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Minorities Problem • Hungarians actually formed minority within the Kingdom of St. Stephen • Magyar nationalism had racialist overtones and sought to consolidate power in the new Hungarian state in Magyar hands.
Trace the relationship between violent revolt and passive resistance in the Hungarian movement for self-rule in the period 1848-1867. • 1848 revolution in Hungary, set up largely autonomous state. • Initially accepted by Ferdinand I, but then revoked by Franz Josef, who sought to crush the uprising militarily. • Radicals lead by Kossuth come to power in 1848 • Established separate currency and a national paper KossuthHilapja • Hungarian Declaration of Independence, proclaimed ‘the house of Habsburg-Lorrain, perjured in the sight of God and man, has forfeited the Hungarian throne.’ • Declares himself “Regent-President” • Polarises Hungarians and reduces chances of compromise with Habsburgs • Radical minority • Liberal nationalist majority • Conservative monarchists (greater nobility and clergy)
Violent Resistance Nemzetidal 15 March 1848 – read to crowd said to have launched the revolution. 15 March becomes anniversary of Revolution “On your feet, Magyar, the homeland calls! The time is here, now or never! Shall we be slaves or free? The sword shines brighter than the chain, Decorates better the arm, And we still wore chains! Return now, our old sword! By the God of the Hungarians We vow that we will be slaves No longer!”
Consequences of military insurrection • 1848-49 Hungarian military resistance to Austrian and other ethnic groups in Habsburg domains. • Russian intervention crushes Hungarian Revolutionary Army • Violent reprisals • Imprisonment • property confiscation • Punishment battalions • Executions – including Hungary’s first Prime Minister Batthyani • Hungary divided into five administrative districts, each commanded by a general in the imperial army • “Germanisation programme” – German became language of government and education. • In response to this military failure, Hungarians turned to other forms of resistance.
Violent resistance after 1850 • Kossuth, now in exile, advocated new violent insurrections • Survivors of the 1849 Revolutionary Army formed guerrilla units • Plots to kidnap and/or assassinate Franz Josef. • Violent urban mob actions and demonstrations • 15 March 1860 remembrance of NemzetiDal. • No great moral attachment to the practice of non-violence.
Deák • Passive resistance one form of response to military defeat. Deák aimed to restore constitutional privileges established in the 1848 April Laws • Sought “third way” between Kossuth’s militant nationalism and collaboration • Minister in revolutionary government but withdrew from politics as war escalated • Rebuffed Austrian request to help administer Hungary after 1850 • ‘after the regrettable events of the recent past, and in the prevailing circumstances, it is not possible to cooperate actively in public affairs’ • Debate about his importance: mastermind, fringe character or figurehead?
Deák • Inadvertently started movement- originally viewed his noncooperation as personal struggle • Avoided overt political action, failed to develop cogent political programme or theory of nonviolent resistance • Concentrated on national, non controversial issues • Hungarian language, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. • Hungarian nationality was ‘under repeated attack by the regime and is being eased out of public affairs. All we can do is cultivate it and preserve it where the power of the regime does not penetrate – in the private circle of our social lives.’ • “Legal continuity” (April Laws) gave focus to the movement. • Pragmatic course: ‘This is safe ground on which, unarmed ourselves, we can hold our own against armed force.’ • Only really a symbolic figurehead. As leading light of moderate liberals of the lower nobility had some influence, but this didn’t extend to masses.
Which nonviolent strategies did Hungarians use in resistance to Austrian absolutism? • Refusal to pay tax • Resistance to conscription/desertion • Refusing to celebrate events such as the Emperor’s birthday • Celebrating dates that marked events of the revolution and birthdays of national heroes like Kossuth and Batthyany • Avoidance of public office in an attempt to undermine their credibility, German and Czech civil servants have to be brought in –the “Bach Hussars” • Economic boycott of Austrian goods • Pretending not to understand German • Boycotting Austrian cultural works (plays, novels, music), and sponsoring a cultural nationalism, with satirical novels and plays, and inspiring historical accounts of Hungary’s “glorious past”. • Symbolic resistance: national clothing and colours • Demonstrations • Setting up rival Hungarian institutions (especially courts) parallel to official ones.
