What about after they've re-established themselves as a normal nation state and started industrializing? With more industrialization and modernization shouldn't their population boom. Can the new Basileus even grant tax credits and rebates to large families who have many children? Could they pull off a Prussia where despite their small size and poor conditions, they become highly militarized. Could Greece with its various Rhomaion nobles have the Emperor pulls a Frederick I and orients them toward serving the state through military service while re-instating the old bureaucracy that allowed the empire to coordinate its resources in a 1000 year struggle against its enemies? Greece like Prussia was surrounded by enemies on all sides and is in a poor geographic position and when it was invaded by foreign powers both allied and hostile it was ravaged. I think that if they Prussianize to never fall victim to invasion again, I think they have a shot at restoring the empire. But how would they throw off the negative perception of the West that views them as Hellenes? There was 300 years of propaganda calling them Byzantines and after the schism the West forgot about its scientific and cultural and military achievements under the Isaurians, the Macedonians, and Komnenoi. So how will the rest of the world and especially Italy react to a successful Greece restoring the Roman Empire. Most people thought it fell in 476 when it in fact fell in 1453. Its 1461 if you count Trebizond.
I could see a militarist Greece forming honestly they may already be walking down this road with the growth of the nationalist party and growth of revanchism in Greece but a Greece like Prussia with a noble class. I don't see Greece reinstating the noble class because of I not sure there any or enough to reinstate any noble class, there be massive resistance from all the new free landowners who also were just given land by the government, this system not sure would work in the modern age. This is not mentioning that lepeod would prob not be for it and the new liberal government. Also, the fact that the current democratic system is working quite well and a democratic tradition/ ethos.
 
Further north than Monastir seems... counterproductive.

Even with just Monastir, it’s going to be tough. Serbian and Bulgarian nationalists both claim the region, although the threat of Bulgaria will probably cause Greece and Serbia to reconcile as in OTL anyway.

It’ll be interesting to see the fate of Macedonia ITTL. Bulgaria will gun for it no matter whether the religious divide ends up differently; the Bulgarian empires owned the region and the Slavic populations there at that time were fundamentally Bulgarian. However, if Macedonia ends up religiously following the Greek Patriarchate that will form the basis of Greek claim as IOTL. Since they’ve taken in a lot more Slavic speakers, though, and since the immigrations of Anatolian Greeks into the area are likely butterflied, Greece will probably accept the existence of “Slavophone Greeks” and not take linguistically repressive measures in the area like they did historically. Otherwise it’ll basically be an area of constant separatism like Kosovo to Serbia.

Even if Greece succeeds in getting the Slavophones on side Bulgaria will never accept it. I don’t see Bulgaria and Greece ever coming to terms over their many territorial disputes, which will be more severe than OTL; any future Balkanic confederation as @Earl Marshal has hinted at probably won’t be able to get Bulgaria on side.

So then the big question is Russia, because if Greece managed to get the Russians on their side instead of the Bulgarians’ it could be earth-shaking. Why? Well, the Russians are one of the few nations with the interest and potential ability to absolutely crush the Turks, allowing the Greeks to obtain a very favorable agreement with regards to Anatolia. This would require them to not take the Bulgarians’ side, though, which is unlikely due to the “Slavic connection” that the Romanovs so valued...
 
I'm interested to see how Constantine will rule compared to Leopold. I'm also intrigued to see Greece's relations with it's future Balkan neighbors. Also, please don't let Schliemann blow up Troy, that would be awful.
 
Since they’ve taken in a lot more Slavic speakers, though, and since the immigrations of Anatolian Greeks into the area are likely butterflied, Greece will probably accept the existence of “Slavophone Greeks” and not take linguistically repressive measures in the area like they did historically. .

Greece not just accepted but actively claimed the existence of Slavophone Greeks in OTL and with some justification, as there was a fair share of Slavic speakers that had actively backed the Greek cause and fought for it, which is how grekoman (and variants thereoff) is a cuss word north of the modern border and a term of praise south of it. That said though other things spring into consideration. First that neither the Greek state nor the Greek educational establishment/local community leaders bothered in the slightest over preserving the language any more than they cared over the Cappadocian Greeks preserving Karamanli (where the Church and community schools made a concetrated effort since the 1890s at least to re-introduce Greek in place of Turkish). In their view it was just a matter of the Greek populations that had been forced to use Slavic/Turkish/whatever switching back to Greek. Second that very obviously there were Slavic speaking populations loyal to the Bulgarian side along with the ones loyal to the Greek side.

Now fast forward to the late 30s and 40s. With the logic described above who's still slavophone? People that are loyal Greeks but did not have the chance to get educated... but these wont mind Greek education and the gradual switch to Greek, quite the opposite! And people loyal to Bulgaria... why these will be insisting on retaining the language, won't they? Ergo everyone insisting on retaining the language is probably not loyal! Not exactly a good combination before even taking it account the effects of the wars.
 
First that neither the Greek state nor the Greek educational establishment/local community leaders bothered in the slightest over preserving the language any more than they cared over the Cappadocian Greeks preserving Karamanli (where the Church and community schools made a concetrated effort since the 1890s at least to re-introduce Greek in place of Turkish). In their view it was just a matter of the Greek populations that had been forced to use Slavic/Turkish/whatever switching back to Greek.

And from the Bulgarian perspective, it was wealthy Greek merchants in the towns trying to force their language onto the Bulgarian rural folk. That narrative worked well where the Greek education and sympathy was already tenuous...

Second that very obviously there were Slavic speaking populations loyal to the Bulgarian side along with the ones loyal to the Greek side.

That mostly came down to the religious divide in the end, didn’t it?

Now fast forward to the late 30s and 40s. With the logic described above who's still slavophone? People that are loyal Greeks but did not have the chance to get educated... but these wont mind Greek education and the gradual switch to Greek, quite the opposite! And people loyal to Bulgaria... why these will be insisting on retaining the language, won't they? Ergo everyone insisting on retaining the language is probably not loyal! Not exactly a good combination before even taking it account the effects of the wars.

That does explain how the Greek mindset towards the lingering Slavic speakers got so bad, thanks.

In this ATL, though, I suspect that Hellenization will go much more slowly in Macedonia thanks to the lack of Anatolian immigration. That’s why I’m wondering if Greece may not eventually just “give up” on trying to change the language in the region.
 
