Category Archives: European History.

19th Century European Broadcasting

HISTORY

19th Century European Broadcasting

The centre of the birth of European radio in the late 19th Century was Ireland. Although this was not realised at the time history would soon make it an absolute fact. Ireland was perfectly located on the north Atlantic of north-west Europe which gave it a great advantage for transatlantic communications at the birth of what was to become the communications revolution of the early 20th century. Ireland would remain very much in the dark about these advantages until the arrival of Italian-Irishman, “the father of radio” Guglielmo Marconi built his first Irish station at Crookhaven, County Cork in 1902.

As far back as February 1893 an article headed “Electric Messages without Wires” the Irish public were alerted to a new reality, “the promise of electrical communication between two points without the agency of an intervening wire.” The article explains, “Today electricians are easily transmitting electric messages across a Wireless distance of three miles, without any sign of approaching the limits of the electric function in this direction.”[1] If there were any public enthusiasm for the revelation it was not obvious for another three years.

In December 1896 Irish readers saw reports of an amazing scientific development. Newspapers explain, “A young Italian scientist named Marconi appears to have perfected a system of electrical communication by which vibrations set up in one apparatus are communicated to a nearby receiver without wires. The secret being that the receiver must respond to the vibrations of the sender.”[2] While Wireless Telegraphy may have been a new idea to Irish readers these developments were the latest in a long series of experiments dating back to 1844.

In that year Samuel Morse, aged 53, would send the first four words ever dispatched; “What hath God wrought?” flashed over an electric Telegraph wire in ‘Morse Code’ on a line from Washington to Baltimore. Essential to Morse’s idea was signals would be sent by the opening and closing of an electrical circuit, that the receiving apparatus would, by electromagnetic, record signals as dots and dashes on paper, and that there would be a code whereby the dots and dashes would be translated into numbers and letters.[3]

By increasing battery power Samuel Morse was able to send messages one third of a mile on electrical wire around a large lecture hall. He then devised a system of electromagnetic relays, this being the key element; it meant no limit to the distance a message could be sent. Morse went on to working out a system for transmitting the alphabet in dots and dashes, in what was to be known as ‘Morse Code’. Morse’s invention was quickly established as a means of communication in America but, importantly to him, also in his beloved Europe, in the heart of Paris.

In 1839, after a series of long legal wrangles with the English Government in relation to the Patent of his invention he sailed for Paris where he met with expansive recognition as a genius. It was said of Morse’s invention that, “it transcends all yet made known and clearly another revolution is at hand.”[4] For financial reasons Morse was forced to return to America and four years later in 1844 he opened a Telegraph line, built with congressional appropriation, between Washington and Baltimore, a distance of 34 miles.

Morse’s experiments were so successful that when the contentious 1844 Democratic National Convention at Baltimore became deadlocked; hundreds gathered in Washington for updates. Martin Van Buren tied for the nomination with Lewis Cass. On the eighth ballot, the convention chose compromise candidate, James Polk. The rapid transmission of information was reported as, “the utter annihilation of space.” Morse’s invention became America’s only means of communication. By 1867 so indispensable had Telegraphy become that 50,000 miles of Western Union wire carried more than two million news dispatches annually.[5]

Seven years later in 1874 in Bologna, Italy the second son of Giuseppe Marconi and his Irish wife, Annie Jameson from County Wexford was born and christened Guglielmo. By his late teens he developed an insatiable desire to communicate from point to point without wires. The idea was not inconceivable to other inventors but it was Marconi who dedicated himself exclusively to taking it from idea to reality. He saw its seaworthy potential and wanted to exploit it as a means of generating handsome profits. Marconi was not only a communications wizard but also a businessman seeking fame and fortune.

Marconi was strategically placed during his early years to be later referred to as, ‘the true father of radio’, because of his interest in science and electricity. He was fascinated by the work of Heinrich Hertz, who, in 1888, demonstrated that one could produce and detect electromagnetic radiation or Hertzian Waves, now known as radio waves. After Hertz’s death in 1894 Marconi assisted a neighbour and friend, University of Bologna physicist Augusto Righi, in researching Hertz’s work and thus birth was given to Marconi’s lifelong obsession with the airwaves.[6]

But Marconi’s vision for the uses of Wireless communication was restricted as being a means by which one could communicate a message to another. The concept of one communicating to an audience was not familiar to him at this stage in his career. The prospect of sending communications for more than one person was a frightening one to the journalists of Marconi’s age; “with Wireless Telegraphy what is to become of the small boy who views the ball games from the tops of the Telegraph poles?”[7]

The early radio experimentations gave little confidence for its future; ‘Experiments in Wireless Telegraphy are completed; long distance Telegraphy by this means is far from established’.[8] Lord Kelvin, British mathematician, physicist and president of the British Royal Society, stated ‘Radio has no future’.[9] Perhaps the future was not in radio but in broadcasting which came following a succession of inventions including electric Telegraph, Wireless Telegraph and Wireless telephony or radio which would broadcast music and speech.

The story of Irish broadcasting began in a remote windy landscape in Connemara in 1901 as a series of ‘Buzzing sounds’ are heard heralding in an age of communication which suffered because of political division. Marconi once stated, ‘I made the discovery by accident’[10] often fell victim to this divide and became so infuriated by it that he wrote; ‘Have I done the world well, or have I added a menace?’[11]

This public and corporate divide was identified by Bertolt Brecht who stressed the idea of telecommunications as an artistic medium. Brecht advocated ‘two-way communication’ for radio to give the public power of representation and to pull it away from the control of corporate media.[12] Today, Brecht’s vision still seems idealistic. But, the fact remains that Radio has had a tremendous global impact. The revolutionary medium prepared the ground for television and the internet by loosening the strictures on global public discourse.

With Wireless Telegraphy came the search for its purpose. In 1897, the Irish Times gives an optimistic account of Marconi’s experiments; “In addition to the possibility of exploding gunpowder magazines on board ships from long distances off Marconi foresees that he will be able to set all the watches in the pockets of a town’s inhabitants.”[13] Such possibilities were true to Marconi but the use of Wireless Telegraphy as a weapon was the truest of all and he was willing to sell these weapons to the highest bidder.

Very soon Irish Newspapers reported on the ‘warfare possibilities’ of Marconi’s invention and state that he was travelling across Europe exploiting Wireless Telegraphy’s possibilities. The most startling of all the suggestions for Marconi’s invention is that it may be possible to fire the magazine of any battleship by simply passing an electric current of sufficient degree of intensity through the water on which the ship was riding.[14] Wireless Telegraphy had the power to kill people from afar and Marconi was ready to profit on the demand for his product.

Marconi’s propaganda machine was quick to swing into action. By September 1897 interest in Wireless Telegraphy was growing as reports about covert experiments appeared on a frequent basis and in greater detail. The Irish Times tells readers that tests in Wireless Telegraphy are being arranged at Dover and are ‘unusually important’ and will last for some time; “In recent operations between ships the Italian Navy and the coast have developed the latest practical phase of the system.”[15] The article declares that there may be military uses for the invention.

The public were developing an appetite for all things ‘Wireless’ and the academia responded. One public lecture held in Birr, County Offaly, “involved practical demonstrations of recent discoveries including a new phonograph by Edison and, the main feature, which appeared to awaken the largest measure of interest was the demonstration of Wireless Telegraphy. The instrument demonstrated was an induction coil made capable of sending Telegraphic signals for a distance of nearly 6 miles passing through all obstacles varying in density from a stone building to a mountain.”[16]

What blossomed to be “a romance between Marconi and the Irish” began in January 1898 when Newspapers announce, “Marconi’s mother is Irish and related to John Jameson of whiskey fame. She was musically talented and attended the Conservatoire of Bologna where she met and married Marconi’s father. When her son launched his invention he came to London to his cousin, Henry Davis and the Wireless Telegraph Company was established.”[17] The Irish public had great affection for the inventor and when other nations criticised him, the Irish strengthened their support.

One of the first public lectures in Wireless broadcasting occurred in March 1898 with a talk given by Msgr Gerald Molloy at the Theatre of the Royal Dublin Society. Molloy lectures on “Principals of Electric Signalling without Wires.” He explains Marconi’s Wireless signals are transmitted through space using electromagnetic waves.[18] Molloy’s lecture was so popular that the general public demands a return visit for those who could not attend the first time round.”[19]

The public appetite by the late 1890s for new information in relation to Wireless Telegraphy was voracious. Lectures were given countrywide and were always attended by large crowds eager to learn about the “most marvellous discovery of the century.”[20] Most of these lectures were attended by the working press who, immediately after the lecture, filed reports on the latest updates. The numerous articles which appeared in the newspaper in relation to Wireless Telegraphy clearly suggests that the interest in Marconi was not just in Dublin but nationwide.

On Wednesday, May 11th 1898 the first Irish installation of Marconi’s system was made at Clara in Offaly. The transmitter was placed in the office of Clara Flour Mills and a receiver, one mile away, at Goodbody’s Jute Works. Messages were sent and say Newspapers, “This is the first attempt at Telegraphing without wires across a town in Ireland. The signals were so good that the messages were read by the sound emitted by Marconi’s Tapper and Decoherer, and the ordinary Morse instrument was dispensed with altogether.”[21]

While these transmissions were taking place further experiments were successfully going on in other parts of Ireland. Marconi was being congratulated by the President of the Board Of Trade, Lord John Hay [Admiral of the Fleet], Lord Charles Beresford and others on the success attending a demonstration he gave them. Several naval officers sailed on the admiralty yacht to the Needles, where is situated the permanent station of Marconi’s new Telegraphy system, and for two hours sent messages and received replies between the Needles and Bournemouth, about sixteen miles.[22]

Some days later there are reports that a rival to Marconi has turned up in Nikola Tesla, “an American of course” who claims to have invented a new machine, “More powerful than any ever before.” With it he expects “to send messages without wires for very long distances.” He has offered the invention as a free gift to his Government in the hope it proves useful for the transmission of signals by the Army and Navy during the troubles with Spain.”[23]

However, Marconi was more preoccupied with other events. At Dublin’s Kingstown’s Regatta, “A novel feature was the successful reporting of the sailing match carried out with the aid of Marconi himself. In the morning the gentlemen of the press embarked on board the steam tug Flying Huntress, and followed the yachts engaged in the race. Marconi used his transmitter and receiver to contact the shore sending messages from the tug while in rapid motion following the yachts and when received on shore the messages were telephoned to newspaper offices.”[24]

The world’s first text messages were sent in 1898 by Marconi between the Queen’s residence at Isle of Wight and the Royal Yacht ‘Osborne’ moored at East Cowes. The distance between the stations was a mile and each station was hidden from view of the other by hills. The electric waves easily passed over the hills; “The Prince was keenly interested in the experiments and conducted prolonged conversations with Marconi on the intricate workings of the apparatus.”[25] To impress English royalty would soon be a major coup for Marconi.

By April 1899 faith in the future of the invention began to dwindle. Prof Silvanus Thompson, a prominent electrician, tells Irish media the success of Marconi’s experiments was the natural result of the development of well-established principles by Hertz and Oliver Lodge. The implication being Marconi was manipulating the research of others to generate profits. Thomson states, “There is no such thing as Wireless Telegraphy. One can send signals for a distance of yards without wires; but in the recent successful attempts to telegraph across space wires are used.”[26]

But Prof JA Fleming, of University College, London disagrees and says the time has arrived for a little more generous appreciation by his scientific contemporaries of the fact that “Marconi’s work is no small achievement. His apparatus is ridiculously simple and not costly. With the exception of the Flagstaff and 150 feet of vertical wire at each end, he can place on a small kitchen table the appliances, costing not more than £100 in all, for communicating across 30 or even 100 miles of land or water.”[27]

In a letter to the London Times another of Marconi’s supporters speaks out, “much of the future depends on Government action; it is to be hoped the Post Office will not claim this Wireless Telegraphy is included in the monopoly they possess of Telegraphy. Marconi has modest confidence in the future. I trust that those who are interested in the subject will accord him all the aid and support that his inventiveness deserves, and that he may live to see his effort is crowned with complete success.”[28]

Days later Irish Newspapers report intense interest in Marconi’s system; “Marconi’s experiments have been closely followed with a view to placing lightships and lighthouses in communication with the shore. The importance of this was recently demonstrated when in foggy weather a vessel got into difficulties while at sea. The men of the East Goodwin lightship, who had been given elementary instruction in Marconi’s system, transmitted messages to the shore resulting in lifeboats losing no time in getting to the scene; the Crew owe their lives to Wireless Telegraphy.”[29]

Politicians began to pay attention to Marconi’s invention. Penrose Fitzgerald, at the House of Lords demands to know “Is it time to adopt the Wireless system?”[30] The admiration being bestowed on Marconi by the upper echelons of English politics was good for business. Marconi is offered a lucrative contract to establish transatlantic communication, “Marconi has been approached by representative of a syndicate wishing to acquire sole rights to establish communication between England and America.”[31]

But the word from America was not positive. Some experiments had been carried out in Chicago showing that ‘land obstacles’ remain to be overcome, “It has been discovered the system is impractical in cities studded with “sky-scraping” buildings, and is too slow for commercial use.”[32] But these reports take nothing from Marconi’s confidence that the connection of England and America by Wireless Telegraphy is no dream; he believes although there are difficulties to be surmounted, they are not as great as those that have been overcome.

One such difficulty is the height of the poles necessary to erect on either side of the Atlantic. They would have to be 1500 feet high but technical improvements will, Marconi believes, diminish these requirements.[33] Inventor WH Preece did not share Marconi’s optimism, “Two years after the practicability of Wireless Telegraphy was affirmed, and not a single independent commercial circuit exists. Marconi’s operations are more concentrated on the stock exchange than on establishing useful circuits.”[34]

Preece’s comments had little effect on Marconi, or anyone else involved in the science including French electrical savant, Dr Lee Bon, who was exploring Wireless technology in modern warfare. The result is an apparatus which would be able to project a current capable of annihilating a fleet of ships, “An explosion would be followed by a shower of sparks resulting from the contact between the projected current and electric wires on board ship, which would be so intense it would ignite powder and shells on board.”[35]

The value of Wireless Telegraphy in warfare seemed limitless with reports that Royal Engineers have been testing for the purpose of dropping explosive charges. By means of balloons and an elaboration of Marconi’s systems large quantities of explosives such as dynamite could be released from a balloon 3 miles away and made to explode inside any fortified work, killing the garrison and dislodging the guns, “The Hague Conference condemns such methods, but, possibly, an enemy sore pressed in real war, would scarcely hesitate to break through such restrictions.”[36]

But the march of progress was relentless. In new experiments in ship to shore communications greater distances are being achieved. By now messages were being transmitted over forty miles. The increased distances do not have the slightest effect upon the current and messages are being received with unvarying distinctiveness, “An interesting feature of current experiments is the facility with which Marconi’s latest development for ‘cutting out’ stations was applied. Messages are being sent without other stations interrupting them. The results of these experiments are successful.”[37]

Meanwhile, trials of military balloons and Marconi’s systems are being made in Vienna. This first attempt to make use of Wireless Telegraphy from a balloon was made by three Austrian officers, who ascended in the military balloon Eagle.[38] “The balloon was provided with receiving apparatus and successfully interpreted messages dispatched from the ground. It will probably be demonstrated that Wireless Telegraphy has its part to play in the warfare of the future.”[39]

The investigations into Military applications for Wireless Telegraphy were becoming a daily occurrence and Marconi is invariably present to clench any lucrative deal. At Bangor Bay near Belfast a number of battleships and cruisers are anchored and experimenting with Marconi’s system. The cruiser Juno and the flagship Alexandra are fitted with Wireless equipment and Marconi is on board testing the usefulness of the invention in naval warfare.”[40] The newspaper later reports Wireless Telegraphy is fast going ahead, and now the War Office is adopting it by sea and land.

The Admiralty are also impressed with further experiments going on between stations at Epsom and Aldershot. The tests proved it possible to maintain continuous correspondence from station to station, and that messages cannot be intercepted. Expert officers have made special reports to the War Office, and the effect of the report will be the inauguration of the Marconi system as a means of conveying intelligence. Many ships will shortly be “circuited” and should all go satisfactorily, the system would become universal, as far as the United Kingdom was concerned.[41]

The possible military applications for Wireless Telegraphy are beginning to scare the general public. The Daily News reports “Grim Possibilities of Wireless War” with the announcement that a Patent in the name of John Munro has been brought to their attention. The Munro Patent’s most obvious application is the making of explosions in the atmosphere in order to influence the weather, “But it is easy to see that it can also be utilised in dropping explosives on the country, fortresses, or camps of an enemy underneath.”[42]

Dr Peter Stiens has invented an apparatus by which people could ‘Wirelessly’ telephone over long distances.[43] Stiens claims the device will allow persons in London and New York to distinctively communicate.[44] The possibility of “mobile phones” had come to light. There are also reports of experiments conducted at Newbury in which a building containing explosives was blown up without direct contact.”[45]

Scientists are impressed by a practical demonstration of Marconi’s invention during the annual general meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science arranged in conjunction with the corresponding French Association holding its conference at Boulogne, “Marconi’s system allowed for messages to be sent to France from an apparatus located at Dover Town Hall. One of the messages sent by Telegraph without wires cross-channel was a greeting from the president of the British Association to the president of the French Scientific Association who responded to the salutation.”[46]

Thus, on the eve of the 20th century Wireless Telegraphy was an invention that still sought purpose. There were many people laying claim to it but it was not the invention of any one person but the culmination of many minds brought to perfection by Marconi. As the 20th century unfolded engineers and inventors were focused on the Maritime and international news exchange possibilities for the invention. But there were also visionaries who sought purposes in such fields as medicine, telephony and public service. Few of these visionaries had considered the possibility of communication not as exclusively one-to-one but one-to-many.

In the late 19th Century the facts about Wireless broadcasting emerged after Hertz’s 1887 discovery; ‘The contrast between these beginnings and the present uses of radio is tremendous’.[47] Marconi’s accomplishments in radio were equally as important. In 1892 Tesla wrote; ‘Ere long intelligence, transmitted without wires, will throb through the earth like a pulse through a living organism’.[48] It would take Marconi to fulfil Tesla’s prophecy.

Marconi had noble notions for his invention; “In the new era, thought itself will be transmitted by radio.”[49] The potential of his invention created global excitement even in the upper echelons of the Catholic Church; “Radio is a new demonstration of the harmony between science and religion. Those who speak of the incompatibility of science and religion either make science say that which it never said or make religion say that which it never thought.”[50]

Radio had critics especially those who feared freedom of expression. Broadcasting from the beginning was closed to private enterprise; ‘Such control is ascribed to radio’s technical complexity and military functions. Many democracies have outrun technical and military imperatives in their zeal to control the airwaves’.[51] But Radio never lost its importance as documented by the Irish Times in 1897; “Nothing is of more importance to science than Wireless Telegraphy.”[52]

Most public interest radio formats permit criticism of the state but the balance of political opinion is invariably tilted in the Government favour. The establishment of Irish radio fixed the state’s relationship to broadcasting. This may be partly due to the fact that Ireland’s first Postmaster General (Communications Minister) J.J. Walsh, was an anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi sympathiser.[53] His legacy remains detrimental to Irish freedom of expression.

Marconi’s inventor status was persistently challenged but his genius was never questioned, “Marconi has large ideas but to what extent these ideas will be realised none can tell.”[54] American Newspapers remained cynical about Marconi; “Edison and Tesla would smile at the promises made in Marconi’s name.”[55] However, the power of Marconi’s invention was obvious and the birth of Irish radio was a war declaration between conservative rulers and liberal advocates of free expression.

As the 20th century unfolded each year brought developments demonstrating how the ‘Air Wars’ were fought. In these pages is a century long account of events leading to Irish radio broadcasting as it is today. It is the story of a nation in fear of technology that became determined to suppress freedoms to receive and give information, expression and speech. These important three F’s are the pivot of human development, essential if we are to share, analyse, understand, and move forward; ‘yet these three F’s are continually under attack’.[56]

Although Marconi noted; ‘This form of communication could have some utility’[57] such ‘utility’ remained under the scrutiny of political pioneers in the pre-Independence era; ‘Britain’s Irish dominance was underpinned by control of Irish communications systems’.[58] Arthur Griffith complained about this; ‘There is a ‘paper wall’ around Ireland’.[59]

Griffith was always at heart a journalist and advocate of freedom of expression. He was a lucid writer with a vivid turn of phrase but as the century progressed, Griffith’s observation faded into oblivion, but the reality remains unchanged. Radio has come through a century of development that has brought about the medium as we know it today. The exploration of these events in the course of the 20th century reflects Marconi’s contention that; ‘Every day sees humanity more victorious in the struggle with space and time’.[60]

Early Irish radio is often considered by Historians as a foil for television. Historians link the transformation of Irish society in the 20th century to television but dismiss radio as an agent of repression rather than social development. In post WW2 Irish Radio became interactive and consequently achieved Bertolt Brecht’s ideal of serving as a ‘system of communication’[61] based on audience response rather than being a unidirectional distribution system.[62]

Until the 1960’s the primary source of information available to the world was radio and it influenced people. Common national culture was shaped more by radio than television or newsprint. By 1960 most European families owned a radio and it occupied prime space in the home.[63] The arrival of battery transistor radio in the 1960’s increased mobility but contributed to radio’s new lowly status as an aural medium in a visual age. Young people drifted to television but for older people radio retained its charms.

What follows is an exploration of a century of European broadcasting documenting the most significant events in the age of global communication. It is a relentless story that began with the words of Guglielmo Marconi when he sent the first message across the Bristol Channel in 1897 stating, “Let it be so.” It is a story full of twists and turns, of a series of unfailing political regimes in fear of freedom. At the dawn of the digital age, these fears persist and it is as if history will repeat itself unless the lessons of the radio ages are learned.

[1] Weekly IrishTimes,1893 ElectricMessageswithoutWires. Weekly Irish Times, 04thFebruary,p.1.

[2] Lady, A,.1896. TalkoftheTown. Weekly IrishTimes,26thDecember, p.4.

[3] McCullough,D,.2011 Samuel Morse’sReversalof Fortune.SmithsonianMagazine,VolumeSeptember,2011.

[4] Ellsworth, H,.2011 SamuelMorse’sReversalofFortune Smithsonian Magazine,VolumeSeptember,2011.

[5] McCullough,D,.2011 Samuel Morse’sReversalof Fortune SmithsonianMagazine,VolumeSeptember,2011.

[6] McHenry, R,.1993. Guglielmo Marconi. In:Encyclopedia Britannica. London:Encyclopedia Britannica.

[7] WashingtonPost 1897 Article 26 [NoTitle] TheWashington Post,9th August,p. 6.

[8] IrishTimes 1897. NewsfromAll PartsIrishTimes,20th November, p.5.

[9] Kelvin,L,.1897.Permanent.com[Online]Available at: http://www.permanent.com/infamous-quotes.html [Accessed 21st June 2012]

[10] Marconi 1897 SendsMessages Without Wires.Chicago Daily Tribune,2ndAugust,p. 2.

[11] Baker,D. C,.1998. WirelessTelegraphyduring the Anglo-Boerwarof1899-1902  MilitaryHistory Journal 11[2]

[12] Brecht, B,.1932. TheRadioas an Apparatus ofCommunication [Online]Available at:http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/source-text/8/ [Accessed03 September 2012]

[13] IrishTimes,1897 SignorMarconi’s Invention.Irish Times,18th August,p.6.

[14] IrishTimes,1897 What Next?Irish Times, 29thJuly, p. 5.

[15] IrishTimes,1897 WirelessTelegraphy. IrishTimes,08th September, p.6A.

[16] Freemans Journal,1897. WirelessTelegraphy atBirr. FreemansJournal,12th October, p.11.

[17] Freemans Journal,1898. KingstownRegatta.FreemansJournal,21stJuly, p. 12.

[18] Freemans Journal,1898. Marconi ComesToDublin. FreemansJournal,22nd August,p.12.

[19] Molloy,G,1898.Marconi’sWireless Telegraphy[Letters].The FreemansJournal, 12th April, p.10.

[20] Anglo Celt,1898. FromDayto Day.Anglo Celt,14thMay, p.3.

[21] Freemans Journal,1898. System of WirelessTelegraphy. FreemansJournal, 22nd April, p.8.

[22] Anglo Celt,1898. Nikola Tesla.Anglo Celt,21stMay,p. 3.

[23] AngloCelt,1898. WirelessTelegraphy: The MostMarvelousDiscoveryof the CenturyExplained. Anglo Celt,16thApril, p. 4.

[24] Freemans Journal,1898. WirelessLecture.FreemansJournal,09thMarch, p. 11.

[25] Freemans Journal,1898. WirelessTelegraphy.FreemansJournal,12th April, p. 8.

[26] IrishTimes,1899. SocialMovements. Irish Times,17th April,p. 6.

[27] Fleming,P. J, 1899. OnWirelessTelegraphy.IrishTimes,04th April, p.5.

[28] Page, S. F,1899. LondonTimesLetter. IrishTimes,04th April, p.5.

[29] IrishTimes,1899. Intense Interest. Weekly IrishTimes,08th April, p.8.

[30] Fitzgerald, R. P,1899. London Correspondence.Irish Times,12th April, p.7.

[31] Weekly IrishTimes,1899. LatestWirelessTelegraphyTrials.WeeklyIrish Times,24thJune, p.6.

[32] Westminster Gazette, 1899. Criticism of Wireless Wiring. Weekly Irish Times, 29th April, p. 6.

[33] Westminster Gazette, 1899. Criticism of Wireless Wiring. Weekly Irish Times, 29th April, p. 6.

[34] Preece,W,1899. AethericTelegraphy.IrishTimes,04thMay, p. 6.

[35] Bon,D. L,1899. WirelessTelegraphy inWar.IrishTimes,27thMay, p. 4.

[36] DailyTelegraph,1899. Wireless at War.IrishTimes,15th June, p.4

[37] Weekly IrishTimes,1899. LucrativeContractforMarconi. Weekly Irish Times, 15th April, p.7.

[38] Weekly IrishTimes,1899.WirelessAerialTelegraphy.Weekly Irish Times,22nd July, p.4.

[39] IrishTimes,1899.MarconiSystemandWarBalloons.IrishTimes,17th July, p. 5.

[40] Irish Times, 1899. Naval Maneuvers. Irish Times, 24th July, p. 4.

[41] IrishTimes,1899. NavalManeuvers.Irish Times,24th July, p. 4.

[42] IrishTimes,1899.GrimPossibilitiesof WirelessWar. IrishTimes,05th August,p. 4.

[43] IrishTimes,1899.WirelessTelephone.IrishTimes,25th July,p. 4.

[44] IrishTimes,1899. Fraternising with theFrench.Irish Times,14th September, p. 6.

[45] IrishTimes,1899.WarOfficeWirelessTelegraphy[London Correspondence]. Irish Times,31stJuly, p. 5.

[46] IrishTimes,1899.WirelessTelegraphyExplosion.Irish Times,27th July,p. 5.

[47] Whittemore,L. E,1929. The DevelopmentofRadio. Annals of the American Academy ofPolitical &Social science, Issue March 1929, p.1.

[48] Tesla, N,1892. ElectricalEngineer.ElectricalEngineer,Issue 609, p. 11.

[49] Marconi, G,1934.Quotation Marks. NewYorkTimes,11th October, p.2.

[50] Pope PiusXI,1931.Opening of the Vatican CityRadio Station. Rome: s.n.

[51] Kasza, G. J,1986.Democracy and the Foundingof JapanesePublicRadio. The Journal of AsianStudies,45[4], p. 745.

[52] IrishTimes,1897.WirelessTelegraphy.IrishTimes,15th August,p. 6.

[53] Dwyer,T. R,1988.Strained Relations: Ireland atPeace and theUSAat War,1941-45.1 ed.Dublin: Gill&MacMillanLtd. DXArchive,1996.DXARCHIVE (Online)Available at:http://www.dxarchive.com/ireland_dublin_radio_dublin_pre75.html[Accessed20 052012].

[54] Molloy,G,1898.WirelessTelegraphy.FreemansJournal, 15th March, p. 9.

[55] San Francisco Chronicle, 1897.Marconi BoomHas An Object. San Francisco Chronicle, 5thSeptember, p.13.

[56] D’Arcy,M,1990. PlayingWith theAirwaves. MITPress,p.179.

[57] Marconi, G,1897.Guglielmo Marconi Quotes (Online]Available at:http://refspace.com/quotes/Guglielmo_Marconi[Accessed21stJune2012].

[58] Fisher, D,1978. CaseStudies on BroadcastingSystems: Broadcasting In Ireland.1 ed.London: Routledge& Kegan Paul Ltd.

[59] Oireachtas, 1952. Parliamentary Debates: Dáil Éireann – Volume 129 – 12 March, 1952[Online] Available at: http://historical‑debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0129/D.0129.195203 120066.html [Accessed 06 06 2012].

[60] Marconi, G,1899.Guglielmo Marconi Quotes (Online]Available at:http://refspace.com/quotes/Guglielmo_Marconi[Accessed21stJune2012].

[61] Brecht, B,1932. Brecht onTheatre. NewYork:Hill & Wang.

[62] Morgan,E,2001.QuestionTime: RadioandtheLiberalistationof IrishPublic Discourse afterWW2.History Ireland,9[4],p. 39.

[63] Judt, T, 2006.Postwar: A History ofEuropesince1945.1sted. London:Penguin Books.

Advertisements

19th Century European Radio

Marconi Room on the Olympic.

Rising Radio Revolution

The centre of the birth of European radio in the late 19th Century was Ireland. Although this was not realised at the time history would soon make it an absolute fact. Ireland was perfectly located on the north Atlantic of north-west Europe which gave it a great advantage for transatlantic communications at the birth of what was to become the communications revolution of the early 20th century. Ireland would remain very much in the dark about these advantages until the arrival of Italian-Irishman, “the father of radio” Guglielmo Marconi built his first Irish station at Crookhaven, County Cork in 1902.

As far back as February 1893 an article headed “Electric Messages without Wires” the Irish public were alerted to a new reality, “the promise of electrical communication between two points without the agency of an intervening wire.” The article explains, “Today electricians are easily transmitting electric messages across a Wireless distance of three miles, without any sign of approaching the limits of the electric function in this direction.”[1] If there were any public enthusiasm for the revelation it was not obvious for another three years.

In December 1896 Irish readers saw reports of an amazing scientific development. Newspapers explain, “A young Italian scientist named Marconi appears to have perfected a system of electrical communication by which vibrations set up in one apparatus are communicated to a nearby receiver without wires. The secret being that the receiver must respond to the vibrations of the sender.”[2] While Wireless Telegraphy may have been a new idea to Irish readers these developments were the latest in a long series of experiments dating back to 1844.

In that year Samuel Morse, aged 53, would send the first four words ever dispatched; “What hath God wrought?” flashed over an electric Telegraph wire in ‘Morse Code’ on a line from Washington to Baltimore. Essential to Morse’s idea was signals would be sent by the opening and closing of an electrical circuit, that the receiving apparatus would, by electromagnetic, record signals as dots and dashes on paper, and that there would be a code whereby the dots and dashes would be translated into numbers and letters.[3]

By increasing battery power Samuel Morse was able to send messages one third of a mile on electrical wire around a large lecture hall. He then devised a system of electromagnetic relays, this being the key element; it meant no limit to the distance a message could be sent. Morse went on to working out a system for transmitting the alphabet in dots and dashes, in what was to be known as ‘Morse Code’. Morse’s invention was quickly established as a means of communication in America but, importantly to him, also in his beloved Europe, in the heart of Paris.

In 1839, after a series of long legal wrangles with the English Government in relation to the Patent of his invention he sailed for Paris where he met with expansive recognition as a genius. It was said of Morse’s invention that, “it transcends all yet made known and clearly another revolution is at hand.”[4] For financial reasons Morse was forced to return to America and four years later in 1844 he opened a Telegraph line, built with congressional appropriation, between Washington and Baltimore, a distance of 34 miles.

Morse’s experiments were so successful that when the contentious 1844 Democratic National Convention at Baltimore became deadlocked; hundreds gathered in Washington for updates. Martin Van Buren tied for the nomination with Lewis Cass. On the eighth ballot, the convention chose compromise candidate, James Polk. The rapid transmission of information was reported as, “the utter annihilation of space.” Morse’s invention became America’s only means of communication. By 1867 so indispensable had Telegraphy become that 50,000 miles of Western Union wire carried more than two million news dispatches annually.[5]

Seven years later in 1874 in Bologna, Italy the second son of Giuseppe Marconi and his Irish wife, Annie Jameson from County Wexford was born and christened Guglielmo. By his late teens he developed an insatiable desire to communicate from point to point without wires. The idea was not inconceivable to other inventors but it was Marconi who dedicated himself exclusively to taking it from idea to reality. He saw its seaworthy potential and wanted to exploit it as a means of generating handsome profits. Marconi was not only a communications wizard but also a businessman seeking fame and fortune.

