Kraków Uprising

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Kraków Uprising
Edward Dembowski during Kraków Uprising 1846.PNG
Edward Dembowski leading a rebel attack and brandishing a crucifix, moments before his death. Anonymous artist.
Date February 1846
Location Free City of Kraków
(modern Poland)
Result Austrian victory
Belligerents
Polish independence movement
  • Polish militia and peasant guerrillas
 Austrian Empire
Commanders and leaders
Jan Tyssowski  (POW)
Edward Dembowski  
Ludwig Collin
Ludwig von Benedek
Strength
Unknown, estimated at few thousands Unknown, estimated at few thousands
Casualties and losses
1,000-2,000 Unknown
Attack of Krakusi on Russians in Proszowice during the 1846 uprising. Juliusz Kossak painting.
"Rzeź galicyjska" (Galician slaughter) by Jan Lewicki

The Kraków Uprising of February 1846 was an attempt, led by Polish insurgents such as Jan Tyssowski and Edward Dembowski, to incite a fight for national independence. The uprising was centered around the city of Kraków, the capital of a small state of Free City of Kraków. It was directed at the powers that partitioned Poland, in particular, the nearby Austrian Empire. The uprising lasted about nine days, and ended with Austrian victory.

History[edit]

The uprising was primarily organized and supported by members of the Polish nobility and middle class, who desired the restoration of Polish independence after the 1795 partitions of Poland ended its existence as a sovereign state; there was also support for the political and social reforms (such as the demands for the emancipation of peasants and an end to serfdom).[1][2] Many of the insurgents' ideas were developed in exile (see Great Emigration) by activists from organizations such as the Polish Democratic Society.[2][3] The uprising was supposed to take place in other locations, but poor coordination and arrests by authorities broke many other cells, most notably in Greater Poland.[2][4] The uprising was also supported by some local peasants from the Free City and the miners of the Wieliczka salt mine.[5] The Free City of Kraków, nominally independent, was a central place for pro-Polish independence activists to discuss their plans.[6]

The Uprising begun on the night of February 20.[6] The uprising was successful in a short term, briefly taking over the city of Kraków.[1][5] Faced with riots, demonstrations and barricades, a small Austrian force in the city under General Ludwig Collin quickly retreated.[7][8] A provisional government formed on February 22.[8] That day it issued a radical "Manifesto for the Polish Nation", in which it ordered the end of many elements of serfdom, such as corvée, declared universal suffrage, and other revolutionary ideas inspired by the French Revolution.[6][8][9]

Most of the uprising was limited to the Free City of Kraków, where its leaders included Jagiellonian University philosophy professor Michał Wiszniewski, and lecturer and lawyer Jan Tyssowski, who declared himself a dictator on February 24 (Tyssowski was assisted by radical democrat, acting as his secretary, Edward Dembowski, who according to some[9][10] might have been the real leader of the revolutionary government).[5][11][12] On September 27 a struggle for power developed, and Wiszniewski who attempted to take the power was exiled by Tyssowski and Dembowski within matter of hours.[5][8]

Austrian forces in the area were led by Ludwig von Benedek.[5] The revolutionaries, despite support from the Free City and its immediate surroundings, fared badly in the wider countryside.[6] They had up to 6,000 volunteers, but these were badly trained and poorly armed.[8] The rebels suffered a defeat on February 26 at the battle of Gdów and were quickly dispersed by von Benedek's forces.[3][8][13] The Polish commander, Colonel Adam Suchorzewski, was criticized for poor leadership, and for not taking sufficient precautions despite scout reports of an approaching enemy force.[14] The battle was very short, as the Polish forces collapsed almost immediately, with most of the infantry being either captured or killed by the peasants accompanying the Austrian forces.[13]

The uprising was soon suppressed by the Austrian army with help from local peasants.[15] The peasant counter-revolt, known as the Galician slaughter, was likely encouraged by the Austrian authorities, who exploited the peasants' dissatisfaction with the landowners.[1][2][5][16] It was ironic, as historian Eric Hobsbawm has noted, that the peasants turned their anger on the revolutionaries, whose ideals included the improvement of peasant situation.[17] Instead, most peasants trusted the Austrian officials, some of whom even promised the peasants to end serfdom and pay a stipend for their participation in the militia aimed at quashing the Polish noble insurgents.[9] It is estimated that about 1,000 to 2,000 Polish nobility who supported the uprising died in the conflict.[2]

According to Lerski, Dembowski was apprehended and executed by the Austrians.[6] Others, such as Nance, Davies and Zamoyski however provide another account of his death; according to these sources he died on February 27 fighting the Austrian army, after a religious procession with which he attempted to quell the peasants was attacked.[8][9][18] The government of Tyssowski surrendered, just nine days after taking power, and Kraków was occupied first by Russians (on March 3), and soon afterward (perhaps on the same day[7]), by the Austrians under Collin.[5][6][12] (Davies however writes that Russians joined Austrians on March 4).[2] Tyssowski, who crossed the Prussian border with about 1,500 soldiers on March 4, was interned, and later emigrated to the United States.[8][12]

Aftermath[edit]

Austria and Russia signed a treaty on November 16, deciding to end the status of Kraków as the Free City.[9] Subsequently Kraków and its surrounding area were annexed to the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, a province of the Austrian Empire, with its capital at Lemberg (Lwów, Lviv).[5] This violation of the 1815 Treaty of Vienna caused a short lived scandal in European politics of the day.[5] Kraków would be relegated to the role of a provincial capital in the Empire.[19]

Significance[edit]