And from the Bulgarian perspective, it was wealthy Greek merchants in the towns trying to force their language onto the Bulgarian rural folk. That narrative worked well where the Greek education and sympathy was already tenuous...

"Ours is great honest peasant stock not like these Greek/Jews/Armenians moneylenders/merchants etc". It extended quite beyond Bulgarian nationalists, to Turkish ones as far as the Greeks were concerned for example and the rhetoric tended to be similar against the mercantile nation. Of course this could backfire in bad ways. Frex in the lead up to the 2nd Balkan war Savov was claiming the Greeks were an army of peddlers and traders who couldn't stand up to his army and he'd capture Thessaloniki within 9 hours from the start of the war. Within said 9 hours his own troops in Thessaloniki had surrendered and 8 Greek divisions marching on him. Talk about badly underestimating the enemy...

That mostly came down to the religious divide in the end, didn’t it?

That shouldn't be so surprising when the church had been the one organizing authority of the communities in question for centuries. I'd add it's not quite unique to the former Ottoman empire either. Case in point Ireland.

That does explain how the Greek mindset towards the lingering Slavic speakers got so bad, thanks.

In this ATL, though, I suspect that Hellenization will go much more slowly in Macedonia thanks to the lack of Anatolian immigration. That’s why I’m wondering if Greece may not eventually just “give up” on trying to change the language in the region.

I wouldn't go that far so fast. For a simple mental exercise remove the Asia Minor refugees from the area. What became Greek Macedonia, still has about 513,000 Greeks against about 104,000 Bulgarians in 1913. Out of the latter about 53,000 would be exchanged with 49,000 Bulgarian Greeks post Neully and by the 1928 census "Slav speaking Orthodox Christians" were about 82,000. So we can surmise a split of about 50,000 pro-Bulgarian to 30,000 pro-Greek within their population. Bulgarian sources claimed about 300,000 which is probably quite exaggerated... but even if we take it at face value it still means a slight majority speaking Greek as a first language and up to a third speaking both (if we subtract the 82,000 of the 1928 census from the 300,000 claimed) The Greek schools did win their fight in the area in the two generations prior to 1928...
 
"Ours is great honest peasant stock not like these Greek/Jews/Armenians moneylenders/merchants etc". It extended quite beyond Bulgarian nationalists, to Turkish ones as far as the Greeks were concerned for example and the rhetoric tended to be similar against the mercantile nation.

Ah, that makes sense. Definitely reminds me of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world.

Of course this could backfire in bad ways. Frex in the lead up to the 2nd Balkan war Savov was claiming the Greeks were an army of peddlers and traders who couldn't stand up to his army and he'd capture Thessaloniki within 9 hours from the start of the war. Within said 9 hours his own troops in Thessaloniki had surrendered and 8 Greek divisions marching on him. Talk about badly underestimating the enemy...

Seriously? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, nationalism is a hell of a drug. “The great Yamato war spirit will overcome the lazy Americans” and so on...

That shouldn't be so surprising when the church had been the one organizing authority of the communities in question for centuries. I'd add it's not quite unique to the former Ottoman empire either. Case in point Ireland.

That’s true. So the question is, with the added influence and power of Greece ITTL how many more churches across the Balkans will side with the Patriarchate?

I wouldn't go that far so fast. For a simple mental exercise remove the Asia Minor refugees from the area. What became Greek Macedonia, still has about 513,000 Greeks against about 104,000 Bulgarians in 1913. Out of the latter about 53,000 would be exchanged with 49,000 Bulgarian Greeks post Neully and by the 1928 census "Slav speaking Orthodox Christians" were about 82,000. So we can surmise a split of about 50,000 pro-Bulgarian to 30,000 pro-Greek within their population. Bulgarian sources claimed about 300,000 which is probably quite exaggerated... but even if we take it at face value it still means a slight majority speaking Greek as a first language and up to a third speaking both (if we subtract the 82,000 of the 1928 census from the 300,000 claimed) The Greek schools did win their fight in the area in the two generations prior to 1928...

Those numbers are heavily slanted by the densities, though. The Greeks dominated the coasts and in greater numbers overall, but in the interior is where the Slavic speakers were more concentrated as far as I can tell. It was in the interior, too, where there was significant popular support for the Bulgarian/Macedonian Slavic cause.

And adding Monastir and other more inland regions will just make the situation worse: a Survey I found of Monastir Vilayet suggests there were 150,000 Exarchate followers to 50,000 Patriachal followers, all of them Slavic speakers, in 1897.
 
Well the Kingdom of Greece's population is already ahead of their OTL counterpart. In the 1848 Census in OTL Greece had a population of 986,731 whereas in this timeline it was around 1.31 million. Now most of this difference is a result of the additional territories Greece has ITTL compared to OTL, like Crete, Chios, Samos, etc, but there is still a difference of several tens of thousands of people. This difference is largely a result of a better economic situation in Greece ITTL and less instability compared to OTL which has encourage more people to have more children, but for now it still remains quite small. But as Greece continues to industrialize and develop, it should increase.

This made me think: If Greece is better off economically and more politically stable then that means less Greeks will immigrate to other countries throughout the 19th and 20th centuries which will also increase Greece's modern-day population by several million.
 
Quick question will the northern border include Northern Epirus ( the part of Epirus in Albania)?

Sounds like the author might have more ambitious plans regarding Albania—an autonomous Albania within a Greek-led Balkan Confederation, possibly. In that situation Greece might just split Northern Epirus in half or something.
 
Ah, that makes sense. Definitely reminds me of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world.



Seriously? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, nationalism is a hell of a drug. “The great Yamato war spirit will overcome the lazy Americans” and so on...



That’s true. So the question is, with the added influence and power of Greece ITTL how many more churches across the Balkans will side with the Patriarchate?



Those numbers are heavily slanted by the densities, though. The Greeks dominated the coasts and in greater numbers overall, but in the interior is where the Slavic speakers were more concentrated as far as I can tell. It was in the interior, too, where there was significant popular support for the Bulgarian/Macedonian Slavic cause.

And adding Monastir and other more inland regions will just make the situation worse: a Survey I found of Monastir Vilayet suggests there were 150,000 Exarchate followers to 50,000 Patriachal followers, all of them Slavic speakers, in 1897.

