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Part II

The Awakening of Nationalism

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Chapter 7

Premonitory Signs of Nationalism

In the last decade of the 18th century, central-eastern Europe was dominated by conflict between ethnic groups that were beginning to become aware of their own cultural individuality, and traditional states that had grown out of the political structures of the old order. The Europe of states begun in the 16th century and solemnly affirmed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, became a Europe of nations.


By the end of the 18th century, eastern Europeans had accepted political structures that were for the most part foreign to them. Four powers shared responsibility for authority over central-eastern Europe. In the northwest, the kingdom of Prussia had just extended its authority to part of the Polish nation, while in the east, the Russian Empire ruled over another part of Poland and over all of the non-Slavic people along the Baltic: Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and even Finns after 1809. In the Balkans, the Rumanians of Moldavia and Wallachia, the Bulgars, the Greeks and the Albanians had been subjects of the Ottoman Empire since the 14th century. Finally, along the Danube, Austria had amassed a vast multinational empire, constituted of the inhabitants of the Bohemian and Hungarian kingdoms, as well as all the refugees from Turkish-occupied zones. For this it was regarded as the stronghold of Christianity against Islam.

The relationship between the subjected peoples and Prussia, Russia and the Ottoman Empire was that of the conquered to the conquerors, of

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dominated peoples to the dominating. In contrast, the Austrian monarchy set up a relationship between the state and its subjects that rested on loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty and on an undeniable community of interests, even in the case of the small number of Poles brought into the Empire in 1795, who enjoyed the same treatment as other inhabitants of the Empire.

At the close of the 18th century, a new consciousness of nationality appeared, in subjected nations as well as associated nations. This new consciousness grew among the elite, the aristocracy, clergy and intellectuals, and was fostered by exterior influences. There was a birth, or an awakening, of nationalism everywhere at this time -- a phenomenon not limited to eastern Europe. It was first seen in western Europe, especially in France under the influence of the philosophes. During the entire 18th century, French philosophes progressively developed new concepts of the relationships between the people and the state. These concepts, which were the work of Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert and Rousseau, were set forth in the Encyclopedie whose influence reached far beyond the borders of France. The philosophes completely rejected the idea of a divine right monarchy solely dependent on the good will of the sovereign. They stressed the idea of national sovereignty and the notion that power came from the people. For some, the notion "people" was limited to an intellectual or wealthy elite; for others, it meant all of the people. Jan Jacques Rousseau held the latter point of view, and in The Social Contract he proclaimed that men were born free. For Rousseau, no one had the right to subject another against his will. These ideas inspired the English colonists in America when they rebelled against the authority of the government in London in 1776. It was not by chance that Kosciuszko, the head of the Polish insurrection of 1794, had fought beside George Washington with Lafayette and Rochambeau. The French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man greatly strengthened the development of nationalism and the concept of the right of peoples to govern themselves. The events in France in 1789 echoed resoundingly throughout Europe.

All of the European elite, including central and eastern Europeans, read and spoke French fluently. At the courts of Vienna and St. Petersburg, throughout the aristocracy, and in cultivated Hungarian, Polish and Czech circles, French was the common language. Private libraries overflowed with political and philosophic works published in France and French gazettes were read avidly. In Poland, Jean Jacques Rousseau's influence was considerable, and his ideas on education, as well as Condillac's, had a wide following during the time of King Stanislas-Augustus. Poniatovski himself acquired his political education in the Parisian salon of Madame Geoffrin. It was the same in Hungary, where the writer Alexander Kisfaludy was a fervent admirer of Rousseau, although there was an influential aristocrat in

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the Diet, Janos Fekete, who leaned more towards Voltaire. On the whole, the Hungarian aristocracy read The Spirit of the Laws with enthusiasm because they willingly identified themselves with the "corps intermediares" so dear to Montesquieu. When the French Revolution broke out, all those who hoped for reforms in Hungary, in Bohemia and in Poland were enthusiastic. The Hungarian Diet of 1 793 even began a Hungarian Declaration of the Rights of Man. The distant Rumanian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were affected by the influence of French culture by the end of the 18th century through contact between their elite and the Frenchified Russian aristocracy.

France produced the idea of reform, and also the idea of nationalism. The concept that the people should have the right to choose their own destiny had been widely disseminated by the revolutionaries. This idea, viewed from eastern Europe, seemed to promise independence for subjected peoples-- even if, in reality, it was often used to disguise imperialist aims. The idea was welcomed by the elite.

These French ideas arrived at a time when in all of central and eastern Europe the aristocracy and educated classes were slowly rediscovering their national past and relearning, with some difficulty, their national languages. Toward the end of the 18th century, the grammarian Kopczynski purified and codified the Polish language. At the same time in Hungary, the linguists Gyarmathi and Kazinczy standardized and enriched the national language which became the language of instruction in place of Latin in 1792. In Bohemia, there was also a resurrection of Czech language and literature with Abbot Joseph Dobrovsky who stressed the linguistic kinship of the Slavic people. This cultural renaissance combined with the enlightenment brought from France played a decisive role in the national awakening of centro-eastern Europe.