Marconi was strategically placed during his early years to be later referred to as, ‘the true father of radio’, because of his interest in science and electricity. He was fascinated by the work of Heinrich Hertz, who, in 1888, demonstrated that one could produce and detect electromagnetic radiation or Hertzian Waves, now known as radio waves. After Hertz’s death in 1894 Marconi assisted a neighbour and friend, University of Bologna physicist Augusto Righi, in researching Hertz’s work and thus birth was given to Marconi’s lifelong obsession with the airwaves.[6]

But Marconi’s vision for the uses of Wireless communication was restricted as being a means by which one could communicate a message to another. The concept of one communicating to an audience was not familiar to him at this stage in his career. The prospect of sending communications for more than one person was a frightening one to the journalists of Marconi’s age; “with Wireless Telegraphy what is to become of the small boy who views the ball games from the tops of the Telegraph poles?”[7]

The early radio experimentations gave little confidence for its future; ‘Experiments in Wireless Telegraphy are completed; long distance Telegraphy by this means is far from established’.[8] Lord Kelvin, British mathematician, physicist and president of the British Royal Society, stated ‘Radio has no future’.[9] Perhaps the future was not in radio but in broadcasting which came following a succession of inventions including electric Telegraph, Wireless Telegraph and Wireless telephony or radio which would broadcast music and speech.

The story of Irish broadcasting began in a remote windy landscape in Connemara in 1901 as a series of ‘Buzzing sounds’ are heard heralding in an age of communication which suffered because of political division. Marconi once stated, ‘I made the discovery by accident’[10] often fell victim to this divide and became so infuriated by it that he wrote; ‘Have I done the world well, or have I added a menace?’[11]

This public and corporate divide was identified by Bertolt Brecht who stressed the idea of telecommunications as an artistic medium. Brecht advocated ‘two-way communication’ for radio to give the public power of representation and to pull it away from the control of corporate media.[12] Today, Brecht’s vision still seems idealistic. But, the fact remains that Radio has had a tremendous global impact. The revolutionary medium prepared the ground for television and the internet by loosening the strictures on global public discourse.

With Wireless Telegraphy came the search for its purpose. In 1897, the Irish Times gives an optimistic account of Marconi’s experiments; “In addition to the possibility of exploding gunpowder magazines on board ships from long distances off Marconi foresees that he will be able to set all the watches in the pockets of a town’s inhabitants.”[13] Such possibilities were true to Marconi but the use of Wireless Telegraphy as a weapon was the truest of all and he was willing to sell these weapons to the highest bidder.

Very soon Irish Newspapers reported on the ‘warfare possibilities’ of Marconi’s invention and state that he was travelling across Europe exploiting Wireless Telegraphy’s possibilities. The most startling of all the suggestions for Marconi’s invention is that it may be possible to fire the magazine of any battleship by simply passing an electric current of sufficient degree of intensity through the water on which the ship was riding.[14] Wireless Telegraphy had the power to kill people from afar and Marconi was ready to profit on the demand for his product.

Marconi’s propaganda machine was quick to swing into action. By September 1897 interest in Wireless Telegraphy was growing as reports about covert experiments appeared on a frequent basis and in greater detail. The Irish Times tells readers that tests in Wireless Telegraphy are being arranged at Dover and are ‘unusually important’ and will last for some time; “In recent operations between ships the Italian Navy and the coast have developed the latest practical phase of the system.”[15] The article declares that there may be military uses for the invention.

The public were developing an appetite for all things ‘Wireless’ and the academia responded. One public lecture held in Birr, County Offaly, “involved practical demonstrations of recent discoveries including a new phonograph by Edison and, the main feature, which appeared to awaken the largest measure of interest was the demonstration of Wireless Telegraphy. The instrument demonstrated was an induction coil made capable of sending Telegraphic signals for a distance of nearly 6 miles passing through all obstacles varying in density from a stone building to a mountain.”[16]

What blossomed to be “a romance between Marconi and the Irish” began in January 1898 when Newspapers announce, “Marconi’s mother is Irish and related to John Jameson of whiskey fame. She was musically talented and attended the Conservatoire of Bologna where she met and married Marconi’s father. When her son launched his invention he came to London to his cousin, Henry Davis and the Wireless Telegraph Company was established.”[17] The Irish public had great affection for the inventor and when other nations criticised him, the Irish strengthened their support.

One of the first public lectures in Wireless broadcasting occurred in March 1898 with a talk given by Msgr Gerald Molloy at the Theatre of the Royal Dublin Society. Molloy lectures on “Principals of Electric Signalling without Wires.” He explains Marconi’s Wireless signals are transmitted through space using electromagnetic waves.[18] Molloy’s lecture was so popular that the general public demands a return visit for those who could not attend the first time round.”[19]

The public appetite by the late 1890s for new information in relation to Wireless Telegraphy was voracious. Lectures were given countrywide and were always attended by large crowds eager to learn about the “most marvellous discovery of the century.”[20] Most of these lectures were attended by the working press who, immediately after the lecture, filed reports on the latest updates. The numerous articles which appeared in the newspaper in relation to Wireless Telegraphy clearly suggests that the interest in Marconi was not just in Dublin but nationwide.

On Wednesday, May 11th 1898 the first Irish installation of Marconi’s system was made at Clara in Offaly. The transmitter was placed in the office of Clara Flour Mills and a receiver, one mile away, at Goodbody’s Jute Works. Messages were sent and say Newspapers, “This is the first attempt at Telegraphing without wires across a town in Ireland. The signals were so good that the messages were read by the sound emitted by Marconi’s Tapper and Decoherer, and the ordinary Morse instrument was dispensed with altogether.”[21]

While these transmissions were taking place further experiments were successfully going on in other parts of Ireland. Marconi was being congratulated by the President of the Board Of Trade, Lord John Hay [Admiral of the Fleet], Lord Charles Beresford and others on the success attending a demonstration he gave them. Several naval officers sailed on the admiralty yacht to the Needles, where is situated the permanent station of Marconi’s new Telegraphy system, and for two hours sent messages and received replies between the Needles and Bournemouth, about sixteen miles.[22]

Some days later there are reports that a rival to Marconi has turned up in Nikola Tesla, “an American of course” who claims to have invented a new machine, “More powerful than any ever before.” With it he expects “to send messages without wires for very long distances.” He has offered the invention as a free gift to his Government in the hope it proves useful for the transmission of signals by the Army and Navy during the troubles with Spain.”[23]

However, Marconi was more preoccupied with other events. At Dublin’s Kingstown’s Regatta, “A novel feature was the successful reporting of the sailing match carried out with the aid of Marconi himself. In the morning the gentlemen of the press embarked on board the steam tug Flying Huntress, and followed the yachts engaged in the race. Marconi used his transmitter and receiver to contact the shore sending messages from the tug while in rapid motion following the yachts and when received on shore the messages were telephoned to newspaper offices.”[24]

The world’s first text messages were sent in 1898 by Marconi between the Queen’s residence at Isle of Wight and the Royal Yacht ‘Osborne’ moored at East Cowes. The distance between the stations was a mile and each station was hidden from view of the other by hills. The electric waves easily passed over the hills; “The Prince was keenly interested in the experiments and conducted prolonged conversations with Marconi on the intricate workings of the apparatus.”[25] To impress English royalty would soon be a major coup for Marconi.

By April 1899 faith in the future of the invention began to dwindle. Prof Silvanus Thompson, a prominent electrician, tells Irish media the success of Marconi’s experiments was the natural result of the development of well-established principles by Hertz and Oliver Lodge. The implication being Marconi was manipulating the research of others to generate profits. Thomson states, “There is no such thing as Wireless Telegraphy. One can send signals for a distance of yards without wires; but in the recent successful attempts to telegraph across space wires are used.”[26]

But Prof JA Fleming, of University College, London disagrees and says the time has arrived for a little more generous appreciation by his scientific contemporaries of the fact that “Marconi’s work is no small achievement. His apparatus is ridiculously simple and not costly. With the exception of the Flagstaff and 150 feet of vertical wire at each end, he can place on a small kitchen table the appliances, costing not more than £100 in all, for communicating across 30 or even 100 miles of land or water.”[27]

In a letter to the London Times another of Marconi’s supporters speaks out, “much of the future depends on Government action; it is to be hoped the Post Office will not claim this Wireless Telegraphy is included in the monopoly they possess of Telegraphy. Marconi has modest confidence in the future. I trust that those who are interested in the subject will accord him all the aid and support that his inventiveness deserves, and that he may live to see his effort is crowned with complete success.”[28]

Days later Irish Newspapers report intense interest in Marconi’s system; “Marconi’s experiments have been closely followed with a view to placing lightships and lighthouses in communication with the shore. The importance of this was recently demonstrated when in foggy weather a vessel got into difficulties while at sea. The men of the East Goodwin lightship, who had been given elementary instruction in Marconi’s system, transmitted messages to the shore resulting in lifeboats losing no time in getting to the scene; the Crew owe their lives to Wireless Telegraphy.”[29]

Politicians began to pay attention to Marconi’s invention. Penrose Fitzgerald, at the House of Lords demands to know “Is it time to adopt the Wireless system?”[30] The admiration being bestowed on Marconi by the upper echelons of English politics was good for business. Marconi is offered a lucrative contract to establish transatlantic communication, “Marconi has been approached by representative of a syndicate wishing to acquire sole rights to establish communication between England and America.”[31]

But the word from America was not positive. Some experiments had been carried out in Chicago showing that ‘land obstacles’ remain to be overcome, “It has been discovered the system is impractical in cities studded with “sky-scraping” buildings, and is too slow for commercial use.”[32] But these reports take nothing from Marconi’s confidence that the connection of England and America by Wireless Telegraphy is no dream; he believes although there are difficulties to be surmounted, they are not as great as those that have been overcome.

One such difficulty is the height of the poles necessary to erect on either side of the Atlantic. They would have to be 1500 feet high but technical improvements will, Marconi believes, diminish these requirements.[33] Inventor WH Preece did not share Marconi’s optimism, “Two years after the practicability of Wireless Telegraphy was affirmed, and not a single independent commercial circuit exists. Marconi’s operations are more concentrated on the stock exchange than on establishing useful circuits.”[34]

Preece’s comments had little effect on Marconi, or anyone else involved in the science including French electrical savant, Dr Lee Bon, who was exploring Wireless technology in modern warfare. The result is an apparatus which would be able to project a current capable of annihilating a fleet of ships, “An explosion would be followed by a shower of sparks resulting from the contact between the projected current and electric wires on board ship, which would be so intense it would ignite powder and shells on board.”[35]

The value of Wireless Telegraphy in warfare seemed limitless with reports that Royal Engineers have been testing for the purpose of dropping explosive charges. By means of balloons and an elaboration of Marconi’s systems large quantities of explosives such as dynamite could be released from a balloon 3 miles away and made to explode inside any fortified work, killing the garrison and dislodging the guns, “The Hague Conference condemns such methods, but, possibly, an enemy sore pressed in real war, would scarcely hesitate to break through such restrictions.”[36]

But the march of progress was relentless. In new experiments in ship to shore communications greater distances are being achieved. By now messages were being transmitted over forty miles. The increased distances do not have the slightest effect upon the current and messages are being received with unvarying distinctiveness, “An interesting feature of current experiments is the facility with which Marconi’s latest development for ‘cutting out’ stations was applied. Messages are being sent without other stations interrupting them. The results of these experiments are successful.”[37]

Meanwhile, trials of military balloons and Marconi’s systems are being made in Vienna. This first attempt to make use of Wireless Telegraphy from a balloon was made by three Austrian officers, who ascended in the military balloon Eagle.[38] “The balloon was provided with receiving apparatus and successfully interpreted messages dispatched from the ground. It will probably be demonstrated that Wireless Telegraphy has its part to play in the warfare of the future.”[39]

The investigations into Military applications for Wireless Telegraphy were becoming a daily occurrence and Marconi is invariably present to clench any lucrative deal. At Bangor Bay near Belfast a number of battleships and cruisers are anchored and experimenting with Marconi’s system. The cruiser Juno and the flagship Alexandra are fitted with Wireless equipment and Marconi is on board testing the usefulness of the invention in naval warfare.”[40] The newspaper later reports Wireless Telegraphy is fast going ahead, and now the War Office is adopting it by sea and land.

The Admiralty are also impressed with further experiments going on between stations at Epsom and Aldershot. The tests proved it possible to maintain continuous correspondence from station to station, and that messages cannot be intercepted. Expert officers have made special reports to the War Office, and the effect of the report will be the inauguration of the Marconi system as a means of conveying intelligence. Many ships will shortly be “circuited” and should all go satisfactorily, the system would become universal, as far as the United Kingdom was concerned.[41]

The possible military applications for Wireless Telegraphy are beginning to scare the general public. The Daily News reports “Grim Possibilities of Wireless War” with the announcement that a Patent in the name of John Munro has been brought to their attention. The Munro Patent’s most obvious application is the making of explosions in the atmosphere in order to influence the weather, “But it is easy to see that it can also be utilised in dropping explosives on the country, fortresses, or camps of an enemy underneath.”[42]

Dr Peter Stiens has invented an apparatus by which people could ‘Wirelessly’ telephone over long distances.[43] Stiens claims the device will allow persons in London and New York to distinctively communicate.[44] The possibility of “mobile phones” had come to light. There are also reports of experiments conducted at Newbury in which a building containing explosives was blown up without direct contact.”[45]

Scientists are impressed by a practical demonstration of Marconi’s invention during the annual general meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science arranged in conjunction with the corresponding French Association holding its conference at Boulogne, “Marconi’s system allowed for messages to be sent to France from an apparatus located at Dover Town Hall. One of the messages sent by Telegraph without wires cross-channel was a greeting from the president of the British Association to the president of the French Scientific Association who responded to the salutation.”[46]

Thus, on the eve of the 20th century Wireless Telegraphy was an invention that still sought purpose. There were many people laying claim to it but it was not the invention of any one person but the culmination of many minds brought to perfection by Marconi. As the 20th century unfolded engineers and inventors were focused on the Maritime and international news exchange possibilities for the invention. But there were also visionaries who sought purposes in such fields as medicine, telephony and public service. Few of these visionaries had considered the possibility of communication not as exclusively one-to-one but one-to-many.

In the late 19th Century the facts about Wireless broadcasting emerged after Hertz’s 1887 discovery; ‘The contrast between these beginnings and the present uses of radio is tremendous’.[47] Marconi’s accomplishments in radio were equally as important. In 1892 Tesla wrote; ‘Ere long intelligence, transmitted without wires, will throb through the earth like a pulse through a living organism’.[48] It would take Marconi to fulfil Tesla’s prophecy.

Marconi had noble notions for his invention; “In the new era, thought itself will be transmitted by radio.”[49] The potential of his invention created global excitement even in the upper echelons of the Catholic Church; “Radio is a new demonstration of the harmony between science and religion. Those who speak of the incompatibility of science and religion either make science say that which it never said or make religion say that which it never thought.”[50]

Radio had critics especially those who feared freedom of expression. Broadcasting from the beginning was closed to private enterprise; ‘Such control is ascribed to radio’s technical complexity and military functions. Many democracies have outrun technical and military imperatives in their zeal to control the airwaves’.[51] But Radio never lost its importance as documented by the Irish Times in 1897; “Nothing is of more importance to science than Wireless Telegraphy.”[52]

Most public interest radio formats permit criticism of the state but the balance of political opinion is invariably tilted in the Government favour. The establishment of Irish radio fixed the state’s relationship to broadcasting. This may be partly due to the fact that Ireland’s first Postmaster General (Communications Minister) J.J. Walsh, was an anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi sympathiser.[53] His legacy remains detrimental to Irish freedom of expression.

Marconi’s inventor status was persistently challenged but his genius was never questioned, “Marconi has large ideas but to what extent these ideas will be realised none can tell.”[54] American Newspapers remained cynical about Marconi; “Edison and Tesla would smile at the promises made in Marconi’s name.”[55] However, the power of Marconi’s invention was obvious and the birth of Irish radio was a war declaration between conservative rulers and liberal advocates of free expression.

As the 20th century unfolded each year brought developments demonstrating how the ‘Air Wars’ were fought. In these pages is a century long account of events leading to Irish radio broadcasting as it is today. It is the story of a nation in fear of technology that became determined to suppress freedoms to receive and give information, expression and speech. These important three F’s are the pivot of human development, essential if we are to share, analyse, understand, and move forward; ‘yet these three F’s are continually under attack’.[56]

Although Marconi noted; ‘This form of communication could have some utility’[57] such ‘utility’ remained under the scrutiny of political pioneers in the pre-Independence era; ‘Britain’s Irish dominance was underpinned by control of Irish communications systems’.[58] Arthur Griffith complained about this; ‘There is a ‘paper wall’ around Ireland’.[59]

Griffith was always at heart a journalist and advocate of freedom of expression. He was a lucid writer with a vivid turn of phrase but as the century progressed, Griffith’s observation faded into oblivion, but the reality remains unchanged. Radio has come through a century of development that has brought about the medium as we know it today. The exploration of these events in the course of the 20th century reflects Marconi’s contention that; ‘Every day sees humanity more victorious in the struggle with space and time’.[60]

Early Irish radio is often considered by Historians as a foil for television. Historians link the transformation of Irish society in the 20th century to television but dismiss radio as an agent of repression rather than social development. In post WW2 Irish Radio became interactive and consequently achieved Bertolt Brecht’s ideal of serving as a ‘system of communication’[61] based on audience response rather than being a unidirectional distribution system.[62]

Until the 1960’s the primary source of information available to the world was radio and it influenced people. Common national culture was shaped more by radio than television or newsprint. By 1960 most European families owned a radio and it occupied prime space in the home.[63] The arrival of battery transistor radio in the 1960’s increased mobility but contributed to radio’s new lowly status as an aural medium in a visual age. Young people drifted to television but for older people radio retained its charms.

What follows is an exploration of a century of European broadcasting documenting the most significant events in the age of global communication. It is a relentless story that began with the words of Guglielmo Marconi when he sent the first message across the Bristol Channel in 1897 stating, “Let it be so.” It is a story full of twists and turns, of a series of unfailing political regimes in fear of freedom. At the dawn of the digital age, these fears persist and it is as if history will repeat itself unless the lessons of the radio ages are learned.

 

[1] Weekly IrishTimes,1893 ElectricMessageswithoutWires. Weekly Irish Times, 04thFebruary,p.1.

[2] Lady, A,.1896. TalkoftheTown. Weekly IrishTimes,26thDecember, p.4.

[3] McCullough,D,.2011 Samuel Morse’sReversalof Fortune.SmithsonianMagazine,VolumeSeptember,2011.

[4] Ellsworth, H,.2011 SamuelMorse’sReversalofFortune Smithsonian Magazine,VolumeSeptember,2011.

[5] McCullough,D,.2011 Samuel Morse’sReversalof Fortune SmithsonianMagazine,VolumeSeptember,2011.

[6] McHenry, R,.1993. Guglielmo Marconi. In:Encyclopedia Britannica. London:Encyclopedia Britannica.

[7] WashingtonPost 1897 Article 26 [NoTitle] TheWashington Post,9th August,p. 6.

[8] IrishTimes 1897. NewsfromAll PartsIrishTimes,20th November, p.5.

[9] Kelvin,L,.1897.Permanent.com[Online]Available at: http://www.permanent.com/infamous-quotes.html [Accessed 21st June 2012]

[10] Marconi 1897 SendsMessages Without Wires.Chicago Daily Tribune,2ndAugust,p. 2.

[11] Baker,D. C,.1998. WirelessTelegraphyduring the Anglo-Boerwarof1899-1902  MilitaryHistory Journal 11[2]

[12] Brecht, B,.1932. TheRadioas an Apparatus ofCommunication [Online]Available at:http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/source-text/8/ [Accessed03 September 2012]

[13] IrishTimes,1897 SignorMarconi’s Invention.Irish Times,18th August,p.6.

[14] IrishTimes,1897 What Next?Irish Times, 29thJuly, p. 5.

[15] IrishTimes,1897 WirelessTelegraphy. IrishTimes,08th September, p.6A.

[16] Freemans Journal,1897. WirelessTelegraphy atBirr. FreemansJournal,12th October, p.11.

[17] Freemans Journal,1898. KingstownRegatta.FreemansJournal,21stJuly, p. 12.

[18] Freemans Journal,1898. Marconi ComesToDublin. FreemansJournal,22nd August,p.12.

[19] Molloy,G,1898.Marconi’sWireless Telegraphy[Letters].The FreemansJournal, 12th April, p.10.

[20] Anglo Celt,1898. FromDayto Day.Anglo Celt,14thMay, p.3.

[21] Freemans Journal,1898. System of WirelessTelegraphy. FreemansJournal, 22nd April, p.8.

[22] Anglo Celt,1898. Nikola Tesla.Anglo Celt,21stMay,p. 3.

[23] AngloCelt,1898. WirelessTelegraphy: The MostMarvelousDiscoveryof the CenturyExplained. Anglo Celt,16thApril, p. 4.

[24] Freemans Journal,1898. WirelessLecture.FreemansJournal,09thMarch, p. 11.

[25] Freemans Journal,1898. WirelessTelegraphy.FreemansJournal,12th April, p. 8.

[26] IrishTimes,1899. SocialMovements. Irish Times,17th April,p. 6.

[27] Fleming,P. J, 1899. OnWirelessTelegraphy.IrishTimes,04th April, p.5.

[28] Page, S. F,1899. LondonTimesLetter. IrishTimes,04th April, p.5.

[29] IrishTimes,1899. Intense Interest. Weekly IrishTimes,08th April, p.8.

[30] Fitzgerald, R. P,1899. London Correspondence.Irish Times,12th April, p.7.

[31] Weekly IrishTimes,1899. LatestWirelessTelegraphyTrials.WeeklyIrish Times,24thJune, p.6.

[32] Westminster Gazette, 1899. Criticism of Wireless Wiring. Weekly Irish Times, 29th April, p. 6.

[33] Westminster Gazette, 1899. Criticism of Wireless Wiring. Weekly Irish Times, 29th April, p. 6.

[34] Preece,W,1899. AethericTelegraphy.IrishTimes,04thMay, p. 6.

[35] Bon,D. L,1899. WirelessTelegraphy inWar.IrishTimes,27thMay, p. 4.

[36] DailyTelegraph,1899. Wireless at War.IrishTimes,15th June, p.4

[37] Weekly IrishTimes,1899. LucrativeContractforMarconi. Weekly Irish Times, 15th April, p.7.

[38] Weekly IrishTimes,1899.WirelessAerialTelegraphy.Weekly Irish Times,22nd July, p.4.

[39] IrishTimes,1899.MarconiSystemandWarBalloons.IrishTimes,17th July, p. 5.

[40] Irish Times, 1899. Naval Maneuvers. Irish Times, 24th July, p. 4.

[41] IrishTimes,1899. NavalManeuvers.Irish Times,24th July, p. 4.

[42] IrishTimes,1899.GrimPossibilitiesof WirelessWar. IrishTimes,05th August,p. 4.

[43] IrishTimes,1899.WirelessTelephone.IrishTimes,25th July,p. 4.

[44] IrishTimes,1899. Fraternising with theFrench.Irish Times,14th September, p. 6.

[45] IrishTimes,1899.WarOfficeWirelessTelegraphy[London Correspondence]. Irish Times,31stJuly, p. 5.

[46] IrishTimes,1899.WirelessTelegraphyExplosion.Irish Times,27th July,p. 5.

[47] Whittemore,L. E,1929. The DevelopmentofRadio. Annals of the American Academy ofPolitical &Social science, Issue March 1929, p.1.

[48] Tesla, N,1892. ElectricalEngineer.ElectricalEngineer,Issue 609, p. 11.

[49] Marconi, G,1934.Quotation Marks. NewYorkTimes,11th October, p.2.

[50] Pope PiusXI,1931.Opening of the Vatican CityRadio Station. Rome: s.n.

[51] Kasza, G. J,1986.Democracy and the Foundingof JapanesePublicRadio. The Journal of AsianStudies,45[4], p. 745.

[52] IrishTimes,1897.WirelessTelegraphy.IrishTimes,15th August,p. 6.

[53] Dwyer,T. R,1988.Strained Relations: Ireland atPeace and theUSAat War,1941-45.1 ed.Dublin: Gill&MacMillanLtd. DXArchive,1996.DXARCHIVE (Online)Available at:http://www.dxarchive.com/ireland_dublin_radio_dublin_pre75.html[Accessed20 052012].

[54] Molloy,G,1898.WirelessTelegraphy.FreemansJournal, 15th March, p. 9.

[55] San Francisco Chronicle, 1897.Marconi BoomHas An Object. San Francisco Chronicle, 5thSeptember, p.13.

[56] D’Arcy,M,1990. PlayingWith theAirwaves. MITPress,p.179.

[57] Marconi, G,1897.Guglielmo Marconi Quotes (Online]Available at:http://refspace.com/quotes/Guglielmo_Marconi[Accessed21stJune2012].

[58] Fisher, D,1978. CaseStudies on BroadcastingSystems: Broadcasting In Ireland.1 ed.London: Routledge& Kegan Paul Ltd.

[59] Oireachtas, 1952. Parliamentary Debates: Dáil Éireann – Volume 129 – 12 March, 1952[Online] Available at: http://historical‑debates.oireachtas.ie/D/0129/D.0129.195203 120066.html [Accessed 06 06 2012].

[60] Marconi, G,1899.Guglielmo Marconi Quotes (Online]Available at:http://refspace.com/quotes/Guglielmo_Marconi[Accessed21stJune2012].

[61] Brecht, B,1932. Brecht onTheatre. NewYork:Hill & Wang.

[62] Morgan,E,2001.QuestionTime: RadioandtheLiberalistationof IrishPublic Discourse afterWW2.History Ireland,9[4],p. 39.

[63] Judt, T, 2006.Postwar: A History ofEuropesince1945.1sted. London:Penguin Books.

Marconi And The Titanic

MARCONI AND THE TITANIC

By

Gerard J. Hannan

Marconi Room on the Olympic.

‘CQD CQD SOS Titanic Position 41.44 N 50.24 W. Require immediate assistance.

Come at once.We struck an iceberg. Sinking’

(12.17am 15.April.1912)

(Titanic, 1912)

From the very second the first SOS signal was sent from Titanic in the early hours of April 15, 1912 when that high-pitched musical tone travelled for hundreds of miles across the North Atlantic in a desperate plea for help it not only marked the beginning of the greatest maritime tragedy in recorded history but also was to have a long term resonation for Irish broadcasting. The Titanic sent the signal using her 1.5 kW Marconi installation to signal her death knell. The 1.5 kW set was the absolute latest piece of modern technology, for the time, and as such optimal performance was not only an absolute demand but also a natural expectation. Titanic’s Wireless set had a nominal working range of 250 nautical miles and signalling more distant stations was also possible, especially at night when ranges of up to 2000 miles were attained using similar sets. The location of the Wireless suite on Titanic was given secondary importance to valuable windows for use by First Class passengers.

The equipment was housed in a series of interconnecting rooms; the soundproof ‘Silent Room’ in which noisy transmitting equipment was located, the Marconi Room, an office in which contained the operators’ workstations, manipulation keys, and receiving equipment; and the bedroom, which contained the operators’ berthing. The Wireless set was operators and cared for by Marconi’s employees, who were by routine assigned to Titanic for the duration of one voyage and, therefore, not considered part of the normal crew. Their time was spent within the Marconi suite except at mealtime when they were allowed to adjourn to the dining saloon (Stevenson, 2002).

The alleged last audible message from Titanic came at around 2;05 AM when, as the New York Times revealed on April 21, 1912 based on testimony given by Harold Bride, there was an exchange between Capt Smith and Jack Phillips and Harold Bride who were the operators in charge of the Marconi suite. The Captain visits the Wireless room for the last time and says “Men, you have done your full duty. You can do no more. Abandon your post. Now it’s every man for himself” the captain’s comments shock the operators. Capt Smith then told them; “You look out for yourselves. I release you” There is then another pause and Capt Smith adds “that’s the way of it at this kind of time… Every man for himself” the Captain then leaves the Wireless room. The operators then make a final call to all ships as water is flooding the room and Phillips says to Bride “come on, let’s clear out”… then Titanic’s signals end very abruptly as if power suddenly switched off (Titanic Radio, 2012).

Harold Bride survived the sinking of the ship, but Jack Phillips, died of exposure. However, The New York Herald, the New York Times biggest rival challenged the account and questioned how the newspaper got exclusive access to Harold Bride’s personal account of the events. The Herald publishes the shocking revelation that American Marconi officials sent telegrams to the Marconi operators, instructing them to withhold information about the disaster so that reports could be sold. According to later testimony by Guglielmo Marconi, the New York Times paid a negotiated $500 for the exclusive rights to Brides story.

Furthermore, it was later revealed that there were complaints that Marconi operators aboard the Patio had ignored other Navy vessels, demanding information as to the situation on board Titanic. The real question being asked by the international media was did Guglielmo Marconi see the disaster as no more than an opportunity to yield high profits and, distort the flow of information to such a point that lives were lost in the name of business practice? The following 24 hours after the first fatal message was sent the flow of information was dangerously distorted, contaminated and highly inaccurate and the primary source of this information was Marconi’s Wireless apparatus. The international media could not access accurate information without first dealing with Marconi and his officials. Consequently, international newspapers opted to fill space for their news hungry readers with speculation, convolution and misinformation. Marconi’s punishment would be severe.

On Tuesday April 16th the Central News Agency releases some information about an ‘incident’ at sea. “Wireless messages received at Halifax early this afternoon state that the condition of the Titanic is dangerous, and that the lives of those who still remain aboard are in some peril. In a maze of Wireless messages from various steamers it is difficult to get any connected story. The Government tug Lady Laurier is going from London to render assistance. The news of the disaster to the Titanic reached New York in the small hours of this morning by way of Montreal, whither it had been transmitted by Wireless Telegraphy from the Allan liner Virginian, Eastward bound.

The Virginian herself, in common with other liners, had picked up in the night the Wireless signals for assistance broadcast by the maimed liner, and at the same moment that she was passing them on to the shore was steaming her fastest to the rescue” (Central News Agency, 1912). The report states that “New York was preparing to give the Titanic a big welcome on the same lines as that extended last year to her sister ship, the Olympic, and among her passengers it was known that there were many distinguished American citizens, concerning whose fate the carrier messages said nothing. Most of these, after fulfilling business and other engagements in Europe, had waited in order to enjoy the thrill of making the homeward journey in the world’s greatest liner, the ‘millionaires’ ship, on board which they might almost be pardoned for considering themselves as safe as in their hotels on shore. Among them may be mentioned the following;-Mr Benjamin Guggenheim, a member of the famous Guggenheim family of capitalists, associates of Mr Pierpont Morgan, and world famous in connection with Alaskan development and copper production; Mr C Clarence Jones, a New York Stock Broker, who has been visiting the European capitals in connection with the purchase of American Embassy sites; Mr Washington Roebling , head of the great wire cable firm, and son of the builder of Brooklyn Bridge; Mr Washington Dodge, member of the well known banking firm of Phelps, Dodge and Company; Col. John Weir, mining engineer; Mr Henry B Harris, theatrical producer and manager, and son of the gentleman of the same name who owns many of New York’s theatres; Mr Jacques Futrelle , one of the best known of American authors; Mr Frank D. Millet, American painter, who resided a long time in London (Central News Agency, 1912). In Ireland, the Irish Independent reports on ‘update’ on the story; ‘The publication of the Montreal message sent scores of anxious folks to the White Star offices in quest of further information, but there was nothing to tell them for several long hours. The officials were emphatic in their declarations that the huge hull of the Titanic, divided into several water-tight sections, each as big as a good sized ship, was in no danger of sinking, and even when the Wireless at Cape Race announced that the liner was down by the head and that preparations were being made to take the passengers off, they repeated their assurances, which in the light of later news seem to have been well founded. The cheering announcement was forthcoming that besides the Virginian, which at midnight was 170 miles from the scene of the disaster, the White Star liners ‘Olympic’ and ‘Baltic’, the Cunard liner Mauretania, and three or four German and French liners were all hurrying in the same direction (Irish Independent, 1912).

