The War and Democracy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The War and Democracy.
The Revolution began in Palermo, crossed the Straits of Messina, and passed in successive waves of convulsion through Central Italy to Paris, Vienna, Milan, and Berlin.  It has often been remarked that the Latin races are of all the peoples of Europe most prone to revolution; but this proposition did not hold good in 1848.  The Czechs in Bohemia, the Magyars in Hungary, the Germans in Austria, rose against the paralysing encumbrance of the Hapsburg autocracy.  The Southern Slavs dreamed of an Illyrian kingdom; the Germans of a united Germany; the Bohemians of a union of all the Slavonic peoples of Europe.  The authority of the Austrian Empire, the pivot of the European autocracy, had never been so rudely challenged, and if the Crown succeeded in recovering its shattered authority it was due to the dumb and unintelligent loyalty of its Slavonic troops."[1]

[Footnote 1:  H.A.L.  Fisher, The Republican Tradition in Europe, p. 193.]

Many of these risings were doomed to failure, but between 1848 and 1871 the alien governments in the Italian peninsula were abolished, making way for a unitary government, in the form of a constitutional monarchy, which embraces with small exceptions the whole of the Italian population of Europe.  In 1871, after three successful wars in seven years against Denmark, Austria, and France, a Federal Government was established in Germany, with the kingdom of Prussia as its leading State and the King of Prussia as its monarch, with the title of German Emperor.  This was a step forward, though the new Germany was neither a unitary nor a constitutional State.  The Austrian territories have also come in for their share of the general ferment, and Francis Joseph came to the throne in 1848 amid the uprisings of his subject peoples; but these were successfully tided over, though the Hungarian portion of the Austrian dominion achieved national recognition and institutions in 1867.

After 1871 the national movement moved farther east.  In 1878 Roumania and Serbia, both national States, were declared sovereign powers independent of Turkey; Bulgaria achieved its recognition as a principality; and Montenegro, a small mountain community, which had never submitted to the Turks, increased its territory and became a recognised European State.  In 1908 and 1910 Bulgaria and Montenegro became kingdoms like their neighbours; and in 1913, after the two Balkan Wars, all the five Balkan States—­Roumania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Montenegro—­obtained accession of territory, and the principality of Albania was constituted out of the Albanian portion of the old Turkish dominion.  Finally, in quite another region of Europe, Norway, which had been joined in an anomalous union with Sweden since 1814, satisfied her national aspirations unopposed by becoming an independent Constitutional Monarchy in 1905.

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The War and Democracy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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