March Revolutions

The Springtime of Peoples

Europe 1848.0321

March Revolutions

The Year of Revolution, the Revolutions of 1848-1849, the Hungarian Revolution, the First Italian War of Unification and the First Schleswig War (21 March 1848)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

The success of the French and Italian revolutions helped inspire uprisings across the German Confederation, with nationalists calling for a united German Empire. In mid-March, Vienna went into revolt, forcing the elderly Chancellor Metternich, a pillar of the conservative order in Europe since 1815, to resign and flee the city. With Metternich gone, revolution spread through the Austrian Empire with Hungary declaring its autonomy. On the 17th, Prussia was shaken by revolt in Berlin. After days of street fighting, King Frederick William backed down, declaring his support for the people and the German Empire.

Main Events

March Revolution in German states

Starting with the Mannheim Rally in the Grand Duchy of Baden, protesters and revolutionaries across the German Confederation pressed for constitutional reform and a unified German parliament. In response, the Grand Duke of Baden, the Duke of Nassau, the King of Württemberg and the King of Saxony all granted reforms, while the Grand Duke of Hesse and the King of Bavaria both abdicated in favor of their sons.

Republic of Neuchâtel

The Principality of Neuchâtel, in Switzerland but under the Prussia crown, revolted against Prussian rule and declared itself a republic within the Swiss Confederation.

Fall of Metternich

Revolution broke out in Vienna, capital of the Austrian Empire, following student protests. The prominent Austrian Chancellor, Prince Klemens von Metternich, was forced to resign and fled the city that night.

Hungarian Revolution of 1848

Hungarian revolutionaries marched to the city chambers in Pest, Kingdom of Hungary in the Austrian Empire, insisting the president accept their Twelve Points on Hungarian autonomy and form a new municipal government, before marching on to Buda Castle, which also yielded to their demands.

Berlin Uprising

Revolutionaries took to the streets in Berlin, capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, coming into increasingly bloody conflict with the Prussian army. King Frederick William IV finally agreed to pull back his troops and grant a constitution in return for peace with his subjects.

Five days of Milan

Over five days, revolutionaries seized control in Milan, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia in the Austrian Empire, forcing the Austrian garrison under Joseph Radetzky to withdraw.

Frederick William IV adopts German colors

King Frederick William IV of Prussia attended the mass funeral of the civilian victims of the Berlin uprising. Wearing the German black-red-gold cockade in his hat, he proclaimed that Prussia would henceforth be part of the German Reich.

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