The story of the disaster is briefly, yet graphically, told in a Wireless message received from the Cunard liner which runs in the companies Mediterranean service and picked up the Titanic’s signals when four days out on her voyage from New York to Gibraltar. The Titanic struck the iceberg at 10.25pm last night(American time). She was then running at reduced speed, presumably from the knowledge of the proximity of ice. Most of the passengers had retired to bed, and were awakened and terrified by a thunderous impact, which crushed and twisted the towering bows of the liner and broke them in like an eggshell. The behaviour of the crew is stated to have been exemplary and they were assisted by many of the male passengers, who also succeeded in calming the women and children. The Wireless was immediately set going, and, as a precaution, the majority of the passengers were placed in the liner’s boats, which were swung out and ready to be lowered. The sea was calm, and though the sea was pouring into the vessel forward, her machinery had not been disabled and when it was found that, with the pumps working and the watertight bulkheads holding well, there was a good chance of the liner making port, the captain set about proceeding cautiously in the direction of Halifax (Central News Agency, 1912).

Reuters Cablegrams had less information to offer about the disaster. All they could report is that the Titanic was sinking off Newfoundland Banks, as the result of a collision with an iceberg; that several ships were in Wireless communication with, and that the women were being taken off in lifeboats (Reuters Cablegrams, 1912). The liner Baltic sent a Wireless message to New York at 3;50 AM and was within 200 miles of the Titanic. The last signals from the Titanic came at 12;25 AM. It reports that the messages were blurred and ended abruptly. A later telegram from Cape Race says the Wireless operator on board the Titanic reported the weather calm and clear. The position of the liner being 41 46 N, 50 14 W, the Virginian liner also reported at midnight that it was 170 miles West of the Titanic, and was expected to reach her 10;00 AM. The Olympic at midnight was in 40.32 North latitude, 61.18 West longitude. She’s also in direct communication with the Titanic, and is hastening to her. The dispatch also states that all the passengers of the Titanic had left the ship by 3;30 AM this morning. Reports were coming into New York by 4;30 AM stating that most of the passengers from the Titanic had been put in lifeboats, and the sea was calm. The Montréal Star newspaper confirms that the Titanic is still afloat and making her way slowly to Halifax.

In Boston, there were reports stating that the Titanic is slowly struggling in the direction of Cape Race. In Montréal they receive an “unsigned telegram” stating that the Titanic is steaming to Halifax and she hopes to make port (Reuters Telegrams, 1912). The Freemans Journal reports that ocean voyaging still has its perils. Two thousand, two hundred and fifty three people were drawn into danger of death at the one swoop when the Titanic crashed into the ice. A few years ago, had it been possible then for such a population to be aboard one vessels, the iceberg might well have caused a great disaster, a death list terrible enough to keep land fork from sea for a long time. It was not certain at first that the Titanic would not sink, it is not even quite certain, at the moment of writing, that it will be brought the whole way into port. Should it go under yet, the village full of people aboard may thank the Wireless Telegraph for their lives. The cry of distress sent raying over the ocean by the great liner brought help that else must have passed, within helping distance, quite without knowledge of the need. At 3;30 AM, the dead hour of the night to human beings, every one of the 1350 passengers had been transferred to other vessels, leaving 903 members of the crew and service to make Halifax on the ship if it is to reach port. Of course, this second large population, of 900, will be safe, unless a last disaster should happen suddenly, a thing not to be anticipated. But for the Wireless installation, and the confidence it gives of help almost certain, there must surely have been a deadly panic on the Titanic when the great ship drove into the iceberg which crippled it. No doubt the now facts bring a new mind; passengers have already acquired what one is tempted to call the “Wireless mind” the feeling that the ocean is no longer lonely space cut off from all human life. The instinct of old was to throw oneself overboard at the first terrible moment of a collision, or of the cry of fire; people that read yesterday’s news in mid ocean and knew the price of shares in Dublin or of coal in London do not feel so utterly abandoned; the sea has become a continuation of the land life, and, no doubt at all, every passenger at the moment of the shock uttered the one word, “Wireless”; everyone thought at once that the Titanic was on a known track within easy hail of friends, who would turn on their paths within five minutes and bring help.

The same system has proved itself useful also in warnings of danger, the question will arise at once whether the Titanic might not have avoided this awful peril by the ice warning that had already been sent out by other ships. The Virginian, which has been helping the giant in distress, had already sent out word that three days out of Halifax it had encountered “ice fields 100 miles in extent, with enormous bergs” It will be asked whether this danger signal had not reached the Titanic; if not, why not? And, if it did reach the Titanic, why the Titanic could not avoid the whole bristling ground? The biggest ship afloat has had an unhappy first trip, and it will be remembered that the Olympic, also one of the giants, made and in ill-omened start. But there is no certain connection between the size of these monsters and the misfortunes which have fallen about them. The Titanic is believed to be not merely the fastest ship that man has put on the waters in all the history of the world, but to be the safest also. It was even famous for its “collision bulkhead”, and collision it has had to meet on its first going forth. It remains to be seen whether there will be any effort now to maintain that the size of these ships is, after all, a danger; whether in any way bulk increases peril when there may be need of hasty stopping, backing, or wheeling about. The enquiry into the causes of the Titanic’s mishap will certainly consider this question. And there will be an anxious desire for information as to the reason the Titanic took the course which was known to be made terrible for the moment by that vast floating country of ice, “100 miles in extent, with enormous bergs” (Freeman’s Journal, 1912).

The Irish Independent states “sailors, who are proverbially superstitious, may be pardoned if they think there is something unlucky about the two largest steamers afloat, the Olympic and Titanic, of the White Star Line. Six months ago the Olympic collided with the cruiser Hawke in an apparently unaccountable way, and on a subsequent occasion lost one of her propeller blades in mid-ocean. The sister ship, the Titanic, when starting on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic last week, narrowly avoided a collision in Southampton water. On Sunday night she appears to have collided with a huge iceberg, and sustain such damage that the first accounts received by Wireless represented the huge vessel as sinking and the passengers and crew, upwards of 2000 souls, as being in great danger. There were Irish passengers on board the Titanic, and the alarm caused in Ireland yesterday by the news of the disaster was consequently great. Fortunately, however, later Wireless messages represent the accident as not so serious; passengers are said to be safe on board other vessels summoned by Wireless to the assistance of the great liner, and the steamer, though apparently badly damaged, is making her way to Halifax, the nearest port. During the past few days many vessels have encountered huge icebergs and ice fields off the coast of Newfoundland, and this source of danger threatens alike the largest and the smallest shipping. That the collision of the Titanic with an iceberg did not result in heavy loss of life may be partly attributed to the splendid construction of the vessel and the system of collision bulkheads and electrically worked watertight doors with which the vessel is provided, but mainly to the prompt assistance which the Wireless messages summoned from all sides within a radius of 200 miles. This is a new triumph for Marconi, and if the lesson is taken to heart by ship-owners one may soon hope to see every oceangoing steamer equipped with his marvellous invention (Irish Independent, 1912).

The flow of early misinformation in relation to the sinking of the Titanic seemed to continue as April 16th’s late editions hit the newsstands. A Reuters “all classes” cablegram from New York claims the Titanic sank at 2;20 AM this morning. No lives were lost. An hour later Reuters issued another telegram stating; “the following statement has been given out by the White Star officials. Capt Haddock, of the Olympic, sends a Wireless message that the Titanic sank at 2;20 AM on Monday, after the passengers and crew had been lowered into the lifeboat and transferred to the Virginian. The steamer Carpathia, with several hundred of the passengers from the Titanic, is now on her way to New York” A late edition of the Irish Independent states “White Star have given assurances that the passengers were safe. Vice President, Mr Franklin, has expressed the belief that the vessel was also safe, however severely damaged, being practically unsinkable. All news has been coming in aggravating fragments in the form of Wireless messages from various vessels at the scene of the wreck or hastening thither, nothing has been received direct from the Titanic herself” (Irish Independent, 1912).

A later Reuters telegram seemed to contradict all previous messages in relation to the Titanic. The statement issued in New York at 8 AM declares “up to this hour the officials of the White Star line have not received a word regarding the reported accident to the Titanic. 12 hours have passed since the collision of the Titanic is reported to have taken place. We have heard nothing of an accident. It is very strange to the Titanic sister ship Olympic, which has a Wireless installation of sufficient strength has not communicated with us” (Reuters Telegram, 1912).

However, the Irish media did not believe a word of this official statement. “Disaster has marked the maiden voyage of the gigantic White Star liner Titanic, for while steaming through the night, some 270 miles South-East of Newfoundland, she struck an iceberg, and is now crawling towards Halifax in imminent danger of sinking. Happily so far as can be at present ascertained, no lives have been lost, and with plenty of help from other liners standing by the passengers should be landed safely tonight or tomorrow. The first notification of disaster came from the Wireless station at Cape Race, which picked up the Titanic’s message for help. Shortly afterwards came another Wireless message from the Virginian, stating that she also had picked up the Titanic’s message, and was hastening to the relief. The next message received by the Cape Race Wireless station was even more alarming, for the Titanic’s operator reported that the ship was sinking by the head, and that the women and children were being put into lifeboats. Then came a long pause and at 12;27 AM the Virginian operator said that the last signals received from the Titanic were blurred and indistinct, and that the message had been broken after suddenly. By this time no fewer than 11 great liners had picked up the despairing SOS signals, and were heading full speed to the rescue. The Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic, which was herself in collision only a short time ago; was about 300 miles away on her way from New York to Southampton, and while passing the message on she announced that she was racing to the rescue. Another boat, comparatively near, was the White Star liner, Baltic, and some other vessels including Amerika and Cincinnati, the Parisian, the Carpathia, the North German Prinz Friedrich Willhelm and Prinz Adalbert; and a French liner, La Provence, all of which sent Wireless messages of encouragement and the news that they were hurrying to the rescue (Irish Independent, 1912).

However the flow of misinformation persisted. Another Reuters cablegram claims to have received a message from the ship Minin, off Cape Race, stating that steamers are now towing the Titanic, and endeavouring to get her into shoal waters near Cape Race, for the purpose of beaching her. A further message from Halifax states that the Government Marine Agency has received a Wireless message to the effect that the Titanic is sinking. A telegram from Montréal states that White Star has denied the report that the Titanic had sunk. He believed that with so many vessels around her it would be unnecessary for the Virginia to return to Halifax with her. Traffic officials of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, have been notified that the passengers of the Titanic will be landed at Halifax, Nova Scotia. About 600 would require transportation to New York by sleeping cars, and 800 by ordinary coaches. White Star also confirm that the Virginia, Parisian and Carpathia were now standing by the Titanic. The Company claims to have definite information that all the passengers had been transferred successfully from the Titanic; they also confirm that they had received nothing indicating the extent of the damage sustained by the Titanic” (White Star Liners, 1912).

Although the news of the disaster to the Titanic came as tremendous shock and the gravity of the position was fully recognised, the shipping community of Liverpool resolutely took a sanguine view throughout that the ship would be brought to a place of safety. The intelligence that the Titanic is in tow of the Virginia has been communicated to the owners, who finding it a confirmation of their expectations that the giant ship, damaged though she may be, has, through the medium of her collision bulkhead and watertight compartments, sufficient buoyancy to enable her to reach a port of safety. The chief feature discussed was the splendid demonstration the disaster affords of the practical utility of Wireless Telegraphy. In marine insurance circles it seems to be generally believed that the vessel is covered to the amount of £1m, half of which will be carried, not by the White Star line itself, but by the White Star and all the companies with which it works in combination. This combination is known to possess a very large insurance fund. Of the million at risk in the open in insurance market, it is believed a quarter is taken by Liverpool companies, the remaining three quarters being distributed amongst London offices, Hamburg probably coming in aid (Irish Independent, 1912).

However, it would be at lEast 24 hours more before the true facts of the disaster began to emerge to a shocked world. But interestingly, somebody somewhere had to account for the flow of misinformation that had caused so much confusion in the preceding 24 hours. The finger of blame was pointed at “airwave Pirates” who had interrupted professional transmissions using amateur Wireless apparatus; “These operators are making it difficult to communicate with legitimate sources” (Reuters Cablegram, 1912).

Numerous articles began to appear in Irish newspapers which included the names of some of the survivors of the Titanic disaster. However, the true horror of the tragedy was beginning to unfold. Headlines in most newspapers announced that Titanic had sunk long before any help arrived. White Star claim to have received positive news that the number of survivors is 868. There is reason to believe that the death toll reaches the awful number of 1490. There are many notable persons among the missing and there were no survivors of the disaster on board either the Virginian or Parisian. The King and Queen, Queen Alexandra, and the Kaiser have sent messages expressing deep sympathy with the relatives of the Titanic victims to the White Star Directors.

The messages received up to about 2;30 AM yesterday regarding the fate of the vessel were very conflicting, and it was not until that hour that a definite message was received stating that the liner had sunk. For this reason practically all the newspapers that commented on the disaster did so on the assumption that the Titanic had been merely damaged by the collision, and that no lives had been lost. Irish passengers, representing every part of this country, joined the Titanic at Queenstown. The majority travelled steerage. The latest information from Cape Race indicates that only the 675 survivors on board the Carpathia have escaped from the wreck. Heartrending scenes were witnessed at the White Star Company’s offices at New York, Liverpool, London, and Southampton when the news of the disaster was made known. At the official luncheon on board the Titanic before she sailed one of the tables collapsed, and the incident was much commented upon. Today’s news has shed an entirely new light upon the disaster which overtook the Titanic during the night of Sunday. It is now, unhappily, only too clear that the magnificent vessel, the pride of her builders, owners, and all whom gloried in Britain’s shipbuilding supremacy, is lying on the bed of the North Atlantic at some depth of some 1700 fathoms, and that her last constitutes the most appalling catastrophe in the maritime history of the world. It can only be assumed that the erroneous reports so widely circulated, which raised false hopes in the hearts of thousands, were the result of the confusion which must necessarily have arisen at a time when Wireless messages were being transmitted from dozens of vessels and relayed from as many more. It is known that the Titanic disappeared before the help summoned by her Wireless operators could reach her, and that those of her Company who were saved were picked up from her boats by the Carpathia, which was the first ship to arrive on the scene.

The most terrible news is that the number taken aboard the Carpathia is only about 800. Hopes that other survivors might be on board other ships were disappointed by Cablegrams which set forth that these liners were too late to render help, and it is, therefore, practically certain that over 1500 lives were lost when the Titanic went down. The Carpathia is likely to take a considerable time in reaching New York, in as much as she herself is forced to steam slowly owing to the presence of huge ice fields in her track.

Many persons whose names are known throughout the world are among those who are believed to have perished. It appears clear that all the survivors of the Titanic disaster, to the number of about 800, says a “Central News” New York message, are on board the Carpathia, which is on her way to New York. White Star officials in New York hoped to be in a position to give out something in the nature of a full statement later today. No word has been received direct from any of the Titanic’s passengers (Irish Independent, 1912).

In Ireland the accuracy of the information coming from America was under question. Newspapers report that American journalists are unprincipled in their methods; “As an indication of the unscrupulous methods of some American journalists several of the morning newspapers in New York yesterday published a telegram from St John’s, Newfoundland, giving a graphic account of the collision, which was credited as having come by Wireless Telegraphy from the British steamer Bruce, and is having been picked up from various steamers in the vicinity of the wreck of the Titanic. A Reuter’s cablegram of yesterday afternoon stated that these messages were now stated to be without foundation, as the only news of the wreck received by the Bruce was a bulletin from Cape Race (Irish Independent, 1912).

At the Dublin Stock Exchange Marconi Ordinary shares make a bad start but as the day goes on the shares start to recover (Irish Independent, 1912). According to the Freemans Journal, “conjecture will long be busy, and not unprofitably, on the causes of the disaster to the Titanic and on the measures that must be taken to reduce the danger of such terrible events in the future. Very soon, of course, we shall be in possession of some authentic accounts of what actually happened, and almost certainly there will prove to be among the rescued some able to give the expert account from which understanding and future prevention may come. It has already been suggested that the Titanic did not carry a lifeboat and raft service adequate to the needs of its great population in time of danger. The outsider may be wrongly impressed by this suggestion. It is not for him to say whether this thing is even possible, perhaps a vessel that was all safety could not carry passengers with any freedom of movement, with any adequate speed, possibly even a ship bristling with safety devices would be the most dangerous in time of hurry. Only a practical shipbuilder can answer fully on such points, and the amateur even when he was right in principle would generally be wrong in his method of arriving at this theory. It does not appear likely that the builders and buyers of the Titanic, the last word of the craft, would ignore the entirely obvious. The vessel that had installed a Turkish bath on board would not probably forget or neglect it’s reasonably adequate supply of life-saving apparatus. It is said that under the Titanic specification there were lifeboats enough for the accommodation of nearly 2000 people, if this were actually so, the ground of complaint is shifted. The number of lifeboats would be adequate, and the mistake would be in their placing, or possibly even in their number itself. The charge would partly be against the very bigness of the ship. An officer of wide experience remarks on this point that the difficulty is to bring the life-saving appliances into use. “In the case of the Titanic,” he said, “you have to consider the great height of the boats above the water and where the collapsible boats and the rafts are stored. The accident to the Titanic happened in the dark, and apparently when the boats were needed the ship was deep down forward. If there were a list to either side it would make matters still worse and some of the boats might be altogether useless” it is obvious that at the terrible moment of such a crash as that which destroyed the Titanic, in the dark, there cannot be the order of the school picnic entertainment. You have 32 lifeboats each good for 60 passengers, but no one can guarantee that each will be neatly ready for the water at its exact spot and its 60 passengers drawn neatly up to step with decorum into it. The article also states, “as for the Wireless apparatus, much has been expected obvious, but just at present, after the full change of tidings from the first cheerful belief to the final despair, there is a tendency to forget all that it has done. At lEast 800 people unquestionably owe their lives to the Wireless, the 800 on the Carpathian must have gone down with the others but for the signal SOS that brought them at lEast their rescue. 800 is a vast ship full saved and, although it is a lesser matter, something must be credited to the Wireless in letting the world know what happened. Two years ago we should have been waiting days and days after the Titanic was due, and collected agony of those on land watching for the missing ship would be a terrible increase to the total of the tragedy. This disaster will give an immediate impulse to the study of the ways and signs of floating ice. It is admitted that this vastly important matter has not yet been adequately studied and recorded. Old Mariners differ more strangely about the signs by which the fatal presence may be known, some speak of chill in the air, others of chill in the water, to be recognised at safe and sufficient distance by common perception; others deny that there are any such warnings, but allow that delicate instruments may give the word; there is also, it appears, an instrument, not yet largely used, which foreshows the presence of more solid mass in the water. Some commanders said that there are recognisable reflections from the ice in the sky overhead “iceberg blink”, others deride this alleged lore. Some believe in keeping the sirens blowing in suspected areas in the faith that the bergs will give back a significant echo. The danger, it may be noted, however, is more from sunken ice then from the visible berg. The ghastly suggestion is made in the case of the Titanic that it may have dashed into what is called an iceberg cave, being cut and hacked by the ice underneath until it was entirely caught in the mass, when the very impact would bring the berg smashing down like a hammer upon it” (Freemans Journal, 1912).

News also comes to light that Captain Smith had grave concerns, some weeks prior to the disaster, and spoke of the life preserving equipment of the Titanic, which was then under construction. He told his colleague, Glenne Marston, “if the ship should strike a submerged derelict or iceberg, that would cut through into several of the watertight compartments we have not enough boats or rafts aboard to take care of more than one third of the passengers. The Titanic should carry at lEast double the number of boats and rafts that she does to afford any real protection to passengers. Besides, there is the danger of some of the boats becoming damaged or being swept away before they can be manned” (Irish Independent, April).

The flow of misinformation that had occurred on April 16th could not be dismissed, at lEast by the general public, as a result of the interference of so-called “airwave Pirates”. During this 24 hour period much of the credit for saving the lives of all of the passengers of Titanic was given to Marconi and his “wonderful apparatus”. The Marconi Company clearly basked in the glory and praise showered on them by the international media. In fact, as time would tell, and new facts came to light soon after the disaster, the Marconi Company itself were major contributors to the propaganda that would ultimately have far reaching social, political and financial consequences for the Company that were perceived as exploiting a major disaster for financial gain. Marconi’s Dublin shareholders were the first to anticipate the looming disaster for the Company and at the first opportunity on April 17th 1912 to surrender their interests in the Company; “Marconi shares experienced a reaction in price and as the day progressed Marconi issues collapsed into comparative quietude. It is understood that the shares of the American Wireless Company will be introduced to the market in the next few days” (Financial Correspondent, 1912). This clearly suggests that shareholders remained interested in Wireless technologies but were beginning to lose interest in Marconi. It is arguably more than a coincidence that the loss of interest in Marconi and the sinking of the Titanic were unrelated events. Had the romance between Ireland and Marconi come to an abrupt end and if so, what would be the consequences of this for Irish radio?

Meanwhile the international media were reporting that there is little hope that the disaster would not prove to have been the most awful in the history of the sea. In view of the receipt early this morning from the Carpathia of the partial list of those saved, it is anticipated that the vessel will soon be within Wireless zone, and would be able to send details of the disaster. The list of the save is mainly composed of women, though several men’s names appear upon it, including that of Mr Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Line; “throughout last night and even early this morning crowds thronged the offices of the White Star, many of the enquirers came out in tears, and some became hysterical when they were unable to hear tidings of their friends and relatives. Company officials hold out no hope that any passengers had been saved other than those on board the Carpathia (Press Association, 1912).

According to the New York Correspondent of the “Evening News” a crowd of anxious relatives and friends of the passengers on the lost Titanic was massed all night in front of The White Star Line offices in Broadway. The friends of the wealthy men unaccounted for are in a state of great anxiety. After a sleepless night, men worked thousands of pounds were rushing down at 5 and 6 o’clock to the business distract to hear the latest reports. It is a certainty that, at the time of writing, most of the notable men on board have gone down. The rule of the sea prevailed, “women and children first”. The women and children in the steerage would be taken off before the first and second class mail passengers. It is now known that the Carpathia picked up the passengers eight hours after the sinking of the Titanic. The Virginian was to give up her search after daylight and proceed with her voyage, as being a mail boat, she is forced to make the utmost haste to her destination. On learning of the disaster shortly before midnight, a well-dressed man on the arm of the friend fell fainting on the pavement outside the New York Times office” (London Evening News, 1912). The news of the probable heavy loss of life had only a limited circulation. Crowds had gathered at the White Star offices, and women in tears and men in frantic search of reassuring news were met with the frank admission that little was known of the fate of the passengers who were not travelling first or second class (Freemans Journal, 1912).

Any news now in relation to the disaster is based on second hand information and limited telegrams, some confused and contradicting previous news information. It is clearly a ‘waiting game’ to get first hand information and the hours were ticking by. Until the Carpathia reaches New York with the survivors it will be impossible to form a definite opinion of how the disaster occurred. Commanded by one of the ablest and most experienced seamen in the service of any of the great shipping companies, the mammoth liner was fitted with every device that science has invented to secure safety at sea, and yet within four hours after striking an iceberg she sank. Captain Smith had been warned several days before by a French vessel that floating ice had been encountered far South of where it is usually expected at this time of year. The presumption is, therefore, that the Titanic was being navigated with special care in order to avoid danger. How, then, did it happen that the precautions adopted proved unavailing? (Irish Independent, 1912).

Questions can not be answered, and, as captain Smith is believed to have gone down with his ship, it is possible that the truth will never be known. It is incredible that any culpable want of foresight or inexplicable loss of nerve on the part of any of the officers contributed to the fearful calamity. The gallant commander of the Titanic had been dogged by what is commonly called ill-luck since he took command of her sister ship, the Olympic, which collided with the Hawke in the Solent in 1911. In a deep and touching Editorial the Irish Independent states; “Only last week, owing to the suction caused by her enormous bulk, the Titanic came near colliding with the American liner New York. But nobody, whether seaman or landsman, could have believed that the magnificent vessel would have met with disaster practically in mid-ocean; the horror of the scene in dead of night when the Titanic met with the dread foe which nature had loosed for her destruction palsies the imagination. Now we must brace ourselves to confront one of those terrible events in the order of Providence which baffle the most careful foresight, which appals the imagination, and make us realise the inadequacy of words to do justice as to how we feel. With pride in the nobler instincts of our humanity our hearts must thrill at the story of willing sacrifice epitomised in the fact that the lifeboats were filled with women and children. The first chance of safety was given to those who were lEast able to help themselves. The deliberate and disciplined heroism which must have been displayed will be blazoned on the mariners’ book of fame, and in that record will be inscribed many an Irish name. In truth both the pity and the glory of this unprecedented disaster come right home to our minds. The Titanic was planned by Irish brains and built by Irish hands. A considerable number of her passengers were Irish. By the loss of many persons of worldwide reputation or of enormous wealth who were on board the doomed vessel, many families in England and America will be plunged into mourning. To the bereaved, both rich and poor, the sympathy of every heart which can feel a pang of sorrow at distress will go out in this time of agony. It is enough to move a stoic to tears to read of the frenzied inquiries at the White Star Offices of parents and relatives for news of their children or other loved ones who were aboard the ill-fated ship. In due course all that can ever be known of the circumstances attending the loss of the Titanic will be revealed at the Board Of Trade enquiry. But it is not of expert evidence and official findings that the civilised world is now thinking. It is of the awful death toll and what it involves of poignant sorrow to all the bereaved and of acute distress amongst those who have lost their breadwinners. The misery of the latter will not, we know full well, go unrelieved. In the confusion of Wireless messages from many vessels and stations there was at first left room for hope that there had been no loss of life. But we can now no longer doubt that, measured by the death toll, the calamity is the most terrible in the history of the world’s mercantile marine.

The loss of 1,020 lives through the burning of the excursion steamer General Slocum in Long Island in 1904 is the one recorded shipping disaster that comes near rivalling the Titanic catastrophe in the number of its victims. In the awe inspiring circumstances of her disappearance beneath the waves; however, the disaster to the White Star leviathan is without a parallel” (Irish Independent (Editorial), 1912). Hopes for more survivors are further dashed with the news reported on April 18th 1912. White Star Liners confirm that reports of 250 survivors on board Baltic were not accurate. Furthermore, Wireless messages claiming many fishing boats responded to the SOS are also untrue. The Dominion Government has ordered lighthouse keepers and patrol boats to keep a sharp look out for bodies of the victims as a number of ships were now heading to the scene of the wreck in the hopes of collecting the dead. A gruesome feature of these preparations is that these boats are carrying hundreds of coffins and many undertakers and embalmers (Irish Independent, 1912).  

The task of investigating the Titanic wreck began in the American Senate on Friday, April 19th, 1912. The Commerce Committee had appointed a subcommittee of 7 to take testimony. The sub-committee left for New York to gather witnesses to give evidence. Subpoenas are issued to compel officials and members of the crew of the Titanic to give evidence regarding all that occurred in connection with the disaster. The Chairman of the subcommittee, Mr William Alden Smith, Senator for Michigan, is demanding that it is absolutely imperative that the investigation begins immediately and claims “I have been informed that the surviving officers and members of the crew of the Titanic all of whom are British subjects, plan to transfer to the Cedric upon their arrival in New York and return immediately to England. This would take them beyond the jurisdiction of the committee, if, indeed, the committee has any jurisdiction to summon British subjects in such circumstances. I propose to urge upon Mr Ismay the advisability of his cooperation as a British subject with this Government to get at the true facts of this horrible disaster, and I shall tell him that, while we have no jurisdiction over British subjects, we have jurisdiction in American ports, and to avoid any trouble the Company and its officers should help us in the enquiry”. Mr Smith added that the committee wished particularly to find out the reasons for the great loss of life. These, he believed, Mr Ismay and the Titanic surviving officers were especially competent to give (Reuters Telegram, 1912).

In Washington there is a new proposed resolution to consider uniformed laws and regulations for merchant vessels at sea. The subjects specified for discussion to include regulations in regard to the efficiency of crews, construction of vessels, equipment of lifeboats, Wireless apparatus, searchlights, submarine bells, and life-saving and fire extinguishing equipment. While the Titanic never entered an American port the investigation is expected to show the extent to which other great liners meet Americans safety regulations. However, many members of Congress are openly opposed to the idea of holding an investigation into the disaster. Meanwhile, the continued silence of Carpathia as it approaches American waters is giving cause for alarm to the American public and European citizens anxious for news about the disaster. Although there have been attempts to maintain Wireless contact with the ship there has been absolutely no information concerning the disaster. “This veil of secrecy which enshrouds the liner has naturally given rise to all sorts of wild and horrifying conjectures. The American public is quite convinced that the absolute silence which has been maintained by the Carpathia means a ghastly tale will be unfolded when the survivors are landed. Certain it is that many of these survivors must be nearly crazed with grief and weak from exhaustion and exposure, and a horrible fear is growing that insanity is rife among the survivors. The preparations that have been made for the reception tend to confirm this belief, for a large number of doctors, nurses, and ambulances are in readiness on the pier. All outsiders are barred from the dock, and no phototographer will be permitted to snap shot the arrival. Some of these precautions are, of course, necessary and wise for the protection of the distressed passengers and crew, but the opinion is general that the secrecy is being carried to too great an extreme. The correction of the number of rescued from 868 to 705 has given rise to all sorts of conjectures. A ghastly explanation put forward in some quarters is that the 163 who have been taken from the original official total were really rescued but died on board the Carpathia as a result of the exposure or injuries received in the disaster. There is, of course, no confirmation of such a suggestion, but it is characteristic of the theories which are being put forward and represents fairly accurately the state of mind to which people have been brought by the disaster and the lack of information (Irish Independent, 1912).

According to a message, which is at present unconfirmed, 200 of the Titanic’s crew were asleep in their bunks when the crash came, and our quarters being in the four-part of the vessel, there were crushed to death. However, so many of these messages have been received that they must be accepted with reservation. When the Carpathia finally slowed down on the last lap of the sad journey, preparatory to treading the path through the long and narrow channel which leads into New York harbour some hours distant in the early hours of a rainy and dismal day where it was would be met on the pier by a big crowd of “privileged people”, mostly relatives and friends. Nearby was a long line of carriages and ambulances. Out on the channel it was still dark and “very raw and cheerless”. The lights on the steerage deck showed silent, pathetic groups, chiefly of women, who had come up from their cabins to obtain a glimpse of the distant glare reflected in the sky, indicating the myriad illuminations of New York City. The steerage passengers of the Titanic in muddled and cowed groups stared out vaguely into the night towards the city of New York. They were more easily distinguishable than the first and second class passengers, partly because they occupied the lower deck and kept rather rigidly to themselves, and also because the latter were generally on the upper deck and mixed with the Carpathia’s regular passengers. “Slowly and with her speed continually decreasing as New York came near the Carpathia advanced to port. Many of the survivors were in an hysterical state from being bereft of their husbands or other loved ones, and were constantly under the care of the ships surgeons, some delirious, while others had not recovered from the rigours of eight hours in the lifeboats on a cold and foggy sea. Cases of pneumonia are mentioned, and children lying almost at deaths door” (Irish Independent, 1912).

A Reuters telegram issued at 7;30 PM confirms the arrival of the Carpathia at the Quarantine Station, New York. The first of the survivors left the vessel at 9;35 o’clock. There was an immense and anxious crowd at the pier and details of the tragedy were eagerly sought by journalists and others. Definite particulars of the appalling occurrence are coming to hand but slowly, and it will still probably take a day or two before a full and consecutive narrative of the disaster can be given to the public. Survivors relate stories of husbands and wives refusing to part-Company with each other and opted instead to go down with Titanic. One survivor tells journalists that as the Titanic went down about 2;30 AM the ships band lined up on deck and played the him, “Nearer my God to Thee”. There are also stories of many rescued people who later died and were buried at sea. A steward states that the Carpathia, only 62 miles away when the Wireless call was received, took over four hours in covering the distance, as to the Captain feared running down the lifeboats in the darkness. Harold Bride, the surviving Wireless operator on board the Titanic, states that Phillips, the chief operator, worked heroically during the last 15 minutes. Bride strapped a lifebelt around Phillips. A man tried to take off the lifebelt but Bride knocked him down and left him in the Wireless cabin. Bride afterwards, though on crutches, took over the Wireless work on the Carpathia. There were other heroic stories including that of Col Astor who died heroically refusing to go into a lifeboat. His last act was to lift a child into the last boat. Captain Smith also refused to leave, and was last seen on the bridge. Four of the crew manning the lifeboats were frozen to death. There appears to be no truce in the statement the passengers were kept back at revolver point and that two well-known men were shot. All the passengers acclaimed British seamen’s heroic conduct. The men sang sea songs while lowering the boats and many male passengers behaved most courageously, helping to get the boats out (Irish Times, 1912).

