Short Essay on the Revolution of 1848 in Austria and the Fall of Metternich

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Metternich was a farsighted man. He knew everything about the political and social reawakening of the people of Austrian empire. The news of the fall of Louis Philippe in France reached Austria.

It was a great triumph of the revolutionaries over the principles of despotism and reaction. Kossuth, a great hero of the revolution of 1848 in Austria and Hungary, delivered a flaming speech on March 3, 1848, in which he bitterly criticised the system of Metternich and the whole structure of the Austrian government.

Owing to the activities of the nationalist leaders, the people of Austria were highly excited and they were waiting for a chance. Ten days after the speech of Kossuth, i.e., on March 13, 1848, the people of Austria revolted at Vienna against Metternich, who was known as the “Policeman of Europe”.

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The revolutionaries surrounded the royal palace of Metternich, and shouted, “Down with Metternich!” He was an old doctor. He had the ability to distinguish between the curable and the incurable diseases.

He always regarded revolution as an infectious disease which must be cured. But he reached the conclusion that the Revolution of 1848 was an incurable disease.

He at once resigned from his post and fled to England. C. D. Hazen has beautifully described the event of the fall of Metternich:

“Metternich, who for thirty nine years had stood at the head of the Austrian states, who was the very source and fount of reaction, imperturbable, pitiless, masterful, was now forced to resign, to flee in disguise from Austria to England, to witness his whole system crash completely beneath the onslaught of the very forces for which he had for a generation shown contempt.”

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