1848–1849: A European Revolution?
Rarely has an event in European history been so much anticipated and feared, as the revolution of 1848–9. When the revolution eventually broke out in Paris, it swept eastwards through Germany and the Habsburg monarchy within a short time only to be stopped at the western boundaries of tsarist Russia. It reinvigorated the revolutionary movement in Italy, which had started a few weeks earlier. Although only four major countries, France, Germany, the Habsburg empire, and Italy, were directly involved, all the other countries were strongly affected by what happened in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Rome. Five different themes can be discerned which underlay the revolution: widespread opposition to the anciens regimens, bid for greater political participation and reforms, the social question becoming more urgent, the assertion of national self-determination, and the slow growing success of counter-revolution.
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