The true story of the awful catastrophe of the Titanic sinking is now coming to light as numerous survivors relate their experiences “which show that the circumstances were, perhaps, the most harrowing in the world’s history”. One of the most dramatic stories is that as told by Harold Bride, the assistant Wireless operator, who was standing by his ill-fated colleague, Mr Phillips, as he was sending out his distress signals over the ocean while the great vessel was sinking. Mr Bride said there was no panic, though the decks were full of excited men and women. The Wireless instruments were growing more and more indistinct, and as the water was close up by the boats deck the captain entered the instrument telling the men to leave immediately. Although this account was widely reported there were some people who challenged, not its authenticity nor its source but the mysterious manner in which the story surfaced. Other survivors confirmed that the lifeboats were lowered as fast as they were filled, and many passengers, in a frantic state, flung themselves into the sea. As the liner disappeared beneath the water, the survivors who were adrift in the boats heard two explosions, and in a moment the Titanic had gone down. Several survivors assert that the Titanic was steaming at 23 knots an hour when she struck the iceberg. Three Italians were shot in the struggle for the boats. Many survivors said that the behaviour of the second and third class passengers was heroic, but that some of the first class passengers fought like madmen for the boats. One of the most realistic narratives of the disaster was given by Mr Beasley, of London, who states that at about 10;30 PM on Sunday night there was a slight jar. Persons were playing cards in the smoke room at the time. None of them had any idea that the boat had been pierced by an iceberg. There was a total absence of any panic. After all the ladies had been got into the boards one of the crew said to him, “then you had better jump,” and he jumped to the bottom of boat. Many passengers of the Titanic issued a signed statement in which they paid warm tribute to the officers and crew of the Carpathia. They drew attention to the insufficiency of the lifeboat accommodation of the Titanic, and point out that the number saved was about 80% of the maximum capacity of the boats (Irish Independent, 1912).

The Donegal News are glowing in their praise for the role of Marconi’s “ wonderful instruments” and reports the story of the Titanic and it signals of distress received and answered by Wireless Telegraphy adds one more chapter to the romance of the Marconi system, which has already been the means of saving many noble vessels and thousands of lives. It was as recently as 1898 that the new arrival of Wireless transmission became generally acclaimed, when the Prince of Wales, in the Royal yacht Osborne, was kept in uninterrupted communication with Osborne house, a distance of nearly 2 miles. But by December 1901 Marconi had at St John’s, Newfoundland, received signals from Poldhu, Cornwall, a distance of 1800 miles across the Atlantic. That was a triumph of signs which begin a new era in the history of navigation. Now all the great liners of the world carry Wireless and already a fascinating book might be written recording the rescue is made possible by Wireless and adventurers at sea stranger than Annie dreamt of by writers of fiction. The story of the Republic disaster in 1909, when, Jack Binns, the Marconi operator, became a popular hero, in spite of his modesty, deserves to be recalled as a famous example. From the details of that shipwreck one may imagine more clearly and vividly the scenes that have been taking place in the Titanic and ships that have raced to her rescue (Donegal News, 1912).

The world media did not share the same sense of enthusiasm for Marconi or his officials are any of his Wireless operators whom journalists would later describe as equally as corrupt. In the days following the disaster the international media, pressurised by the Titanic Disaster Investigating Committee in New York and also by their infuriated readers, had to account for the misinformation published in the 100 or so hour period immediately after the disaster. They turned their attention to the activities of the primary source of news, Marconi and laid the blame, justifiably or not, squarely at his feet. The New York Herald on April 21st, 1912 published the headline; “Keep Your Mouth Shut; Big Money for You, Was Message to Hide News’ The article stated that Marconi operators on Titanic and other nearby Marconi operated ships, were told by Marconi telegram to hold the story “Four figures for you”.

The article contends that while the world was waiting three days for information concerning the fate of the Titanic, for part of the time at lEast, details concerning the disaster were being withheld by the Wireless operator of the steamship Carpathia under specific orders from T.W. Sammis, chief engineer of them Marconi Wireless Company of America, who had arranged the sale of the story. This was admitted by Mr Sammis, who defended his action. He said he was justified for getting for the Wireless operators the largest amount he could for the details of the sinking of the ship, the rescue of the passengers and the other information the world had waited for. The first information concerning the loss of the Titanic came Monday evening, and it was known at that time the survivors were on board the Carpathia. About midnight the first of the list of survivors begin to come by Wireless, and from that time until Thursday night, when the rescue ship arrived in port, the world waited and waited in vain for the details of how the “unsinkable ship” had gone down. Three messages were sent to the Carpathia telling the operator to send out no news concerning the disaster. Two of these were unsigned, and the last one had the signature of Mr Sammis. The article further alleges that the first message was unsigned, and it said it was sent as a list of names of survivors was being forwarded. The message read “Keep your mouth shut. Hold story. Big money for you” The messages from the Carpathia to the Marconi office concerning this matter were not available, but there was evidently some communication, for the second unsigned message followed after an interval. This message read; “If you are wise, hold story. The Marconi Company will take care of you” The third and last message was addressed to “Marconi officer, the Carpathia and the Titanic,” and signed by Sammis which read “Stop. Say nothing. Hold your story for dollars in four figures. Mr Marconi agreeing. Will meet you at dock” Sammis was questioned at a hearing before the subcommittee of the United States Senate and he was asked about the message and did he actually send it. He admitted to sending the message but also stated that the matter was nobody’s business. He was told that it was interesting to know that when the world was horror stricken over the disaster and waiting for the news, that there were persons preparing to capitalise on the suspense and had arranged for ‘four figures’. Sammis explained that he felt justified for getting the highest price and was defiant in his contention that the matter was nobody’s business but his own (New York Herald, 1912).

The article further states that it is not unlikely that the sending of these messages with the no apparent result that no details of the disaster came from the relief ship will form part of the enquiry that is being made by a subcommittee of the Senate. Part of this enquiry has been directed as to why a message from President Taft asking for information about Maj Archibald W. Butt was unanswered, and it is not likely that in view of the message from Sammis that this will be taken up again. While these messages were intercepted by more than one Wireless receiving station, there is one place where the Senate committee could undoubtedly get copies of them. The New York Navy Yard has a powerful receiving station, and has what is known as an “intercepted message” book. These messages are considered confidential and are never given out, but the book would undoubtedly be at the disposal of the investigating committee. Sen. Smith claims that the authorities in Washington knew on Thursday long before the Carpathia arrived, that the White Star line was contemplating the return of part of the Titanic crew to England by the steamship Cedric, and this information undoubtedly came from a Government station. John W Griggs, onetime Attorney General of the United States and Gov of New Jersey, is President of the Marconi Wireless Company of America claimed to be unaware that the chief engineer of the Company was marketing the information of the disaster. The following day the Marconi Company challenged the New York Herald and claimed that their article was a grave injustice to the Marconi Company that called for immediate correction. They said that false and injurious impression had been created. They claim that the messages were sent on Thursday as the Carpathia was coming up the bay, and not as intimated on any of the early days following the Titanic disaster. Furthermore, if the operators having fully discharged their duties to the public, to the Carpathia and to the Marconi Company, desired to sell to a newspaper narratives of their personal experiences, this was attained they had a complete right to do, for these narratives were the own personal property. Who will begrudge these unfortunate and hard-working men the remuneration they thus received, or because of it charge them with previous neglect of duty? While the New York Herald reported Marconi’s dissatisfaction they remained adamant that their version of events was not without substance. In an article headed “Told to Keep Out Navy Man Charges” they contend that the Carpathia had not only refused to give the United States Scout cruiser Chester information concerning the Titanic, but had told her Wireless men to “keep out”. This information came to light when Frank Gaffney, chief operator of the Chester, informed the Herald. The refusal to answer, Gaffney stated, was after the Carpathia had been informed that Pres Taft was anxious to learn the fate of Major Butt and other prominent persons. Cmdr Decker, who was in charge of the cruiser, said the statements made by Harold Bride, that the navy operators were “wretched” was absurd. The Chester, it is said, continued to flash questions to the Carpathia onto the operators aboard the latter were compelled to answer because the high power of the Navy’s apparatus made the reading of messages to other points impossible. Gaffney also declared that he and his colleagues aboard the Chester probably would be witnesses before the Senate committee. He also confirmed that the operators on board the Carpathia left him under the impression that all had been saved. He said that at one time they did answer when enquiries were made for Major Butt by saying “He is not here” One of the officers on board the Chester claims that the operators of the Carpathia ignored everything that Gaffney and Blackstock sent or asked. Gaffney has been a Wireless operator for more than six years, while Blackstock has been one for about three or four years. The former is capable of sending about 45 words a minute and to say they are slow and wretched is absurd (New York Herald, 1912).

The United States inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic would last a total of 18 days. Surviving passengers and crew, and those who had aided the rescue efforts were questioned and more than 80 witnesses gave testimony are deposited sworn affidavits. The primary subjects covered by the enquiry included the ice warnings received, the inadequate number of lifeboats, the handling of the ship and its speed, Titanic’s distress calls, and the handling of the evacuation of the ship. As the enquiry progressed more and more ‘new facts’ began to come to light; the Wireless operator on Carpathia, Mr Cottain, appeared before the committee and told them that after picking up the Titanic’s boats the Carpathia at first made for Halifax, but afterwards changed her course for New York. He denied having sent any messages stating that all passengers were safe, or that the Titanic was in tow. Owing to the constant dispatch of messages he had less than ten hours sleep in three days.

The subcommittee’s report was presented to the United States Senate on 28 May 1912. Its recommendations, along with doors of the British enquiry that concluded a few months later, led to changes in safety practices following the disaster. The report was 19 pages long and summarised 1,145 pages of testimony and affidavits and amongst its key findings were; a lack of emergency preparations had left Titanic’s passengers and crew in a state of absolute unpreparedness, and the evacuation had been chaotic. The ship safety and life-saving equipment had not been properly tested, Capt Edward Smith had shown an indifference to danger that was one of the direct and contributing causes of the disaster, the lack of lifeboats was the fault of the British Board of Trade, the SS Californian had been much nearer to the Titanic than the captain is willing to admit and the British Government should take drastic action against him for his actions, Bruce Ismay had not ordered captain Smith to put on extra speed, but Ismay’s presence on board may have contributed to the Captain’s decision to do so and finally, third class passengers had not been prevented from reaching the lifeboats, but had in many cases not realised until it was too late that the ship was sinking. The report was strongly critical of established seafaring practices and the roles that Titanic’s builders, owners, officers and crew had played in contributing to the disaster. It highlighted the arrogance and complacency that had been prevalent aboard ship but it did not find the White Star Line negligent under existing maritime laws, as they had merely followed standard practice, and the disaster could only be categorised as “an act of God” (Barczewski, 2011).

Guglielmo Marconi was one of the first people to give testimony to the United States Senate enquiry and was called upon on day one to give evidence. He described himself as an Electrical Engineer and chairman of the British Marconi Company. He also confirms that it was his Wireless operators that worked on board both Carpathia and the Titanic and that day alone are responsible for the commercial work, accounting for messages and degenerative conduction of commercial Telegraphic service and were accountable to the Captain according to the exigencies of the service. However, he also confirms that there are numerous instructions which are general rules and regulations for expediting the traffic and for preventing interference with other ships. There are, in the main, the same rules and regulations as are enacted by the International Convention on Wireless Telegraphy otherwise known as the Berlin Treaty to which Great Britain is a party but the United States was not. The regulations of the international convention are the basis of regulations and instructions to men operating Wireless apparatus. It was also established that in the case of a large ship like Titanic, Olympic, Mauritania, or the Lusitania they always carried two operators, but the smaller ships of the class size of the Carpathia carry one. Size is normally dictated by the average number of passengers carried. Marconi tells Smith that the Carpathia is provided with equipment which should call a short distance; it is an apparatus which can transmit messages under favourable circumstances, up to about 180 to 200 miles and on average would send a distance of about 100 miles depending on numerous circumstances including state of space, weather and the skill of the operator. The Titanic was also equipped by Marconi’s Company with ‘fairly powerful sets’, capable of communicating for 500 miles during the daytime and much further during the night-time. This, according to Marconi, was the latest and best Wireless apparatus for the purpose. Marconi also confirms that he is aware that one of the two operators on the Titanic was drowned and the other was picked up, got on a raft, on a collapsible boat, and he was rescued by the Carpathia, having been wounded in his ankles or his legs. Sen Smith then asks whether Marconi or his offices in New York were in communication with the Titanic on Sunday night? Marconi stated that he could not answer that but he was aware there were a great number of messages had come true from the Carpathia but “I sent no messages to the Carpathia, nor did I receive any”.

Marconi is then asked whether there was any general interference from the time of the collision on the part of experimental rival services to the detriment of this service. He states that, to the best of his knowledge, there was no interference. After a lot of technical questioning Marconi is then asked were any orders given by the Marconi Company to the operators or the operator on the Carpathia, with reference to the receipts and answer of messages? Marconi replies “None whatever, there was no disposition to censor or control the operator of the Carpathia and further, “I was very much surprised at things that were stated in the press, that replies had been refused or had not been transmitted. But I have been ensured by the operators on the Carpathia that he never dreamed of refusing any replies” (Titanic Inquiry Project., 1999).

On day six of the enquiry Marconi is recalled. He has asked by Sen Smith to elaborate with what he has to do with the equipment of Wireless apparatus on ocean vessels or shore stations, and what has he to do with the selection of operators in that work? He tells the Smith “I am consulted with regard to all technical details concerning the apparatus installed in ships generally, though I am not consulted with regard to the equipment of each particular ship” He further states that, “concerning the business arrangements made with ship owners, I am usually not in thorough touch with what is going on, for the reason that I’m usually occupied with technical work. I travel about the world a great deal in order to carry on experiments and to inspect plants in various countries. For the business details and for the general management of the Company there is a managing Director or general manager, who attends to all the work of engaging operators and of negotiating with ship owners and others for the use of Wireless Telegraphy” Marconi is then questioned as to the identity of this man to which replies Mr Godfrey C. Isaacs who resides in London and had just left New York prior to the Titanic accident.

Marconi is then questioned as to his relationship with the British Government and he tells Smith that he has no official relationship with the British Government, except that he is called upon by them to advise them on matters of Wireless Telegraphy generally, and also is responsible for the design of the long distance stations which they are erecting in various parts of the British Empire, in which his Company have an interest for a period of at lEast 18 years. Sen Smith then asks Marconi to state to the committee, in general terms, the scope of that contract and whether that contract requires him to install his apparatus and supervises operation and management, or whether he received compensation by an agreement which permits the management to fall under the control of the British officials? Marconi states that the contract provides that within a certain period of time, two years, “we shall direct these stations for the Government of England in Cyprus, Egypt, India, South Africa, Singapore, and other places where the Government may decide to erect them. We are paid a certain lump sum per station for the expense of erection, and the station, before being accepted by the Government, has to satisfy certain requirements in regard to speed of transmission, effectiveness, and reliability”

Sen Smith then wants to know if a contract of a similar character existed between Marconi and the German Government or if he had any dealings with the Government of the German Empire. Marconi confirms that he had some dealings with the Government of Germany and is fitting German ships with Wireless apparatus on a profit-sharing basis but he also had similar contracts with Italy; “in consideration of not being charged for Patent rights in regard to the use of the system they undertake to equip their shore stations and their colonies with my apparatus and use it exclusively for commercial purposes, being free for war and navy purposes to use anything they like” Marconi is then asked a series of questions in relation to what Wireless apparatus was in operation in a number of different ships from a number of different countries. He seems very knowledgeable on such questions and confirms that the Cape Race station would be the best and most likely station, given the whereabouts of the Titanic at the time of the tragedy, to pick up the communications from the ship. Mr Marconi is then questioned on the positions of certain members of his staff in America but most notably an officer named Mr Sammis who is chief engineer of the American Marconi Co., Who, says Marconi, “Is very intimately in touch with everything concerning the equipment of the ships and the operators, and the operation of the system” Marconi is then invited to give a full background as to how he became involved in Wireless Telegraphy and he avails of this opportunity and further elaborates on how he set up his own Company and brought it, under his supervision, to an international organisation.

After some hours Sen Smith enquires as to whether Marconi himself had any communication or had ordered any communication with the Carpathia on Sunday night or Monday? Marconi denies having any such communication. He is then asked did you have any communication with the Carpathia directly or through a ship coast station, on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday up to the time of the arrival of the Carpathia in New York. He confirms he had no direct communication with Carpathia. Following a series of questions in relation to whether Marconi himself had been in direct contact with the Titanic or the Carpathia he emphatically states that he had no communication whatsoever with either ship at any time immediately after the disaster or during any of the following days. Marconi does confirm that he went to the Carpathia on the evening of its arrival and went on board to meet the Wireless operator, Mr Bride, and congratulated him on what he had heard he had done and then enquired after his senior operator, Phillips. Marconi also tells of his instructions to the Wireless operator to give every account he could to reporters and to disclose and discuss anything he knew about the disaster when and if he were asked. However, Marconi does admit that it is an offence, punishable by imprisonment to disclose the contents of messages. “On an occasion like this, of course some latitude would have been given. I mean, I think that on an occasion like this it would have been a good thing if some report had been sent. But this was a matter that depended on the discretion of the operator, and he used his discretion in such a way that he did not send any messages”. Marconi further admits that Carpathia’s operator, Mr Cottam, had left the ship but later made contact to inform him that journalists wanted the story of the disaster, and that he(Cottam) was going to be paid something for the story; “he did not tell me how much. He asked if he could give the story, and I said yes. But, in regard to this question, of operators, that there is a rule in these companies that operators must not act as reporters. They must accept messages from everyone in the order in which they are presented and there are bound to transmit them. But it is not encouraged that they should send stories of their own; at lEast, they would be dismissed if they did it” Sen Smith then asks Marconi if he sent a Wireless to the operators on the Carpathia and ask them to meet him at a later date and telling them to keep their mouths shut. Marconi denies any knowledge of any such message. Sen Smith then produces a document and tells Marconi he’s going to read the document and then ask whether Marconi new and eating about any fact or circumstance connected with the document. “On the evening of the steamship Carpathia’s arrival in New York, the four following radiograms were intercepted by the chief operator, JR Simpson, chief electrician, United States Navy. They appear to me to be significant enough to be brought to the attention of the Department;

Seagate to Carpathia; “Say, old man, Marconi Company, taking good care of you. Keep your mouth shut, and hold your story. It is fixed for you so you will get big money. Now, please do your best to clear”

That was at 8.12 PM, and then follows this one;

“To Marconi officer, Carpathia and Titanic; 8;30 PM; arranged for your exclusive story for dollars in four figures, Mr Marconi agreeing. Say nothing until you see me. Where are you now?(JM Sammis).

Followed by;

From Seagate to Carpathia operator; go to Strand Hotel. 502 W. 14th Street to meet Mr Marconi.; 9;33 PM;

And finally this;

From Seagate to Carpathia; A personal to operator Carpathia. “Meet Mr Marconi and Sammis at Strand Hotel, 502 W. 14th Street. Keep your mouth shut; Signed Mr Marconi.

Marconi claims that he does not know anything whatever about any of these messages; “They are not in the phraseology which I would have approved of if I had passed them. I should, however said that I told Mr Sammis or Mr Bottomley, I do not remember which, that I, as an officer of the British Company, would not prohibit or prevent these operators from making anything which they reasonably could make out of selling their story of the wreck. I was anxious that, if possible, they might make some small amount of money out of the information they had” Sen Smith confirms that it is a habit of the Marconi Company that Wireless operators are allowed to make personal profit, with Marconi’s consent and approval, from their personal experiences; “Mr Marconi let me ask you this with the right to exact compensation for an exclusive story detailing the horrors of the greatest sea disaster that ever was recorded in the history of the world, do you mean that an operator under your Company’s direction shall have the right to prevent the public from knowing of that calamity? Marconi replies, “I gave no instructions in regard to withholding any information, and I gave no advice or instructions in regard to an exclusive story to anybody. The only thing I did say or did authorise was that if he was offered payment for the story of the disaster, he was permitted, so far as the English Company went, to take that money” (Took & Donnelly, 1998). Later in his questioning of Marconi Sen Smith asks “regarding this arrangement with Mr Bride, you simply expressed willingness that he should make some money out of a narration of his experiences? Marconi replies; “Yes, sir, my feeling, expressed quite frankly, is that these operators are paid a very small amount; that certainly we would have compensated them to some degree; but if it were possible for them to make some money out of the story that they had, I do not say that they had exclusive information, but through permitting themselves to be interviewed, I was very glad that they should make this small amount. That was my sole feeling in the matter”

Through a series of such questions and answers the Inquiry Committee ascertain that Marconi had no intention that any information should be withheld in any way. Furthermore, that in a time of crisis the Captain is absolute chief and head and ruler of everything concerning the Wireless, and all the commercial rules which hold in ordinary times are suspended at the discretion of the captain. But in such cases the captain would not know actually whether his orders were being followed and if messages had been sent, he must rely on the statement of the operator. Before he leaves the stand Marconi makes the point that in his organisation a copy is kept of every message received and sent on board a ship. Therefore, this register of messages may be of some use to the committee but could not guarantee access to any of the messages on Carpathia which were taken to the Mediterranean. The Captain would not land them; “we endeavour to get them, but captain would not give them out”

Later the same day Marconi is recalled to be asked one question by Sen Smith; “In my examination this morning I failed to ask you specifically whether between the date of the collision, Sunday evening, April 14, and the present time, any officer, Director, or employee of the White Star Line, or of the International Mercantile Marine Co., had requested you or anyone associated with you, to your knowledge, to delay any message, or send any silence message, or message enjoining silence on the part of the Titanic’s operator, Bride, or the Carpathia’s operator, Cottam, with reference to the time and manner in which and to which the Titanic accident was in any way related? Marconi replies that; I am absolutely certain that I have received no such request. Smith then asks, “Or any officer or employee of your Company, without our knowledge? Marconi replies, “Yes, you may add those as part of my answer” (Titanic Inquiry Project., 1999).

On day 10 of the inquiry Marconi returns to give further testimony. Sen Smith begins his questioning by asking Marconi, “When you were last on the stand, I asked you whether you had sent any messages to the Carpathia during her voyage from the scene of the catastrophe to New York, and I recall your reply. Would you like to correct it? Marconi explains that he had said that he did not send any messages to the Carpathia but “on my return to New York, after having testified, I found that I had sent one message to the Carpathia” Marconi then reads this message to the inquiry; “Wire News dispatch immediately to ‘Siasconset’ or to navy boats. If this is impossible, ask captain give reason why no news is allowed to be transmitted. Signed, Guglielmo Marconi” The Siasconset sent to my office in New York return of what it actually transmitted to the Carpathia. This is the message; “Wire news dispatches immediately to navy boats. If this impossible ask captain give reason why no news is allowed to be transmitted” Marconi says he received no reply to the message which he sent at about 1;00 AM. He is then further questioned on issues relating to difficulties in international communication codes, American systems compared to European systems and then asked did he desire the committee to understand that these two telegrams that he had just read were the only messages he communicated to the Carpathia on the day of arrival in New York? Marconi denies all knowledge of the telegrams sent on the 18th, allegedly signed by him at 9;33 PM and says that it was absolutely unauthorised; “no matter who signed it, and I stated I did not send it or authorise it to be sent” He further states that he disapproves of both the language of these Wireless messages and the unauthorised use of his name and adds, “I should also ask you to allow me to say that the message which I sent to the Carpathia, to which you have already referred, proves, I think, quite conclusively that I had no intention of preventing the United States Navy boats from receiving any information from the Carpathia. I was exceedingly surprised, as everybody else was at the time, that no news was coming through, and I was very much worried about it, and that day I did suggest this message should be sent, and it was sent” Sen Smith then asks, “I want to ask you a straight, square question; whether you infer that the failure of your operators to communicate with the Salem or the Chester or with your office, or to give this news of the trip of the Carpathia to New York to the public, was influenced in any manner by the hope of reward from the sale of exclusive information in the possession of the Wireless operators?” Marconi replies, “my opinion is that it was not influenced in any way, because I do not see that they had any reason to believe or to hope or to think that they were going to sell their story to anybody”

Sen Smith then refers back to the case of the ship Republic, also owned by a sister Company of the White Star line, which in the early morning of 23 January 1909, while sailing from New York to Gibraltar and Mediterranean ports with 742 passengers and crew and captain in command, entered a thick fog off the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Out of the fog, the Lloyd Italiano liner SS Florida appeared and hit Republic at a right angle after which the ship listed and began to flood. Republic was equipped with the new Marconi Wireless Telegraph system, and became the first ship in history to issue a CQD distress signal, sent by Jack R. Binns. Florida came about to rescue Republic’s passengers, and the US Coast Guard cutter Gershwin responded to the distress signal as well. Passengers were distributed between the two ships, with Florida taking the bulk of them, but with 900 Italian immigrants already on board, this left the ship dangerously overloaded. The white star liner Baltic, commanded by Capt Ranson, also responded to the CQD call, but due to the persistent fog, it was not until the evening that Baltic was able to locate the drifting Republic. Once on scene, the rescued passengers were transferred from the Gresham and Florida to Baltic. Because of the damage to Florida, that ships immigrant passengers were also transferred to Baltic, after which the Republic ship sank. After the tragedy, Jack R. Binns, hailed by international media as a hero was handsomely paid for his story. Sen Smith felt that it was possible that the fact that Binns received money for his story of that disaster would influence Wireless operators somewhat in their course. Marconi explains that Binns had received a great deal of notoriety, and has benefited himself by the fact of his having been on board the Republic and on duty on that occasion. “I might say that he is still implied in writing newspaper articles and magazine articles about operators, and the sea, and ships, and things of that kind, which have absolutely nothing to do with the actual facts of the loss of the Republic. It seems to me that the public interest or the newspaper interest, becomes so great when an individual finds himself placed in the position of these men, that whatever they say that has public interest is paid for by these enterprising American journalist” Marconi is then asked by Smith, “you, being the leading and most active figure in the field of Wireless Telegraphy, probably the most prominent man in the world in that work, and your offices being in every part of the world and on most of the ships of the sea, I ask you whether from the developments of this enquiry you do not feel that it is incumbent upon you to discourage that practice; indeed, to prevent it all together, so far as you are able? Marconi agrees, “I am entirely in favour of discouraging the practice, and I naturally give very great weight to Annie opinion expressed by the chairman of this committee” Marconi is then asked to read further telegrams sent by his Company, all of which are demanding news (Titanic Inquiry Project., 1999).

Following the inquiries, United States Government passed the Radio Act of 1912. This act, along with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, stated that radio communications on passenger ships would be operated 24 hours along with a secondary power supply, so as not to miss distress calls. Also, the Radio Act of 1912 required ships to maintain contact with vessels in their vicinity as well as coastal onshore radio stations (Minichiello, P.E., Ray, 2008).

The Titanic tragedy had shown the public the usefulness of Wireless communications. Although 700 passengers were saved, the press argued that more could have been saved if there was a stronger Wireless regulation in effect. The press would argue that there was a lack of standards regarding the proper use of this Wireless technology on ships in particular, but also there needed to be regulation to protect citizens in general. The Radio Act proposed that Government would be given a specific wavelength, power level and operational hours to counter the Marconi Company’s monopoly of the spectrum. The feeling at the time was that long wavelengths of 250 m and over provided the best means for communications. Amateurs were therefore given those wavelengths of 200 m and below, what we know and call today the AM band. Sen Smith felt that over time the amateurs would lose interest and funding and all the wavelengths would revert to the Government. The Radio Act of 1912 reduced the amateur stations from 10,000 to just over 1,200 by the end of 1912. The Act mandated that all radio stations be licensed by the Government, as well as mandating that seagoing vessels continuously monitor distress frequencies.

The act set a precedent for international legislation of Wireless communications. Along with the Titanic disaster another factor to be considered was to combat the issue with amateur radio operators, the act provided for a system of licensing all radio stations, including amateur radio operators. Furthermore, it prohibited those amateurs from transmitting over the main commercial and military wavelengths. Amateurs were limited to transmitting signals that were below a certain wavelength in addition to being limited by wavelengths, amateurs were also limited to location and operating hours. The act would also allow Government to close down any or all radio stations and also empowers Government to impose fines and to revoke licences of those radio operators who violated the restrictions laid down by the act. Furthermore, the Government could seize the equipment of the offending station, as well as suspending the radio licences of the operators (Keith, 2007).

The Titanic tragedy has a connection to another Wireless story that has almost been forgotten; the dawn of modern radio licence regulation. Historical narratives vary on this subject. Even without the Titanic disaster, Government would have eventually asserted entirety over Wireless frequencies. But the Titanic tragedy accelerated the process and gave it a reference point in the public mind. Within weeks of the tragedy Wireless radio operators had to be licensed. During the Titanic disaster Marconi stations across the Atlantic Rim had become scenes of chaos, and they blamed it on amateur operators. Embarrassed newspaper editors joined the blame game and furious editorials against amateurs appeared in global newspapers. The American Radio Act of 1912 functioned as a template for global Government. Does the Titanic really deserve some credit or blame for this condition? It’s a point of disagreement among historians.

The tragedy is “often cited inaccurately as the reason for drawing the Radio Act of 1912,” writes broadcast regulation scholar Marvin R. Bensman. “The subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee had actually completed its work on this bill and the bill had been reported out prior to the Titanic disaster” (Lasar, 2011). That’s exactly right, but the footnote to this assertion comes from Captain Linwood S. Howeth’s 1963 statement, “The Titanic disaster has often been given as the compelling reason behind the enactment of this legislation. This is not correct. The subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee had completed its masterful work of bringing the opposing views into proper focus and the bill had been reported out prior to the disaster. It did, however, awaken congressional eyes to its wisdom and necessity and ensured its final enactment” (Howeth, 1963)

By April 30th the Irish newspapers were publishing their last ‘detailed’ witness accounts of the Titanic disaster and their editorials reflected the mood of angry readers who had been misled by early accounts and, in the light of evidence given in New York and Washington, clearly desired to move forward; “In the midst of her rejoicing over the near approach of the realisation of her national aspirations, Ireland has been plunged with dreadful suddenness and unexpectedness into consternation and gloom. The imagination is terrified by the wreck of the Titanic, the sacrifice of human life, the human bodies, many of them those of Ireland’s sons and daughters, cut off in the flower of youth and when filled with the hope of a livelihood and a foreign country, grinding against the ice and washed about the ocean. The agonies of those hours of horror can never be figured in the human mind. Within a few square yards of sea upon that awful night there was played such a tragedy of fear and grief and pain as no human mind can even remotely conceive. The passengers on board the Titanic went to sleep after a normal day, with its petty chatter and its little pleasures and follies. The Wireless operators sent desperate messages across the ocean; but think of the tortured minds flashing messages all over the world and beyond the world. The thought of it is terrible. The hope would be that the end was swift to all that were to perish. An earthquake at lEast has that good side to it, and, it is said, those found dead in the lava of Pompeii show in the normal line of their features that they had no terror, but were caught by death before they knew that their tomorrow was not to be like their yesterday. The grim story of the Titanic is still only little-known. The half information of the moment leaves all people black in doubt. Especially there will be doubts; as to those giant vessels that have been the pride of our new century. The Olympic began badly; the Titanic will enter into a sad fame as the cause of the most awful sea tragedy of all record. It was the “unsinkable” and it is sunk; and sunk four short hours after the collision. Within a few days of its proud first taking to the high seas, it is at the bottom, its passengers are washing over the sea, and their intimates will be haunted for years by the thought of their fate” (Southern Star, 1912).

But the matter was not quite closed yet as the House of Commons announce a public enquiry into the loss of the Titanic which would open within a few days (Irish Independent, 1912). Charles Buxton informed the House of Commons that the scope of the Titanic enquiry would be wide enough to allow the courts to receive evidence bearing on the advisability of changing the present regulations of the Board of Trade as to the safety of human life on the steamers. He further stated that the Court of Inquiry would be open to the press, and the proceedings would be fully reported. In addition, he proposed to supply some copies of the official print of the proceedings, from day-to-day to the libraries of both Houses. He also confirmed that the interests of the general public would be represented by the Law Officers of the Crown; “Other persons might, by leave of the Judge, appear by counsel, and the court had full power to provide for the costs of the inquiry. The arrangements for Wireless Telegraphy under Titanic and other vessels to which she sent, or from which she received messages would be considered by the Court of Inquiry” (Buxton, 1912).

The Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, is asked if he would propose a resolution to appoint a committee of that House to investigate the circumstances connected with the loss of the Titanic and sending Wireless messages in connection therewith, instead of having the Board of Trade investigation in view of the fact that the Board of Trade must necessarily be itself on trial in any such investigation. The Prime Minister told the House that the Government were of the opinion that the court of inquiry, presided over by Lord Mersey, would afford the best means of arriving at a conclusion with regard to all the circumstances connected with the loss of the Titanic, and all questions of responsibility involved. The Court was an independent tribunal with full power to mould the inquiry according to its own discretion. He further denies that the Board of Trade had some representatives on the tribunal.