The first signs of this awakening occurred in Poland in 1794 with Kosciuszko's revolt. In spite of its failure and the extinction of the Polish state, Polish patriots paid careful attention to everything that came from France. Thus, Napoleon's first victories over the Russians and their Prussian allies in 1805-1806 caused great enthusiasm. Polish volunteers led by Dombrowski, a hero of 1794, rushed to enter the service of the emperor.

A provisional government was set up in Warsaw to welcome the French troops. In fact, when Napoleon's armies entered Polish territory, they were greeted as liberators. The sentimental liaison between Napoleon and the young Maria Walewska also decisively influenced the fate of Poland. The provisional government had the young woman plead her country's cause, and she was fairly successful. After the Peace of Tilsit, Napoleon created the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, with the king of Saxony as ruler and a constitutional statute establishing the freedom and equality of all citizens and abolishing serfdom. In 1809, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw was able to

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regain Austrian Poland, though the Russians kept the eastern provinces. The Poles took full advantage of their connection with the French and furnished innumerable troops to Napoleon. One Polish general, Joseph Poniatowski, was actually made Marshal of France and died on the battlefield at Leipzig on October 19, 1813.

In Hungary, the influence of the French revolution and its ideas on the right of the people to govern themselves was less warmly received than in Poland. Within the Habsburg monarchy, Hungary had been able to retain its autonomy and its institutions. Only the most radical elements of the intelligentsia were restless, and there were a few Hungarian Jacobins. The Marseillaise was translated into Hungarian, and on August 10, 1794, the young Jacobins led by Ignac Martinovics commemorated the seizure of the Tuilleries by singing the ca ira refrain of another revolutionary song. They were arrested and found guilty of conspiracy, and six of them, including their leader, were executed on May 20, 1795. This Jacobin movement, nipped in the bud, had very little influence. During the Napoleonic wars, the Hungarian diet supplied funds and soldiers, and Hungarians turned a deaf ear to Napoleon's call for revolt in his proclamation of May 15, 1809.

French influence reached the Slavs in the south of the monarchy through military conquest. Following the fifth coalition, the Peace of Vienna on October 14, 1809 made Istria and the greater part of Croatia into French territories. Until 1813, these Illyrian provinces benefited from reforms introduced by France: abolition of serfdom and civil equality. On the cultural level, Slovene became an official language like Italian and German, giving strength to efforts of the grammarian Kopitar in his battle for the Slovene language. Meanwhile, the Serbs in Hungary had been experiencing a cultural revival since the end of the 18th century. The first Serbian high school was founded in 1791 in Hungary--even though there was no high school in Serbia itself before 1855--and in 1791 the first newspaper in Serbian appeared in Vienna. Moreover, the cultural awakening of the southern Slavs living under the Habsburg monarchy sparked a similar movement among the Slavs in the Ottoman Empire, even though development there was slow. The awakening of nationalist feelings among Rumanians in Moldavia and Wallachia followed a similar course. French ideas had already begun to influence the Rumanian ruling classes by the end of the 18th century, but it was the better educated and culturally more independent Rumanians of Transylvania who truly aroused a national consciousness in the provinces of the Lower Danube. The Uniate bishop, Innocent Micu, was particularly responsible for originating the largely erroneous theory that the Rumanians were descendants of the Dacians. He coined the term "Rumanians" which we still use to designate people who were called Vlachs up until the 18th century.

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Thus by the beginning of the 19th century, the nations of central and eastern Europe--or more specifically, the elite of these nations -- were becoming conscious of their own national identities. They were rediscovering the individuality of their languages, their cultures, and their traditions in relation to others. Could they, or should they, let it go at that? Or would such cultural emancipation, accepted by the ruling powers, run the risk of encouraging claims for political independence? The debate was thus opened between those who wanted to maintain the traditional political structures and the supporters of nationalism, who believed that people who shared the same language, the same culture and the same traditions had a right to independence if they so desired, provided they occupied a clearly defined territory.



On September 22, 1814, a congress opened in Vienna attended by representatives of all the states of Europe. This congress, which convened after 20 years of nearly continuous warfare between revolutionary, then imperial France and the rest of Europe, was not intended for the sole purpose of deciding the fate of France. Its task was also to rebuild Europe, settling both political and territorial questions. Called together by Emperor Francis II of Austria and presided over by his chancellor, Metternich, the Congress of Vienna closed on June 26,1815 with the signing of the Final Act, a document that reorganized Europe.