Ah a misunderstanding I think. What we are talking about is the town of Monastir being included in Greek Macedonia, not the vilayet of Monastir. The town itself held a large Greek population, in fact still has a much diminished Greek community to the present day and is within a few km from the current border, the Serbia army got there first by a few hours and the Greeks were more interested in an alliance than in arguing over it while they had most they wanted. So a "maximized" Greek Macedonia is essentially OTL with minor adjustments to include Monastir, Gevgeli and Doiran.
 
Sounds like the author might have more ambitious plans regarding Albania—an autonomous Albania within a Greek-led Balkan Confederation, possibly. In that situation Greece might just split Northern Epirus in half or something.

The Aoos river as proposed by the US in 1919 might be an acceptable compromise. Or it might not. It would be leaving Korytza/Korce to Albania which the Greeks wouldn't much care for and the western part to Greece which Albanian nationalists wouldn't much care for either. We need to see how the broader relation goes first.
 

formion

Banned
Nevertheless, every effort was taken to house and feed these refugees at a great expense to the Greek Government initially, however, over time their services to the Greek state would prove enormous. Among their number were several hundred engineers and architects, artisans and artists, doctors and professors who quickly found work in Greece, building roads and bridges, creating works of art and composing symphonies, treating the sick, and teaching the young. They would also provide a much-needed boost to Greece’s nascent industrial sector, its media industry, the Greek Military, and the Hellenic Socialist party which rapidly grew from a small clique of fringe activists and intellectuals to a few thousand supporters by the start of 1850.

While road bulding may seem rather insignificant when compared to other changes like a different dynasty, Kapodistrias surviving etc, on the contrary is a big butterfly. Along with the much earlier railroads, these roads and bridges are a herald of sociopolitical transformation. Infrastructure is one of the pillars of building a working parliamentary democracy in a mountainous country such as Greece. The local elites gradually loose power, while the central goverment gains influence in the countryside. Along with the economic opportunities these roads bring, the local elites are forced to pay more attention on what happens in Athens and incorporate themselves in political parties.

In Earl Marshal's excellent timeline, it seems that regular political parties are formed already or they are developing towards being what we consider in the 20th century political parties. This stability cannot be overestimated: rather than having elites following a political figure for some time and have very fluid political parties, it seems that the 3 existing parties are rather stable. Organization along party lines that represent specific ideologies and societal stakeholders, brings stability to the whole political system. If this party system doesn't crumble but is established in a solid base, then the Greek political system may have advantages even over countries like France or Italy.

Furthermore, the nice thing about industrialization and infrastructure are mutually supportive and reinforce each other: to make roads, steam-powered crushers are needed. These can make lignite deposits ( eg. Megalopolis) exploitable. More coal available, more steam engines can be either produced or imported and so forth. In Prussia, lignite played an important role in the introduction of steam engines. I guess that same can happen to Greece.

Lastly, I would like to explore some possibilities of the technical expertise of the 49ers in accordance with Greece's natural resources. Some Germans, especially Saxons or Silesians may have been miners, either mining coal, iron or non-metallic ores. Such expertise are particular important for the coal mines in Aliveri and Megalopolis or the other mines in Lavrion and Euboea.

At the early 19th century, there was a small, cottage industry of silk in the Peloponese. French from Lyon could introduce moden techniques and manufacturing process to take advantage of the mulberry trees in the peninsula. French from the south, would be natural leaders in the oil and soap industry. Marseille soap comes in mind. Last but not least, some traditional crops, like lavender in Provence, may enjoy similar climate and soil conditions in the Greek Kingdom.

While wine making was an honored trade in Greece, scientific knowledge in winemaking and viniculture, could pay dividents in improving the local varieties and building export businesses. To export wine, glassworks need to be established.

To summarize, the 49ers may find a lot of opportunities in the nascent Greek Kingdom. A balanced economy from the start will pay dividents in the decades to come.
 
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Vuu

Banned
I dunno about a border north of Bitolj - it's simply unnatural - even OTL it is, more suitable to have Florina owned by whoever owns Macedonia. Otherwise, the Greeks would have to take everything up to Prilep basically, all of Pelagonia.
However, expansions to the north can be achieved around Gevgelija (basically put the natural border of the Vardar gorge that starts at Demir Kapija), and the lake Prespa basin, which gives them a good door into expanding into Albania.

As for the Slavic populations, they were present on the Peloponnese even, until recently (still many, many towns everywhere in Greece with very clear Slavic etymologies, which makes sense, the Greeks were always severely confined to the coast). As for their identity, this shall be revealed rather soon, maybe in 10 years even. Other Balkan people will be very pissed due to the implications, but they already kind of are. Won't say much more though
 
Part 67: Anarchy in Austria
Part 67: Anarchy in Austria

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Metternich Flees Vienna

The Austrian defeat at Second Goito was a disaster from which they would never fully recover both militarily and politically. Bereft of nearly 15,000 experienced and battle-hardened soldiers, Field Marshal Count Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont was forced to cede ground to the ascendant Sardinian-Italian Army, whose numbers appeared to increase by the day. By the end of August, the battered remnants of the Austrian Army of Lombardy-Venetia had retreated behind the Adige River as their few remaining outposts West of the river were ground to dust by the Italian host. Italian morale would rise further following the apparent recovery of King Charles Albert two weeks after the battle and though he would lack much of the energy and exuberance he had exuded before his illness, his mind and heart remained fully committed to the cause of Italian independence. The Battle of Second Goito would also inspire Pope Pius IX to remain in the Italian alliance against Austria despite his own misgivings towards war with another Catholic power. With the Italians united, and the Austrians on the retreat, it would have seemed that victory over Vienna was inevitable.

Yet even with the loss of Lombardy to the Italians, the Austrian position in Northern Italy remained quite strong thanks to the complete destruction of the Venetian rebellion back in July. Imperial forces also held the passes through the Alps and their lines of supply were safely secured thanks to their control of Venice and Trent. With the territory to their rear secure, Ficquelmont and the Austrian Army of Lombardy-Venetia could focus all its efforts towards defending the Adige River, which featured the formidable defenses of Legnano and Verona. With Legnago and Verona under their control, the Italians were denied the two main bridges across the Adige, while the rest were either destroyed or placed under heavy guard. As such, Metternich and Ficquelmont continued to believe that victory over the revolutionaries was still possible if additional men and resources could be brought to bear from across the Alps. Yet in his haste to destroy nationalism and liberalism in Italy, Metternich would inadvertently succeed in spreading it further when he enacted the August Draft Laws, demanding the Crown Lands provide new conscripts for the Imperial Army.

By itself, this act was fairly innocuous as most countries had enacted similar conscription policies during times of war as a means of supplying more men to their militaries. Austria had itself used conscription extensively during the later stages of the Napoleonic Wars and even utilized German conscripts to a small degree in the present conflict against the Italian States. But what made the 1848 August Draft Laws so controversial, was that they infringed upon the closely guarded prerogatives of Kingdom of Hungary.

Unlike most of the Crown Lands of the Austrian Empire, the Lands of the Hungarian Crown (the Kingdom of Hungary proper, the Kingdom of Croatia, the Kingdom of Slavonia, and the Principality of Transylvania) were endowed with certain privileges, mostly in the form of tax exemptions for the local nobility and a certain degree of political autonomy from Vienna, most significantly in the form of the Diet of Hungary for the Kingdom of Hungary.[1] The Diet of Hungary was a legislative chamber which had existed in one form or another since the earliest days of the Kingdom of Hungary. Although it had changed considerably since its earliest incarnations, the Diet was usually comprised of the Kingdom’s leading magnates and nobles who possessed the sole authority to create and enact legislation within their country. The Diet was also the primary means for the Hungarian nobility to air their grievances to the King, but most importantly to the present controversy, the Diet had the sole authority to raise new military forces in its territories. While it may seem rather impotent compared to the likes of the British Parliament or the American Congress, the Diet was enshrined in the Hungarian identity and they deeply resented any attempt to infringe upon its prerogatives.

While Metternich’s dictates were hardly the first such attempts made by an Imperial Chancellor or a Hapsburg King of Hungary, the Hungarian magnates were simply unwilling to tolerate such excesses as they had in the past. Prior to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, the Hapsburg Kings of Hungary had gradually limited the Diet, convening it less frequently and abiding by its decisions less rigidly. As with most things, this would change immensely following the Napoleonic Wars as the people of Hungary become conscious of their desire for increased liberty and nationhood. This would manifest itself in 1823 when Emperor Francis and the Imperial Government attempted to draw men and resources from Hungary to fight the rebellion in Italy, provoking a series of terrible riots across the country. This unrest would continue sporadically until 1825 when the Emperor was finally forced to convene the Diet for the first time since 1812. It was clear that Hungary would no longer accept the old status quo, leading them to demand more influence over the direction of the Empire and more respect from the Imperial Government and the Emperor. The 1825 Diet is also important in another way as it marked the first appearance of two young Hungarian Noblemen in the Diet, Count István Széchenyi de Sárvár-Felsővidék and Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva.

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Count István Széchenyi de Sárvár-Felsővidék (Left) and Prince Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva (Right)

The scion of a prominent Hungarian noble house with strong ties to the Hapsburg Emperors, as well as a famed officer in the Napoleonic Wars, Count István Széchenyi was a moderate man of sorts who supported important, albeit limited reforms to Hungarian society. He supported the modernization and industrialization of the Hungarian economy by constructing numerous factories, mills, mines, and railroads. He would promote engineering and the sciences in Hungarian schools, even going so far as to donate his own wealth to fund the establishment of several universities. And despite of his noble heritage, he supported the reduction in the rights and privileges of the Hungarian nobility, most notably their tax exemptions and their rights to statute labor. Yet, unlike many of his more progressive and radical colleagues, Széchenyi still supported the primacy of agriculture in Hungary and wished to develop it beyond the simple plow and fallow fields it had been for the past millennia through the introduction of modern farming tools and techniques onto Hungarian farms. Most importantly, Széchenyi vigorously supported the union with Austria and the Hapsburg Monarchy, although he wasn’t above criticizing it when necessary, nor did he object to strengthening Hungary’s role within the Empire as well.

Despite his professed loyalty to the Hapsburg Emperors, Count Széchenyi’s efforts to convince the Imperial Government to pursue his reforms would unfortunately meet with stiff opposition from Chancellor Metternich and the rigidly conservative Staatsrat (the State Council of the Austrian Empire) who were fearful of Széchenyi’s nationalist overtones and moved to oppose him at every turn. Széchenyi would continue to travel to Vienna for month after month and year after year in a vain attempt to change the old Chancellor’s mind, but to no avail. Metternich remained set in his conservative ways and refused to budge on even the most pressing of issues, much to the chagrin of Széchenyi and his allies. Unable to produce any meaningful achievements for all his efforts and all his promises, Széchenyi’s popularity in the Diet would inevitably begin to wane. And though he remained Hungary’s favored son, he was not its only leading man as a formidable competitor soon emerged to his political left in the form of the young and highly charismatic nobleman Lajos Kossuth.

Like Széchenyi, Lajos Kossuth was a man intent on reforming Hungary by supporting its nascent industrial sector and reducing the privileges of the nobility. However, whereas Széchenyi saw the Hungarian Nobility as a pillar of Hungarian society still capable of leading the Kingdom into a bright future, Kossuth saw them as a parasitic group who rested on their laurels while they leached off the labors of the peasantry. They would also differ from one another on Hungarian nationalism, with Kossuth becoming one of its chief sponsors and Széchenyi one of its chief opponents. Kossuth had come to regard Hungary’s relationship with Austria as backwards and unjust, and while he stopped short of calling for complete independence for Hungary, he certainly desired greater autonomy and freedom for Hungary. To that end, Kossuth agitated against the Imperial Government, organizing protests and making rousing speeches against Metternich and the State Council resulting in his periodic imprisonments by the Austrian authorities. Ironically, it would be his imprisonment in 1838 over his illegal advocation for freedom of the press which earned him his claim to fame in Hungary and the Austrian Empire writ large, catapulting him from a lesser nobleman with little political following, to one of the leading figures in Hungarian politics.

By 1848, Széchenyi and Kossuth were roughly equal in their influence and prestige, with both featuring a number of influential and powerful Hungarian politicians and magnates on their respective sides, known in posterity as the Moderates and the Nationalists. However, whereas Széchenyi’s popularity had stagnated by this time owing to his failed negotiations with Metternich, Kossuth’s support would only rise further in Hungary following the enactment of Chancellor Metternich’s hated August Draft Law on the 11th of August 1848. Many members of the Hungarian Diet, Lajos Kossuth included, decried Metternich as a tyrant and a dictator who had overstepped his legal authority by passing laws on Hungary, that he had no right in passing and simply refused to enforce his illegal dictates. Metternich, who was in great need of more men for the war in Italy, pressed forward despite their objections and began sending conscription officers and tax collectors to every city, every town, and every village in the Panonian basin.

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The Diet of Hungary Denounces Metternich

Over the course of the next few weeks, thousands of Hungarian youths were quite literally pulled from their homes by Austrian soldiers before being shipped off to the far corners of the Empire. To escape this fate, many men and boys fled their homes seeking safety on the far edges of the Empire; a few resorted to more drastic acts to avoid military service. One particular account details the defiance of several men and boys from Pressburg who engaged in grisly acts of self-mutilation as a means of defying the Austrian conscription agents, denying them their bounty of abled bodied men.

Other acts of defiance against the Imperial Government soon began to appear in earnest with the Hungarian people crying out for an immediate end to the war in Italy, an end to the draft, and an end to the new taxes on the Hungarian Estates. Most importantly, they demanded that Vienna respect Hungary’s autonomy, with many calling for their privileges to be expanded even further. Some radicals and nationalists even spoke of Hungarian independence in hushed whispers, although they remained a minority of a minority at this point. As August came to an end, Austrian conscription agents began coming under attack by the angered peoples of Hungary. Although most simply resorted to throwing rocks or excrement at them as they passed, a small handful would find themselves on the wrong end of a blade or gunbarrel resulting in quite a few deaths and maimings.

Rather than back down and reach a peaceful accord with the Hungarians, Metternich’s resolve was only hardened by the growing discontent in Hungary which only served to reinforce his rigid beliefs against liberalism and nationalism. In retaliation, soldiers were ordered to the region en masse; dissidents were imprisoned by the hundreds, crowds were broken up with blades and batons leaving thousands bloodied and bruised, some protestors would even be killed in the process, prompting even more unrest and even larger demonstrations. This crackdown by Metternich would temporarily restore order to Hungary, but when news from France arrived announcing the abdication of King Ferdinand-Philippe and the declaration of a Second Republic, the Hungarian Liberals began agitating for reform once more. Soon regions like Bohemia and Moravia, Galicia and Croatia, all provinces which had been generally peaceful and orderly, now began to exhibit signs of discontent as well diverting the Government’s limited attention and resources to other areas of the Empire. Even Vienna suffered from unrest as Liberals and German nationalists took to the streets once again, forcing the Government to call upon Field Marshal Alfred Candidus Ferdinand, Prince of Windisch-Grätz and his army to restore order to the city.

With tensions rising to dangerous levels, Count Széchenyi would travel to Vienna once more in the vain hope he could convince the Imperial Government to come to an agreement with the Hungarian Moderates. But while Széchenyi was on the road to Vienna, Kossuth marched on Buda. Seizing upon this newfound opportunity, Kossuth rapidly organized his followers and moved on the seat of Hapsburg authority in Hungary, Buda Castle, on the 29th of August where he compelled upon the Palatine of Hungary, Archduke Stephen to accept the demands of the people. These demands, among several others included an end to the censorship of the press, the establishment of a Hungarian National Guard, the reformation of the Diet of Hungary into a Hungarian Parliament that would meet annually, ministries accountable to the Hungarian Parliament, complete religious liberty, civil liberty for all citizens before the law, the abolition of the Nobility’s tax exemptions, the abolition of serfdom and feudalism in Hungary, the creation of jury courts, and the release of all political prisoners.[2]


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Buda Castle from the Danube

Having little communication with Vienna owing to the ongoing unrest there and the effective collapse of Imperial authority in Hungary, Archduke Stephen was forced to submit to the demands of the Kossuth and the mob who cheered the declaration with great gusto and bravado. Later that day, Kossuth would pressure Archduke Stephen into naming him as acting Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hungary as well, an act which would essentially denude the Palatine of his temporal powers. While Stephen would attempt to delay on the grounds that only the Emperor possessed the right to name his ministers, Kossuth persisted upon Archduke Stephen, who was ultimately forced to obey. With his coup complete and his power secure, Kossuth and his allies immediately began implementing their reforms with great haste and vigor.

An impromptu session of the Diet was convened and unanimously approved the reorganization of the Diet into a Parliamentary body, with elections scheduled for early October, while a Provisional Government led by Lajos Kossuth would govern Hungary in the interim. The formation of the National Guard would be next, as thousands of patriotic volunteers rushed to join the Honvéd Army; by the end of the first day the Provisional Hungarian Government boasted over 25,000 men under arms and nearly 100,000 by the end of the week. The Buda, Óbuda, and Pest printing presses were kept busy printing pamphlet after pamphlet well into the night with each newspaper detailing various reforms and the Nemzeti dal (the Patriot Song of Hungary). Kossuth would also order the Hungarian Cockade be flown atop Buda castle, an act which was soon reciprocated in all the windows of all the houses and shops in Buda, Óbuda, and Pest. Political prisoners were released, feudal dues were abolished, and the nobility’s privileges were reduced considerably. The September Laws were generally well received by the people of Hungary as a liberating and progressive experience, but as is the case with all things, this perception was not shared by all the peoples of Hungary.

Inspired by Hungary’s success, the minorities of the Austrian Empire; the Czechs, the Croatians, the Dalmatians, the Poles, the Ruthenians, the Serbs, the Slovaks, and the Transylvanians would begin advocating for their own representation and autonomy. While Kossuth and the Hungarian Provisional Government did support the Czechs, the Poles, and the Ruthenians in their bids for autonomy from the Imperial Government, they resisted the calls for autonomy and representation from their own minorities. Still, they would offer the Croats, the Serbs, and the Transylvanians the right to use their own languages and customs in their local courthouses, schoolhouses, and townships as a minor compromise. These privileges were not bestowed to the Slovaks however, prompting unrest to steadily build in the northern provinces of Hungary.[3] When several Slovaks in Pressburg attempted to champion their own efforts for limited regional autonomy and the use of their own language in their own communities, they quickly found themselves imprisoned by Hungarian Honvéd soldiers. It was now clear that the Hungarian Revolution would not be a movement for all the peoples of Hungary.

The Imperial Government was not entirely pleased with these developments either, as a constituent part of the Empire had unilaterally carved out its own privileges and powers without any oversight by or consent given on the part of the Emperor or the States Council. However, there would be no immediate response by the Imperial Government as Lajos Kossuth’s march would be the least of their worries. In late August, a band of partisans under the Italian freedom fighter, Giuseppe Garibaldi managed to secret themselves across the Adige into Austrian occupied Venetia under the cover of darkness, before embarking on a campaign of sabotage and sedition. Garibaldi and his Red shirts stormed across the Venetian countryside, ambushing Austrian patrols, spoiling Austrian supply depots, and generally making life miserable for the Austrian soldiers before melting away again into the Venetian countryside. As they could live off the land and maintained the trust of the local Venetians, Garibaldi and his men easily eluded all attempts to capture them, forcing Ficquelmont to divert precious men and resources to guard his supply lines. Garibaldi’s acts were little more than a nuisance however, in preparation for the main Italian thrust in mid-September.

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Giuseppe Garibaldi and his Red Shirts fighting near Vicenza

Beginning on the 15th, 112,000 Sardinian, Emilian, Romagnan, and Tuscan soldiers launched an offensive on the Austrian defensive line on the Adige River. Much of their focus was directed towards the Fortresses of Verona and Legnago, but some men were focused on finding other crossings across the river. Most failed, but some succeeded, resulting in a series of skirmishes between the Austrian cavalry and the Italian vanguard near San Giovani and Zevio. Despite their best efforts, the Austrians would initially hold firm, driving the Italians back across the Adige, albeit just barely. Still the Italian assault continued, bleeding the Austrians white in the process.

To the North in Germany, the German Liberals had pushed through various reforms in the Federal Assembly, reforming the German Confederation into the Federal German Empire, despite the stern objection of the Austrian delegation. While Austria protested this development, and would continue to protest it, there was very little it could actually do change this beyond recalling its delegation from Frankfurt. To the Southeast, the neighboring Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were plunged into revolution, which inevitably spilled over into Transylvania and Bukovina. Most worryingly of all, Poznan and Warsaw would rise in rebellion against the Prussian and Russian governments in late Summer and threatened to spread to Krakow and Galicia-Lodomeria. Even the situation in Vienna remained tenuous, with the peace only being maintained through the efforts of Field Marshal Alfred Candidus Ferdinand, Prince of Windisch-Grätz and his soldiers who patrolled the streets in the thousands.

Metternich would also receive little assistance from Emperor Ferdinand whose condition only continued to worsen, perhaps paralleling that of his ailing Empire. This state of affairs would not last long however, as Emperor Ferdinand would be struck by a particularly severe epileptic seizure in early October, rendering him largely incapacitated. Although he would survive the attack, just as he had all the others, Metternich, Grätz, Archduke Ludwig, and Prince Felix von Schwarzenberg no longer believed him capable of continuing as Emperor and sought to replace him with his nephew Franz Joseph. Under the influence of Metternich and his ministers, Ferdinand - who was in little more than a vegetative state by this point - would be forced to abdicate the throne in favor of his nephew who was coronated on the 12th of October, while five days later Ferdinand would be dead. The ascension of the capable and highly energetic Franz Joseph would do much to restore the flagging authority of the Imperial Government, but rather than save Metternich, the new Emperor would prove to be his downfall.

Blaming the old Chancellor’s intransigence and obstinance for most of the ailments presently plaguing his Empire, Emperor Franz Joseph, pressured Metternich to resign. Metternich had few options. His laissez faire financial policies had failed to end the ongoing recession in the Empire nor the terrible famine which gripped large swaths of the country. His handling of the war in Italy had gone from bad to worse and now teetered on imminent catastrophe, with the loss of Lombardy to the Italians. Large portions of the Empire were agitating for his removal, even Hungary flirted with revolution thanks in no small part to Metternich’s rigidity. Metternich's most stallwart allies had even begun to turn against him because of these many failings. Unable to convince the young Emperor otherwise, Metternich was forced to deliver his letter of resignation to the boy Emperor and the State Council before departing Vienna with his family, never to return. While there were many who were not saddened to see Metternich forced from office in the manner in which he was, his resignation did little to sate the appetite for liberalism that he had so vigorously opposed.

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The New Emperor Franz Joseph Meets with his Ministers

The Hungarian Prime Minister had grown increasingly bold in the days and weeks since he had risen to power in early September as the Imperial Government would pay him little mind in those first few days as he paid lip service to Vienna, whilst he extended his influence throughout Hungary. However, the fall of Metternich would provide Kossuth and his Nationalists with their greatest opportunity yet, as the old Chancellor was replaced with by a series of inept governments under weak kneed ministers and a relatively unknown commodity in the new Emperor Franz Joseph. Interested in testing the limits of his new monarch, Kossuth and the Hungarian Parliament began enacting increasingly provocative pieces of legislation, ranging from the printing of new Hungarian currency which supplanted the Emperor’s name and profile with that of his own to the autonomy of Hungary’s domestic policy from that of Austria.[4] But by far the most controversial would be the expulsion of all Austrian tax collectors and administrators from Hungary.

While the Hungarian Provisional Government would pledge that it would continue providing tax revenues to Vienna, albeit in a much-reduced quantity; the growing independence of the Hungarian bureaucracy from the rest of the Empire was a dangerous development. Emperor Franz Joseph was willing to tolerate much for the sake of peace and stability, but he could not accept this as it would mark a significant step towards complete independence for the Hungarian Government. Seeking to combat this, Franz Joseph in a public declaration to all the Crown Lands of the Austrian Empire, promised to acknowledge and guarantee all the privileges they had been previously awarded under his Uncle and all past Imperial Governments. And while he was willing to discuss implementing further reforms and granting further autonomy, he would not accept any constituent of the Empire unilaterally.

So it was that he began counteracting every law that the Hungarian Government had enacted in the wake of his coronation in mid-October. Suffice to say, this was not well received throughout Hungary leading to numerous riots throughout the Hungarian countryside. Austrian officials, Austrian merchants, and Austrian soldiers would quickly find themselves under attack by angered mobs of Magyars. By the 10th of November, tensions had risen to the point where Hungarian protestors attacked Austrian merchants in broad daylight, looting their places of business, setting fires to their homes, and causing all sorts of mischief and misfortune upon their German neighbors.

Despite this great resentment and hostility shown towards the Austrian Government and their agents by the Hungarian people, Prime Minister Kossuth and his government quietly accepted Emperor Franz Joseph’s decrees with gritted teeth. Peace between the Hapsburg Monarchy and the Lands of the Crown of St Stephen would continue for several more weeks, but it was clear for all to see that a reckoning between the two was imminent. Prime Minister Kossuth and his close allies Bartalan Szemere, Ferenc Duschek, Sebő Vukovics, and László Csány likely recognized the looming conflict with the Imperial Government and began preparing for the right opportunity to make their move. They needn’t wait long as the war in Italy turned against the Austrians once more.

In late November, the Italian Offensive against the Adige Line finally succeeded in taking the fortress city of Legnago after a lengthy two-and-a-half-month siege of the citadel. According to legend, the citadel fell not to Italian arms, but Magyar treason, as several Hungarian soldiers within the fortress opened the gates to the Italians to spite the Austrians. Regardless of the tale’s authenticity, Legnago did fall to the Italians, opening all of Venetia to the Sardinian-Italian Army. This loss was quickly followed up by a terrible defeat at Padua for the Austrians on the 4th of December, forcing them to effectively abandon much of the region to the Italians who stormed across the Adige in force. The defeat at Padua would also encourage the Italians of Venetia to rebel once more, successfully driving the Austrian garrisons out of Adria and Rovigo – the only cities west of the Adige to have remained under Austrian control – as well as Este, Monselice, Padua, and Treviso. Their attempts to liberate Chioggia, Vicenza, and Venice would end in failure however, thanks to the sudden arrival of fresh Austrian reinforcements from Bohemia and Croatia, who ruthlessly cracked down on the Venetian populace.

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The Battle of Padua

Despite the severity of the situation in Italy, the Austrians still maintained the primary mountain passes into Italy enabling them to rush further men and resources to the front as needed. Count Ficquelmont still held the city of Venice and the fortress of Verona, which was arguably the strongest and most defensible of the Quadrilateral Fortresses. The Austrians also retained control of Trent and Chioggia, securing their lines of supply to Venice and Verona, enabling them to hold out until a relief force could be mustered to save the day. With the Austrian Empire moving towards a full war footing the likes of which it had not seen since the Napoleonic Wars, the Italian states stood little chance of victory. Soon another army some 40,000 strong under the leadership of Field Marshal Ignaz Freiherr von Lederer readied to cross the Alps into Italy and reconquer Lombardy-Venetia for the Empire. They would never get the chance as events in Hungary soon drew their attention away from Italy yet again.

Seizing upon the Austrian defeats at Legnano and Padua, Kossuth and the Provisional Hungarian Government issued an ultimatum to Emperor Franz Joseph, demanding the return of their recently revoked privileges, the independence of Hungarian Government to conduct foreign policy with foreign powers free from the influence of Vienna, the independence of the Hungarian Military from the Imperial Military, and the cessation of all remaining fortresses under Austrian control to the Hungarian Honvéd Army. It was an outrageous demand under any circumstances, as it would in effect make the Kingdom of Hungary independent of the Austrian Empire in all but name, with the two states tied together only through personal union. Naturally, as one would expect, Emperor Franz Joseph upon reading the November Ultimatum, flew into a rage, before responding with an ultimatum of his own, demanding Lajos Kossuth and his accomplices surrender themselves to the Imperial Government for trial. The die was now cast.

With Franz Joseph unwilling to compromise and Lajos Kossuth unwilling to surrender to the Imperial authorities, war between Austria and Hungary was now inevitable. With no other choice, the Provisional Government of the Kingdom of Hungary declared its independence from the Austrian Empire on the 15th of December 1848, prompting Austria to declare war on it in turn two days later. However, despite this declaration of war, nothing would come of it immediately. Several castles in Hungary which were still under Imperial control would be placed under siege and a few pockets of resistance rose up into rebellion, but no significant battles were fought, nor was any Austrian Army sent against the Hungarians in the waning days of 1848, largely because there were no Austrian Armies ready to send against them.

Field Marshal Lederer’s army had already departed for Italy and with the winter snows now blocking the passes through the Alps, it would be several weeks before he could return to Austria. Other armies like Field Marshal Gratz’s were busy keeping the peace in Vienna and Prague, while the Army of Galicia-Lodomeria was stuck on the other side of the Carpathian Mountains. Unable to strike against Hungary with his own forces, Emperor Franz Joseph was forced to delegate the humbling of Hungary to those magnates still loyal to the Empire, chief among them the Ban of Croatia Josip Jelačić. While Ban Jelačić of Croatia and Dalmatia was hardly the most loyal man to the Hapsburg Monarchy - he was an unabashed Croatian nationalist - his disdain for the new Hungarian Government was unmistakable. He was also one of the more capable military leaders in the Empire, and he had access to a sizeable army located right on Hungary’s doorstep. His loyalty to the Imperial Government came at a steep cost, however, namely the recognition of Croatia’s own Diet (the Sabor), the independence of the Ban of Croatia from the Kingdom of Hungary, and the union of Croatia with Dalmatia and Istria. With Hungary in revolt and the war in Italy turned decidedly against him, Franz Joseph had little choice, but to agree.

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Josip Jelačić von Bužim, Ban of Croatia

Emperor Franz Joseph would also extend an olive branch to the embattled Slovaks as they had risen in revolt against the Hungarians several weeks before. Buda had gone to great lengths to alienate the Slovaks, ultimately driving them to rebellion against the Magyars, but without a central figure to coalesce around they were quickly cornered. Faced with the possibility of their extinction, the Slovaks willingly accepted the Emperor’s admittedly meager aid, enabling them to fight on. The Metropolitan of Vojvodina, Josif Rajačić would also approach the Imperial Government asking for aid as would the Transylvanian Bishop Andrei Șaguna when it became clear that Buda intended to annex the Principality of Transylvania into the Hungarian State, disregarding the Transylvanians calls for autonomy and respect to their culture. Franz Joseph and the Imperial Government were wary of supporting the Serbians and Transylvanians as they were receiving covert aid from their kinsmen in the Principalities of Serbia, Wallachia, and Moldavia. The interference of the Danubian Principalities was certainly irksome, but Hungary remained the more immediate threat to Vienna, a threat that needed to be dealt with quickly before it metastasized further.

There also remained several Austrian garrisons scattered across the Kingdom of Hungary, which while certainly irritating, were little more than minor nuisances to the Hungarians. Still, General Heinrich Hentzi von Arthurm and General Anton Freiherr von Puchner continued to resist the Hungarian Honved Army throughout the Winter, denying the Hungarians desperately needed military supplies and strategic outposts and fortresses. Eventually, the Hungarians numbers would win out, with General Puchner being driven into Transylvania and Hentzi’s men being forced to surrender at Komárom Fortress after the General was wounded by Hungarian sharpshooters.

While the Hungarians were busy chasing Puchner and besieging Hentzi, Ban Jelačić had managed to gather his army, some 50,000 strong before swiftly marching across the border into Hungary in mid-January. Bound for the Hungarian capital of Buda, Jelačić’s lighting advance across the Pannonian plain to the Danube terrified the Hungarian Government which mobilized the Honvéd Army to combat it. Choosing to lead it personally in a decidedly vain and foolhardy venture, Prime Minister Kossuth’s leadership of the 56,000 strong Hungarian Army was an abject failure. His advance was too slow, his orders were too vague, and his maneuvers were too easy to identify by Jelačić’s veteran fighters. The ensuing confrontation at Velence was very nearly the death knell for the nascent Hungarian State, as Prime Minister Kossuth very nearly lost his life and his entire army. Somehow, Kossuth would manage to escape back to Buda, with his tattered force in tow, but with the Croatians hot on his heels it seemed that this was the end of Hungarian independence.

It is here though that Lajos Kossuth’s talent one of the greatest orators of his time came to great use. In a rousing speech, now known to posterity as the “The Defense of the Hungarian Race and the Perfidy of the Hapsburg King”, Kossuth decried the Austrian Emperor as a despot undeserving of Hungarian love or loyalty and released all those before him of their oaths of allegiance to their treacherous king. Kossuth’s vile was next turned to the Austrians and Croatians, whom he called as an insidious and treacherous people who looted and defiled the pleasant meadows and farms of holy Hungary. He called upon the men and boys of Hungary to stand and fight with all their might to defend their homeland, their culture and their families. His hoarse voice strained to contain his immense passion as his bloodshot eyes and sweaty cheeks emitted a terrible visage of rage and emotion that galvanized the formerly terrified populace of Pest, Buda, and Óbuda into a great Magyar host intent on resisting their adversaries to the last bullet and the last drop of blood.

When the Croatian army made its attack on Buda, it found a highly motivated and frenzied mob ready to combat them. Barricades had been built in the streets and the city’s old walls were lined with thousands of men and boys, even the women of the city lined up to fight against the Croatian Army. The battle that follows was as chaotic as it was brutal, with the citizenry of the city fighting their adversaries for every inch and every city block, with each step being paid for in blood and bodies. Nevertheless, the Croatians continued to advance into the ancient city, taking street after street over the course of several long days, until they reached the walls of Buda Castle and the Danube River on the 30th of January.

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The Battle of Buda​

This was to be their undoing however as the Honved Army sent against General Hentzi returned to Buda at this time and began maneuvering to cut off Jelačić’s line of retreat. Ban Jelačić, immediately recognizing the situation for what it was, Ban Jelačić ordered a withdrawal from the city, but by this point, it was too late as a sizeable fraction of the Croatian Army would be trapped in the city by the approaching Hungarian army. The besiegers soon became the besieged as they were cornered between the Danube River, Buda Castle, and the host of frenzied Hungarians. Despite, Jelačić's numerous attempts to lift the siege, he would only succeed in freeing a few thousand men, before he was forced to flee with the few men he had left, leaving the rest to their fate.

Jelačić would succeed in escaping to Zagrab, he had done so only at a great cost as 4,000 Croatian men lay dead or dying in and around Buda, another 7,600 had been wounded in the fighting, but the worst loss would be the 8,000 soldiers who were captured in the Battle of Buda. The loss of such a force limited Jelačić’s ability to fight the Hungarians, but more importantly, it prompted the disgruntled Italo-Dalmatians of Dalmatia to rise in revolt against his rule, likely at the prodding of their Italian kinsmen in Venetia. With Dalmatia up in arms against him, Jelačić and his Croatians turned their attention away from Hungary and to the threat in their rear, allowing the Hungarians ample time to prepare for an offensive against Vienna.

Once again, Lajos Kossuth would take command of the Hungarian Army, seemingly failing to learn anything of great substance from his humiliating defeat at Velence several weeks before. And while his second foray into military affairs would begin better than his first, leading the Hungarians to a series of minor victories near Gyor and Hédervár, he would be quickly outmaneuvered by Field Marshal Grätz and his army west of Pressburg, forcing him to retreat back to Buda with his tail between his legs. The defeat of Lajos Kossuth and the Hungarian Army at Pressburg would stave off the collpase of the Austrian Empire, but it did little to deter other, would be revolutionaries from making their own claims to independence as the Poles of Galicia-Lodomeria and Krakow soon rose in revolt as well.

Next Time: The Great Polish Uprising

[1] The Military Frontiers of Croatia, Slavonia, Serbia, and Transylvania were also technically considered parts of the Lands of the Hungarian Crown, but they were effectively autonomous regions controlled by their local commanders, with nominal authority exerted by Vienna.

[2] A slightly modified version of the April Laws from OTL.

[3] Despite originating from a Slovak noble house, Lajos Kossuth considered himself to be a Hungarian through and through, even going as far as to deny the existence of a Slovak people.

[4] This is something that Lajos Kossuth actually did in OTL under his purview as Minister of Finance.
 
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