In reply to further questions Asquith says the Board of Trade had absolutely no power to direct the course of the inquiry. He is further challenged and informed that under the merchant shipping act, the court must report to the Board of Trade itself. How is that possible if they may find that the Board of Trade has been culpable? Asquith insists, there is no difficulty at all, “They send their report formally to the board of trade and are perfectly entitled to find the board of trade culpable” (Asquith, 1912).

The court of enquiry into the circumstances of the disaster to the Titanic was opened in the Scottish Hall, Buckingham Gate, West Minister, the Hall of the headquarters of the London Scottish Territorials, and there were over 1000 persons present including members of the general public. Lord Mersey, the Wreck Commissioner with five colleagues who were acting as assessors, took their places on a rostrum at the top of the room. In front of the commissioners were an unusually large number of counsel representing the numerous parties interested. Chief among these were; Board of Trade, the White Star Line and builders, underwriters, surviving passengers and officers, and other big shipping companies. Behind counsel were the numerous professional witnesses to be called including the builders, underwriters, surviving passengers and officers and representatives of other big shipping companies. Beside the platform was a big model of the Titanic that had been used by Harland & Wolff for the construction of the mammoth liner. Alongside was an enormous route chart of the North Atlantic, and to the left of the platform were other plans of the vessel. Over 300 witnesses had been subpoenaed and the  inquiry is predicted to  ‘necessarily’ last many weeks.

When Lord Mersey took his seat at 11;10 the seats are set apart for the public were by no means filled up. Capt Bigham, Secretary to the Commission, opened the proceedings by stating “the enquiry will now be opened into the Titanic” Sir Rufus Isaacs then said, “Before this inquiry proceeds, I desire, on behalf of his Majesty’s Government, to express our deepest sympathy with all those who mourn the loss of relatives and friends among the passengers, the officers, or the crew of this ill-fated vessel. This terrible disaster in mid ocean, both because in mere magnitude it exceeds any calamity in the history of the Mercantile Marine, and also because of the many harrowing incidents, which has in a profound and marked degree touched the hearts of the nation, and while not desiring in any way to anticipate the result of this inquiry, I cannot refrain from paying tribute of warm admiration of those whose manful devotion to duty and heroic sacrifices for the safety of others have maintained the best traditions of the sea. Before proceeding further I do not know if my learned friend has anything to add” (Isaacs, 1912). Sir Robert Finlay added “I desire to associate myself, on behalf of the owners of the Titanic, with the expressions which the Attorney General used. No words can express the sympathy which everyone must feel with those who have suffered. There is only one thing which gives some consolation, and to that the Attorney General has alluded, that the disaster has given an opportunity for a display of discipline and of heroism that is worthy of all the best traditions of the Marine of this country. I can say no more, for the sympathy which we feel on this occasion with those who have suffered is really beyond expression in words” (Finlay, 1912).

Isaacs then states that it was the earnest desire of the administration that a searching and thorough enquiry should be made with the object of ascertaining as fully and precisely as possible the circumstances surrounding the casualty, and of abducting lessons and conclusions that might help hereafter to promote the safety of vessels and life at sea; “it is the wish of the President of the Board of Trade, and the law officers of the Crown were equally desiring, that in the public interest every possible source of information and all available evidence would be placed before the inquiry”. It was proposed to call surviving members of the crew, and afterwards witnesses as to the construction and equipment of the vessel and a series of 26 questions framed by the Board of Trade would be asked. This would include questions such as the number of persons employed in any capacity on board, and the total number of passengers, discriminating between sex, adults, and children. Did the Titanic comply with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Acts rules and regulations? Were any special provisions made in actual design and construction of the Titanic for the safety of those on board in the case of casualty? How was the Titanic officered and manned?; The number of boats, arrangements for manning and launching of them, and their capacity and had there been boat drill during the voyage?; Enquiries into Wireless installation and regulations for operators?; Were instructions as to navigation given to the master, and, if so, what were they?; Was the route taken usual and was it safe at this time of year?; Had the master discretion as to the route?; There will also be many questions related to what happened before warning was sent by Wireless to the Titanic and whether, after leaving Queenstown, information had not reached the Titanic by Wireless signals as to the existence of ice in certain latitudes, and was her course altered? (Freemans Journal, 1912).

There were a total of 36 days of official investigation. Lord Mersey and the various counsels, assessors and experts in marine law and shipping architecture, questioned White Star Line officials, Government officials, surviving passengers and crew, and those who had aided the rescue efforts. Organisations represented by legal counsels included shipping unions and Government organisations. Nearly 100 witnesses testified, answering more than 25,000 questions. The questioning resulted in a report that contained a detailed description of the ship, an account of the ship’s journey, a description of the damage caused by the iceberg, and an account of the evacuation and rescue. The final report was published on 30 July 1912. Its recommendations, along with those of the earlier United States Senate inquiry that had taken place in the month after the sinking, led to changes in safety practices following the disaster. The lines of questioning at the inquiry had resulted in a detailed description of the ship, an account of the ship’s journey, a description of the damage caused by the iceberg, an account of the evacuation and rescue. There was also a special section devoted to the circumstances of the Californian (Titanic Inquiry Project, 1912).

The report found that Titanic’s sinking was solely the result of colliding with the iceberg, not due to any inherent flaws with the ship, and that the collision had been brought about by a dangerously fast speed in icy waters; “The Court, having carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons appearing in the annex hereto, that the loss of the said ship was due to collision with an iceberg, brought about by the excessive speed at which the ship was being navigated” (Titanic Inquiry Project, 1912). It also found that the lookout being kept was inadequate given the navigational hazards Titanic faced, and that the ship’s officers had been complacent. There were too few lifeboats available and they had not been properly filled or manned with trained seamen, though they had been lowered correctly. The inquiry concluded that the Californian “could have pushed through the ice to the open water without any serious risk and so have come to the assistance of the Titanic. Had she done so she might have saved many if not all of the lives that were lost” (Butler, 1998).

The Board of Trade’s representative suggested to Lord Mersey that a formal inquiry should be held into Captain Lord’s “competency to continue as Master of a British ship” but no action was taken against him due to legal technicalities. The Board of Trade was criticised for its inadequate regulations, notably the failure to ensure that enough lifeboats were provided and that crews were given proper training in their use. The Duff Gordons were cleared of wrongdoing but it was made clear that they should have acted more tactfully (Butler, 1998)

In contrast to the American inquiry, the Mersey report did not condemn the failures of the Board of Trade, the White Star Line or Titanic’s captain, Edward Smith. The report found that although Smith was at fault for not changing course or slowing down, he had not been negligent because he had followed long-standing practice which had not previously been shown to be unsafe (Lynch, 1998) The inquiry noted that British ships alone had carried 3.5 million passengers over the previous decade with the loss of just 10 lives (Eaton & Haas, 1994) it concluded that Smith had merely done “only that which other skilled men would have done in the same position” However, the practice itself was faulty and “it is to be hoped that the last has been heard of this practice. What was a mistake in the case of the Titanic would without doubt be negligence in any similar case in the future” (Lynch, 1998)

The report’s recommendations, along with those of the earlier United States Senate inquiry that had taken place in the month after the sinking, led to changes in safety practices following the disaster. The report was well received by the British press. The Daily Telegraph commented that although “technically speaking, the report is not the last word, but in practice it would probably be treated as if it were” (Eaton & Haas, 1994) The Daily Mail suggested that it was “difficult to suppose that any court which had to inquire into the responsibility of the owners of the ship would disregard the expression of opinion of Lord Mersey and those who sat with him … The report having, in effect, acquitted them of all blame, it is not likely that any attempt will be made hereafter to establish the contrary” (Barczewski, 2011).

Others were more critical. In his memoirs, Charles Lightoller pointed out the inquiry’s conflict of interest; “A washing of dirty linen would help no one. The Board of Trade had passed that ship as in all respects fit for the sea … Now the Board of Trade was holding an inquiry into the loss of that ship – hence the whitewash brush” (Barczewski, 2011) Titanic historian Donald Lynch notes the consequences; “Apart from protecting itself, the [Board of Trade] had no interest in seeing the White Star Line found negligent. Any damage to White Star’s reputation or balance sheet would be bad for British shipping – and there was considerable potential for both. Negligence on the part of the shipping Company might pave the way for millions of dollars in damage claims and lawsuits that would tie up the courts for years, possibly break the White Star Line, and result in the loss of much of Britain’s lucrative shipping traffic to the Germans and the French” (Lynch, 1998).

Stephanie Barczewski notes the contrast between the approaches taken by the American and British inquiries. The British inquiry was much more technical, “the more learned and erudite of the two”, while the American inquiry’s report was a reflection of a comparatively poorly managed inquiry that had frequently allowed itself to get sidetracked. However, the American report took a much more robust stance on the failures that had led to the disaster. As Barczewski puts it, it “bristles with criticisms of established seafaring traditions and of the conduct of the Titanic’s builders, owners, officers and crew”, and conveys “righteous indignation” and a “passion to right the wrongs” done to the victims of the disaster and to prevent any recurrence. The authors of the two reports took markedly different interpretations of how the disaster had come about. The American report castigated the arrogance and complacency that had led to the disaster and held Captain Smith, the shipping industry and the Board of Trade culpable for their failures. The British report emphasized that “the importance of this Enquiry has to do with the future. No Enquiry can repair the past” (Barczewski, 2011)

“Signor Marconi whose name is world famed as the inventor of the Wireless system, yesterday began an important extension of the Wireless. Messages by Wireless may now be sent through any Telegraph office in the United Kingdom at a cheap rate to the United States or Canada”

(Ulster Herald, 1912)

In early May 1912 the financial pages are reporting that the Wireless market, as compared with some weeks ago, has developed remarkable weakness. “At one time yesterday Marconi ordinary shares fell under the previous day’s closing price and the panicky feeling endured for the remainder of the day” (Freemans Journal, 1912). The Irish Independent reports “Business in Marconi shares fell away to very meagre proportions at the Stock Exchange. Sellers of the various Wireless Telegraph issues came prominently forward, and, in the absence of adequate support, prices dropped all round” (Irish Independent, 1912).

The time was right for an exercise in damage limitation. As Marconi’s shares began to plummet the Irish media’s immediately started on rebuilding both his reputation and the reputation of his Company and began to publish articles in praise of the man they described as an “absolute genius”. The part which Wireless played in the tragedy of the Titanic suggests a note or two on the inventor of Wireless, Guglielmo Marconi, says the Southern Star newspaper; “To begin, anyone more unlike the typical Italian as we know him, dark, olive skinned, and given to gesticulation, than the propounder of the above gigantic scheme, it would be difficult to imagine. If anything Marconi is on the fair side; his wonderful eyes are of a greyish blue, and in manner he is the essence of quietness. But, then, he is only half an Italian, for his mother was Irish and from Enniscorthy, a member of a well-known family, and although born in Italy, Marconi was educated for a time in England at a private school at Bedford. Inventors are often poor, but Marconi’s father was a wealthy landed proprietor. At school he particularly objected to be made to learn things by heart, and to the methods of teaching handwriting, and to this day he condemns the latter, schoolboys being taught to write in a way they will never use in afterlife. Anyway, both at Bedford and at other schools in Italy, Marconi refused to study except in his own way and at his pet subjects. What were his early tastes? Music held foremost place; but his scientific tastes were also strong, and in his own way he studied chemistry and electricity at an age when most boys are mainly occupied with games. He was only 13 when he installed electric light in his father’s house, an achievement which made something of a sensation locally, electricity being little understood, in those days. He went to Bologna University and quite probably he would eventually have settled down as a country gentleman, as his father wished him to do, but for the discovery of “Hertzian Waves” in 1888. Prof Hertz’s demonstration, that a disruptive electrical discharge causes electromagnetic waves to radiate through the ‘Ether’(the air) with the velocity of light set Marconi thinking. In the end he conceived the idea of Wireless Telegraphy by means of “Hertzian Waves,” and spent several years quietly experimenting at his home until in 1896, he Patented his famous system. The same year, that is, 1896, Marconi went to London and astonished it and General Post Office officials by successfully Telegraphing without wire between St Martin’-Le-Grand and the Embankment. Like every inventor, Marconi met with great opposition and disbelief at first, but to date his work is widely embraced as the work of an absolute genius” (Ulster Herald, 1912). At the same time the Irish independent gave prominent position to another praising editorial regarding the “wonderful Wireless”; the time is fast approaching when Mr Marconi’s wonderful invention will be extensively used in the everyday transactions of big commercial undertakings. Already, of course, many business messages are transmitted by Marconi, and a great extension of its use in connection with the Telegraph may soon be expected. Arrangements have been made by which telegrams handed in at any Telegraph office in the United Kingdom can be transmitted by Wireless across the Atlantic instead of by cable. With the increased popularity and efficiency of the Marconi system and comparatively cheap rates the operators at Clifden may anticipate a busy time” (Irish Independent, 1912).

The Southern Star newspaper had something to add as well; “with all its gruesome details and its conflicting accounts, the fatal day on which the sad news of the sinking of the great ship Titanic was flashed to the world by the Wireless, will still be firmly implanted in the minds of many whose dear ones are no more. Mrs Jermyn of Ballydehob, is one of those who is not likely soon to forget the disaster, even though, happily for her, she is not to be reckoned amongst the big list of the afflicted. Her daughter, Annie, it is true, was amongst the Titanic’s passengers on the dreadful April night when the White Star leviathan struck the fatal iceberg and Mrs Jermyn was for many anxious hours naturally grief-stricken at the thought that she might be amongst the lost. On the Titanic, too, were Bridget Driscoll and Mary Kelly, also of Ballydehob, whose rescue we were glad to report last week. But, unhappily, Andy Keane, also Ballydehob was lost. But to return to Mrs Jermyn, on the day after the first tidings of the loss of the Titanic were received, it having been erroneously reported that Miss Jermyn had been a victim of disaster, Mrs Jermyn became almost delirious with grief. The neighbours collected around her house to offer her words of consolation and hope. The hours went on, but not a reassuring message arrived. To their amazement, in the evening, Mrs Jermyn announced to friends that she had seen her child, that she was in the yard, and out into the yard she went in ecstasy of joy. Presently she returned and declared a voice had told her “your daughter is saved” This cam to Mrs Jermyn considerably, and early on the next day she got a telegram which put the question of her daughter’s safety beyond all doubt. The extraordinary presentiment, coupled with the mysterious voice, has been the subject of general gossip in Ballydehob ever since” (Southern Star, 1912).

The Irish Independent had even more good news to report; “Wireless Telegraphy is now at the disposal of everybody in every Telegraph office of the United Kingdom at rates considerably below the cable standard. Four Marconi operators have been added to the staff of the Dublin Telegraph Department to deal with messages for dispatch to Clifden, which is the transmitting station from Glace Bay. During commercial hours in the day it has been decided to keep a clear through wire to Clifden from Dublin, and at night there is through communication between Clifden and London. The Post Office authorities already report a large increase in the number of American and Canadian telegrams handed in for dispatch. Mr Webb, of the firm of Goodbody and Webb, stockbrokers, Dame Street, said they have been using the Marconi system since April 23 last year with great advantage. The Marconi Company had lately been able to increase to speed of transmission, with the result that they had been gradually diminishing the number of their “cables” and adopting “Wireless” almost exclusively; “On one occasion they communicated with a client at sea in the Mediterranean, and the only delay was in finding him among the rest of the passengers” (Irish Independent, 1912).

The following day the Sunday independent reports; “One outcome of the Titanic disaster must be the advancement of Wireless Telegraphy, for human progress is too often based on our misadventures – indeed, trouble appears to be the motive power of progressive action. America is the first to wake up. Uncle Sam intends to make more use than ever before of the powers of the air to safeguard the interests of his people on land and sea. At his office in Washington he will soon be able to receive instant warning information concerning anything that goes on in all sections of the Atlantic Ocean, from the North Pole to the Equator, and even beyond – all this to be accomplished through the powers of the air, or, in order words, the Wireless Telegraph and some gigantic Towers near Washington. Through his Navy Department at Washington, it is reported by Mr William L Altdorfer, to whom we are indebted for the information, he has decided to build three gigantic Towers, one of them is to be 600 feet high and the other two 450 foot each. Towers of this great height, situated on the highest point near Washington, Uncle Sam will be able to direct the movements of his Wireless war vessels anywhere on the Atlantic Ocean within 3000 miles of Washington, and perhaps further, if the possibilities of the towers come up to expectations. Not only will he be able to issue instructions direct to his watchdogs of the deep by means of this powerful station, but he also plans to have sent ships scattered all over the Atlantic – from coast-to-coast and from as far North as the icebergs will permit, to as far South as the electric waves of the Wireless may be for forced to penetrate” (Sunday Independent, 1912).

“The lecture on Wireless Telegraphy which is to be given tonight by Fr Gill, SJ., At Belvedere College, promises to be of unusual interest, both on account of the circumstances which have occasioned it and because of the interest attaching to all connected with the name of Marconi at the present time”

(Freemans Journal, 1912)

Reports are now arriving in Ireland that Mr Melville Stone, General Manager of the Associated Press, has given evidence before the Senate committee and questioned about the dispatches received by the Associated Press on Monday, April 15, the day of the Titanic disaster. He gave a full history of each dispatch received and of its source, Mr Stone testified that a dispatch was recovered from the “Montréal Star” to the effect that passengers had been transferred and were en route to Halifax. Later this same Montréal message having been cabled to London was given out there by the Exchange Telegraph Company, and the Associated Press, London, repeated it back to New York, giving credit for the message to the Exchange Company. Mr Stone further stated that the “Montréal Star” primarily and the Exchange Telegraph Company’s secondary were responsible as the sources of the dispatch in question. The London office of the Associated Press was wholly free from criticism. During the inquiry Mr Stone had been asked a number of questions. What part of the Titanic story had he handled personally and he replied he had general supervision of the entire work. He was then asked how you obtained such information as you sent out on Monday. And what was the exact source of each message? Mr Stone replied the “Montréal Star” received the message to the effect that passengers had all been transferred and were being brought to Halifax. This message we sent to Mr Franklin’s office. He issued a reassuring bulletin saying that there was no cause for alarm. At 10;10 AM(3.10 PM London time) we received a dispatch from the London repeating practically the “Montréal Star’s” story. Later from all parts the same dispatch began to be reported. We received some news automatically through our general system of newsgathering and some in response to personal enquiries. From the Marconi Wireless station at Cape Race we received two messages on Sunday evening, and early on Monday. They came from the Virginian, and stated that she was 170 miles from the Titanic and expected to come along side at 10.00am on Monday morning. Mr Stone read these messages and then stated; “From midnight Sunday we had no trustworthy telegrams until 11;23 AM(4;25 PM London time). Then a dispatch was given out from the White Star offices by Mr Franklin to the effect that the Virginian had reported the transfer of the passengers, was underway, 20 boatloads being aboard the Carpathia. Mr Franklin, who gave out the telegram declined to give the full text” He was then asked was he aware of any attempt to suppress news. He replied I have no knowledge of any such thing. Do you approve of the Wireless operator selling their news to the newspapers? He replied no. He then added at 12;07 AM on Monday afternoon the Canadian press sent out the following telegram; “Norton Davidson, one of the Titanic’s passengers, has sent to the local office of his firm here stating all passengers are safe. The Titanic is now in tow of the Virginian” That was the last of the conspicuous fakes (Reuters Telegram, 1912).

As a result of the coverage now being given in New York and Washington to the “Big Money” telegrams the Irish media continue to support Marconi with favourable editorials; “Wireless Telegraphy fell under some undeserved disgrace and the first shock of the Titanic disaster. There was some confused idea, apparently, that it was ‘maid of all work’, when the great ship went down with all those lives, people scarcely remembered that of the hundreds saved all owed their rescue from the icy sea to the Carpathia, brought on the rescue by the Marconi message. This aspect of the case was brought into vigorous relief by Fr Henry Gill’s lecture last night in Dublin at the Belvedere College. There was a true touch in the reflection that but for the Wireless mystery the fate of the Titanic, with all its population, might have been a mystery, too, for all time. A few years ago there could have been no word of explanation; all might have been drowned and the great ship need not have left a trace; a couple of days might have wiped away the last vestige of the boats that put off from the wreck, the icebergs would have shifted away on their own journey and the wonder would have remained how the vessel could have disappeared on a quiet night. The anguish of the long waiting for news, with the doubts still lingering in many minds long after hope had lost all ground; this, too, must be counted in, and very seriously to the credit of the wonderful invention of our time which all but annihilates space as far as communication is concerned, raying information, warning, alarm, and need over thousand miles. At present it is mentioned with some enthusiasm that certain Government have made the Wireless installation compulsory on passenger vessels; the time will not be long in coming when the Wireless will be installed on every ship. The age before the Wireless was seen to ourselves as strangely ill-equipped and handicapped as the age before the railroad. It may well be that the change in the world’s ways to be brought about by means of this wonder of today would be greater than those produced by the railroad itself. As the lecturer of yesterday observed, this knowledge is as yet only on the threshold of the cave in which it lay hidden; it has scarcely taken the air; a few years and will be active in ways we no more foresee than our fathers foresaw the immeasurable work in front of the steam engine, the vast novelties and materials that would come into human life from that humble beginning, mocked by the thoughtless and by the old-fashioned. We at lEast, in our age of many inventions, have learned not to be scornful of the new, scarcely even to be surprised that any promise, even though now and then we have been deceived. Often enough inventions are announced that do not appear, but often on the other hand there springs up suddenly wonder unannounced and works swift miracles over the face of the Earth. We of this age therefore take all these announcements without emotion, with a grain of salt and also with a large grain of expectation, as belonging to a generation accustomed to the new thing. At the rate at which we go now, we may feel sure that the world of our grandchildren will bear little resemblance to which we see. There will be the sky above us and the soil beneath us, and Tulips was still flower proudly in May; but in nearly everything else of the environing things, we should be at a loss in the world of our great-grandchildren. For thousands of years little altered except in the realm of ideas and in the fashion of clothes. Suddenly in one century there came the railroad train and the electric Telegraph and Telephone, monstrous and delicate machinery, great ships, the vast trade and the worldwide communication, almost instantaneous; hosts of discoveries and devices with results that have made Peking practically near and far more important to Dublin than once Paris was. To our heirs we, so well satisfied with ourselves, shall seem to have lived the strangest dull lives among quaint old makeshifts; we will amuse them when they think of us with our queer pride in childish beginnings and ways so cramped by unconquered nature. It will be well for us if our amused grandchildren can find, as an offset to all our simplicity in matters of practical science, that we had at lEast, like the ancients of our thought, some nobleness of the mind and soul to save us from appearing imbecile and ridiculous in a world full of the working of astonishing powers (Freemans Journal, 1912).

The events of the recent past would severely tarnish the reputation of Marconi and his Company and he would do all in his power to limit the damage he was interviewed by a ‘Daily News’ representative on the subject of the Titanic disaster and its relation to Wireless Telegraphy. “The system of Wireless control in America is undoubtedly currently bad, he said. At present any one can put up a station for sending or receiving, and these amateurs, I find, receive all sorts of messages, which they misconstrue owing to the fact that they have not had a proper knowledge of the Morse system, and because their systems are imperfect. That is undoubtedly what took place in the present instance, and the Press, being extremely anxious to get news, did not take sufficient pains to verify the early messages” Asked if any developments were contemplated in connection with Wireless Telegraphy which could be used in similar circumstances in future, Mr Marconi said, “the only practical thing to do at the present moment was to have two operators on every ship. After all, even a Wireless man must have some sleep. There is absolutely no reliable way at present of arousing a sleeping operator by apparatus. Nor has any recording instrument yet been discovered that will give a faithful record of a message while the operator is absent. “I am working hard upon the subject, however, and have every hope that I shall be able to perfect an apparatus that will automatically give warning on the receipt of a message, and draw attention by means of a bell or other device” Asked if he would give evidence at the British Inquiry he replied, “I have not yet been asked to do so, but I am quite prepared to go before the court and tell them all I know. Then I think the truth will come out, and that is what I want” (Marconi, 1912). Mr Marconi is full of confidence as to the outcome of his great schemes for encircling the globe with a great system of Wireless. “We are proposing to erect very soon big stations for communicating direct between England and America, or rather between the vicinity of London and the vicinity of New York. I hope this service will be in operation within 12 months” He continued, “the messages will go through within a very few minutes, practically instantaneously. Time is at present occupied in transmitting messages to Clifden and repeating them on the other side from Glace Bay to New York by our arrangement with the Western Union on the other side the messages will be delivered as quickly as any cablegram” (Marconi, 1912)

It seemed almost as if shares in Marconi could not be excited as trade was “severely depressed” although trade in general was tolerably brisk on the Dublin Stock Exchange but an unsatisfactory tone pervaded the markets. The Wireless market was not so busy with shares starting badly and continuing to slump as the day progressed. In London, the “Financial Times” publishes a report of a meeting of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, in which the authorised capital stock of the Company was increased and the value of the shares was dramatically reduced. Arrangements are also made for entering actively into the business of transatlantic Wireless service between the United States and Great Britain, and the Company is about to erect high power stations in New York City. It was also confirmed at the meeting that the Marconi Company are proceeding against a firm of members of the London Stock Exchange for libel in respect of statements contained in a recent weekly report. The Company also explains that the Boston circuit court of appeals is now preventing the sale of the United Wireless Telegraph Company’s assets, but merely requires the trustees in bankruptcy of that Company to defer for the present the actual transfer of title. This would not in the lEast affect the sale to, nor the position of, the American Marconi Company, who were not parties to this motion. The report complained of allegations that the Marconi Company did not send their messages across the Atlantic by their own system, but by cable and debited the loss created by the difference in price to ‘advertisement account’. Mr Isaacs’s, Managing Director of the Marconi Company stated to an interviewer that the Company’s business continues in every way highly satisfactory, and “nothing has happened of an unfavourable nature, but rather the reverse, since our last communication to the shareholders” (Irish Independent, 1912).

New problems are starting to develop for Wireless operators, legitimate and otherwise, in the United States of America. Giving false alarms by Wireless Telegraphy is the neWest form of the practical chalk in the USA. Government aid was dispatched to a supposed shipwreck as the consequence of the “Wireless joke” The result of these “jokes” is that a Bill has been brought before the Senate insisting upon the licensing of all Wireless installations and their operators. By this means interference is controlled and secrecy insured for the Government’s stations in time of crisis. The installation and use of a private Wireless station in Britain is not possible without its detection by the controlling authorities. The moment and new Wireless station of any power comes into operation either the Post Office are one of the Marconi stations receives the signal. Steps are immediately taken to ascertain its whereabouts (Leitrim Observer, 1912). Other Irish newspapers were more focused on the new reality of “Wireless telephone”; if the report from Rome that messages sent by Wireless telephone have been distinctly heard at a distance of 160 miles are correct, a new development in the use of “Wireless” may be expected. 160 miles is but a little short the distance between Dublin and Cork, so that one can realise what a saving in the working of the telephone system in remote districts could be affected by the use of Wireless. It was, of course, known for some years past that Wireless telephone messages could be heard at distances of 20 or 30 miles, and a couple of years ago two French battleships were able to keep up communication by this means when 70 miles apart. But that conversation can be carried on at more than double that distance is something new and very exciting” (Irish Independent, 1912).

On May 20th 1912 the Postmaster General, Herbert Samuel, in his annual statement on the work of his Department outlines new proposals for reforms for extensions in the future; but the Irish Times is not very happy of a Government profiteering at the expense of controlling communications and make no attempt to conceal this fact in their Editorial. “The answer to the question whether Mr Samuel’s statement can be regarded as satisfactory depends entirely upon the standpoint from which the work of this particular department of state is considered. We may adopt the argument of Sir George Doughty, who expressed his belief that a Department of this character should not be run with the object of making a profit. The revenue, he believed, should be applied to the purpose of promoting the efficiency of the service. We do not think that this position is tenable. The Post Office is one of the few Government departments in which the ideal of a “business Government” is capable of application, and, at the same time, desirable. To turn it into a kind of bureau of National philanthropy is to defeat its best purposes. We have no doubt that the adoption of such a system would prove a useful vote-catching measure for the Government, and on that ground, if no other, we applaud Mr Samuel’s refusal to accept it. He spends the public money upon improving the service under his control, and looks for another dramatic rise in custom which will maintain the Department as a paying concern. It is a policy which has so far been justified by its success. In the year which Mr Samuel reviewed yesterday the increase in expenditure has been very considerable. This is partly explained by the normal growth of the service, which must necessarily expand from year to year, but it is mainly due to the transfer of the telephone system to the state. It is now possible to form a fair estimate of the value of the charges levelled against the telephone service at the beginning of the year. The truth probably is that the same grievances, such as they were, existed under the old regime, but the public, apparently, looked for a miraculous change when the Post Office took over the business. Any change must, of necessity, have been temporarily for the worse, and we have to thank the Postmaster General that this vast transaction which was completed with so little discomfort to the public. Mr Samuel hints at a rate reduction as soon as the Royal Commission has fixed transfer price. We note that the “farmers’ telephones” system is gaining in popularity. This is a proposition which Irish farmers would be well advised to consider in a favourable light. Another reform which will prove welcome is the proposal that telephone subscribers should be allowed to use the numbers as telegraphic addresses. Mr Samuel is doing his best to facilitate telegraphic communication abroad as well as at home. We’re promised reduced charges to the continent when the laying of the landlines is completed, and, possibly, a further reduction of cable rates to the Colonies. To the progress of the automatic telephone experiments we have already referred, as also to the progress of the Imperial Wireless scheme. Wireless, naturally, bulks largely in Mr Samuel’s statement. The important question of continuous communication between ships at sea, a matter whose urgency has been emphasised by the evidence at the Titanic enquiry, will be considered next month by an international conference. Mr Samuel’s statement, as a whole, is a worthy record of a hard and businesslike endeavour” (Irish Times, 1912). But the Imperial Wireless Scheme, as proposed by Samuel’s, would mean greater profits for Marconi as reported in the London times on the following day. “The Imperial Wireless Scheme of Communication is continuing to make progress. Six stations have been arranged for, one in England, two between England and India, one in India, one at Singapore, and one in South Africa. The Marconi Company guarantee apparatus capable of covering intervals of 2000 miles, and even more. The cost, in round figures, is £60,000 per station without sites and buildings. These stations, to be supplemented later by others, will do something to keep the remotest parts of the Empire in close touch with the Imperial capital, though we cannot regard the Wireless system proposed as a satisfactory substitute for a much greater reduction of ordinary cable rates that has yet been achieved. The details of this great scheme will in due course come before the House of Commons, but in bare outline it makes a powerful appeal to the imagination” (London Times, 1912). In addition to all of this by the end of May 1912 the only American Marconi Company announced that they are about to equip stations at New Orleans, that’s one island in the Caribbean Sea, and at Santa marked the, Colombia, providing direct Wireless communication between the two American continents (Irish Times, 1912). It seemed as if prosperous times were ahead again for Marconi.

Adding further to Marconi’s business restoration is news from Washington in the form of an announcement by Senator Smith delivering his speech on the report of the Sub-Committee which investigated the wreck of the Titanic. Smith states, “We absolutely recommend that all ships should have a continuous equipment of Wireless telegraphy and this is a reform upon which public opinion is already agreed” (Irish Times, 1912). But what Smith gives in one hand to Marconi he takes with the other and condemns the Company as agents of prostitution of talents or offices or services for reward. As if it was not enough for Smith to simply advocate the installation of Wireless telegraphy itself but to also suggest that such work should not be done by Marconi’s Company. In a well crafted speech he states, “By the aid of the Marconi genius, a gentleman sitting in his office in the capital of the Argentina Republic Road as in an open book a Wireless message direct from the coast of Ireland. When the world weeps together over a common glass, when nature moves in the same direction in all spheres, why should not the nations clear the sea of its conflicting idioms, and wisely regulate this new servant of humanity. To that end wages must be increased in proportion to the responsibility assumed; and the service to be useful must be made continuous night and day, while this new profession must rid itself of the spirit of venality to which, in my opinion, the world is in deficit for the systematic reign of silence concerning the details of this disaster” (Irish Times, 1912). As far as the American’s were now concerned Marconi’s Company was entirely responsible for the failure of adequate news supply in the days after the sinking of the Titanic. His Company are depicted as profiteers, at all costs, even in the time of enormous tragedy. Fortunately Marconi had a some influential friends in London who were about to change the course of history for the Italian inventor. One of these, a middle aged conservative politician was infuriated by the American senator’s comments and during what became known as the ‘Marconi Scandal’ Winston Churchill used a speech to mount an impassioned defence of Marconi and two embattled ministers David Lloyd George and Rufus Isaacs, asserting that there was “no stain of any kind” upon their characters.

“The committee does not believe that the Wireless operator of the Carpathia was duly vigilant in handling messages after the accident, and declares that the practice of allowing Wireless operators to sell their stories should be stopped.”