Throughout the duration of the congress, two groups of states clashed. One group, backed by Prussia and Russia, hoped to acquire the maximum territorial advantage, while others, backed by Austria and the United Kingdom, and supported behind the scenes by the French representative, Talleyrand, wished above all to establish a balance of power. All were in agreement, however, in opposing any revolutionary movement in any region. Their attitudes diverged once again on the matter of nationalistic movements then taking shape. Russia opposed nationalism in Poland, as did Prussia, but seemed ready to support it in the Ottoman Empire since the awakening of the Balkan people might serve a useful purpose in Russia's imperialistic designs on the Straits of Bosporous to the Mediterranean. Metternich was not necessarily opposed to nationalism, but he thought such aspirations could be channeled into creating not nation-states, but confederated states in which the leading citizens, the elite, the aristocracy, and the church would share the power, no matter what their ethnic group. Metternich was convinced that the Austrian example was the most able to guarantee a peaceful coexistence of ethnic groups without dividing them.

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What was the final outcome of these various proposals for the peoples of eastern Europe? Poland was the object of long discussions. Its fate was closely linked to that of Saxony, whose king had been an ally of Napoleon and who had consequently been named sovereign of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. In order to punish the King of Saxony for his treason toward the German nation, Prussia wanted purely and simply to annex Saxony. Russia agreed, on the condition that Prussia cede it the part of Poland it obtained in 1772 and 1791 . That would have meant a partially restored Poland, but one ruled by Russia. Certain Polish magnates, including Prince Adam Czartoryski, a friend of Czar Alexander, opted for this solution. The other great powers opposed it, particularly Austria who feared an excessive encroachment of Russia on the west, and England who foresaw the disruption of future European balance in favor of Prussia and Russia. The secret treaty of January 3, 1815, between Austria, France and England led to the restoration of the Saxon lands to the King of Saxony in the name of legitimacy. Consequently, the Congress decided to maintain the division of Poland according to the former partitions, with only slight modifications. Austria kept Galicia, as well as a de facto sovereignty over the "free republic" of Krakow. Prussia kept Posnania, Danzig and the county of Thorn. Russia emerged advantageously; it kept all that it had acquired since 1772, in addition to the formerly annexed Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and created from this territory the Congress Kingdom. Czar Alexander of Russia thus became the king of Poland, but of a Poland stripped of its eastern provinces and of Lithuania which became part of the Russian Empire. Alexander gave his new kingdom a Charter in December, 1815. Poland had a diet made up of a senate of 30 members appointed by the king and a chamber of deputies elected by the nobles and representatives of the cities. This diet voted on taxes and laws, but the ministers were not responsible to the diet, only to the viceroy, the Grand Duke Constantine (who happened to be brother of the Czar) and to the imperial commissioner, Count Novosiltzov. In actual fact, the Polish aristocracy, who owned most of the land, administered the country under the supervision of Russia.

The Congress of Vienna did not change the status of the Balkans. In theory, the Ottoman Empire kept its entire territory, though in practice its authority had been severely weakened during the Napoleonic era following the wars between the Russians and the Turks from 1808 to 1812 and the resulting Russian occupation of Moldavia and Wallachia. The Peace of Bucharest in 1812 gave the Russians the Moldavian province of Bessarabia, between the River Prut and the Dniester. In addition Russia obtained a say in governing the Danubian provinces. As for the Serbs, in March 1804, they had attempted a rebellion under George Petrovitch, who was called Karageorge. The Serbs were moderately successful and were counting on

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Russian aid, but after the Peace of Bucharest, the Russians cared little about a new war with the Turks, and abandoned the Serbian rebels. The insurrection was harshly repressed in 1812-1813, and Karageorge took refuge in Hungary. A new insurrection broke out in the spring of 1815 led by a rival of Karageorge, Miloch Obrenovitch, who was more skillful and more careful. He managed to get himself recognized as governor (Knez) of Serbia by the sultan, and two years later, the Turks recognized an autonomous Serbian principality. It was a vassal state, paid an annual tribute, and had Turkish troops stationed in the main cities. But as decided in Vienna, the Ottomans, authority over the Serbs, as well as over all the other Christian peoples in the Balkans, remained theoretically intact.

The hereditary borders of the Habsburg monarchy's possessions in the upper valley of the Danube were confirmed in 1792. Bohemia, like Hungary, remained an integral part of what had become the Austrian Empire in 1806, and, like the duchies and counties of traditional Austria, Bohemia was part of the German Confederation which replaced the Holy Roman Empire. Hungary did not take part in the Confederation because of its special constitutional status.

The Congress of Vienna was a triumph for the great powers who were able to impose their views on the smaller states. It was also a triumph for authority over liberalism, and of legitimacy over nationalism. On September 26, 1815, shortly after the Congress ended, the emperors of Austria, Russia and the king of Prussia signed a treaty setting up a Holy Alliance stating "the three monarchs will remain united by bonds of a true and indissoluble fraternity...and will grant each other assistance, aid and cooperation whenever and wherever requested." The treaty was open to all, and most of the European states, with the exception of the United Kingdom, supported it.

While the Holy Alliance had only a minor effect, the work of the Congress of Vienna was more lasting. Despite its imperfection, it provided Europe with almost a half-century of peace.


