Friday, 28 May 2010

Beaten but not out

Radetsky's mistake was not to have gone on to turin and taken the whole thing.
Bush senio did the same in Iraq.
An army twice beaten, a bankrupt exchequer, a triumphant invader waiting to dictate terms; this was but the beginning of the inventory of the royal inheritance.
 The internal condition of the kingdom, even apart from the financial ruin which had succeeded to the handsome surplus of two years before, was full of embarrassments of the gravest kind.
There was a party representing the darkest-dyed clericalism and reaction whose machinations had not been absent in the disaster of Novara. There the troops engaged in the battle had been given broadsides printed with the words: 'Soldiers, for whom do you think you are fighting? The King is betrayed; at Turin they have proclaimed the republic'?
There were other broadsides in which Austria was called the supporter of thrones and altars.You would not have been far out to find that the catholic church was betraying their own country like they always have done.Traitors were rife then like now with Berlusconi and the lega lombards of Bossi.
 The dreadful indiscipline witnessed towards the end of, and after the conflict was due more to the demoralising doctrines that had been introduced into the army than to the insubordination of panic.
.Victor Emmanuel was not popular. The indifference to danger which he had shown conspicuously during the war would have awakened enthusiasm in most countries, but in Piedmont it was so thoroughly taken for granted that the Princes of the House of Savoy did not know fear, that it was looked on as an ordinary fact. The Austrian origin of the Duchess of Savoy formed a peg on which to hang unfriendly theories.
 It is impossible not to compassionate the poor young wife who now found herself Queen of a people which hated her race,
.Radetsky did not refuse to treat with Charles Albert, as has been sometimes said, but the intolerably onerous terms first proposed by him showed that he wished to force the abdication which Charles Albert had always contemplated in the event of new reverses of fortune.
Radetsky was favourably disposed to the young Duke of Savoy, as far as his personal feeling was concerned.
dragoons of regina 1848
 The Field-Marshal did not forget that he was the son-in-law of the Austrian Archduke Ranieri; it is probable, if not proved, that he expected to find him pliable; but Radetsky, besides being a politician of the purest blood-and-iron type, was an old soldier with not a bad heart, and some of his sympathy is to be ascribed to a veteran's natural admiration for a daring young officer.

vigevano where the armistice was signed

On the 24th of March, Victor Emmanuel, with the manliness that was born with him, decided to go and treat himself for the conditions of the armistice.
 It was the first act of his reign, and it was an act of abnegation; humiliating shouts of "Long live the King" shouted by Austrian soldiers greeted his ears.
austrians back in milan
 .The Field-Marshal took good care, however, that nothing but respect should be paid to his visitor, whom he received half-way, surrounded by his superb staff, all mounted on fine horses and clad in splendid accoutrements.
 As soon as the King saw him coming, he sprang from his saddle, and Radetsky would have done the same had not he required, owing to his great age, the aid of two officers to help him to the ground.
After he had laboriously dismounted, he made a military salute, and then embraced Victor Emmanuel with the greatest cordiality.
 The King was accompanied by very few officers, but the presence of one of these was significant, namely, of the Lombard Count Vimercati, whom he particularly pointed out to Radetsky.

Austrian general staff 1859 saimax italy

While observing the most courteous forms, the Field-Marshal was not long in coming to the point. The negotiations would be generous : instead of beginning his reign with a large slice of territory occupied by a foreign enemy for an indefinite period, the King might open it with an actual enlargement of his frontier, if he would only give the easy assurance of ruling on the good old system, and of re-hoisting the blue banner of Piedmont instead of the revolutionary tricolor.
 The moment was opportune; Victor Emmanuel had not yet sworn to maintain the Constitution. But he replied, without hesitation, that though he was ready, if needs be, to accept the full penalties of defeat, he was determined to observe the  engagements entered into by his father towards the people over whom he was called to reign.
flats of austrians in 1848 by zinnfiguren
That evening, the terms of the armistice were communicated to the Chamber. As was natural, they evoked the wildest indignation, a part of which fell undeservedly on the King.
 Twenty thousand Austrians were to occupy the district between the Po, Sesia and Ticino and half the citadel of Alessandria.
 The excitement rose to its height when it was announced that the Sardinian Fleet must be recalled from Venetian waters, depriving that struggling city of the last visible sign of support from without.
The Chamber sent a deputation to the King, who succeeded in persuading its members that, hard though the terms were, there was no avoiding their acceptance.
General La Marmora had orders to quell the insurrection at Genoa, the motive of which was not nominally a change of government, but the continuance of the war at all costs.
Its deeper cause lay in the old  irreconcilability of republican Genoa with her Piedmontese masters, breaking out now afresh under the strain of patriotic disappointment.
But in Genoa the populace had rebelled against their old masters Piedmont.
 Austria and France offered Victor Emmanuel their arms to put down the revolution, but, declining the not exactly disinterested attention, he made a wise choice in La Marmora, who accomplished the ungrateful task with expedition and humanity.
 An amnesty was granted to all but a very few participators in the revolt.

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