Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Austria, 1848-1849 : Foreign Policy

At the outbreak of the revolution, the Habsburg administration found herself paralyzed. Patriotic-democratic regional administrations emerged in Hungary, in Prague, in Lombardy and Venice (Italian), in the German parts of Austria. The Empire threatened to disintegrate. On the other hand, the Frankfurt parliament, assembled in the Paulskirche, offered the crown of a German Empire to be newly created to the Habsburg monarch.
At this crucial moment, with the prospect of getting control over the Austrian army again, the Emperor opted for a continued Austrian multiethnic Empire and rejected the crown offered to him by parliament (Emperor by the grace of God, not by the grace of men).
With Russia providing massive military assistance according to the stipulations of the HOLY ALLIANCE, the Austrian forces were able to crush the Hungarian revolution. Austria's minister COUNT SCHWARTZENBERG went on record expressing that Austria would show her ingratitude for the aid received.
Austrian troops in 1849 defeated the Milanese rebels, who were aided by Piemontese troops, in the BATTLE OF NOVARA in 1849, restoring the Austrian monarchy. The success of Austria's (and Prussia's) troops postponed the realization of German and Italian unification for more than a decade.

Encyclopedia of the 1848 Revolutions, articles :
DOCUMENTS Convention Relative to Disposal of Property and Consular Jurisdiction Between Austria-Hungary and the United States; May 8, 1848, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
REFERENCE Revolution in Central Europe, pp.725-728; Counter-Revolution in Central Europe, pp.737-741, in : John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, NY : W.W. Norton 1996
Pre-March (pp.47-56), Radical Outbreak : the Revolutions of 1848 (pp.57-70), Liberal Episode : the Constituent Assembly, July 1848 - March 1849 (pp.71-82), from A.J.P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 , from Chicago : UP (1948) 1976

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First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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