The Serb example and the de facto autonomy that they had managed to acquire for their struggles had a tremendous effect on the Balkans. Bulgars, Greeks, Serbs, Rumanians, and even Albanians were becoming more and more impatient with rule by an Ottoman Empire which was showing clear signs of weakness. Sultan Selim III had been forced to abdicate in 1808 by rebellious Janissaries, and his successor, Mohammad II (1808-1839) had been obliged to have those Janissaries massacred in order to regain authority, an act which considerably reduced his military force. Moreover, the Balkan

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Christian people knew they had support on the outside. Russia, in fact, had demonstrated its interest in the Orthodox communities on several occasions since the 18th century. Since 1812, Russia had regarded the Rumanians of Moldavia and Wallachia as a de facto protectorate, and even though the Russians had left the Serbs to their fate in 1812-1813, they still followed developments in Serbia with great interest. In addition, numerous Serbian and Bulgarian refugees had settled in Bessarabia, which had become Russian. Nor was Austria indifferent to events taking place in the Balkans. Rumanian and Serbian populations living in Hungary maintained close contact with their Ottoman-dominated brothers. A plan to divide the Balkans between Austria and Russia had actually been devised in 1781 between Joseph II and Catherine II, but was never carried out. In any case, the Balkans were certainly an area of interest to both Austria and Russia.

Their interest heightened considerably, and the rest of Europe became concerned when Greece rose up against the Ottoman yoke in 1821. The revolt was instigated by the numerous patriotic societies that were formed in Greece in the early years of the 19th century, and whose influence was felt throughout Europe. A major role was played by one man, Alexander Ypsilanti. Though Greek, he had been an officer in the Russian army and an aide-de-camp of Czar Alexander. Ypsilanti had managed to obtain the cooperation of certain feudal lords, among them the Pascha of Jannina, the Albanian Ali Pascha Telepeleni. Russia, as expected, took the side of the Greek insurgents, but the British government in London, judging that it was better for the Turks instead of the Russians to control the Straits of Bosporus, tried to strike a compromise with the sultan. However, the declaration of independence of Greece at Epidaurus in January, 1822, and the massacre of Chios, during which several thousand Greeks were killed by the Turks, caused such strong feelings in western Europe that the great powers decided on a concerted intervention. The Ottoman Empire was forced to back down and give Greece its independence.

Other Balkan peoples also benefited from the Greek revolt. In Serbia, Miloch Obrenovitch, who had rid himself of his rival, Karageorge, by assassination in 1817 upon his return from exile in Austria, preferred to negotiate with the Turks rather than resort to combat. For this, the sultan granted him the title "Prince of the Serbs and Pashalik of Belgrade." During the Greek revolt, Serbia did not lift a hand, but benefited nonetheless from the intervention of the great powers, particularly Russia. After the convention at Akerman on October 7, 1826, which was ratified by the Peace of Adrianople on September 14, 1829, and then completed by a decree from the sultan on August 29, 1830, Serbia became an autonomous principality under a hereditary prince -- in this case Miloch Obrenovitch -- assisted by an assembly of leading citizens, the Skupshtina, to rule over a population

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numbering around 660,000. A locally recruited army was to guarantee order in the name of the sultan in this emerging Serbian state. The Turks retained the right to station troops in certain strongholds, but were not allowed to reside in other Serbian territory. Soon after, in 1832, the Serbian church was granted full independence. The archbishop (Metropolite) and the bishops would be elected from the ranks of the Serbian clergy and no longer appointed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Prince Miloch (1817-1839) was an authoritarian ruler, but had the support of the peasants. Opposing him were the intellectual elite of the country who supported the rival Karageorgevitch family. In 1838, Miloch retired, leaving the throne to his sons, Milan (1839-1839) and Michael (1839-1842). Michael was deposed by Alexander Karageorgevitch (1842-1859). But the Skupshtina later called back Miloch who reigned for one more year, and was then again succeeded by his son, Michael (1860-1868). Throughout their reign, both the Obrenovitch family and the Karageorgevitch family were interested in the idea of an eventual union of all the southern Slavs, an idea embraced by the Serbian and Croatian intellectuals. In general, Serbian sovereigns maintained excellent relationships with neighboring Montenegro whose rulers, Peter I (1784-1830) and Peter II (1830-1851) were openly supported by Czar Nicholas I of Russia.

The awakening of the Serbs in Serbia was not only political, but intellectual as well. Education had made obvious progress. In 1835, there were only 60 primary schools in Serbia and no secondary school at all. By 1859, the number of primary schools had reached 352, including 15 for girls. There was also a high school, opened in Belgrade in 1 855. Still, in the area of education, the Serbs in Serbia were clearly behind their brothers living in the Austrian monarchy.

