While Ireland celebrates its main national holiday, St. Patrick’s day on March 17, Hungarians also remember relevant events on March 15. March 15 is the day when Hungarians wear rose-shape badges of their national flag (kokárda). This custom originates from the French revolution, where people were wearing small strips of the French flag. This post describes what happened on this day in 1848 together with the aftermath of the revolution.
Between 1845 and 1847 an extensive economic and financial recession swept through Europe. An increase in food prices, famine due to potato blight in Silesia and Ireland, and mass unemployment resulted in political tensions. Problems around voting rights and the situation of labourers in the Wes and the question of sovereignty and nationalism, combined with the situation of serfs in the East increased these tensions.
As a chain reaction revolutions broke out in all countries of Europe except for Great Britain and Russia. In 1847 a civil war between the liberal and the Catholic cantons of Switzerland resulted in a new federal liberalist Constitution. The civil war was followed by uprisings in Italy (Ferrara - 1847, Palermo - January 1848), demanding independence from the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons.
The revolution in Paris between February 22 and 24, 1848, defeated the Monarchy and established the Second Republic. Leaders of the Second Republic brought measures to solve the problems of labourers, including general voting rights, a 10-hour workday and the right to work.
The immediate cause of the revolution in Hungary was the revolution in Vienna on March 13, 1848. After the Territorial Assembly was opened in the Landhaus in Vienna, a huge mass of people arrived there. As their envoys were not let in, they broke into the assembly hall and forced the officials to follow them into the castle (Burg) where they demanded the impeachment of Count Metternich. As their demand did not find an answer, they called labourers from the suburbs for support. The rulers tried to oppress the revolution, however they were unsuccessful. Fights broke out between the army and civilians. After shots were fired, the revellers started building barricades. Civil guards petitioned for withdrawing the army from Vienna after the killings and demanded the impeachment of Metternich as well. As the fights did not stop, Metternich resigned eventually.
March 15 in Hungary
On this day, between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. poet Sándor Petőfi, authors Mór Jókai and Pál Vasvári, and journalist Gyula Bulyovszky met at Petőfi’s apartment where they created a proclamation containing the following 12 points:
We wish freedom of press and the abolishment of censorship.
Responsible Ministry in Buda-Pest
Yearly Parliamentary assembly in Pest
Equality before law both in a civil and in a religious sense
Common burden of taxation
Abolishment of feudal conditions
Assize Court and equal representation
The army should take an oath on the Constitution, the Austrians shall not send Hungarian soldiers abroad. Foreign soldiers however, shall be ordered to withdraw from the territory of Hungary.