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Nationalism and the Revolution of 1848

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Paul Chang Nationalism Paper By 1848, the reaches of the Habsburg Empire stretched from the heel of Italy, to the Black Forests of Germany. Despite being ruled individually, the countries that consisted of the Habsburg Empire (of which included Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, and Germany) were all under the control of a Habsburg King. Thus, fueled by the prospect of having a nation without the influence of the Habsburgs, the Italian, Magyar (Hungarian), Slavic, and German nationalists revolted against the Habsburgs. Despite failing in their revolts, the nationalists influenced the political reactions of governments for centuries to come. The Revolution of 1848 was ultimately the result of tension buildup from the congress of Vienna, along with an incredibly conservative Austrian government. The Revolutions all happened in generally the same amount of time, along with the fact that oftentimes a revolution would die down, only to reappear a year later. ...read more.


Deciding to follow its nationalistic patriots (Lajos Kossuth and Istvan Szechenyi), the Hungarians launched a full-fledged attack in order to become an independent nation. The Hungarians however, were largely unlike the Italians. The first of these differences, was the fact that Hungary was directly ruled by Austria. The second difference, was that unlike Italy, Hungary had its own army, not divided by individual states. Thus, Hungary provided a much more serious threat to the Habsburg Empire. However, as fate and a strong Habsburg Government would have it, the Hungarians failed in their attempt as well (Above Hungary: http://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect07.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Revolution_of_1848) The Hungarians were strictly nationalists, as they firmly believed in controling their own government. The Magyars (Hungarians) believed they knew best how to govern their own people, as they shared not only language, but also background and culture. This concept of nationalism (groups of similar background and ethnicity should be compose their own nation) ...read more.


Unfortunately, after shortly driving out the Austrians, Germany was once again put under Habsburg rule, mostly due to the failure of the Frankfurt Parliament that had been put in place as a provisionary government. As with the rest their revolutionary counterparts, the Germans received harsher treatment than they had before (Above Germany: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1848_in_the_German_states, http://www.wpunj.edu/~history/study/ws2/set7b.htm). Thus, the nationalist movement of revolts within 1848 backfired at the nationalists themselves. Instead of gaining a more liberal and independent government, the nationalists on succeeded in bringing about harsher treatment from the Habsburgs. As can be seen with the Slovakians, Nationalism itself was also a failure, as Hungarian Nationalists pushed for their own nation, yet rejected the Slovakian plea for its own nation. Germany's revolt proved momentarily successful, yet when Austria returned to take what was theirs, Germany crumbled and became once again the disorganized unit it had been for centuries before. The Metternich system that Austria followed influenced Russia as well, creating two nations that brutally suppressed uprisings and revolts up until World War I. ...read more.

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