The Greek revolt also benefited the Rumanians. The secret society of Hetaerie, with Tudor Vladimirescu as leader, had tried to organize an uprising against the Phanariot government in 1820. When the Greeks rebelled, the Turks themselves removed the Phanariots from the government of the Rumanian principalities -- because they were Greek -- and named two Rumanian Boyars as "princes" or hospodars of Wallachia and Moldavia, Gregory Ghica (1822-1828) and loan Sturdza (1822-1828). When the Russians intervened on the side of the great powers in favor of the Greeks, their armies occupied Wallachia and Moldavia, and from 1828, Kissilev, a Russian general open to modern ideas, administered the principalities. Kissilev dismissed the two hospodars and convoked an assembly of leading citizens, nobles and leading merchants, who approved a kind of constitution, the Reglement organique in 1831. This ruling maintained the privileges of the Boyars and their authority over the peasants and gave the Boyar assembly in each principality the task of electing its own prince and voting on its laws.

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In fact, when the Russians left the country in 1834, the czar and the sultan chose the hospodars themselves. They designated Micael Sturdza (1834-1849) as prince for Moldavia and Alexandru Ghica (1834-1848) followed by George Bibescu (1843-1848) as princes for Wallachia. The 20 years between Kissilev's rise to power and the revolution of 1848 witnessed a resurrection of Rumania. Progressive numbers of Rumanian intellectuals and students attended French universities and then returned home with the liberal ideas in vogue in French intellectual circles. They demanded the freeing of the peasants and freedom of the press. Slowly, they adopted the idea of a united Rumania gathering together all Rumanians into one homeland.

The awakening of a national consciousness came later to the Bulgars. There, the new national sentiment originated in a cultural renaissance in the monasteries. Early impetus came from the monk, Paisi, who authored A History of the Bulgarian People, Czars and Saints. His disciples, especially Sofroni, refined and codified a Bulgar literary language. Through their work, the first book in literary Bulgar was printed in Bucharest. The cultural renewal also took place outside Bulgarian territory. Many Bulgars lived in Bucharest, Saloniki, Constantinople and even in Paris. But in Bulgaria itself, the small number of intellectuals were clearly separated and isolated from the people by a cultural barrier. This explains why the Bulgars, in comparison with their neighbors, were slow in developing a national consciousness. Here again, a national consciousness came from outside the country. The first Bulgarian revolutionary committee was founded in Bucharest by an exile, George Rakowski (1818-1868). Not until the last third of the 19th century did the Bulgars begin to seek independence.


The Congress of Vienna had ratified the dissolution of the Polish state because of the concerted and rival ambitions of its neighbors. Although the three parts of divided Poland went separate ways, the borders remained open to men and to ideas.

An unusual situation existed in the Polish territories annexed by Prussia where the populations were very mixed. The countryside of Posnania was mainly Polish, while the cities like Posnan (Posen), Bydogoszcz (Bromberg), and Gdansk (Danzig) were German. Until 1848, proper relations existed between Prussia and its Polish-speaking subjects. The Polish aristocracy "collaborated" with the German aristocracy. Prince Antoine Radziwill, who was married to a Hohenzollern princess, was entrusted with the provinces under the title of lieutenant governor. In 1823, an agrarian reform gave most Polish tenant-farmers ownership of the land they tilled in exchange for a

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moderate tax. Culturally, the state-financed village schools were taught in Polish and run by the clergy.

The situation in Austrian Poland was nearly the same, although their ethnic diversity arose from the coexistence of two Slavic populations, a Polish-Catholic population and an orthodox or uniate Ruthenian population. These ethnic contrasts were paralleled by social contrasts. The aristocracy and the urban population and clergy were Polish, while most of the peasants were Ruthenian. The Polish aristocracy and clergy fared well under Austrian rule, particularly since Austria tended to grant its Polish provinces a good deal of self-government. For all Poles, the University of Krakow was a place for the maintenance and the propagation of Polish culture.

Nothing of the sort happened in the Congress Kingdom. In the beginning, the Kingdom's ruler, Czar Alexander I, seemed to have a benevolent attitude toward Poland; he had an excellent relationship with several enlightened magnates like Prince Adam Czatoryski. In accordance with the Constitutional Statute of 1815, the country was administered by Poles, but the role of the diet was progressively reduced. The primary concern of the Czar and his representatives in Poland, was maintenance of law and order. Under Count Lubecki, who governed the country until 1821 , there was some economic development. Lubecki set up the first Polish bank, strengthened public finances, and stabilized the currency. The country experienced a moderate prosperity along with an increase in agricultural production and the creation of the first cotton mills at Lodz. Economic progress did not distract Polish liberals and patriots from the facts that the Congress Kingdom was an incomplete territory without Lithuania and the eastern provinces and was in fact only an appendage of the Russian Empire. The University of Warsaw, founded in 1818 by Count Stanislas Potocki, Grand Master of the Freemasons and disciple of the Enlightenment, was shaken by patriotic student demonstrations which resulted in closing the university several times. Though closely watched by Russian authorities, the Polish army was also a hotbed of patriotism. In the early 1820s, relations between the Czar and his Polish subjects were becoming strained. The Diet repeatedly denounced the administration for abuses of power and received a harsh reprimand from the Czar, who then in 1 825 forbade the Diet to publish the minutes of their meetings. This resulted in the formation of secret societies where students, burghers, writers, lawyers, military men and liberal nobles rubbed elbows as they worked out a framework for future projects. These secret societies were constantly harassed by the police, and the members, once discovered, were subjected to heavy prison sentences. The abdication of Alexander I in December, 1825, was followed by a two-week interregnum in Russia. Prince Constantine, the Viceroy of Poland and eldest son of the ruler, should have succeeded his father, but he refused