Was Hungarian resistance the ‘first mass or corporate form of non-violent resistance’? • Early historians/practitioners of nonviolence (Griffith, Gregg, Bhattacharyya) clear agenda –producing inspirational & successful example of mass nonviolent resistance to legitimise their idea. • ‘When the Austrian tax collector came, the people did not beat him or even hoot him—they merely declined to pay. The Austrian police then seized their goods, but no Hungarian auctioneer would sell them. When an Austrian auctioneer was brought, he found that he would have to bring bidders from Austria. The government soon discovered that it was costing more to auction the property than the tax was worth.’ • Gregg concludes that Franz Josef was coerced into giving full constitutional rights to Hungarians, demonstrating a ‘remarkable example of the power of nonviolent resistance.’ • Oversimplification, no monolithic resistance movement – ethnic/class divisions, difference of tactics and collaboration.
Who formed the social basis of Hungarian resistance? • The opposition (loosely defined) included Hungarians of all background & political conviction forced into opposition by vitriolic Austrian absolutism • Nonetheless after 1849 united front splintered by ‘sharp class conflicts’ • Marriage of convenience was problematic -fundamentally different visions of Hungary • Deák’s class of gentry, intelligentsia and bourgeoisie sought middle course between submission and conspiracy = passive resistance • Seen as being ‘active basis of national resistance’. • But this class exaggerate their importance in the construction of national myth after 1867 • Rank and file were ‘patriotic plebeian masses of the towns’ • The peasantry resented Austrian abolition of April Laws which had given them land and freedom. Backbone of the Revolutionary Army in 1848-49, but the scale of their “passive resistance” in the period 1850-1867 is hard to gauge
Was passive resistance simply expedient? • Not merely an act of patriotic duty or an ethical code – noncooperation was convenient for many. • A patriotic pretext to avoid taxes was useful. • Social upheaval – emancipation of serfs and industrialisation exacerbated class antagonism and economic hardship. • Hard to know to what extent resistance to the Austrian authorities was resistance to the underlying forces of change. • Were the Austrians and minorities convenient national scapegoats for the peasants’ and workers’ disgruntlement? • ‘He felt he was protesting against tyranny and reaction; but in fact what hurt him most was inevitable in the process of industrialising a society.’
Can we distinguish ‘passive resistance’ from ‘nonviolent resistance’? Are there distinctive features to the former not found in the latter? • Passive resistance: ‘nonviolent tactics are employed because the means for an effective violent campaign are lacking or are not likely to succeed, e.g. most strikes, boycotts and national non-cooperation movements.’ (Weber & Burrowes) • Passive resistance differed from violent resistance not only in means, but also in its vision of a future Hungarian state. • Resistance of the masses has been insufficiently examined to decide if Hungary provides the ‘first mass or corporate form of non-violent resistance’ • Deák’s resistance was withdrawal from politics, not prepared to lead active national struggle. Nonviolence of the weak? “Non-resistance” just as apt as “passive resistance”? • Unlikely that Hungarian “passive resistance” alone could have succeeded without violent, external factors – the Crimean War and Austrian wars against France and Prussia.
Effects & Legacy • Influences subsequent liberal/national resistance campaigns – Finland, Sinn Fein and Gandhi. Deák’s emphasis on suffering resonated with Gandhi. • ‘The nation will endure hardships if it has to, in order to preserve for future generation the freedom bequeathed to it by our ancestors… what may be wrested away by main force may be won back with time and good fortune, but what the nation voluntarily surrenders for fear of suffering many not be regained.’ • Blown out of proportion - advocates of nonviolence needed to develop a history of successful nonviolence to legitimise it. History serving agenda – showing what can be achieved if people unite and ‘emulate these “historical” precedents.’ • Deák’s lack of a cogent theory of passive resistance probably facilitated its expropriation by those who used the Hungarian example for their own political needs. • Sharp : too complex to ‘disentangle the relative roles of nonviolent action and other factors in producing the change’.