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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

While Windischgraetz remained idle at Pesth


Fall of Vienna]

[Sidenote: Stadion's Ministry]

[Sidenote: Abdication of Ferdinand]

On the following day, November 1, Prince Windischgraetz declared Vienna under military law. All arms had to be delivered within forty-eight hours. Arrests and courts-martial followed in profusion. Robert Blum was one of the first to be shot. His colleague, Froebel, owed his life to a political pamphlet signed with his name, in which he had defended the interests of Austria against those of a united Germany. A new Ministry was installed, under the leadership of the notorious Prince Felix Schwarzenberg and Count Stadion. They announced their programme to be the maintenance of a strong central government and the integrity of the Austrian Empire, with quick suppression of the civil war in Hungary. A new Reichsrath was convoked at the village of Kremsier, near Olmuetz. On December 2, it was announced that Emperor Ferdinand had resolved to abdicate his throne. His brother, Archduke Francis Charles, renounced the succession. The Archduke's son, Francis Joseph, a youth of eighteen, was declared by a family council to have attained his majority. In virtue of this he ascended the throne as Emperor.

[Sidenote: Francis Joseph, Emperor]

[Sidenote: The war in Hungary]

The Hungarian Diet, on learning of

this transfer of the crown, refused to acknowledge Francis Joseph as King of Hungary. The whole nation was summoned to arms. The command of the army was given to Goergey. His first serious problem was a rising of the Roumanians in Transylvania against Magyar rule. The Roumanian peasants committed all conceivable atrocities. When they raised the standard of the Empire, the Austrian commander, General Puchner, espoused their cause. Transylvania was lost to Hungary. The Roumanians led by Puchner co-operated with Jellacic's forces in Croatia, and moved on Hungary from that quarter. On December 15, the main Austrian army, under Windischgraetz, crossed over the River Leitha and invaded Hungary. Goergey declared from the first that Pesth would have to be abandoned. Kossuth's frantic efforts to prevent this only served to hamper Goergey's able campaign. One line after another had to be abandoned. At last, toward the close of the year, Kossuth and his Magyar Diet were compelled to evacuate Pesth. The Hungarian army fell back over the River Theiss, upon the fortress of Comorn, and the mountainous regions of northern Hungary. Kossuth's government was established at Debreczin.


[Sidenote: Bem's aggressive campaign]

[Sidenote: Goergey and Dembinsky]

On January 5, Windischgraetz and Jellacic made their triumphant entry into Budapesth. The Vienna "Gazette" announced "the glorious end of the Hungarian campaign." Prince Windischgraetz rested on his arms. During this interval the Polish general, Bem, who had escaped from Vienna, aroused his countrymen in Siebenbuergen and carried the war into that region. The Austrian troops under General Puchner were beaten in a series of engagements. Goergey, aided by another Pole, Dembinsky, repulsed the Austrian troops under General Schlik in the north. While Windischgraetz remained idle at Pesth, Klapkah, the new Hungarian Minister of War, organized the Magyar forces and created new defences for his country.

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