Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung August 1848

The Neue Rheinische Zeitung

Mediation and Intervention.
Radetzky and Cavaignac

by Frederick Engels

Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 91
 Transcribed for the Internet by director@marx.org

The armistices concluded as the result of Karl Albert's treachery will expire in about three weeks (on September 21). France and Britain have offered to act as mediators. The Spectateur republicain, Cavaignac's paper, writes that Austria has not yet stated whether she will accept or decline the offer. France's dictator is getting annoyed over the discourtesy of the Austrians and threatens armed intervention if by a given date the Viennese cabinet does not reply, or rejects mediation. Will Austria allow a Cavaignac to prescribe the peace terms to her, especially now after the victory over democracy in Vienna and over the Italian "rebels"? Austria understands perfectly well that the French bourgeoisie wants "peace at any price", that the freedom or bondage of the Italians is altogether a matter of complete indifference to the bourgeoisie and that it will agree to anything so long as it is not openly humiliated and thus reluctantly compelled to draw the sword. It is said that Radetzky will pay a short visit to Vienna in order to say the decisive word about mediation. He does not have to travel to Vienna to do that. His policy has now prevailed, and his opinion will be none the less weighty for his remaining in Milan. If Austria were to accept the basis for peace proposed by England and France, she would do so not because she is afraid of Cavaignac's intervention but for much more pressing and compelling reasons.

 The Italians were just as much deluded by the March events as the Germans. The former believed that foreign rule at any rate was now done with; the latter thought that the old system was buried for good and all. However, the foreign rule in Italy is worse than ever, and in Germany the old system has recovered from the few blows it sustained in March and it acts with greater ferocity and vindictiveness than ever before.

 The Italians are now making the mistake of expecting salvation from the present government of France. Only the fall of this government could save them. The Italians are further mistaken when they regard the liberation of their country as feasible while democracy in France, Germany and other countries continues to lose ground. Reaction, to whose blows Italy has succumbed, is not merely an Italian phenomenon, it is a European phenomenon. Italy alone cannot possibly free herself from the grip of this reaction, least of all by appealing to the French bourgeoisie, which is a true pillar of reaction in Europe as a whole.

 Before reaction can be destroyed in Italy and Germany, it must be routed in France. A democratic social republic must first be proclaimed in France and the French proletariat must first subjugate its bourgeoisie, before a lasting democratic victory is conceivable in Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary and other countries.