(Titanic Disaster American Inquiry Report, 1912)

BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR THIS ARTICLE IS ONLY AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

Nazis Take Power.

Here we shall explore why the Weimar Republic collapsed and how Hitler came to power. What was it that caused the Germans to vote for him and how he went about creating levers of power for himself. It will also elaborate on how Hitler crushed opposition even within his own party.

At the start of 1933, the Weimar government, after 15 years in office, had little real support in the country. Although the Nazis did not have an overall majority, they were the largest single party. No other party could match them in their propaganda or in their loyalty of support. Regardless of actual figures the Nazis could project the illusion of superiority over their rivals. This was because the people of Germany wanted change and had become more than disillusioned with the Weimar government. The communist threats, the Jewish menace, unemployment, the injustice of the Versailles settlement, the uncertainty of the economy were all contributing factors to the rise of Nazi-ism.

Hitler’s ability to appeal across the range of classes had already borne fruit in the Harzburg Front of October 1931, a grouping of the various conservative forces on the political right. The Front brought the Nazi party was come forums and gave it the air of respectability it needed in order to ultimately secure power. The July 1932 election indication of how far the National Socialists had gained in popularity; they doubled their previous vote and won twice as many seats in the Reichstag. However, it must be said, the rise of the Nazis was not inevitable and under a different economic climate may not have ever secured power. This fact is borne out by the November 1932 election in which the National Socialists saw the loss of 34 seats. Only two months later, Hitler was to take office as Chancellor. Hitler’s success was not, therefore, simply a matter of popular support. It owed as much to his skill as an opportunist in outmanoeuvring a set of conservative politicians who thought they could render him harmless by inviting him into office. Events were to prove that they had toolkit misjudged Hitler and the situation.

The aging Weimar president Von Hindenburg refused to acknowledge Hitler and the Nazis and tried by juggling his ministerial appointments to keep the conservative character of the government, knowing that if the Nazis were admitted to power they would destroy the Weimar Republic. From 1930 to 1933 three different chancellors tried, without much success, to govern through a series of coalitions. The Nazis grew impatient and Hitler refused to yield to their desires to overthrow the government by force arguing that legal power was the only way forward. He had, since 1924, advocated this route to power and always believed that sooner or later the Nazis would have the majority and after that – Germany.

In January 19 turkey tree Hindenburg agreed to appoint Hitler as Chancellor but only after he had been assured by cabinet ministers that Hitler would be far less dangerous in office then out, because it would be easier to control him but, as time would tell, Hitler was far beyond control. Hitler introduced an Enabling Act which suspended the Weimar Constitution and granted him full power to govern in his own right. Two significant events accord in the prelude to the final ascension to power Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party; the burning of the Reichstag building and Nazi success in what was to prove the last Reichstag election.

On the night he became Chancellor Hitler declared war on spiritual, political and cultural nihilism. He further demanded the Germany should not sink into communist anarchy. Less than a month later and Hitler had a golden opportunity to demonstrate his resolution when a Dutch communist set fire to the Reichstag building in Berlin. The arsonist was allegedly working alone and so it was not difficult for the Nazis to denounce the act as part of a large-scale communist plot.

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister manipulated Hitler’s fury and declared that only the Nazi party could save Germany from a red Revolution. Hermann Goering used the SA to terrorize other political parties and the campaign proved highly successful. The party fold increased and it is now beyond doubt that the Nazis had more popular support than any other party, resistance to Hitler within the government collapsed.

In the early 1930s the Weimar Republic had been deemed a failure and the intense nationalism of the Nazi party seemed a better proposition the Germans than any other pro-Soviet regime. Hitler had convinced the nation that he understood the needs of the people and promised salvation. The German middle classes and industrialists were already angry with the Weimar governments when Hitler proffered redemption from an ever deepening recession that was crippling the country. People admired Hitler’s stand on the rights of Germany as a nation in Europe and his condemnation of that Versailles Treaty. He further promised full support to the millions of Germans who by the terms of the 1919 peace settlement had been placed under foreign governments not of their choosing. The entire deal was far too attractive for all those disillusioned by the Weimar Republic’s failure to defend German interests abroad.

In Mein Kampf Hitler insisted that one person must have absolute authority and bear all responsibility. This was a basic principle of Nazi-ism and he quickly made himself the absolute leader by using a mixture of bribery and threats to dissuade opponents from attending the Reichstag. The result was that the Enabling Act, which would allow him absolute control was passed by an overwhelming majority. There was now no restriction on Hitler who had no reservations about destroying the power of the Reichstag. It has served its purpose and from now on it was simply be a chamber for endorsing his policies and a platform from which he could address the nation. Hitler was quick to build on his success. Within a year of the Enabling Act, he had destroyed trade unions and brought all Parliaments in all the individual German states under total Nazi control and, by outlawing all opposition groups, turned Germany into a one-party state. The end of democracy had arrived.

In June 1934 in what was later labelled “the Night of the Long knives”; Hitler moved to rid himself of his old friend and comrade in the Munich putsch and now leader of the SA Ernst Rohm. Hitler had fears that Rohm had plans of his own and rather than wait for these plans to transpire he orchestrated a fake scenario that culminated in Rohm losing his life. These events clearly demonstrated Hitler’s ruthlessness and were a clear signal to the German people, to whom he publicly admitted the events, but justified them by declaring he had the right to delete execute traitors because he was now the Supreme Judge.

Following the death of Hindenburg in August 1934 Hitler added the Presidency to his Chancellorship. His supreme power was recognized in his adaption of the title Führer, which, from this time on, was his official title. Hitler was now absolute ruler and Supreme Commander of the German Armed Forces and as such was now in total political and military control. The German Army adopted an oath of unconditional loyalty to the Fuehrer which meant this loyalty was to Hitler personally, not simply to him as head of state. Hitler and his armed forces had a special relationship that was ultimately to prove tragic, since military loyalty prevented any challenge to the Fuehrer’s decisions even when these were militarily absurd.

In the elections of March 1936, a mockery of democracy, Hitler won 98.9% of the vote in a contest in which the Nazis were the only contenders. However, what is significant here is the fact that the overwhelming majority of the German people idolized Hitler who had led them, or so they believed, into new levels of national pride.

 

 

The Coming of Nazism.

Hitler was one of many Germans who believed 1918 marked a betrayal of Germany by its leaders. Corrupt politicians, not army, were accountable for Germany’s sufferings. Hitler’s contempt for bureaucracy was expressed when he wrote; “Was this the meaning of the sacrifice which the German mother made to the fatherland when with sore heart she let her best-loved boys march off, never to see them again? Did all this happen only so that a gang of wretched criminals could lay hands on the fatherland? (Hitler 1925-1926) Hitler’s sense of betrayal was potent because of the aspirations of the German nation.

Bismarck

Germany became a unified sovereign state in 1871 after Otto Von Bismarck led, through clever manipulation and deceit, Prussia to victory over Denmark, Austria and France; these successes persuaded Germans to accept the King of Prussia as emperor of a United Germany; “From a pessimistic perspective, even the triumph of 1871, as time passed, seemed an incomplete victory and only a partial fulfilment of German ambitions in Europe.” (Cramer 2006). Germany came into being as a powerful military ‘Reich’ under Prussia. After 1870 the new German nation competed with other European countries for new territories including the scramble for Africa.

Imperial rivalry was not a creator of war but most certainly was a major influence upon it in the lead up to World War One.  When war broke out in 1914 the Germans embraced the opportunity with intense commitment and they saw this as a golden opportunity to prove the greatness of their nation with a mighty victory which, in the fullness of time, never occurred.  In fact, Germany had to engage in a bitter war of attrition with Russia on the east and France and Britain in the west.  Drained and exhausted Germany were forced to agree to an armistice and the struggle into which the German people had entered with such enthusiasm and confidence had brought them not triumph but disaster.

Germany were punished by the victors of World War I, principally France, Great Britain, Italy and the USA under the terms of the Treaty Of Versailles of 1919. The main terms of this treaty included Germany having to give up parts of France, Germany to be demilitarized and placed under occupation, Germany to lose West Prussia, Posen to Poland which denied the Germans access to parts of the Rhineland through the Polish corridor. Furthermore, the treaty deprived Germany of 4 million citizens by declaring Danzig an international city. Germany also had to surrender all its overseas colonies, and was to be deprived of its warships and aircraft and to have its army limited to 100,000 members. On top of all this Germany also had to pay reparations eventually amounting to in excess of 6 million pounds. What the Germans resented most was the manner in which they were not allowed to negotiate any terms and were forced to accept all conditions under threat of further warfare. The Germans were also angered by the fact that they had to accept full responsibility for the war.

Young Hitler

All of these humiliations became a source of strength to Hitler and turned him from a failed Bohemian to an aggressive military dictator. Hitler, an Austrian citizen in 1914, signed on as a member of the German army and won the Iron Cross for bravery later that year. He was very much disliked by his comrades who saw him as a weak coward showing little ability for leadership or oration.

The National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP or Nazi) came into being in 1919 and quickly attracted Hitler with his extreme nationalist ideas. The key demands of the Nazi party included the unification of Germany based on the right of self-determination, the revocation of the Versailles Treaty, land and territories to feed the German people and settle its surplus population, the recent tradition of state citizenship to those of German blood and Jews to be denied membership of the nation. Hitler joined the fledgling party and very quickly rose to a dominant position. He developed his skills for public oration and rabble rousing which perfectly suited the atmosphere of the beer halls where the party held its meetings. There was always an aggressive air around Hitler’s speeches and he could capitalize on this by whipping up he’s audiences into a frenzy of hatred and contempt for those who had betrayed the Fatherland in recent years. Violence was central to Nazism and Hitler portrayed the party as being at war against the nation’s enemies both internal and external. Under Hitler, National Socialism was essentially organized hatred and it drew its powers and inspiration from the desire to destroy. It would be a mistake to differentiate between Naziism and Communism in this era. Both parties were anti-each other and both equally as brutal and violent. However, in Germany, it was simply that the Nazis won anti-Communists lost. Nazis and Communists were so alike that day detested each other.

Hitler was more than impressed by Mussolini in 1922 when he heard about that “March on Rome” and its success as to dictator took over Italy. In November 1923 Hitler attempted to seize power in Munich, with Mussolini’s success in mind, he would then “march on Berlin”. However, Hitler had miscalculated as the Bavarian police stayed loyal to the government and fired on the Nazi marchers killing 16 of them. Hitler was arrested, brought to trial and sentenced to five years imprisonment for treason. Hitler was not unimpressed at the failure of the putsch and saw it as an excellent way to spread Nazi propaganda. Hitler only served less than a year in prison and this convinced him even more that not only was the putsch a success but his power and influence were on the rise.

Mein Kampf

During his time in Landsberg Castle prison Hitler wrote ‘Mein Kampf’, and mixture of autobiography and ideology in which he set out his main political ideas. The book would become a Bible for National Socialism; it elaborated, in extraordinary detail, on Germany’s destiny as a great Aryan nation, rejection of the Versailles Treaty and a profound hatred for Jews and Communists. The book was an emotional appeal to the German people to identify their enemies and follow the Nazis in destroying them.

German Depression (c.1930)

In the early 1920s Germany was in the depths of a depression but as the decade progressed the depression receded as industrial production increased and unemployment fell. Germany was also enjoying better relations with its wartime enemies, which allowed it to come to more reasonable terms regarding reparations payments. In this prospering economic climate the Nazis made little headway. However, by 1930 Germany begin to feel the impact of the global recession that had started in the USA and all but destroyed the demand for manufactured goods. Despair was rampant throughout Germany and the Weimar government rapidly lost the confidence of the German people who were feeling angered and impoverished and demanded change.

The recession was the redemption of the Nazi party and they rose in popularity amongst the lower middle classes who felt most threatened by the economic collapse. Frustrated at the Weimar system, weak political parties and poor decision-making, the petite bourgeoisie elevated the Nazis to the status of the redeemers of the German economy. This class provided the backbone of Nazi support from this point until its demise at the end of World War II.

Birth Of Modern Europe.

Napoleon Arrives

 

This document aims to introduce the main features of European History in the period 1815 to 1848 and to understand and assess key events and to evaluate and analyse how Historians explain these events. The document is a step by step account of the History of ‘Modern’ Europe from the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815 to the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914.

Rapid Change: The first part of the document deals thematically with the attempts to reconstitute European politics along Conservative lines after the fall of Napoleon’s Empire and also assesses the impact of rapid social, Political and economical developments in the first half of the 19th Century which led to the Revolutions of 1848.

Assessing Reform: The second part of the document takes a national or regional approach, assessing reform (or the lack of it) among the great European powers (Britain, France, Austria and Russia) and the emergence of two powerful new states (Germany and Italy).

Rising Conflicts: Finally, the document explores the very profound changes that occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the emergence of international tensions and conflicts that led to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

Understanding Europe: By completion, we should have a sound understanding of the main events and developments in European History including Political, social and economic history. We should also be able to contextualise explain and assess the main events in European History. Furthermore, we should also be able to analyse and evaluate evidence, including primary sources and historiographical trends in relation to the main events and developments in European history.

Restoration Or Not: After the defeat of Napoleon the question of what happens next in Europe arises. For Many French people the concept of full restoration seemed a logical choice. However, there were too many socio and economic problems in pre-Revolution France so full restoration was not really an option. There had to be changes but this time around, it had to be changes that resulted in a better Society for all.

Concert of Europe: The European restoration is an umbrella term for the French restoration, the Bourbon restoration, the Swiss restoration and Christian restoration. The process finds it’s foundations  with the ‘Concert of Europe’ (after the Congress of Vienna) or Congress System which established the Balance of power that existed in Europe from the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815) to the outbreak of World War 1 (1914), albeit with major alterations after the Revolutions of 1848. Its founding powers were Austria, Prussia, the Russian Empire, and the United Kingdom, which were collectively known as the ‘Quadruple Alliance’. The Alliance was responsible for the downfall of the first French Empire. In time, France was established as a fifth member of the Concert. At first, the leading personalities of the system were Lord Castlereigh (UK), Austrian Chancellor Klemens Von Metternich, and Russian Tsar Alexander I.

Age of Metternich: The age of the Concert is sometimes known as the age of Metternich due to the influence of the Austrian Chancellors Conservatism and the dominance of Austria within the German confederation. The rise of nationalism, the unification of Germany, the ‘Risorgimento’ in Italy and the Eastern Question were among the factors, which eventually brought an end to the Concerts effectiveness.

The Napoleonic Code: The idea of a European federation was not new. The Concert of Europe drew upon ideas and notions of a balance of power in international relations; that the ambitions of each great power were curbed by the others. Europe had been constantly at war and Liberalism was spreading across the continent, which resulted in many states adopting the Napoleonic Code, which had been enacted in France in 1804 and forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of Religion, and specified that Government jobs go to the most qualified. It was the first modern legal code to be adopted with a pan-European scope and it strongly influenced the law of many countries formed during and after the Napoleonic wars. The code was a major step in replacing Feudal laws and one of the few documents that have influenced the world.

Restoration Initiation: Largely as a reaction to the radicalism of the French Revolution, the victorious powers of the Napoleonic wars decided to suppress Liberalism and Nationalism, which were perceived as war and Revolution mongering philosophies. A reversion to the status-quo of Europe prior to 1789 seemed to be the best way forward. Prussia, Austria, and Russia formed the ‘Holy alliance’ with the expressed intent of preserving Christian social values and traditional Monarchism. Every member of the Coalition promptly joined the alliance, except for the United Kingdom.

Demise of The Concert of Europe: After an early period of success, the Concert began to weaken as the common goals of the great powers were gradually replaced by growing Political and economic rivalries. Further erosion by European Revolutionary upheaval in 1848 with demands for revision of the Congress of Vienna’s frontiers along national lines the Concert unravelled and was gone by the latter half of the 19th Century amid successive wars between its participants. The Congress had a significant achievement in the form of Congress of Berlin (1878) which redrew the Political map of the Balkans, by the early 20th century, the powers were split in two, and World War 1 began.

European Unification: The Concert of Europe was the system where the great powers of Europe maintained peace and prosperity for over a century. These were maintained by careful Management of the balance of power so that when one country ‘bullied’ another then the remaining countries would come together in diplomatic and military alliance. This was a forerunner to the modern United Nations.

Sharing Europe: The primary objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolution, the Napoleonic wars and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. This objective resulted in the redrawing of Europe and establishing the boundaries of countries primarily France, Poland, The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy. The Congress was somewhat informal in that all of its meetings occurred face-to-face between the members with little or no representation by smaller states.

Napoleons Legacy: Napoleon considered his greatest achievement that of establishing and consecrating the rule of reason. His Napoleonic code proclaimed the equality of all people before the law (but favouring men over women), personal freedom, and the inviolability of property. Napoleon furthered the myth of the ‘career open to talent’, which aided both middle classes and peasants. Property ownership was essential to the Political life of the nation; the accumulation of property was the accumulation of wealth, power, Political influence, and status. Napoleon helped to turn nationalism into an aggressive secular Religion by manipulating this patriotic energy and transforming it into a popular ideology.

Napoleons reforms extended into states conquered by France. The French imposed constitutions and state control over clergy and judicial systems. He created new forms of tax, standardised weight and measures, ended internal customs barriers, abolished guilds and proclaimed equality, freedom of worship and advocated personal freedom. Napoleon claimed that he was trying to liberate Europe but had only replaced old sovereigns with new ones, himself, or his brothers. He conquered countries for France and not for the good of the country but only for the glory of France. He pilfered valuable art and treasures by the wagon load and kept them himself or for the state. French conquests awakened nationalism in the German states and in Spain. Over 90,000 of his men died in battles and triple that number perished from wounds and disease.

Of the changes in the post Napoleonic period that profoundly transformed Europe, none had more important social, Political, economical and cultural consequences as the Industrial Revolution. Having begun in England in the middle decades of the 18th century, it accelerated in that country during the first decades of the 19th Century. It spread to Western Europe in particular, but affected other regions as well. The Industrial Revolution and its critics would help shape the modern world.

Metternich, Conservatism & Restoration: The feeling of anti French Revolution was strong in Political circles across Europe. The idea of a reoccurrence of these events anywhere else in Europe was to be avoided at all costs and the upper echelons’ of European politics needed to develop a plan to ensure that such events would never happen again. There needed to be a restoration of Monarchy, church and aristocracy in Europe but, this time around it had to be different from pre-Revolutionary times in order that disharmony was not inadvertently encouraged. Restoration had to be moulded to fit the demands of the Revolutionaries, reconstruct Monarchical power, control the church, and keep the aristocracy satisfied. Some thinkers felt that such changes would occur organically and very slowly without human interference. The post-Revolutionary Society would develop, in time, to become a Society acceptable to all citizens. Such changes would be natural and normal. However, the question of Religion remained an important one. What role should it play in the new Society if indeed it should play any role at all? Some theorists had their own ideas on ‘what happens now in Europe?’ and the most important of these were Edmund Burke, Joseph De Maistre, and Klemens Von Metternich.

Edmund Burke (1729-1727): Burke was an Irish political leader who served in Great Britain as a member of the Whig party. He was opposed to the French Revolution and is generally viewed as the philosophical founder of modern Conservatism as well as a representative of classical Liberalism. His publication ‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ (1790) is one of the best-known intellectual attacks against the French Revolution in the 20th century. It much influenced Conservatism and classical Liberal intellectuals who saw it as a critique of communism and socialist Revolutionary programmes. He vigorously defended Constitutional limitation of the Monarchy, denounced religious persecution, complained about British colonial control in America (supported American independence) and was widely respected by Liberals. He felt the French Revolution would fail in time because it ignored the complexities of human nature and Society. His contention was; “a Man’s right to food does not provide it.” He wanted Constitutional reform (not Revolution) and he further contended that the pursuit of liberty and rights of Man could be abused to justify tyranny.

Joseph De Maistre: De Maistre was a philosopher and one of the most influential representatives for a hierarchical Monarchical state after the French Revolution. He regarded Monarchy as both a divinely sanctioned institution and as the only form of stable Government. He called for the restoration of the House of Bourbon to the throne of France and also for the ultimate authority of the Pope. He argued that only a Christian Constitution could avoid the disorder and bloodshed of a Revolution. His theories influenced Conservative thinking and left wing intellectuals like utopian socialists. Along with Edmund Burke, he has been described as one of the founding fathers of European Conservatism.

Klemens Von Metternich: Metternich was a German born philosopher and important diplomat. He led the Austrian delegation at the Congress of Vienna, which divided post-Napoleonic Europe between the major powers. A committed Conservative he was keen to maintain the balance of power and he intensely disliked Liberalism. He was happy to apply underhanded means to achieve his ends. He was instrumental in the enforcement of ‘The Karlsbad Decrees’ (1819) which used censorship and a wide ranging spy network to suppress Liberalism and planted student spies in university lecture theatres to monitor and report radical opinion sharing. However, historians defend his policies as reasonable attempts to defend the balance of power in Europe and the preservation of the status quo in the face of Revolutionary challenge.

The Karlsbad Decrees (1819): The Karlsbad Decrees were a set of reactionary restrictions introduced in the states of the German confederation in 1819 after a conference held at Karlsbad, Bohemia. They banned nationalist fraternities, removed Liberal university professors, and expanded the censorship of the press. The meeting of the states representatives was called by Metternich after a series of events related to student unrest in Europe. Metternich feared Liberal and national tendencies at German universities, which might conduct Revolutionary activities threatening the Monarchy. The three main outcomes of the Karlsbad Decrees were press censorship, state supervision of universities and a central investigation commission. State officials had to ‘proof read’ anything that went to press prior to publication. The ‘diet’ (Parliament) could stop any publication that it felt was Revolutionary. The placement of spies at universities to ensure suppression of radicalism meant that no student or academic could encourage Revolutionary thinking under fear of severe punishment of expulsion and no further placement. An extraordinary commission of investigation to root out Revolutionary plots and preserve international peace within the German confederation had many powers to control Revolutionary movements, clubs, societies, or organisations.

The Congress System: There were a number of significant conferences in the process of establishing the Congress System. They began in 1818 at Aix La Chappelle and continued to St. Petersburg in 1825.

Aix La Chappelle (1818): The conference at Aix La Chappelle was held in the autumn of 1818 and was primarily a meeting of the Allied powers of Europe, which included Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia. The purpose of the meeting was to decide the question of the withdrawal of the army of occupation from France and the nature of the modifications to be introduced in consequence into the relations of these four powers toward each other, and collectively toward France. The quintuple alliance was endorsed at this conference.

Troppau (1820): This was a conference of the quintuple Alliance to discuss means of suppressing a Revolution in Naples (July 1820) and at which the Troppau Protocol was signed. This protocol stated that any European country, which underwent a Revolution, forced Government change would be expelled from the alliance. If the Revolution threatened the peace of Europe then war would be declared. The purpose of such wars would be state restoration.

Laibach (1821): The Congress of Laibach was a conference of the allied sovereigns held as part of the Concert of Europe. As a result of Troppau (1820) the three autocratic powers (Russia, Austria and Prussia) had issued a circular letter in which they reiterated the principles of the Troppau Protocol namely, the right and duty of the powers responsible for the peace of Europe to intervene to suppress any Revolutionary movement by which they might conceive peace as being endangered. Britain protested at Troppau and differentiated between the objectionable general principles advanced by the three powers and the unrest in Italy, which threatened only Austria and not Europe. The conflict did not prevent Austria from intervening in Italy but with Britain’s neutrality intact. The revolt in Italy was suppressed as a result of negotiations at Laibach by Austrian troops.

Verona (1822): While Britain and other European powers acted largely in Concert to date it was not until Verona that the unravelling of the Congress began to show. This was apparent in the way in which the main questions before this Congress were handled by participants. The Italian question, the Turkish question, and the Spanish question. The matter of Austrian rule in Italy was handled in the absence of Britain’s representatives, the Greek war of independence was justified in the view of Britain who recognised the Greek right of independence (British representatives were instructed not to commit beyond a supporting role) and a proposed intervention by France in Spain with uncompromising opposition by Britain to the intervention. Clearly from this Britain was starting to reconsider its role within the alliance and this was further aggravated by the fact that by withdrawing from the decision making process it remained without influence in the workings of the Congress Britain’s ‘neutrality’ did not stop the alliance from proceeding as it wished and this begged the question as to why Britain needed to be involved at all.

St. Petersburg (1825): This conference resulted in the final breaking down of the Concert of Europe. The five major powers met at this Congress but Britain had become very disillusioned and branded the Congress a ‘witch hunting organisation’ and departed. The other four continued their meetings and broke up in very bad terms. The main point of contention was how the Congress could enforce its powers. Member’s differences widened on different interpretations of peace and how it should be sustained. The outbreak of revolts also led to the final disintegration of the Concert of Europe. Two significant revolts were taking place in Spain and Naples in 1820 and it was these revolts that finally brought the Concert of Europe to its end.

The 1820 Revolution in Spain: The ‘Liberal’ Revolution in Spain was a Revolution that erupted and ran for five years. It started as a military insurrection in Porto that quickly spread nationwide. French forces invaded Spain three times to suppress the Revolution and the royal family went to Brazil to reign over the Kingdom from a Trans-Atlantic throne for thirteen years. After the defeat of the French, the Revolutionaries recalled the Monarchy and they returned to Portugal. The Liberal Revolution initiated the ratification of the Constitution that gave Spain its independence from France. The movements Liberal ideas had an important influence on the Portuguese Society and Political organisation. It caused a constitutional Monarchy to be set up in Portugal. The Revolutionaries also organised the election of a constitutional assembly, which debated the nature of a new Government. Professionals were elected and not merchants who had organised the Revolution.

Revolution in Naples 1820: This Revolution is important because the Kingdom of the two Sicilies was ruled by a restored Bourbon Monarch Ferdinand 1st. Revolutionaries (including the Carbonari) forced Ferdinand to accept the Spanish Constitution. The Kingdom of Naples was within Austria’s ‘sphere of influence’ as assigned by the concert of Europe. The suppression of Liberal opinion caused an alarming spread of the influence and activity of a secret society known as the Carbonari, which, in time, took its toll on the Army. In a short time, a military Revolution broke out and Ferdinand was terrorised into signing a new Constitution. At the same time in Sicily, recovering its independence, a revolt had been suppressed by Neapolitan troops. These events alarmed the ‘Holy Alliance’ (a Coalition of Russia, Austria, and Prussia) who feared it might spread to other parts of Italy. The Revolution was eventually suppressed and an era of ‘savage persecution’ began.

The Demise Of The Congress System (1820-1822):  In 1820 Austria, Prussia and Russia form the Holy Alliance and unite in an attempt to eliminate the possibility of another Revolution in Europe as had taken place in France. The Troppau Protocol of 1820 gave the Holy Alliance the right to intervene to protect a legitimate Monarch and the Vienna settlement. In 1821 at Laibach, Ferdinand 1strequests intervention to restore his power in Naples but Britain objects on the basis that it was not a threat to security in Europe and the alliance was acting outside its remit by intervening. At Verona in 1822, the holy alliance opts to proceed with intervention and Britain splits with the other European powers over further intervention in Spain. The system of international cooperation instituted at Vienna had broken down in the early 1820s and the split between Britain and the alliance was the start of the demise. New economic, social, and political forces would further challenge the alliance.

Revolutions of another Kind: Three Revolutions had already begun in Europe since 1800. These were the Demographic Revolution, the agricultural Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution and all of these had social and political consequences.

1. Demographic Revolution: The post French Revolutionary peace that took place across Europe meant that less people were dying in warfare. Families were spending more time at home together and were more united. Along with these factors, there were serious advances in medication, which resulted in less people dying from plague or disease or illness. A significant fall in death rates meant that people were living longer and proliferating across Europe. As the Industrial Revolution progressed it meant that the food supply as more efficient and a dramatic reduction in subsistence problems. The combinations of peace, medicine, and food availability were the main contributing factors to the Demographic Revolution.

2. Agricultural Revolution: The agricultural Revolution was a period of agricultural development between the 18th century and the end of the 19th Century, which saw a massive and rapid increase in agricultural productivity and vast improvements in farm technology. Some of the most significant inventions that were either created or greatly improved were new ploughing machines, tools, harvesters and seed sowing equipment. Along with these tools and machinery there were also new attitudes to farming, specialisation and communal farming (land sharing). Governments also became more generous with common land and the benefits of self-sufficiency were appreciated by Europeans. As subsistence increased so did the accumulation of capital and suddenly small farmers were moving into earning extra income by starting small cottage businesses. The agricultural Revolution was well underway and heralding in the Industrial Revolution.

3. The Industrial Revolution: This is thought to have begun in the mid 1700s and continued for a century to the mid 1800s. It began, not in the cities but in the rural communities already reaping the rewards of the agricultural Revolution. More rural people benefiting from rural development had extra time and income to create new sources of wealth and started small home based businesses to bring in extra cash. These businesses were to be the inspiration for larger scale urban based Manufacturing that was both mechanised and bigger. The causes of the Industrial Revolution were a combination of factors but primarily the availability of new capital to invest in Manufacturing and technology.

At various locations throughout Britain, which led the way for the rest of Europe, the natural resources were ideal. With the ever-expanding population created by the Demographic Revolution there was no shortage of available workers. These workers were, for the most part, overworked and underpaid. They had moved from the rural communities to the urban areas where work was more available as their cottage industries were victim to large scale Manufacturing. New technologies meant production and the economy expanded rapidly. New machinery such as Hargreaves Spinning Jenny (1765) advanced the Revolution.

The ‘Jenny’ meant a faster process of creation and output at an industrial level that had deprived the farm workers of their source of additional income. The skilled weavers moved to work on the production line and left their own spinning wheels at home to gather dust. Arkwright’s ‘water frame’ (1769) meant that the spinning wheel became automated and consequently human input was diminished even more but, to the joy of the Manufacturers, so were costs. Communications and transport were also improving with the arrival of the steam engine, which brought new goods and public transport systems. Steamboats, steam engines, and railway track were all signs of the new, progressive industrial age. Finally, urbanisation had its consequences with social stratification problems, poor living conditions, and crime and health issues on the increase. The Industrial Revolution had arrived and brought with it a very high price.

Revolutions In Europe.

Revolutions In 1848.

The crystal palace in London housed the exposition of 1851, the first worlds fair. Gaslight provided illumination and public toilets were installed. The machinery on exhibit captured the attention and imagination of observers and the exhibition represented the ascendancy of the British constitution, free trade and manufacturing. Britain was a model liberal state with a constitutional monarchy and the success of this form of government was reflected in its prosperity.

France too was now entering the industrial age and so too was Russia. France was a highly centralized empire with Napoleon III determined to bring economic progress through the strong involvement of the state. Following a disastrous war against Prussia the empire fell and was replaced by the third republic, a liberal regime with weak authority.

Russia remained an autocracy; the Tsar had absolute power but a bad bureaucratic system and the impossibility of reaching across the empire. Russian nobles dominated the peasants and Russia had no representative political system and only a tiny middle class. Tsar Alexander II emancipated the peasants in 1861 but this move failed to have any significant impact on the autocratic nature of the Russian empire. However, Russia was transformed by new ideas and opponents of autocratic authority and, like France, the unification of Germany had serious consequences for Russia.

Queen Victoria married German Prince Albert and had a maternal image in Britain and its colonies. Albert was a bit of a scatterbrain who relentlessly interfered with national and international affairs and thus irritated the government but Victoria’s dedication to him sparked some anti-German feeling in Britain. Albert organized the great exposition of 1851 in London and the massive affair offered hope for continued peace and prosperity in Europe through innovation and technological advancement. It was a celebration of the industrial age but also a demonstration of English ‘God given’ primacy in manufacturing and innovation.

Albert died of typhoid in 1861 and Victoria was devastated. She retreated for some years but re-emerged to provide a focal point for a nation in the midst of transformation. She knew little about the lives of her subjects and showed little support for workers or for education of working classes. She was the personification of respectability.

The Victorian Consensus formed around the capitalist entrepreneurial ethic emphasizing self-reliance and faith in progress. The individual demonstrated his moral worth by hard work and competition would determine those who were fit to rule, not aristocratic monopoly or unearned privilege. Darwin’s newly published ‘survival of the fittest theory’  in The Origin Of The Species implied that the natural order of things would eliminate the unfit and this was good news for confident Victorians but not for religion. The theory suggests that the state should stand back and let individuals alone to compete on the playing field of life.

Religious images and references permeated Victorian social and political discourse. Entrepreneurs believed they were doing Gods work. Many middle class Victorians wanted to make the lower classes more moral, temperance movements proliferated and charitable movements such as the Salvation Army began its work, offering assistance to those who would participate in religious revival services.

