educational leaders from all over the country.
Candley was able to serve as the Chief of Education in the Bohemian Region; there was no doubt that not only had he made a major contribution, but also Prince Wentishgreitz had something to do with it, too.
This plan of Franz’s was obviously not just for Bohemia.
On April 13, a rebellion broke out in Galicia. The rebels occupied most of Austrian Poland and established a Polish interim government.
However, the rebellion came and went quickly. On April 16, the Austrian army began to suppress the rebellion. With the support of the local people, the massive rebellion was suppressed in less than a week.
Then, the government of Vienna cleaned up the local powers, and Franz showed his fangs by taking away the local nobles and capitalists, and even the middle class, who’d supported the rebellion.
This time, it was truly up to the local people to divide the nobles’ land. Anyone who helped the government suppress the rebellion could get a piece of land for free, and as for others, they would have to redeem it slowly according to the rules.
Only preferential treatment could show the superiority of being loyal to the emperor. If everyone were treated the same, who would be willing to die for the Emperor?
In the short time of half a month, more than 20 thousand people in Austrian Poland were beheaded. This could be said to be the most thorough suppression since the outbreak of the European revolutions.
After that battle, the newborn Polish nationalism quickly died off in Austria. All who remained were either the people at the bottom or the loyal ministers of the Hapsburg family, while all the rebels were sent to God.