Prussian Reform Plan

The Times wrote arrogantly: "The inference from these proceedings is that there is a fair chance the peace of Europe will not be violated.  As for the precise degree in which the honour of the two antagonists is preserved, we profess very little anxiety indeed.  The truth is the nature of the transaction leaves very little honour to be devided between these two great monarchies, for the quarrel is most vulgar, commonplace, and discreditable. ... The question is like most German quarrels; it rises into some degree of interest as soon as there is a chance of either party coming to blows, and subsides into tameness and insipidity as soon as the crisis has passed away."

As late as May 7 Gerlach wrote in the Kreuzzeitung in his remarkable style: "The Prussian demand for an expansion of power in Germany is justified; but so also is the Austrian appeal for the preservation of her power in Germany.  This dualism is the vital basis, the real foundation, of the German Constitution.  Germany ceases to be Germany without Prussia or without Austria.  Prussia's hounour and power are therefore the pride of Germany, and Austria's honour and power are the pride of Prussia.  To injure Prussia is to injure Austria, and to injure Austria is to injure Prussia." (目からジャガイモ……)  Such appeals to tradition and to the days of the Holy Alliance were bound to have their effect on the King; and in the army, too, voices were raised against war with Austria, the old comrade-in-arms.

Throughout April feeling in Austria had been growing more bitter.  With Prussia in alliance with Italy and demanding the exclusion of Austria from Germany war seemed inevitable.  Peace could be had at a price; but Austria was too proud to surrender Schleswig-Holstein and acknowledge Prussian srpremacy in North Germany.  The Germans in Austria were doubly embittered by this unjustifiable aggression; for if Bismarck succeeded they would be excluded from their German Fatherland.  They would be the hardest hit by a German civil war, and all, liberals and clericals alike, hated the Prussian minister.  The Slavs added to the hatred of Prussia their general hatred of everything German.  The Magyars alone remained detached; but they too desired a war, because they hoped that it would compel the Monarchy to grant them their ancient liberties in return for their help. (扶额……所以说要不要这么抽搐啊)

Nevertheless it was Austria who precipitated the tragic drama of 1866.  ... It has often been asked who was responsible for the Austrian measures which inevitably provoked war, but no satisfactory answer has been given.  None of the ministers who advised the premature mobilisation which gave Italy and Prussia a pretext for war ever gave an explanation of their policy, chiefly because of their feeling for the Monarchy; they were anxious to avoid seperating the Emperor's share in events from their own.  This sentiment was peculiar to Austria.  In Prussia dynastic feeling was just as deeply rooted; yet there was no hesitation in examining the characters of Frederick William IV, William I, Frederick III, and William II.  William I's share in the war of 1866 was fully analysed during his lifetime by some of his closest advisers; the King himself was often able to read that he had not the creative power of his great minister.  In Austria such a thing was impossible; the personality of the head of the House of Habsburg was surrounded, during his lifetime, with a dim religious light, and any discussion of him as an historical character was forbidden by a powerful tradition, which went back to the days of Holy Roman Empire.  It was bound up with the feeling that Austria-Hungary depended more than any other empire on the awe and respect felt for the Dynasty.  This silence made the study of contemporary history difficult, but in the eyes of the leading statesmen that did not matter; it strengthened the foundations of the empire. (所谓南辕北辙还真是……不过贵族你跟普君也南辕北辙跟大姐也南辕北辙,到底是……orz。说实话看着各家国内都对开战争论不断犹豫不决,真是劳心劳力啊……)

On April 26, when it had been decided by the generals to mobilise on the northern front, Esterhazy writes to Mensdorff: "Our enemies have achieved their object.  We are arming--and for a prolonged peace, which will probably compel us to fire the first shot! ... This war cannot be a defensive war, or still less a conservative war for us.  You can console yourself with the thought that you have struggled bravely and with self-control for peace to the very last moment."

Friedjung may have lacked certain details or may even occasionally have been misinformed, but he went to the root of the matter when he pointed to the complete lack of co-ordination between the Ministers and the generals as the source of all Austria's mistakes and misfortunes.

Plans of Campaign.  Benedek and Krismanic.  Negotiations for the Surrender of Venice.

