May Conspiracy

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May Conspiracy (in Czech Májové spiknutí) was an unsuccessful attempt of radical democrats in the Czech lands to overthrow the government of Austrian Empire in 1849.

In 1844 group of Czech Radical Democrats (which included both Czechs and Czech Germans) formed a secret political club "Repeal" (named after mass Irish movement to repeal the Act of Union from 1800). Among the leaders were Josef Václav Frič, Karel Sabina, Karel Sladkovský, Emanuel Arnold and Vilém Gauč. The club attracted radical students and local intelligentsia and remained active after revolutions of 1848 were suppressed.

Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian Pan Slavic revolutionary, visited Prague in March 1849 and suggested to organize armed uprising in Prague and several German speaking cities as a response to post-1848 political reaction. Date of the uprising was set on May 12, 1849 but due to amateurish organization police took the organizers into custody on the night of May 9/10.

Prague and few towns were put under state of emergency (also called "the siege", stav obležení), press was put under censorship by military and a military commission was established up to investigate the conspiracy. The emergency was lifted only on September 1, 1853. 79 young radicals were sentenced to prison, most of them being released as in general amnesty on May 8, 1857.

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