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the crown. Finally, the youngest son took the throne under the name of Nicholas I (1825-1855). Certain liberal opponents, for the most part Russian officers, took advantage of the interregnum to try and seize the power from St. Petersburg, but the Decembrists, conspiracy failed. Nicholas I harshly put down the rebellion, and then came personally to Poland to be crowned king and to reinforce the constitution. In fact, Nicholas I practiced the same absolutist policy in Poland as he did in Russia. The Polish Diet no longer convened, and since the Poles involved in the Decembrist conspiracy had been acquitted by the Polish tribunals, the magistracy was purged, and judges, tenure for life, guaranteed by the Constitution of 1815, was abolished. In 1830, when Nicholas I decided to convene the Diet, the elections yielded a majority for the opponents. Polish politicians, elected by the nobility and the bourgeoisie, were divided into two groups. The Whites adopted a wait-and-see attitude, hoping reform would come from the Czar and trying to avoid all action that could lead to insurrection. The Reds, on the other hand, admired the French Revolution and made a cult-hero of Kosciuszko, the activist of the 1794 insurrection.

The successful revolutions in Paris and Brussels in July-August 1830, incited lively activity among the students in Warsaw. When news of the Czar's intent to send Polish troops against revolutionary Belgium in the name of the Holy Alliance was revealed, two young officers, Wysocki and Zaliwski, worked out a plan at the Cadet Academy in Warsaw to assassinate Viceroy Constantine and to launch a massive uprising against the Russian occupation on November 20. The plot was thwarted and the viceroy was able to leave the Polish capital in time. Throughout, the civilian population remained unmoved. In order to avoid a conflict, the White Party formed an administrative council and gave the command of Polish troops to General Chlopicki, who begged the viceroy to return to Warsaw. When he refused, the administrative council became a provisional government. General Chlopicki took the title of dictator -- as Koskiuszko had done in 1794 -- and asked the Czar to recall Russian troops from Poland, to grant a general amnesty, to convoke the Diet, and to return former Polish territories under direct Russian administration to Poland. The Czar's answer was negative; in a manifesto dated December 27, 1830, Nicholas I demanded complete submission. The moderates of the White Party were uneasy about the development of events and resigned from the provisional government. In January, 1831, General Chlopicki left the dictatorship in order to devote himself fully to the organization of the Polish army, and in Warsaw the Reds took up the reins of government with support from the students, the petty bourgeoisie, and the Masonic lodges. The Polish government tried to interest France in the Polish cause, and a diplomatic mission was dispatched to Paris to negotiate the recognition and independence of Poland. The most concrete

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result of this mission was the formation of a Central Polish Committee in Paris which included generals Lafayette and Lamarque as well as the liberal minister Odilon Barrot. But the government of Louis-Philippe was still unsure of itself and refused to take part. Privately, however, many French officers left for Poland, bringing funds as well as arms. (The English government was similarly solicited by the Polish government, but made no move to involve itself.) Prussia, on the other hand, was nervous about the disturbances in Russian Poland. It closed its borders and gave its support to the Czar. Reduced to their own resources, the Poles were doomed, though in that spring of 1831, they were still full of hope. The Diet had just proclaimed Polish independence and its indissoluble union with Lithuania as well as the dethronement of the Romanov dynasty. While the Polish army did carry off several victories with generals Chlopicki and Skrznicki at the battles of Waver (February 19 and 21) and Grocho (February 25), it could not stand up to Marshal Paskievitch and his army of 120,000 men. By the end of July, 1831, Warsaw was nearly encircled, and Prussia was allowing Russian reinforcements to cross her territory. The most radical elements of the Polish insurrection under General Krukowizcki tried to continue the struggle, but on September 7, after a long artillery bombardment, Warsaw finally surrendered. The Diet broke up; many Poles fled to Austrian Galicia and from there emigrated to France. Paris became a refuge for numerous intellectuals like Adam Mickiewicz and Frederick Chopin who had been members of the secret republican societies.

Poland was harshly repressed. Marshal Paskievitch was named Governor of Poland and held the office throughout the reign of Nicholas I. A large Russian garrison was stationed in Warsaw to watch over the capital, and a stronghold was constructed to house it. The leaders of the insurrection who fell into Russian hands were hanged. Thousands of Poles were deported to Siberia. The properties of 286 emigrants who were condemned to death for contempt of court were confiscated and distributed to Russian generals and high officials. The Constitution of 1815 was abolished and replaced by the Organic Statute of February 26, 1832. The Diet and the Polish army were abolished. In principle, legislation and administration were to remain Polish, though little by little Russian officials progressively replaced local Polish authorities, and Russian was enforced as the official language.