In 1854 Britain found itself involved in a major war that ended the long peace since 1815. Britain entered the Crimean war to support the Turks against Russia. The Russians wanted control over the Straits of Constantinople, which divide Europe from Asia and could provide the Russian navy with access to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. In the Ottoman Empire, rulers had undertaken a series of major reforms of the empire in a period known as ‘Reorganization’ that lasted from 1839 to 1878. The life and property of all subjects of the empire and their equality before the law started the process of change. Establishment of penal and commercial codes, reform of justice, implementation of more central governments thus reducing the powers of governors through the action of a more efficient bureaucracy, followed these. These reforms pleased Britain and France because Ottoman markets were now open to foreign trade and furthermore the stability of the Ottoman Empire tempered Russian dreams of further expansion. With interests in Afghanistan, Britain was not disposed to Russian expansion and increased British trade with the Turks was another factor for British involvement in the Crimean war.

The Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia in October 1853 and Russian Tsar Nicholas I’s fleet defeated the Ottoman fleet in the Black Sea and in response France and Britain sent warships in 1854 and declared war on Russia. The first correspondents sent dispatches by telegraph to eager readers in Britain and France, where interest in the distant siege dramatically increased newspaper circulation. Into this maelstrom ventured Florence Nightingale, a nurse who volunteered for service in a Constantinople hospital. She had heard of the appalling conditions endured by the wounded and sick. The Crimean war ground to a halt after Sebastopol finally capitulated in September 1855. The Crimean war left little doubt that Victorian Britain remained Europe’s strongest power.

Britain entered a period of social harmony. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 convinced workers that they could trust political reform and middle class rulers broadened their appeal to include the most prosperous segments of the working class. Victorians felt themselves part of a nation with which they could identify. The formation of friendship societies and self-help associations gave citizens an enhanced feeling of association with the nation. They gave a sense of respectability, which discouraged militancy. Unions also had a big part to play in daily life. Strikes were tolerated but there was always a willingness to arbitrate but never any threat to national security. The Whigs governed for most of the 1850s and 1860s and was led by Henry John Temple who held together a government determined to uphold laissez faire economic policies. Gradually these Whigs began to be referred to as The Liberal Party. William Gladstone led the Liberal Party but was loathed by Queen Victoria who blamed him for every national and international problem. She resented his campaign to limit the role of the monarchy in government.

On-going reform was a certainty in Victorian Britain. Gladstone wanted limited reform of male suffrage and sought voting rights for the ‘elite of labor’ but not all males. The Conservatives feared that such enfranchisement would add to the ranks of Liberals, which would weaken the strength of landowners, and after some negotiation, the Reform Bill of 1867 was passed and doubled the ranks of voters but still left Britain short of universal male suffrage. However, Britain was leading the way in the gradual emergence of democratic politics. In Britain, the consensus was that the invisible hand of the economy would generate economic growth. However, in the midst of rampant poverty Parliament passed laws to gather information about economic and social conditions. The age of statistics had arrived. In 1848, the General Board of Health was formed but there was some opposition about interfering with the work of the invisible hand. Nevertheless, the right of the state to intervene in the matter of health was established and working conditions, homes, and general health issues became the focus of major concern. Health Boards were established, water supplies cleaned, workplaces inspected, and the age of optimism became the age of improvement. Civil service expanded as thousands of new jobs were created to administer the will of national and local governments. The age of laissez faire ended as politics expanded its role in economic and social affairs.

Under Liberal expansion threat, the Conservatives leader Benjamin Disraeli made British nationalism and imperialism party of the party platform. The Conservative Party was reflecting an important change in British society. The split between city and country had disappeared as more and more ‘elite’ prospered due to a thriving economy. This new elite abandoned Liberalism and transferred allegiance to Conservatism to emulate the aristocrats they admired. The party became a party of great landed wealthy supporters.

Liberals continued to be faced with the problems of Ireland. It seemed to Irish people that the only way to prosperity was by owning land and the Irish Land Act Of 1870 provided tenants with compensation for improvements they had undertaken and protected them from eviction. English Landlords were not willing to turn over land to peasants and the fall in prices for agricultural commodities made it harder for tenant farmers to meet rent payments. In 1879, the Irish Land League began to pressure Parliament for land reform. Charles Stewart Parnell, a liberal Irish Protestant, began to campaign for Irish Home Rule which meant a separate Irish Parliament but not independence. The Irish Catholic Church supported Home Rule but the Irish Land League wanted absolute independence and nothing short of it. Parnell was sent to prison for his violent anti British speeches and the British response to the Irish question was repression and aggression. Irish Republicans had become violent by 1882 and in the wake of numerous British deaths; a Coercion Act facilitated the British Governments repression of republicans by eliminating their rights. Numerous Home Rules Bills were either defeated or failed up to 1893 and the question seemed unanswerable.

Victoria’s dignified reign symbolized social and political stability. When King Edward VII, her son, inherited the throne, his reign could not have been more different. Edward ‘the Caresser’ indulged his extravagant tastes in beautiful women, horses, food, wine and gambling. The Conservatives returned to power in 1895 and were aggressively nationalistic, imperialistic and anti socialist. British trade unionism entered a more aggressive phase and a new militant ‘new unionism’ led workers onto the streets to protest against unemployment and the high cost of living. Hundreds of thousands of militant workers were on the march all over Britain and the growing influence of the unions was immediately apparent. The state went on the offensive and started to penalize unions for losses during strikes. This move led to the creation of the Labour Party in 1893 that vowed to represent workers in Parliament. In 1905, the Labour Party had 25 seats and subsequently picketing was legalized and unions were relieved of responsibility for financial losses caused by strikes. David Lloyd George was a rising Liberal who had come to public attention due to his opposition to the Boer War. He wanted to counteract the movement of workers to the Labour Party by bringing workers into an alliance that would support Liberal social and political reforms. He proposed super taxes on the wealthy but the bill was vetoed in 1909 and an election was called and the Liberals returned to power.

Irish Home Rule was becoming inevitable as national sentiment led to more Gaelic speakers, more attention to Irish culture and music and less attention to British influences. Romantic writes such as Yeats and Joyce wrote about Ireland’s freedom and instilled in the nation’s people a sense of patriotism that inspired a relentless campaign for liberation from British rule. Irish Protestants living in Ulster did not want Home Rule, which they identified with Catholic ‘Rome Rule’, and in 1913, they formed a paramilitary army of volunteers to fight the cause. At the same time, an Irish Republican Army was formed and old wounds were reopened. Ireland appeared to be on the verge of Civil War. Nevertheless, there were greater European problems than Ireland for the British Government.

Autocratic Russia was now an absolutist state based on the alliance of the Tsar and nobles. The large Russian empire was multinational and ethnic Russians represented only half of the population. Ethnic resistance to the empire and to the Orthodox Church increasingly challenged Russian domination. Since the ill-fated Decembrist uprising of 1825 Russia had seen no major reforms with the exception of emancipation of serfs in the 1840s. The structure of the state remained the same but liberal ideas from the west had begun to filter into Russia via intellectuals. Peasants remained bound to the land by property owners and were alienated from society as no more than the mules that carried the burden of nobility. Revolution was perceived as inevitable as serfdom, not only inhumane, but also inefficient and thus the Tsar realized that Russia could only compete with the west if reform were to take place.

Serfs lived under threat of harsh punishment if they failed to obey the ruling classes. The intelligentsia believed that revolution was the only way to change the social structure. Nicholas I was obsessed with isolating Russia from western thinking, which he blamed for revolutionary ideas. The revolutions of 1848 increased his determination to stifle dissent. Political police ‘The Third Section’ enforced stringent laws against rebellion but they found it impossible to patrol the colossal empire. The empire became saturated with revolutionary books and journals and the small intelligentsia started to advocate change and its inevitability. Even Russian literature advocated change and writers like Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy were composing thinly disguised books declaring the necessity for change from the old regime. Cultural backwardness was perceived by many writers as the reason why Russia was held back in terms of progress from the modern age of industrial and political progress. Socialism was a lady in existence in Russia because the rural communities, the small towns and villages, we’re already socialist in nature in that the people were a community of equals in the face of autocratic and noble exploitation.

In 1861, the serfs were emancipated and this was the most ambitious reform in Russia in the 19th Century. Alexander II was shocked at Russian defeat in the Crimean War and decided that emancipation of the peasants would mean Russia could compete with the West. Serfs had joined the Russian army in the run up to the Crimean War believing they would be freed when they came home and peasant rebellions became widespread as intellectuals denounced serfdom and demand freedom for serfs before they rose up to attain it themselves; an action that would have violent consequences for the Tsar. In 1861, Russia became the last state in Europe to denounce serfdom and serfs received land through the commune and nobles were compensated and the serfs were disappointed by the arrangement because it meant that while they owned the land they remained owned by the property owners because the serfs had to pay high taxes. Former serfs were like hostages to their own communities who in turn had to pay the high taxes. Peasants needed permission to work elsewhere and flocked to the cities, which grew rapidly.

In Russia, the serfs were freed without bloodshed while in America (1861-1865) it took civil war to free the slaves. Unlike the American southern landed elite who went to war in defence of slavery the Russian nobility capitulated without resistance to emancipation. Americans considered private property more of an absolute right than did even Russian nobles who just wanted to extract services from peasants. More reforms followed the elimination of corrupt politicians, the setting up of regional assemblies (Zemstvos) and Dumas (Councils) with authority to access taxes and organize public services and education. The Tsar also introduced regional and lower courts as well as public trial by jury. In all this reform, the Tsar did not intend to create any kind of national representative institution that would undercut his authority. Russian reform had its limits.

Revolts in Poland in 1863 where a national government was proclaimed and then crushed by Russian troops demonstrated that the Tsar would crack down by punishing severely any dissident states. Poland was turned into a province with an illusion of autonomy ended. Poland felt the effect of the repression even in Prussia where the government forbade sale of lands to clergy and Catholics. In the Balkan states, Pan-Slavism (a movement aimed at promoting the interests and unity of all Slavs) was an ideology that was gaining momentum. It proclaimed that all Slavs were in the same family and thus had nationalistic ideals. All across the Ottoman Empire pan-Slavism was on the increase and peasants were rebelling against high taxes and military presence and these insurgencies ultimately led to Wars in which the Ottoman Empire were defeated and forced to sign

The Treaty of San Stefano (1878) with Russia, which led to European wide concern at the expansion of Russian territory. Bismarck presided at the Congress of Berlin (1878) in which a new map of Europe was drawn. Russian expansion was starting to impinge on British interests near India, the gem of its empire. The Russian empire now included one-seventh of the worlds land mass and the movement east caused some concern and eventual conflict with China. However, the Chinese were powerless against Russian might but this was not the case with Japan.

Revolutionaries replaced the conscience stricken gentry of Russian autocracy. They were convinced that one spark would ignite a full-blown revolution and thus many small groups revolted. Nihilists (sceptics) rejected materialist doctrines of the West and considered the Orthodox Church as a tool of oppression. They saw in Russian masses an untapped revolutionary force that should be provoked to rise up against oppression. Nihilists believed in the power of literature and that violence was an acceptable way to achieve their goals.

Anarchists rejected the very existence of the state and quarrelled with socialists who wanted not to destroy the state but take it over. The Populists developed the doctrines of enlightened thinkers and drew their support from circles of intellectuals and upper class Russians, former conscience stricken gentry and wanted to cause revolution by teaching the peasants. A wave of strikes had hit Russia and most believed that revolution was no longer in question and it was only a matter of when?

Numerous assassination attempts on Alexander II managed to placate him and he disbanded the Third Section, dismissed unpopular politicians, and announced the formation of a new consultative assembly. Nevertheless, it was too late and assassins managed to eliminate him in 1881. However, it was not to be the spark that would ignite any disturbance least of all a revolution. Millions of his supporters had mourned him. Following his father’s assassination Alexander III was in no mood to contemplate liberalization of imperial institutions. Liberals were closely scrutinized and stricter controls were put into place. The police could arrest and imprison anyone without reason but the ensuing trials of such prisoners brought about open discussion on the unfairness of the system towards the commoners. Meanwhile the empire was expanding and now comprised of 200 nationalities who spoke 146 languages. Alexander ordered the ‘Russification’ of the states and demanded that Russian be taught in all schools. The Orthodox churchman he had campaigns against non-orthodox religions and new laws enforced restrictions against Jews. Russification was nationalism under a new name.

The population of Russia were mostly poor. They were also badly educated yet literacy was not a major problem and most people found comfort in books and literature. The Industrialization of Europe was beginning to have an impact in Russia and business people started to rethink the older ways and saw the prospect of international trade as a means of progress instead of through violence and revolution. New revolutionary groups still believed the autocracy incapable of reformation and only revolution would bring reform. Marxists held the view that peasants had no true revolutionary potential in view of the fact that they seemed oblivious to their impossible living conditions and apparently accepting them as unavoidable for so many centuries. By 1900, the police had quashed most revolutionary groups and deported leaders into exile in Siberia and so, at the turn of the 20th Century it was commonly believed that revolution would never come to Russia.

Lenin was a political activist and academic who was banished to Siberia and returned in 1900 and by 1902 he published his work ‘What Is To Be Done?’ which was to become the basic tenets of a new revolutionary party. He rejected all compromise with liberals and believed that only a small few workers, alongside intellectuals, could succeed in directing the masses toward revolution. Lenin and his followers were known as Bolsheviks (Majority) and their rivals known as Mensheviks (Minority). The Menshevik believed that given sufficient time the bourgeois would revolt and the proletarians would enjoy the spoils in time to come and all that was needed now was to teach the lower orders through propaganda that this was how things were going to be.

The Russian Empire lurched toward war with Japan. Russia viewed the expansion of Japanese interests in the Far East with concern. In 1904, Japanese torpedo boats launched on attack on a Russian fleet at Port Arthur and in 1905 Japanese troops defeated the Russians in the bloody battle of Mukden where, for the first time ever, two armies faced each other across trenches dug for protection. Two months later, the Japanese pounced again and sunk nineteen Russian ships. Clearly, from these events it was obvious that the Russian army was poorly commanded and fought with outdated artillery and rifles. American President Theodore Roosevelt arranged a treaty and Japan took control of Korea and a new world imperial power was born.

A murderous famine in 1891-1892 was blamed on government inaction and had captured the world’s attention. The peasants revolted and attacked the nobility and a wave of industrial strike followed. The shocking defeats of the Russo-Japanese war increased calls for liberal reform. For the first time liberals and socialists neither Bolsheviks nor Mensheviks, came together n common opposition to autocracy. In January 1905, a strike by 100,000 workers brought St. Petersburg to a halt while in Warsaw a general strike brought violence and reprisals by troops. On January 22nd, troops blocked protestors marching to the Tsar’s Winter Palace and after gunfire over 300 protestors had lost their lives. The actions reinforced the view that the Tsar was unholy and willing to murder and maim dissidents. Socialist Revolutionaries commenced a campaign of terror and all over Russia; the peasants went on the attack. Orders organized unions and newspapers appeared in open defiance to censorship laws. Nicholas relented and appointed a new prime minister to quell the disorder and Sergei Witte was eager to make Russia a modern state and this could only be achieved through reforms. He persuaded Nicholas to rescind redemption payments, to allow use of all native tongues regardless of geographical location, to allow religious tolerance, to return trials to courts and to abolish some restrictions on Jews. Most importantly, the Duma assembly chosen by universal male suffrage was formed and the press were given freedom of expression.

These new reforms came as a big surprise to many but also bad news to state officials and nobles who deemed them unacceptable. However, The Soviets still felt that these changes were not enough and in a violent uprising in Moscow in 1905 many workers were arrested and the leaders were removed to exile and Soviets condemned and denied rights of congregation. A new organization of fanatical Russian nationalists known as The Black Hundreds went to rage war against the reformation and murdered hundreds of Jews, injured 5000 and left twice that number homeless. The protestors earned the praise of the Tsar who praised the ‘mass of loyal people’ who had struck out against ‘troublemakers’. Jews could be conveniently blamed for agitating against autocratic rule.

Meanwhile, the Duma debated land reform and Nicholas II demanded complete cooperating with his desires of an independent State Council with members drawn from loyal subjects willing to carry out his bidding. Witte would not agree and he was removed and the Duma dissolved. The revolution of 1905 ended in failure but heightened the divisions among exiled Russian socialists. It was clear that revolution was possible but next time around, it should be as Marxist demanded; workers and peasants unite.

A second Duma was elected and soon dissolved by Nicholas II and he then changed the rules of election by giving nobles a greater power of vote and the third Duma was more to his liking because his supporters had control and endorsed repression and Russification. New lands became available in Siberia (just as in the American West) and peasants moved there with the promise of free land. A new surge of industrial strikes and peasant violence demonstrated continued popular dissatisfaction.

France remained Europe’s most revolutionary country. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte completed his destruction of the Second Republic in 1851, three years after the revolting of 1848. He then proclaims himself Napoleon III with the support of the upper classes and many peasants. During the second republic, wealthy businesspersons became a form of aristocracy and money was the equivalent of blue blood. France was the only country with universal male suffrage and the emperor promoted economic growth, encouraged urban development, created banking institutions, and constructed more railways. Napoleon III initiated the ‘liberal empire’ and encouraged and endorsed a series of liberal reforms.

Ministers were responsible to the Emperor who alone could propose legislation. The state clamped down on political opposition, suppressed press freedom, and sponsored ‘official’ candidates for election. The clergy remained grateful that during the second republic Napoleon III had returned education to them. French economic growth was rapid. The state had taken a direct role in stimulating the economy through encouragement and investment. Napoleon III encouraged the creation of state banks, which provided loans to businesspersons. French industries were also prospering and underwent unprecedented growth. France became a major exporter of capital and French investors financed railway systems across Europe. State encouragement of economic development was most obvious in its railway systems. Banks backed railway projects and these, in turn, stimulated the countries commercial and manufacturing boom. French railroads became one of the largest employers in Europe.

France and Britain signed a liberal trade agreement n 1860 lowering tariff barriers between both nations. The treaty provided a sliding scale on import duties, which aided wine producers selling n Britain. In time Press controls were relaxed and the National Assembly given the right to approve budgets. Napoleon III aligned France to Piedmont-Sardinia in a war with Austria and the French army defeated the Austrians and France gained Savoy and Nice, both long coveted. Further wars in Senegal, Lebanon, and Indochina were fought but in Mexico, a disaster struck. Napoleon believed that Mexico could be profitable for French exports and sent troops there and order was restored. In 1864 Napoleon proclaimed Austrian Archduke Maximilian as emperor of Mexico and the United States objected on the basis that it was a violation of the Monroe Doctrine which declared the western hemisphere off limits to European powers. The Mexicans did not want an Austrian ruler and patriots defeated French troops and Maximilian was executed. To the end, Napoleon III manifested a bizarre combination of perceptive foresight and bad judgement.

Through the first half of 1870, a confrontational fever with Germany spread throughout France. On July 15, Emperor Napoleon III led his nation into one of the most disastrous wars in her history. The Franco-Prussian conflict did not officially commence until July 19, 1870. In the course of its first weeks, it produced a series of demoralizing defeats for the French. The army of Napoleon III “went to war ill-equipped, badly led, trained, and organized, and with inferior numbers.” On August 19, one French army was trapped in the fortress of Metz and on September 1, the Empire of Napoleon III came crushing down when a second army was captured at Sedan with the Emperor himself. Three days later the news reached Paris and the fall of the Empire was proclaimed. The Empress left for England and a provisional government took power.

For the next five months, the “city of lights,” as Parisians had proudly proclaimed “the centre of the universe,” was transformed. It became an army camp. French soldiers, National Guardsmen and volunteers on the inside, Prussian forces on the outside. Luxuries and then basic necessities slowly disappeared. Food became scarce, and the inhabitants resorted to edibles normally associated with other species. The government under General Trochu and leaders like Victor Hugo, Jules Favre, and Adolphe Thiers, tried to govern internal as well as external pressures. Finally, on January 27, an armistice was signed. It brought temporary calm to the capital, before the storm of the Paris commune and the second siege arrived.

The new government in Paris, after the defeat at Sedan, was composed in part by publicists, politicians, lawyers, and teachers who had opposed Louis Napoleon’s coup d’état in 1851. “The Government of National Defence” was the official title, and nearly all kinds of political opinions were included, with the exception of the Bonapartists. The actual power rested with the Legitimists, Orleanists, and other conservatives. General Trochu, military governor of Paris and an Orleanist, held the presidency. Others included Leon Gambetta-minister of the Interior, General Le Flo- Minister for War, Jules Favre-Minister of Foreign Affairs and vice-president, Victor Hugo, Count Henri Rochefort-journalist and political enemy of Napoleon III who spent many years in prison, and Adolphe Thiers-the old minister of Louis Phillipe who went on diplomatic missions for the new republic.

Besides the day-to-day operation of the government, the three main objectives of the Government of National Defence were the procurement of a favourable peace treaty, enlistment of the aid of foreign powers, and the military preparation of Paris. The first objective got off to a bad start on September 6 when Jules Favre announced, “France would not give up an inch of her territory or a stone of her fortresses”. This attitude went counter to that of Otto Von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, who saw the cession of territory as being as indispensable to the Prussians as it was inadmissible to the French. Bismarck demanded the immediate turnover of Alsace-Lorraine as well as Metz, Strasbourg, and Mont-Valerien (the fortress commanding Paris). Bismarck’s proposals were rejected and the government was forced to defend the city and continue the war. Negotiations continued; however, nothing concrete came out of them until the end of January when Jules Favre was sent to Versailles to discuss the terms of armistice. By this time Paris had been bombarded, food and other essential stores were nearly exhausted, and Prussian victories throughout the rest of France were a daily occurrence. The armistice was to set up the preliminary conditions for a peace treaty to be signed. Its terms included the surrender of all French fortifications, except those serving as prisons; laying down their weapons with the exception of the Army, which was to act independently for the maintenance of order, the immediate exchange of prisoners, and Paris was to pay 200,000,000 francs for war reparations within a fortnight. In addition, anyone leaving the city needed a French military pass.

Back in September, the French government began pursuing the second objective, acquiring foreign aid, when Thiers was sent to England, Austria, and Russia to enlist help. He was sympathetically welcomed, but was unable to shore up any support. Only America showed enthusiasm for the new French Republic; however, they were not yet ready to intervene on their behalf. Thiers tried again in October with the same results. From this point on, he was used solely as the representative of the French government in the on-going negotiations with Bismarck. Prior to the investment of Paris, the provisional government made efforts to prepare the military forces of the city. These efforts included labor allocations, defensive fortification, and supplies. Troops were brought back from the surrounding provinces. General Vinoy’s forces, which escaped capture at Sedan, were later consolidated with those of the provinces. Together they became the Provincial Mobile Guard. Meanwhile the National Guard furnished sufficient labor to increase its size from 90,000 to more than 300,000 men.

Another aspect of the military preparation was the establishment of strong defensive fortifications. The forts near Paris were abandoned because it would have required too much work and time to get them ready, and the decision was made to move the defensive lines closer to the city’s environs. All forests and wooded areas deemed favourable to enemy advantage were cut. Thus, the forests of Montmorency, Bundy, Boulogne, and Vincennes were treated. The allocation of supplies was vital to the defence of Paris. Barracks, hospitals, and factories for the manufacture of military hardware were established all over the city. Railway shops became cannon foundries, while tobacco factories became arsenals. The Louvre was transformed into an armament shop after the art gallery was moved for safekeeping. Balloons were constructed at the Orleans railway stations. Hotels, department stores, theatres, and public buildings served as hospitals. The Tuileries and the Napoleon and Empress Circuses became barracks. When in action, all the forces were under the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and subject to military law. Most of these actions centered on small sorties, unassumingly called “reconnaissance.” In late September 1870, the objects of the sorties were to test the tenacity of the troops and probe the Prussian circle to determine its vulnerability.

As for the Prussians, once the city was surrounded and more troops made available for the siege, the question was whether to bombard the capital or starve it into surrender. In his diary entry for October 8, Crown Prince Frederick states, “we shall certainly have to make up our minds to a bombardment of Paris… but to postpone as long as possible their actual accomplishment, for I count definitely on starving out the city.” The bombardment did not begin until January 4. The arrival of the shelling did not panic the Parisians. They had been expecting it since October. Precautions were taken to protect all works of art. Sandbags were placed in the windows of the Louvre, the School of Fine Arts and other important buildings, while outside monuments were taken underground. The bombardment lasted twenty-three days, usually from two to five hours each night. In the end, the Parisians refused to be intimidated and the psychological advantage of this tactic was lost.

The siege of Paris slowly made its impact in an area critical to survival: the economy. According to a correspondent for The Times of London, “Business for France is everywhere broken up, and one-third of the country is devastated and ruined.” The first segment to feel the enclosure was the import and export activity. In order to survive, Paris needed a self-supporting economy, while also channelling most of its resources for the defence. Factories were now employed in making military necessities, instead of consumer goods. When the siege dragged on, the prospects for a speedy recovery evaporated and finally gave out completely when the bombardment began as some of those factories, in conjunction with other businesses, were damaged. The Prussians might not have been purposely inclined to destroy the French economy, except in one particular area: food consumption.

The government’s failure to establish a census system early during the siege caused it to miscalculate on its supply of comestibles, playing into the hands of the invaders. The census did not take place until December 30 and it was discovered that Paris contained a population of 2,005,709 residents excluding the armed forces. The government however, did ask foreigners to leave, but the number who did was offset by the arrival of refugees from the provinces. This number of inhabitants and the Prussian encirclement had disastrous consequences.

Early in 1870, the price of food had increased and by the start of the Franco-Prussian conflict was 25 per cent higher. Prices did not go much higher because the government announced the number of cattle, sheep, and hogs within Paris to be adequate. However, everyone, even the government, believed the siege would last a very short time, perhaps a maximum of two months. The situation did not change until the early days of October.

A few days before October 15, butchers suddenly refused to sell more than a day’s ration. On October 15, the official rationing of meat began and continued throughout the entire siege, each portion becoming smaller and smaller. Eventually, nothing was left and Parisians resorted to other types of meat. The first substitute for the regular meat diet was horse. Parisians disdained it, at first, and it took the Horse-Eating Society to inform the public of the advantages to eating horse. When it finally came down to eating them, all breeds were included, from thoroughbred to mules. With time, even this type of nourishment became rare, so other meats were introduced into the diet. Dogs, cats, and rats were frequently eaten. The animals of the zoo were added to this diet, including Castor and Pollux, the two elephants that were the pride of Paris. Only the lions, tigers, and monkeys were spared, the big cats for the difficulty of approaching them, the monkeys because of “some vague Darwinian notion that they were the relatives of the people of Paris and eating them would be tantamount to cannibalism.”

During the middle of January, the government placed bread on the ration list, setting the daily quota at 300 grams for adults and half that amount for children. Parisians then realized that they were on the verge of starvation. As for the Prussians, this meant a quick solution to the conflict as Frederick III writes on his diary entry for January 7, “There is news from Bordeaux that provisions in Paris would be exhausted about the end of January, and at best could only last until early in February. I trust this may be true.” The terrible ordeal suffered by Paris during the period 1870-1871 and was not their first, according to a German newspaper story reprinted in The Times. In 1590, Henry IV stood before Paris much like Bismarck was doing, and the city knew nothing worse. According to the story, the people of Paris forgot what meat was and they had to subsist on leaves or roots dug up from under stones. Terrible diseases broke out and in three months, 12,000 people died. Bread no longer existed while all the dogs were captured and eaten. The maledictions associated with siege warfare were no strangers to Parisians; however, the peace treaty with Germany brought needed relief before the arrival of the Paris Commune with its own set of trials and tribulations.

The Paris Commune, the first successful worker’s revolution, existed from March 26 to May 30, 1871. Following the defeat of France (ruled at the time by Louis Bonaparte) in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, the Government of National Defence concluded the war with the Germans on harsh terms – namely the occupation of Paris, which had heroically withstood a six months siege by the German armies. Paris workers reacted angrily to German occupation, and refused to cooperate with the German soldiers; being so bold as to limit the area of German occupation to only a few parks in a small corner of the city, and keeping a very watchful eye over the German soldiers to ensure that they not cross those boundaries. On March 18, the new French government, led by Thiers, having gained the permission of Germany, sent its army into Paris to capture the military arms within the city to insure that the Paris workers would not be armed and resist the Germans. The Paris workers peacefully refused to allow the French Army to capture the weapons, and as a result, the French Government of “National Defence” declared War on the city of Paris. On March 26, 1871, in a wave of popular support, a municipal council composed of workers and soldiers – the Paris Commune – was elected. Throughout France support rapidly spread to the workers of Paris, a wildfire that was quickly and brutally stamped out by the government. The workers of Paris, however, would be another problem. Within Paris, the first workers government was being created.

On March 26, the Paris Commune was elected and on March 28, it was proclaimed. The Central Committee of the National Guard, which up to then had carried on the government, handed in its resignation to the National Guard, after it had first decreed the abolition of the scandalous Paris “Morality Police.” On March 30, the Commune abolished conscription and the standing army, and declared that the National Guard, in which all citizens capable of bearing arms were to be enrolled, was to be the sole armed force. It remitted all payments of rent for dwelling houses from October 1870 until April; the amounts already paid to be reckoned to a future rental period, and stopped all sales of article pledged in the municipal pawnshops. On the same day, the foreigners elected to the Commune were confirmed in office, because “the flag of the Commune is the flag of the World Republic.”

On April 1, it was decided that the highest salary received by any employee of the Commune, and therefore also by its members themselves, might not exceed 6,000 francs. On the following day the Commune decreed the separation of the Church from the State, and the abolition of all state payments for religious purposes as well as the transformation of all Church property into national property. As a result of this, on April 8, a decree excluding from the schools all religious symbols, pictures, dogmas, prayers – in a word, “all that belongs to the sphere of the individual’s conscience” – was ordered to be excluded from the schools, and this decree was gradually applied. Soon in reply to the shooting of the Commune’s fighters captured by the Versailles troops, a decree was issued for imprisonment of hostages, but it was never carried into effect. Soon the guillotine was brought out by the 137th battalion of the National Guard, and publicly burnt, amid great popular rejoicing. On the 12th, the Commune decided that the Victory Column on the Place Vendôme, which had been cast from guns captured by napoleon after the war of 1809, should be demolished as a symbol of chauvinism and incitement to national hatred. This decree was carried out on May 16. On April 16, the Commune ordered a statistical tabulation of factories, which had been closed down by the manufacturers, and the working out of plans for the carrying on of these factories by workers formerly employed in them, who were to be organized in co-operative societies, and also plans for the organization of these co-operatives in one great union. On the 20th the Commune abolished night work for bakers, and also the workers’ registration cards, which since the Second Empire had been run as a monopoly by police nominees – exploiters of the first rank; the issuing of these registration cards was transferred to the mayors of the 20 arrondissements of Paris. On April 30, the Commune ordered the closing of the pawnshops, on the ground that they were a private exploitation of labor, and were in contradiction with the right of the workers to their instruments of labor and to credit. On May 5, it ordered the demolition of the Chapel of Atonement, which had been built in expiation of the execution of Louis XVI.

Less than three months after the Commune was elected, the city of Paris was attacked by the strongest army the French government could muster. Thirty thousand unarmed workers were massacred, shot by the thousands in the streets of Paris. Thousands more were arrested and 7,000 were exiled forever from France. On April 7, the Versailles troops had captured the Seine crossing at Neuilly, on the western front of Paris; on the other hand, in an attack on the southern front on the 11th they were repulsed with heavy losses by General Eudes. Paris was continually bombarded and, moreover, by the very people who had stigmatized as a sacrilege the bombardment of the same city by the Prussians. These same people now begged the Prussian government for the hasty return of the French soldiers taken prisoner at Sedan and Metz, in order that they might recapture Paris for them. From the beginning of May, the gradual arrival of these troops gave the Versailles forces a decided ascendancy. This already became evident when, on April 23, Thiers broke off the negotiations for the exchange, proposed by Commune, of the Archbishop of Paris (Georges Darboy) and a whole number of other priests held hostages in Paris, for only one man, Blanqui, who had twice been elected to the Commune but was a prisoner in Clairvaux. In addition, even more in the changed language of Thiers; previously procrastinating and equivocal, he now suddenly became insolent, threatening, and brutal. The Versailles forces took the redoubt of Moulin Saquet on the southern front, on May 3; on May 9th, Fort Issy, which had been completely reduced to ruins by gunfire; and on the 14th, Fort Vanves. On the western front they advanced gradually, capturing the numerous villages and buildings, which extended up to the city wall, until they reached the main wall itself; on the 21st, thanks to treachery and the carelessness of the National Guards stationed there, they succeeded in forcing their way into the city. The Prussians who held the northern and eastern forts allowed the Versailles troops to advance across the land north of the city, which was forbidden ground to them under the armistice, and thus to march forward and attack on a long front, which the Parisians naturally thought covered by the armistice, and therefore held only with weak forces. As a result of this, only a weak resistance was put up in the western half of Paris, in the luxury city proper; it grew stronger and more tenacious the nearer the incoming troops approached the eastern half, the real working class city.