As noted by Anderson, despite its failure, the uprising was seen by some scholars, including Karl Marx, as a "deeply democratic movement that aimed at land reform and other pressing social questions."[20] The uprising was praised by Karl Max and Friedrich Engels for being "the first in Europe to plant the banner of social revolution", and seen by them, as well as some modern scholars, precursor to the coming Spring of Nations.[20][21] This view is common in the Polish historiography.[21]

The Uprising, and related events in partitioned Poland (namely, Greater Poland Uprising 1846 and the Galician slaughter), were widely discussed in the contemporary European press.[1]

As soon as the Kraków Uprising was put down, the Austrians pacified the insurgent peasantry,[16] briefly restoring the feudal order.[22] Those peasants who stood down and followed the authorities, like the peasant leader Jakub Szela, were rewarded.[23] Nonetheless, in Austria, reforms were spurred by the Kraków Uprising of 1846 and the Spring of Nations in 1848, resulting in the abolishment of serfdom in 1848 (see also abolition of serfdom in Poland).[20][24][25][26]

Notable participants[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hans Henning Hahn (1 March 2001). "The Polish Nation in the Revolution of 1846-49". In Dieter Dowe. Europe in 1848: revolution and reform. Berghahn Books. pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-1-57181-164-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hans Henning Hahn (1 March 2001). "The Polish Nation in the Revolution of 1846-49". In Dieter Dowe. Europe in 1848: revolution and reform. Berghahn Books. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-57181-164-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Alicja Deck-partyka (30 June 2006). Poland: A Unique Country & Its People. AuthorHouse. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-1-4678-0448-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi; Jean W. Sedlar; Robert A. Kann; Charles Jevich, Joseph Rothschild (1974). A History of East Central Europe: The lands of partitioned Poland, 1795-1918. University of Washington Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-295-80361-6. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hans Henning Hahn (1 March 2001). "The Polish Nation in the Revolution of 1846-49". In Dieter Dowe. Europe in 1848: revolution and reform. Berghahn Books. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-57181-164-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Halina Lerski (30 January 1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. ABC-CLIO. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-0-313-03456-5. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Rocznik Biblioteki Polskiej Akademii Nauk w Krakowie. Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wydawn. Polskiej Akademii Nauk. 1963. p. 255. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press. pp. 248–250. ISBN 978-0-19-925340-1. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Agnieszka Barbara Nance (2008). Literary and Cultural Images of a Nation Without a State: The Case of Nineteenth-century Poland. Peter Lang. pp. 62–64. ISBN 978-0-8204-7866-1. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Paul Robert Magocsi; Jean W. Sedlar; Robert A. Kann; Charles Jevich, Joseph Rothschild (1974). A History of East Central Europe: The lands of partitioned Poland, 1795-1918. University of Washington Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-295-80361-6. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Julian Dybiec (1970). Michał Wiszniewski, źycie i twórczość. Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. p. 355. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Halina Lerski (30 January 1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. ABC-CLIO. p. 616. ISBN 978-0-313-03456-5. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Izabella Rusinowa (1986). Polska w latach 1795-1864: wybór tekstów źródłowych do nauczania historii. Wydawn. Szkolne i Pedagog. p. 198. ISBN 978-83-02-02790-1. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Marian Anusiewicz; Jan Wimmer; Tadeusz Nowak; Eligiusz Kozłowski, Mieczysław Wrzosek (1973). Dzieje oreza polskiego, 963-1945. pp. 195–196. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  15. ^ (Polish) "Austriacy wraz z polskimi chłopami zadali powstańcom klęskę pod Gdowem 26 lutego 1846, zaś chłopi wymordowali wielu powstańców": Historia Polski by Michał Tymowski, Jan Kieniewicz (pl), Jerzy Holzer, Warsaw, 1990, p. 234.
  16. ^ a b Halina Lerski (30 January 1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. ABC-CLIO. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-313-03456-5. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  17. ^ Benedict Anderson (17 November 2006). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New Edition). Verso. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-84467-086-4. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Adam Zamoyski (1 October 2000). Holy madness: romantics, patriots, and revolutionaries, 1776-1871. Viking. p. 331. ISBN 978-0-670-89271-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Alicja Białecka (2010). European Pack for Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum: Guidelines for Teachers and Educators. Council of Europe. p. 43. ISBN 978-92-871-6794-1. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c Kevin B. Anderson (15 May 2010). Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies. University of Chicago Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-0-226-01984-0. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Hans Henning Hahn (1 March 2001). "The Polish Nation in the Revolution of 1846-49". In Dieter Dowe. Europe in 1848: revolution and reform. Berghahn Books. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-57181-164-6. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  22. ^ Jerzy Lukowski; Hubert Zawadzki (6 July 2006). A Concise History of Poland. Cambridge University Press. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-521-85332-3. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  23. ^ Larry Wolff (9 January 2012). The Idea of Galicia: History and Fantasy in Habsburg Political Culture. Stanford University Press. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-8047-7429-1. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Smith, William Frank (November 2010). Catholic Church Milestones: People and Events That Shaped the Institutional Church. Dog Ear Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-60844-821-0. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  25. ^ Kamusella, Tomasz (2007). Silesia and Central European nationalisms: the emergence of national and ethnic groups in Prussian Silesia and Austrian Silesia, 1848-1918. Purdue University Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-55753-371-5. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  26. ^ Keely Stauter-Halsted (28 February 2005). The Nation In The Village: The Genesis Of Peasant National Identity In Austrian Poland, 1848-1914. Cornell University Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8014-8996-9. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  27. ^ Halina Lerski (30 January 1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966-1945. ABC-CLIO. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-313-03456-5. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]