The Russian regime set about breaking down the structures of the Polish nation. The University of Warsaw was closed as were most secondary schools, and Poles were forbidden to study in Krakow. The Catholic Church was tightly controlled by Russian administrators. In the eastern provinces, the Uniate Church, thought to be pro-Polish, was subordinated to the Orthodox Church. In 1945, the Soviet regime again adopted the same policy toward the Uniate Church in territories taken from Poland. Repression did not abate

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with time, instead intensifying so much that plots against the occupying forces were constantly being uncovered. In 1840, the Russian criminal code replaced the Polish code, then in 1844, Poland was divided into l0 provinces, each directed by a Russian general.

The Poles of Prussia and Austria were indirect victims of the failed revolution of 1830-1831. In Berlin and in Vienna, government officials were uneasy about the contagious liberal ideas from Warsaw, and hardened their attitudes toward their Polish subjects. Polish refugees living in Posnania tried to stage a new insurrection from the Republic of Free Krakow under the leadership of the writer Edward Dembrowski. During the night of February 21, 1846, Krakow rose in revolt. In order to counteract this revolt of the Poles, the Austrian authorities in Galicia incited the Ruthenian peasants to fight against them. The Austrians, however, reestablished order with moderation, unlike the Russians had in Poland. The Republic of Krakow lost only its "independence" and was absorbed by Galicia. To the Poles in Russia, the Prussian and Austrian Polish provinces were like privileged regions.


During the reigns of the Habsburg monarchs, Francis II (1792-1835) and Ferdinand (1835-1848), Chancellor Metternich directed the affairs of the government. In the eyes of the Western intelligentsia, Austria was an anachronistic and reactionary state. In reality, the system set up by Metternich afforded the different nations that made up the empire a kind of Pax austriaca. The system essentially rested on loyalties linking the national groups to the dynasty, on a large and efficient bureaucracy, and on the traditional administration of the Old Regime's aristocracy and Catholic church. But could this system cope with the rise of nationalism?

From the quiet rediscovery of national languages and cultures at the close of the 18th century, nationalism grew quickly, and by 1815, the cultural renaissance had spread into politics. The development of nationalism was encouraged by a population boom among the different national groups due primarily to high birth rates and decreasing death rates. Simultaneously, the industrial revolution fostered a noticeable development of urban and working classes who were more open to new ideas and quicker to question existing institutions. Nevertheless, it was the intellectuals and the liberals of the ruling classes who led the various national movements.

Nationalism Among the Slaws of the Empire

Within the Austrian Monarchy, there was a sizeable Slavic population.

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All nationalities totaled, the Slavs made up about 40 percent of the entire population of the empire.

Among the northern Slavs, the Czech intellectuals in Bohemia played a leading role in awakening national feelings. Because of Father Dobrowski's work, Czech writers had a purified and structured literary language which they began to use widely in place of German. Joseph Jungmann (1773-1847)~ rector of the University of Prague and author of a Czech-German dictionary and a history of Czech literature, pursued research in comparative linguistics in Slavic languages. A Czech national consciousness was encouraged in the first half of the 19th century through the rediscovery of Czech history. The creation of the National Museum of Prague in 1818 and the regular publication of its bulletin in Czech were major contributions. Frantisek Palacky (1798-1876) stands out among those who furthered the study of history at this time. In his ten-volume History of the Czech Nation, Palacky wanted to teach his compatriots about their often glorious past, although he also emphasized -- and sometimes exaggerated -- he long-standing conflicts between Czechs and Germans. Political publications also appeared at this time, particularly the Official Gazette of Prague, begun in 1846 by Havlicek who used it to demand respect for the historical rights and the individuality of Bohemia. Still, the Czech national movement had no intention of destroying the Habsburg monarchy this early. Palacky demonstrated that clearly in his famous declaration of 1848. Like many of his compatriots, he hoped to alter the structures within a federal framework rather than through radical change.

About this time, there was a slow awakening of nationalism among the Slovak intellectuals. The Slovaks were few in number and isolated in the Carpathian mountains of north and northwestern Hungary, and had done little to merit attention. A population boom perceptibly increased the number of Slovaks in Hungary. The area inhabited by the Slovaks stretched out toward the Danubian plains, and Slovaks moved in increasing numbers to the cities, notably Pozsony (Bratislava) where the more educated among them came into contact with the reigning currents of thought. Certain intellectuals were conscious of Slovak qualities distinct from those of their Czech and Hungarian neighbors, and tried to create a literary language for themselves. One such intellectual was Louis Stur (1815-1856) who had the central Slovak dialect adopted as the written language. Others, such as Paul Safarik (1795-1 861), once a librarian at the University of Prague, opted for a common course with the Czechs. Safarik was, however, a Protestant, and felt closer to the Czechs than to his Slovak compatriots who were primarily Catholic.

