1815-1848 1849-1867

The Bohemian Lands in 1848-1849

In the 1840es, Bohemia, as other regions in central Europe, felt the full impact of the industrial revolution. Prague was connected by railway with Vienna in 1845; the city's population in 1848 stood at 115,000 (a modest, but significant increase over the 77,000 the city had had in 1800); social unrest among the emerging working class had manifested itself in protests occasionally accompanied by violence in 1844, 1847 and 1848.
Then in March 1848, following a revolution in Paris, revolutionaries took over control in Vienna and Berlin; the Habsburg monarchy for the moment was paralyzed. Meetings were held in Prague, on which a new election for the Bohemian diet was demanded and a Bohemian petition to the Emperor, requesting political reform, was discussed. A PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL was established on May 28th, in which parity of Czech and German members, the president excluded, was observed.
In the meantime the German National Assembly at Frankfurt was prepared, and FRANTISEK PALACKY invited to represent Bohemia. After initially accepting, he turned the invitation down and organized the first PAN-SLAVIC CONGRESS in Prague, held June 2th to 12th. Palacky himself propagated AUSTROSLAVISM, the concept of political and cultural autonomy within a federal Austro-Hungarian state. The congress was a turning point in the national awakening of the Slavic nations.
The Austrian monarchy still being paralyzed, in Prague, immediately after the end of the congress, the PENTECOSTAL UPRISING took place (June 12th to 17th); desperation among the city's poor, the growing working class, had erupted in violence. The Bohemian authorities decided to suppress it; Prince ALFRED VON WINDISCHGRAETZ, military governor of Prague, was charged with the task; 10,000 soldiers took the barricades.
The CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY of the Bohemian lands moved to KROMERIZ in Moravia, where both groups, the Bohemian Germans and the Czechs, compromised on the KROMERIZ CONSTITUTION, among the defects if which was that it neither provided a clear specification of how governments should be formed and operate nor that it provided a practical solution for an ethnicity-based Danubian Federation, of which there had been much talk. The Kromeriz assembly was dissolved in 1849.
With suppressing the revolution in Hungary and Italy, the Habsburg Monarchy reestablished control. An insurrection planned by radical students of both German and Czech nationality in May 1849 was uncovered beforehand; the authorities imposed the state of siege (until 1853).

DOCUMENTS Articles from the Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions : Bedich Bloudek, Congress of the Slavs in Prague, Prague June Uprising, Prague Upheavals of 1848
Gallery (ed.), Geschichte Verstehen, Die Entwicklung der Deutsch-Tschechischen Beziehungen in den Böhmischen Ländern 1848-1948, in German
REFERENCE Derek Sayer, The Coasts of Bohemia, A Czech History, Princeton : Univ. Press 1998
A.J.P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918, Univ. of Chicago Press 1983

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 2nd 2006

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz