THE Habsburgs, however, were served by able men, who took advantage of the antipathy that existed among the insurgent nationalities. It was quite easy to use ignorant troops from any portion of the Empire to repress any other part. Jellacic, Ban of Croatia, employed its barbarous population in defence of the Empire. The Viennese stood by while the Imperial forces subdued Prague, then they themselves were dealt with, and the Italian forces were defeated. Finally, with the assistance of the Tsar, the new Emperor, Francis Joseph, who had succeeded to the throne at the age of eighteen, saw his servants trample down the Magyars and punish them with merciless outrages. The Austrian army had saved the Habsburg empire. Very little seems to have been learned from this narrow escape.
The King of Prussia, after agreeing to become Emperor of the new Germany, withdrew, overcome by fear of Austria and shame at having deserted his fellow-kings. The Prussian constitution was again limited, the National Parliament at Frankfurt talked for a time longer, and was then dissolved by force. All over Germany revolutionaries were executed or exiled.
Charles Albert of Sardinia led an Italian league to expel Austria from North Italy, and even the King of Naples and the Pope joined it. But it broke down against the Austrian fortresses and the strength of the non-Italian Austrian forces. The Italians were defeated in battle and Charles Albert had to abdicate as a condition of peace. His son, Victor Emmanuel, succeeded him. The other princes had already withdrawn. Idealists like Mazzini and Garibaldi and Manin, who had already plotted and fought for Italy, raised revolts in Rome, Venice, and elsewhere, and fought to the last moment of hope, escaping narrowly with their lives. The revolutionary Prince-President of France sent troops to restore the Pope's authority in Rome. Italy, singlehanded, was incapable of beating even an Austria handicapped by rebellions in all its dominions, even if Italy herself had been united and enthusiastic, which she was not-the national movement was in general frowned on by the Church and of no interest to the peasantry.
The Revolutions of 1848 thus seemed to have gained little except the dislodgment of Metternich. The reformers had been betrayed by the King of Prussia in Germany, and the Habsburg tyranny in Italy and Central Europe seemed unshakable. In France the Citizen King had been displaced by a bourgeois republic under the ominous headship of a Bonaparte. Actually an impression had been made. Certain rising men in the old governments were prepared to forward some of the reformers' desires, at a price, and the surviving reformers were learning to adapt ends to means. So, within twenty-five years, a great deal of what was fought for unsuccessfully in 1845-49 was to be put into effect.