Among the southern Slavs, the national renewal served to diminish the divisions that separated the Orthodox Serbians from the Catholic Croats and

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Slovenes. Three writers in particular began the cultural revival and tried to give the southern Slavs a common language. These were the Slovene Jernej Kopitar (1780-1844), the Serb Vuk Karadjitch (1787-1864) and the Croat Louis Gaj (1809-1872). All three developed the Serbo-Croatian literary language, although alongside it popular dialects remained strong and are still used today in the western provinces of Yugoslavia. Gaj, who played a major role, was the son of a doctor in Zagreb. He studied law in Graz and Vienna and became a close friend of the Czech poet Kollar. In all of his works, and especially in his newspaper, the Illyrian National Cazette, Gaj championed Illyrism--a sort of Yugoslavism before its time--or a union of all the southern Slavs into a single state within the Habsburg federation. Gaj's ideas were particularly well received in Croatia, a province state within Hungary that had a special status. Croatia had a diet and autonomous executive powers directed by the Ban, or viceroy. Because of Gaj's efforts, Croatian became the official language used in the Diet of Zagreb in 1847. The region's individualistic qualities remained strong, especially among the peasant masses, while German and Italian, which had been the languages of culture, lost ground to Serbo-Croatian.

National Renewal in Hungary

By 1815, the national renewal was well underway in Hungary. It expanded between 1815 and 1848 with an extraordinary production of literature, poetry in particular. Romanticism and patriotism culminated in the works of Mihaly Csokonai, Ferenc Kolcsey, author of the national anthem, Mihaly Vorosmarty and especially Sandor Petofi (1823-1849). Simultaneously, the composers Erkel and Liszt were introducing all of Europe to the treasures of Hungarian folk music.

This national renewal also had political ramifications. Metternich only reluctantly accepted the special status of Hungary with its own constitution and parliament and therefore, from 1812 to 1825, the parliament never met. As soon as it convened in 1825, however, the deputies demanded stronger constitutional guarantees. A politicized press appeared in the early 1840s. It was divided between two ideologies, one moderate, represented by Count Istvan Szechenyi's newspaper, The Eastern People, and the more radical, Lajos Kossuth's Gazette of Pest. The two voices echoed in programs for reform proposed to the parliament. Moderates like Count Szechenyi and the lawyer Deak wanted to transform Hungary into a constitutional monarchy like Great Britain without breaking the ties that linked Hungary to the rest of the Empire. Szechenyi (1791-1860) was aware of the economic interdepen- dence that united the various peoples of the Danubian region, and especially emphasized the need to modernize Hungary by creating infrastructures. It was Szechenyi who instigated steamboat traffic on the Danube, and who in

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1842 had the suspension bridge strung across the Danube to better link the twin cities of Buda, symbol of the past, and Pest, symbol of the future. It was also under his influence that the Commercial Bank of Pest, which financed construction of the first railway lines and factories, was founded in 1841. The other moderate leader, Ferenc Deak (1803-1876), was more politically oriented. According to Deak, "Hungary is a free country, independent, throughout its legislative and administrative system; she is subordinate to no country. We do not want to place the interest of our country counter to those of the monarchy's unity and of its security;...for us, constitutional life is a treasure that we are not allowed to sacrifice to a foreign interest nor to greater military advantages. Our first duty is to preserve it and strengthen it..."

The most radical reformists were led by the lawyer Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894), who frequently served as deputy in the Hungarian Parliament, where he was the leader of the opposition during the 1847-1848 session. Kossuth founded the Cazette of Pest in which he demanded the full independence of Hungary with a government responsible to Parliament, an independent army, and separation from the rest of the Austrian Empire. Nevertheless, Kossuth did not question the monarchy as a form of government, nor the principle of a personal union with Austria. Kossuth made himself spokesman for a very uncompromising sort of Hungarian nationalism, and made his position clear to the Diet of 1844 when he ardently defended the law that made Hungarian the official language of the state. This language law, adopted in 1844, put Hungarian in a privileged position relative to the other languages spoken by nearly half the population. No language but Latin had enjoyed such a status.

The national awakening in Hungary thus led to the political movement of Nationalism, which came with a grave risk: that of creating an explosive situation at a time when the non-Hungarian populations of the kingdom were also becoming conscious of their unique cultural heritages, epitomized by their languages. In Transylvania, Hungarians demanded an end to the region's special status, but their request irritated the other nationalities who lived there and were also trying to assert themselves. The Germans, for example, had the Saxon Society formed by the Protestant minister, Roth, in 1840, and the Rumanians had published their own newspaper, The Transylvanian Gazette since 1838.

Thus, within the Austrian Empire, the new awareness of nationalism felt by all of the peoples created a volatile situation which could lead to the disintegration of a system that had been patiently refined over the centuries. In the 1840s the Austrian Empire was at a crossroads. Should it allow the current evolution to continue without reacting and risk confrontation among the various nationalities, or should it do as Metternich had always advised

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and maintain the monarchy as it was in order to guarantee peace in the Danubian region?

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