The Austrian generals had insisted on mobilisation, not because they were confident of victory, but because they doubted the military strength of the Empire.  Just before the battle of Koeniggraetz, Mensdorff confessed to Motley that during the negotiations between Berlin and Vienna "the military authorities were very dissatisfied, and from the very start of the campaign expected their inadequate preparations to result in grave disaster". ... It is completely untrue that the Austrian generals were in favour of war in 1866 because they overrated the strength of the army.  It was the diplomats who underrated the dangers.  This situation recurs throughout Austrian history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in the wars against the French Republic and Napoleon. (所以说……这到底是图个啥啊= =)

Those responsible for Austrian policy between 1792 and 1866 were convinced that Austria, as the protector of conservative ideas, must always be ready to fight innovators and disturbers of the peace.  But modern ideas were stronger than treaty rights, as the men of 1859 and 1866 had to learn.  It is always dangerous for a state to think itself called upon to defend an ideal or divine order of things throughout the world, instead of putting its own interests first.  (虽然不觉得那谁这么无私,不过单就这点表述上来看,还真是跟某时期的亲分一模一样……该说这是哈布斯堡血脉作祟吗?orz)... [Esterhazy and Biegeleben] did not realise that a storm was sweeping throughout Europe--a storm which was to destroy the German Confederation, the temporal power of the Papacy, and with them Austria's predominance in Germany, in Italy, and over Hungary. (所以说,时代不一样啦,落后于时代的小少爷。)

According to his own account, Bismarck made a further proposal: "I proposed that, fully equipped as we were, we should turn against France and compel her to surrender Alsace; Austria could then have had Strasburg and Prussia Mainz. ... Napoleon, with his army weak and demoralised by the Mexican expedition, could not have resisted." (虽然很对不起法叔,但是真的很想笑啊……有什么问题解决不了了就去打法叔么)

The Austrian attitude was fundamentally inconsistent: at the beginning of May the outlook had been so black that it had been decided to buy off Italy with the offer of Venice; since then nothing had changed except the mood of the Austrian Cabinet.  The dilettantism with which the Belcredi Cabinet faced its problem, both at home and abroad, lay at the root of the evil.  The internal situation should have made the ministers avoid war at all costs; instead they welcomed war as the solution of all their difficulties. (贵族你真是够了!上司们也真是够了!扶额……就说了要不要这么抽搐啊……在战术上倒是很不抽搐,完全不知变通嘛=。=)

Austria thus lost Venice whatever happened, and, if she was victorious, Napoleon was bound to benefit, even if he did not gain any territory.  In return Austria received practically nothing; it was soon clear that she was not even assured of Italian neutrality.  There was only a clause, by which the Austrian Cabinet set great store, guaranteeing the present possessions of the Holy See, and even allowing that under certain circumstances the Pope should regain his lost territory, the Marches and the Legations.  ... But under no circumstances was the House of Habsburg to profit.  The Dukes of Tuscany and Modena were never to return to their ancient possessions; at the most they might hope for compensation in Germany.  Napoleon did not expect any reaction in Italy in favour of the Pope or of the Bourbons; but the strongly Clerical statesmen of Austria regarded this clause as a real achievement.  The Austrian army in Italy would not be fighting for Austria, or even for the dynasty, but simply to secure for the peoples of Central Italy the right to rise in favour of the Pope. (何必呢你……= =||||)
Beust, who saw the treaty later, described it as the most incredible document he had ever seen, and we can only agree with him.

Bismarck was very annoyed at Manteuffel's moderation.  "If only there had been an exchange of shots", he said impatiently to the Italian minister.  But as La Marmora observed with justice: "I do not see how Manteuffel chould have fired on the Austrians, when they had retreated without fighting."

Bismarck exclaimed: "Our troops are even now marching into Saxony, Hanover, and Hesse.  It will be a bloody struggle and perhaps Prussia will succumb, but whatever happens she will fight bravely and honourably.  If we are defeated I shall not return here; I shall die in the last charge.  You can only die once and death is better than defeat."  (突然想起了前阵子看的小说……果然是好好地死么……)

The War of 1866 decisively settled the German question, because Austria accepted it as a final verdict on the history of three hundred years.  This was the price of the long suppression of all freedom of thought and conscience which had followed the expulsion of the Protestants; exiles like Kepler and Amos Comenius could not be replaced by the pupils of the Jesuits.  The province south of the Danube had been the only part of Germany to escape the ravages of the Thirty Years' War, but they had declined spiritually and economically ever since, while the rest of Germany had been slowly recovering.  In consequence, when Maria Theresa and Joseph II set themselves to restore a shattered Austria, they had been hampered everywhere by the lack of competent assistants; in spite of this they had given the Monarchy such a renewal of strength that it had been able to withstand the storm of the French Revolution, while the Prussia of Frederick the Great had collapsed after Jena.  But then under Francis I the empire had relapsed disastrously into the policy of repression. (萌哭了……曾经在不幸当中成了仅存的幸运儿,日后就要承受补偿这种幸运的不幸啊,这样的奥神罗真棒……[被揍了)


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The Struggle for Supremacy in Germany 4 HOME no title
photo by 七ツ森  /  material by 素材のかけら
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