It was only after eight days’ fighting that the last defender of the Commune were overwhelmed on the heights of Belleville and Menilmontant; and then the massacre of defenceless men, women, and children, which had been raging all through the week on an increasing scale, reached its zenith. The breech-loaders could no longer kill fast enough; the vanquished workers were shot down in hundred by Mitrailleuse fire (over 30,000 citizens of Paris were massacred). The “Wall of the Federals” (aka Wall of the Communards) at the Pere Lachaise cemetery, where the final mass murder was consummated, is still standing today, a mute but eloquent testimony to the savagery of which the ruling class is capable as soon as the working class dares to come out for its rights. Then came the mass arrests (38,000 workers arrested); when the slaughter of them all proved to be impossible, the shooting of victims arbitrarily selected from the prisoners’ ranks, and the removal of the rest to great camps where they awaited trial by courts-martial. The Prussian troops surrounding the northern half of Paris had orders not to allow any fugitives to pass. However, the officers often shut their eyes when the soldiers paid more obedience to the dictates of humanity than to those of the General Staff. Particular honour is due to the Saxon army corps, which behaved very humanely and let through many workers who were obviously fighters for the Commune.

The national assembly elected in 1871 had a monarchist majority but the people of France wanted a republic. Gradually the third republic took hold and by 1899, it was radical. The Bourbon pretender to the throne of France was the Count of Chambord and his was the old Bourbon royal line. The close association between monarchism and the Catholic Church and Leon Gambetta, a radical republican, opposed the political dominion of the ‘notables’, the wealthiest men in France. Thiers had resigned under monarchist pressure in 1873 and Prussian troops marched out of France after the French government paid off its war debts. The monarchists seeing their majority eroding in the National Assembly elected as President Marshal MacMahon, a Crimean war hero, who favoured monarchist restoration. The new government of ‘moral order’ was closely tied to the church, suppressed freedom of press, closed hundreds of cafes (meeting places for radicals and liberals), and banned public celebration of the French Revolution on July 14th. For the moment, the government was a republic with monarchist political institutions. French voters returned republican candidates in two elections and MacMahon relented and resigned with his monarchist ideals left in tatters.

The French Third Republic was the governing body of France between the Second Empire and the Fourth Republic. It was a republican parliamentary democracy that was created on September 4, 1870 following the collapse of the Empire of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War. It survived until the invasion of France by the German Third Reich in 1940. In many ways, an accidental and unloved republic stumbled from crisis to crisis before its final collapse. It was never intended to be a long-term republic at all. Napoleon III had become the second Emperor of France in 1852, following in the footsteps of his uncle Napoleon I. However, the French Second Empire lasted only eighteen years because of the emergence of another world power, one that was to transform the balance of power in Europe – the German Empire. Chancellor Bismarck of Prussia, who sought to bring his state to ascendancy in Germany, realized that if a German Empire was to be created, the French Empire, which would never tolerate a powerful neighbour at its borders, must fall. Through clever manipulation of the Ems Dispatch, Bismarck goaded France into the Franco-Prussian War, which led to the French emperor’s defeat and overthrow. After Napoleon’s capture by the Prussians at Sedan, France became a de facto conservative republic, although the revolutionary Paris Commune held out until its bloody suppression in May 1871.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the regime of Napoleon III, the clear majority of French people and the overwhelming majority of the French National Assembly wished to return to a constitutional monarchy. In 1871, the throne was offered to the Comte de Chambord, alias Henry V, the Legitimist pretender to the French throne since the abdication of Charles X, who had abdicated in favour of him, in 1830. Chambord, then a child, had had the throne snatched from his grasp in 1830.

In 1871, Chambord had no wish to be a constitutional monarch but a semi-absolutist one like his grandfather Charles X. Moreover – and this became the ultimate reason the restoration never occurred – he refused to reign over a state that used the Tricolour that was associated with the Revolution of 1789 and the July Monarchy of the man who seized the throne from him in 1830, the citizen-king, Louis Philippe, King of the French. However much France wanted a restored monarchy, it was unwilling to surrender its popular tricolour. Instead, a “temporary” republic was established, pending the death of the elderly childless Chambord and the succession of his more liberal heir, the Comte de Paris. In February 1875, a series of parliamentary Acts established the organic or constitutional laws of the new republic. At its apex was a President of the Republic. A two-chamber parliament was created, along with a ministry under a prime minister (named “President of the Council”) who was nominally answerable to both the President of the Republic and parliament. Throughout the 1870s, the issue of monarchy versus republic dominated public debate.

On May 16, 1877, with public opinion swinging heavily in favour of a republic, the President of the Republic, Patrice MacMahon, Duc de Magenta, himself a monarchist, made one last desperate attempt to salvage the monarchical cause by dismissing the republic-minded prime minister and appointing a monarchist duke to office. He then dissolved parliament and called a general election (October 1877). If his hope had been to halt the move towards republicanism, it backfired spectacularly, with the President being accused of having staged a constitutional coup d’état, known as le seize Mai after the date on which it happened.

Republicans returned triumphant, finally killing off the prospect of a restored French monarchy. MacMahon himself resigned on January 28, 1879, leaving a seriously weakened presidency, so weakened indeed that not until Charles de Gaulle eighty years later did another President of France unilaterally dissolve parliament. To mark the final end of French monarchism as a serious political force, in 1885 the French Crown Jewels were broken up and sold. Only a few crowns, their precious gems replaced by coloured glass, were kept.

Though France was clearly republican, it was not in love with its Third Republic. Governments collapsed with regularity, rarely lasting more than a couple of months, as radicals, socialists, liberals, conservatives, republicans and monarchists all fought for control. The Republic was also rocked by a series of crises, none more notorious that the Dreyfus Affair in 1894, when a Jewish officer in the French Army was wrongly jailed on charges of spying for Germany. This claim played on all the fears and perspectives of all sides. Monarchists and right-wing Roman Catholics, many of which were anti-Semitic, and in some cases blaming a “Jewish plot” for the triumph of republicanism, immediately attacked Dreyfus and refused to consider the possibility that he was innocent. Others on the left, still fighting the ‘monarchy versus republic’ battle, championed his cause, irrespective of his guilt or innocence. When it became clear that he was indeed innocent and the victim of a conspiracy, the state itself failed to accept his innocence straight away, and even when he was released from his exile, whispering campaigns still suggested he was actually guilty. In the aftermath of the affair, when the truth finally did come out, the reputations of monarchists and conservative Catholics, who had expressed unbridled anti-Semitism, were severely damaged. So too was the state by its unwillingness to right what had clearly been a major wrong visited on an innocent and loyal officer. Despite this turmoil, the midpoint of the Third Republic was known as the belle époque in France, a golden time of beauty, innovation, and peace with its European neighbours. New inventions made life easier at all social levels, the cultural scene thrived, cabaret, cancan, and the cinema were born, and art took new forms with Impressionism and Art Nouveau. However, the glory of this turn-of-the-century time period ended with the outbreak of World War 1.

Throughout its seventy-year history, the Third Republic stumbled from crisis to crisis, from collapsing governments to the appointment of a mentally ill president. It struggled through the German invasion of World War 1 and the inter-war years. When the Nazi invasion occurred in 1940, the Republic was so disliked by enemies on the right – who sought a powerful bulwark against Communism – and on the far left – where Communists initially followed their movement’s international line of refusing to defend “bourgeois” regimes – that few had the stomach to fight for its survival, even if they disapproved of German occupation of northern France and the collaborationist Vichy regime established in the south.

When France was finally liberated, few called for the restoration of the Third Republic, and a Constituent Assembly was established in 1946 to draft a constitution for a successor, established as the Fourth Republic that December. Adolphe Thiers, the first president of the Third Republic, called republicanism in the 1870s “the form of government that divides France least.” France might have agreed about being a republic, but it never fully agreed with the Third Republic. France’s longest lasting regime since before the 1789 revolution, the Third Republic was consigned to the history books, as unloved at the end as it had been when first created seventy years earlier. However, its longevity showed that it was capable of weathering many a storm.

On September 30, 1891 a distraught Frenchman, Georges Boulanger, a former general in the French army and a fugitive from French justice, committed suicide at the gravesite of his late mistress in the cemetery in Ixelles, Belgium. With this act the epic of Boulangism, the movement inspired by Boulanger that had quickly grown and quickly died, which had swept France and had nearly resulted in the death of the Third Republic and the establishment of a dictatorship, had come to an end. The movement that had grown around Boulanger’s name was perhaps the first of its kind, a combination of royalists, Bonapartists, Republicans, socialists, and Blanquists. If it resembles any movement in this strange mix of followers, it is Peronism, which was also able to attract followers from all ends of the political spectrum around the figure of a general. In addition, like Peronism, Boulangism was able to do this because it can justly be said of the man at the heart of it that, like Gertrude Stein’s Oakland, there was no there. It was able to do this, people of all political stripes were able to see Boulanger as one of their own, because the program of General Boulanger, published as a broadsheet in 1888 was full of empty phrases: “Boulanger is work,” “Boulanger is honesty,” “Boulanger is the people” … He called for a revision of the constitution, yet never said in what that revision would consist. His slogan of “dissolution, revision, a constituent assembly” repeated slogans that had been in the air for years. Yet, the vast movement that rallied around him and attracted followers from all classes, all professions, and all political beliefs nearly put an end to the republic. However, more significantly, in the words of the historian Zeev Sternhell in his “La Droite Révolutionnaire” (The Revolutionary Right), “Boulangism… was, in France, the place where and a certain form of non-Marxist, anti-Marxist, or already even a post-Marxist socialism were stitched together.” However, for Sternhell Boulangism goes even farther: The synthesis of the various currents that united behind the general included Blanquism, “which rose up against the bourgeois order [and] the nationalists [who rose up] against the political order that is its expression.” This amalgamation was to result in something far graver: “After the war this synthesis would bear the name fascism.” Therefore, we must ask who Georges Boulanger was and what precisely was Boulangism?

Georges Boulanger himself was a career military man who, in 1870, participated in the defence of Paris against the Prussians and who fought against the Commune. However, he was wounded in the fighting and did not participate in the massacres of ten of thousands of workers during the Bloody Week that ended the Commune. This fortuitous wound would allow him to obtain working class support that otherwise would have been denied him. In January 1886, at the recommendation of his high school classmate (and future political foe) Georges Clemenceau, Boulanger was named Minister of War in the Freycinet government, quickly moving to implement laws and regulations that earned him popular support. Forestalling any possibility of a coup, he transferred a group of royalist officers to posts distant from each other, and members of royal houses were expelled from the army. He also implemented seemingly minor reforms that earned him even greater popularity, authorizing the wearing of beards, modifying uniforms, and replacing straw mattresses with spring mattresses. In a presage of what was to come, and in what was to serve as a stage on his road to power, he re-established the Bastille Day review, and of greater importance still, he refused to send troops to crush a strike in the town of Decazeville.

At the first of the reviews, that of July 14, 1886, Boulanger received more applause than the president, Jules Grévy, and in another foreshadowing of what was to come, his presence at the review inspired the writing of a popular tune: “En r’venant d’la r’vue” (“While Goin’ Home From the Review”) At the height of his popularity the writing of songs about the man and the mass production of his image were hugely profitable industries. Boulanger firmed up his nationalist credentials by his role in the Schnaebelé Affair, in which French spy, Gustave Schnaebelé was seized by German authorities on French soil. The spy had been put to work by Boulanger as Minister of War without consulting with his colleagues, which caused disquiet in government circles. However, the spy ring had been established with an eye to recapturing the provinces lost in the Franco-Prussian war, which earned Boulanger the admiration of the revanchist right. Populism, nationalism, defence of the rights of workers; everything was in place for the birth of the movement that would bear the general’s name.

Boulanger’s popularity had become so bothersome to those in power that he was not only removed from his ministry in May 1887, but the Rouvier government decided that the time had come to send him far from the Parisian crowds that so adored him. But when on July 8, 1887 he climbed aboard the train that was to take him to his new posting in Clermont-Ferrand, a crowd assaulted the train and tried to prevent the general’s departure. In addition, already, without having formally presented himself as a candidate, at the call of the propagandist Henri Rochefort, Boulanger had received 100,000 votes in partial elections in the district of the Seine. Early in 1888, Boulanger’s political base widened when he met in secret with Prince Bonaparte, because of which he was officially presented as the Bonapartists candidate in seven departments. The ironies and contradictions already abound Boulanger the Bonapartists candidate is loudly supported by Rochefort, whose opposition to Louis Bonaparte had led to his exile. The contradictions and ironies were to increase when Boulanger had his military functions lifted because of his electoral activities and he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1888 after running in two departments. Boulanger, with his growing support, was now viewed by all those who opposed the republic as the man of the hour. Monarchists gave him their support as the person most likely to destroy the bourgeois republic they so hated; the extreme left gave him their support as the man most likely to bring down the bourgeois republic they so hated. The most vocal of nationalists, Paul Déroulède and his League of Patriots, and Maurice Barrès, the literary voice of the right, were active supporters. The Boulanger machine was in full motion.

From 1888-1889 Boulanger went from victory to victory, winning elections in seven different districts. Blanquists, the most intransigent of revolutionaries (but who were not immune to the temptations of nationalism and anti-Semitism), were to say that with Boulanger “the revolution has begun,” and that Boulangism is “a labor of clearing away, of disorganizing the bourgeois parties.” So close were the ties between the extreme left and Boulangism that the police were convinced that secret accords had been drawn up between the two forces? Though the official Blanquist bodies were split as to how far they would go in following Boulanger, it is a fact that the Boulangist movement’s strongest electoral showing was in the Blanquist strongholds in Paris. Indeed, throughout France, it was in working class centres that Boulanger garnered his greatest successes.

We can multiply the number of quotations from those on the left who either supported Boulangism or refused to oppose it. Paul Lafargue, the great socialist leader and theoretician, who in 1887 wrote a bitingly mocking article on Boulangism, also wrote to Engels “Boulangism is a popular movement that is in many ways justifiable.” The followers of the other great Marxist if the generation, Jules Guesde, wrote “the Ferryist danger being as much to be feared as the Boulangist peril, revolutionaries should favour neither the one nor the other, and shouldn’t play the bourgeoisie’s game by helping it combat the man who at present is its most redoubtable adversary.” However, not everyone on the left was willing to go along with or refuse to block the Boulangist juggernaut. Jean Jaurès wrote that Boulangism is “a great movement of socialism gone astray,” and the Communard and historian of the Commune P-O Lissagaray was a motive force behind the Société des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen, which was formed to combat Boulangism and defend democracy, uniting in the group socialists, republicans, students and Freemasons. It was only later, with the publications of works by members of the Boulangist inner circle that the close ties between Boulanger and monarchists and bankers were to be confirmed and become widely known. Yet, the moment and movement were to end quickly and ignominiously. Standing as a candidate in Paris in January 1889, Boulanger won the election by 80,000 votes of the 400,000 cast. A huge crowd gathered to acclaim him as he celebrated his victory at the Café Durand and pressed him to seize power. He refused to do so, and the government launched a legal attack on the man and the movement. Warned he would be arrested, accompanied by his mistress, Mme Bonnemains, Boulanger fled to Belgium. The movement immediately collapsed, and Boulanger and two of his closest lieutenants, Rochefort and Count Dillon, were tired and condemned in absentia for plotting against internal security. In July 1891, Boulanger’s mistress died, and on September 30 of the same year the defeated, disconsolate Boulanger, ended his own life. Within a few years the toxic Boulangist mix of nationalism and socialism, now leavened with overt anti-Semitism (Boulanger’s propagandist and co-defendant Henri Rochefort led the way in this regard) was to find its cause in anti-Dreyfusism; decades later variants of Boulangist national socialism were to make an even more sombre appearance.

The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided France in the 1890s and the early 1900s. It involved the conviction for treason in November 1894 of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent. Sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly having communicated French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris, Dreyfus was sent to the penal colony at Devil’s Island in French Guiana and placed in solitary confinement, where he was to spend almost 5 years under the most inhumane conditions. Two years later, in 1896, evidence became known identifying a French Army major named Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy as the real culprit. After high-ranking military officials suppressed the new evidence, a military court unanimously acquitted Esterhazy after the second day of his trial. The Army accused Dreyfus of additional charges based on false documents fabricated by a French counter-intelligence officer, Hubert-Joseph Henry, who was seeking to re-confirm Dreyfus’s conviction. Henry’s superiors accepted his documents without full examination. Word of the military court’s framing of Alfred Dreyfus and of an attendant cover-up began to spread, chiefly due to J’accuse, a vehement public open letter published in a Paris newspaper in January 1898 by the notable writer Émile Zola. Progressive activists put pressure on the government to reopen the case. In 1899, Dreyfus was brought back to Paris from Guiana for another trial. The intense political and judicial scandal that ensued divided French society between those who supported Dreyfus (the Dreyfusards), such as Anatole France, Henri Poincaré and Georges Clémenceau, and those who condemned him (the anti-Dreyfusards), and such as Hubert-Joseph Henry and Edouard Drumont, the director and publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper La Libre Parole. Eventually, all the accusations against Alfred Dreyfus were demonstrated to be baseless. In 1906, Dreyfus was exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army. He served during the whole of World War I, ending his service with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

The second half of the 19th century brought about significant change to three European powers that had been at the strongest at mid century. In Britain, the second Reform Bill of 1867 expanded the electoral franchise and another law in 1884 followed suit. After the collapse of the second empire in 1870 and the Paris Commune, the following year France emerged as a republic. In Russia, reforms in the lead up to the revolution of 1905 challenged the foundations of autocracy. In the meantime, Britain could dominate international affairs because of its economic strength and its great navy. Having defeated Austria and France, Prussia emerged as the leader of a unified and powerful Germany, dominant in central Europe. At the same time, the second industrial revolution brought about remarkable technological advances, increased mass production and large cities bathed in electric light.

Primary Source.

John Merriman

A History Of Modern Europe.

European Unification.

European Unification.

By 1850 Great Britain, France and Russia were the three major powers in Europe. However, the forthcoming unification of Germany and Italy was to change the face of Europe dramatically. In the last three decades of the 19th Century Europe entered a period of major economic, social, political and cultural change. The second Industrial Revolution brought about scientific and technological advances and the arrival of steel and electricity transformed manufacturing.

Cities grew rapidly, political parties developed and the age of mass politics came into being. The creation of socialist parties and socialists were being elected across Europe. Unions put forth demands and engaged in strikes. In the three decades after 1848 Liberalism prevailed and without the Liberal’s male suffrage, political democracy and other significant changes would not have occurred. Liberal democracy emerged as the dominant form of European politics from the second half of the 19th Century to present day.

In the first half of the 19th Century Germans and Italians were agitating for political unification. (A political union is a type of state, which is composed of or created out of smaller states. Unlike a personal union, the individual states share a common government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity. A political union may also be called a legislative union or state union.) After 1848 Germany and Italy were not unified and revolutionaries remained angry about this. Italian unification came as a result of the expansion of Piedmont-Piedmont-Sardinia (the peninsulas strongest most Liberal state) and its monarchy, the House of Savoy.

The case of Germany was somewhat different. German unification was affected by autocratic manipulation of diplomacy and war. The German Empire was reactionary and flying in the face of European Liberalism. German and Italian unification created two new great powers in Europe and the impact of these changes were to be widely felt for decades to come.

Many forces were working against Italian unification, the state was very much fragmented, questions of who rules after unification were toxic, the notion of papal rule was feared in certain influential quarters and the Habsburg monarchy presented a formidable obstacle. However, some factors promoted the ‘Risorgimento’ (Resurgence) of Italy. Nationalism was increasing in the middle and upper class circles. Professionals and academics also sought it and there was, as always had been, a hatred for Austrian rule over certain parts of Italy. Most people wanted resurgence independent of the pope and the Catholic Church.

The Two sources of possible leadership  for Italian unification were firstly; King Victor Emmanuel II (House of Savoy) was the King of Piedmont-Sardinia and he aimed to exert his control over the entire peninsula. He was King of Italy’s most prosperous region and in 1852 he made the wise decision to appoint the brilliant politician Count Camillo di Cavour to be his Prime Minister. Cavour was an aristocratic Liberal and wanted Italian unification by expanding Piedmont-Sardinia. The second was Giuseppe Mazzini, a political activist, revolutionary, nationalist and democrat who wanted Italian unification but not by the expansion of Piedmont-Sardinia. He was an enemy of monarchical control and saw unification as a ‘common faith and purpose’ that would make Italy a democracy. He claimed that unification was the work of all the people of Italy and not just a royal desire. He wanted to mobilise the people and was involved in setting up numerous political organisations to achieve not just Italian unification but European unification. His very existence and propaganda in Italy kept the concept of unification alive.

Austria’s domination of Italy was making unification very difficult. Cavour formed an alliance with Britain and France against Austria in the Crimean War. In 1854 France and Britain joined the Ottoman empire against Russia and Cavour saw by pledging Piedmont-Sardinia’s allegiance to the allies as an opportunity for future Italian unification. The war succeeded and at the signing of the ‘Peace Of Paris’ (1856) Cavour expressed his desire to the allies for Italian unification and the threat of war with Austria. Napoleon III wanted more influence in Italy and to set up an alliance he proposed a royal union between his nephew and the daughter of King Victor Emmanuel II and that would cement relations between Piedmont-Sardinia and France. Following this, France agreed to cooperate with Piedmont-Sardinia in war against Austria. The Austrians gave the excuse when they proposed recruiting Italian troops to fight for Austrian interests and thus they became the aggressors and forced Prussia and other German states to distance themselves from Austrian aggression.

Austria then invaded Piedmont-Sardinia and France mobilised it troops. However, French allegiance to Piedmont-Sardinia was called into question when Napoleon III forged a peace settlement with Austria. He believed that if Italian unification were to happen it would threaten the balance of power in Europe and that would result in damage to France. However, in the Treaty of Turin (1860), Napoleon III agreed to Piedmont-Sardinia’s annexation of most of central and northern Italy and Piedmont-Sardinia ceded Savoy and Nice and so all of northern and central Italy was unified.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure who had a long career of struggle for Italian unification. A member of Mazzini’s ‘Young Italy’, a political movement aiming for Italian unification, he dedicated himself to the lifelong cause from an early age. After a long exile in Brazil garibaldi returned to Rome during the revolutions of 1848 and offered his services to Piedmont-Sardinia but was rebuffed. He went to Lombardy and assisted the provisional government of Milan against the Austrian occupation. The unsuccessful ‘First Italian war of Independence’ he led his legion to two minor victories. He next went to Rome and defended it against French occupation, which led to the siege of Rome.

The French prevailed but a truce was negotiated and Garibaldi withdrew from Rome. After some travel bringing him to America he returned to Italy in 1854 and participated in the Austro-Sardinian War and won victories for Piedmont-Sardinia. Garibaldi took up arms again in 1866 with the full support of the Italian government in the Austro-Prussian war in which Italy had allied with Prussia against Austria and Hungary in the hope of taking Venetia from Austrian rule. He defeated the Austrians and Venetia was ceded. After the war Garibaldi led a political party seeking the capture of Rome, the ancient capital. He led a march into Rome but the papal army with the help of the French were a good match for his badly armed volunteers and after an injury had to withdraw from the papal territory. He was sent to prison and on his release he returned to his island Caprera. He sought the abolition of the papacy as ‘the most harmful of all secret societies’. When the Franco-Prussian war broke out in 1870 the Italians favoured Prussia and the French troops were withdrawn from Rome and the Italian army captured the Papal States without Garibaldi. The newly declared French Third Republic won Garibaldi support, regardless of former French hostilities, and Garibaldi went to France and led an army of volunteers that was never defeated by Prussians. After his return to Italy he retired to Caprera but remained active and even set up the ‘league Of Democracy’ (1879) which advocated universal suffrage, abolition of ecclesiastical property, emancipation of women and maintenance of a standing army. He remained active until his death in 1882.

Garibaldi’s involvement in two major conflicts during his life, namely the Austro-Prussian war (1866) in which the Austrians were defeated and Venetia became part of Italy, and the French withdrawal from Rome (1870) making it the nations capital and isolating papal control, at the start of the Franco-Prussian war (1870) led to the final, but somewhat limited, unification of Italy.

The limits to Italian unification became apparent in the following decades. Most Italians remained loyal to their family, local towns and church as well as to powerful local leaders. The majority of the population were illiterate and most spoke local dialects rather than Italian. Mass emigration to the United States and Argentina only resolved some of the problems of over-population and the Catholic Church was anti-unification condemning it to its loyal supporters as anti-religious and not to be encouraged by participation with its political leaders. This meant, to the predominantly catholic population that to vote would be an act of evil.

 The king of Italy ruled through a corrupt and aggressive premier, Francesco Crispi, and his mafia style parliament. He was replaced by Giovanni Giolitti in 1903 and brought stability to Italian political life. In 1904 the non-voting stance of the Catholic church allowed corruption to prosper and they relaxed their rule in the hope that voters would shun the corrupt politicians and mostly defeat any Socialist candidates.

Aggressive nationalism, forceful colonisation in Africa and Libya and Crispi was forced to resign after his army was crushed in the latter country. He was replaced with Giolitti whose reforms frightened employers and conservatives. Right wing activists objected that Libya was being mismanaged while left wing activists demanded withdrawal and the split was so intense that to get support Giolitti had to strike a deal with Catholic leaders but the deal collapsed and in 1914 he was forced from office. The Italian Liberal state had survived many challenges, but greater ones lay ahead.

The unification of Germany, like Italy, had many formidable obstacles. Firstly, in the wake of 1848, the upper classes were wary of change and feared strong nationalistic tendencies which would lead to equalisation of all citizens and thus damaging the status quo. Secondly, which power, Austria or Prussia, could help Germany in the pursuit of unification? Some wanted Austrians excluded from a unified Germany and some wanted Prussians excluded. Thirdly, in both Austria and Prussia repression was rampant and that German unification would not be achieved through liberalism. Prussia had some advantages in territorial possessions, a strong economy and the population was homogenous (German speakers). It was a successful Protestant state and thus was in a strong position to spearhead and advance ‘natural unification’.

On the other hand ‘Catholic’ Austria dominated a multinational population. The Habsburg monarchy had a lot to lose by encouraging nationalism that would catch fire within all imperial boundaries. German nationalists were not agreed on the Austria Prussia question and liberals wanted a unified Germany with a parliament independent of Austrian or Prussian aristocracy or autocratic influence.

The first step in the process was to ensure the monarchy was equal to the task. The Liberal William I took control and made it clear from the outset that he was anxious to serve moderate conservatives but also wanted to rule constitutionally. Liberals won a clear victory and those who favoured German unification now had a public forum in the Prussian parliament of 1858. Businesspersons believed that unification would be good for trade and so the stage was set.

 

Meanwhile the Austrian war against Piedmont-Sardinia and France had divided Prussians; there was contempt for Austria for engineering the war on one side, on the other there were those who were impressed by Italy’s successful bid for unification and the strategy they employed. Thus proving that unification was not as elusive as it seemed. In 1858 pan-German associations formed as unification pressure groups started to appear. The largest of these was Nationalverein (National Union) seeking a constitutional and parliamentary German state. The Prussian government were very suspicious of the National Union because its members favoured political freedom. Members were mostly middle class and had already rebuffed membership of workers unions. Army reform was an issue that would contribute significantly to German unification. The minister of war wanted expensive reforms to the army budget but liberals demanded a draft for all citizens. Government, despite its Liberal majority, sanctioned funds for military reformation and this event was significant tin that it provided parliamentary sanction to the unchallenged power of the Prussian army. The Liberal opposition formed a new party ‘The German Progressive Party’ and declined to vote and the government had to be dismissed. A second Liberal government was then elected but they too rejected army reform and the king was forced to appoint ultra-conservative Count Otto Von Bismarck as the new prime Minister.

As prime Minister, Bismarck was convinced he could create a new German state that would not be too large, or too democratic, for Prussia to dominate. Bismarck spent three decades holding power and shrewdly manipulating domestic and international politics. His politics became known as ‘Realpolitik’ – the pursuit of a nation’s self interest based on costs and consequences of action. It lacked moral and ethical consideration and was primarily about Prussian domination of Europe and therefore German domination of Europe.

Bismarck announced that the government would operate without constitutional authorisation and did so for four years. He struck against liberalism by suppressing press freedoms and public congregations of a political nature.

Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises. In this respect, it shares aspects of its philosophical approach with those of realism and pragmatism. The term realpolitik is sometimes used pejoratively to imply politics that are coercive, amoral, or Machiavellian. Balancing power to keep the European pentarchy was the means for keeping the peace, and careful Realpolitikers tried to avoid arms races.

‘Realpolitik’ was coined by Ludwig von Rochau, a German writer and politician in the 19th century. In his writings he describes the meaning of the term: “The political organism of human society, the state, originates and subsists in virtue of a natural law which man, with or without consciousness or will, carries out… The imperative of Nature on which the existence of states depends is fulfilled in the historically given state through the antagonism of various forces; its condition, extent and achievements varying infinitely according to space and time. The study of the forces that shape, sustain and transform the state is the starting-point of all political knowledge. The first step towards understanding leads to the conclusion that the law of the strong over political life performs a function similar to the law of gravity over the material world. As used in the U.S., the term is often similar to power politics, while in Germany, Realpolitik is used to describe modest (realistic) politics in opposition to overzealous (unrealistic) politics, though it is associated with the nationalism of the 19th century.

Realpolitik policies were created after the revolutions of 1848 as a tool to strengthen states and tighten social order. The most famous German advocate of “Realpolitik” was Otto von Bismarck, the First Chancellor (1862–1890) to Wilhelm I of the Kingdom of Prussia. Bismarck used Realpolitik to achieve Prussian dominance in Germany, as he manipulated political issues such as the Schleswig-Holstein Question and the Hohenzollern candidature to antagonize other countries, possibly with the intention of war. Characteristic of Bismarck’s political action was an almost Machiavellian policy, demonstrating a pragmatic view of the real political world. One example of this is his willingness to adopt some of the “liberal” social policies of employee insurance, for example; realistically, by doing so, he could manipulate small changes from the top down, rather than face the possibility of major change, from the bottom up. Another example, Prussia’s seemingly illogical move of not demanding territory from a defeated Austria, a move that later led to the unification of Germany, is one of the often-cited examples of Realpolitik. Similarly, in the German Green Party, people willing to compromise are referred to as Realos (realists), and opponents as Fundis (fundamentalists or ideologues).

Another example of Realpolitik in use is Adolf Hitler’s attempt to obtain a predominantly German region of Czechoslovakia called Sudetenland in 1938. At first, Hitler demanded then President Edvard Beneš hand over that region of the country, but Beneš refused. Subsequently, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave Sudetenland to Hitler in the (ultimately vain) hope of preventing a war, as codified in the Munich Agreement. Chamberlain was able to do this because Great Britain wielded power over Czechoslovakia, therefore it was able to overrule Beneš’ refusal.

E. H. Carr (Edward Hallett Carr) was a liberal realist and later left-wing British historian and international relations theorist who argued for realistic international policies versus utopian ones. Carr described realism as the acceptance that what exists is right, and the belief that there is no reality or forces outside history such as God. He argued that in realism there is no moral dimension, and that what is successful is right, and what is unsuccessful is wrong. Carr was convinced that the Bolsheviks were destined to win the Russian Civil War, and approved of the Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s opposition to the anti-Bolshevik ideas of the War Secretary Winston Churchill under the grounds of realpolitik. In Carr’s opinion, Churchill’s support of the White Russian movement was folly as Russia was likely to be a great power once more under the leadership of the Bolsheviks.

Realpolitik is related to the philosophy of political realism, and both suggest working from the hypothesis that it is chiefly based on the pursuit, possession, and application of power. Realpolitik, however, is a prescriptive guideline limited to policy-making (like foreign policy), while realism is a descriptive paradigm, a wider theoretical and methodological framework, aimed at describing, explaining and, eventually, predicting events in the international relations domain.

Russia and France had the most to lose if Germany became unified. The 1863 Polish revolt against Russian domination gave Bismarck a great chance to befriend the Russians. Other nations were sympathetic with the Polish while Bismarck took the side of the Russians and signed an agreement to side with the Russians against the Poles. Prussian-Austrian relations were soured. Bismarck’s first war was in Denmark over the Schleswig-Holstein question. The Schleswig-Holstein Question was a complex of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 19th century from the relations of two duchies, Schleswig and Holstein to the Danish crown and to the German Confederation.

Schleswig was a part of Denmark during the Viking Age, and became a Danish duchy in the 12th century. Denmark repeatedly tried to reintegrate the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom. On March 27, 1848 Frederick VII of Denmark announced to the people of Schleswig the promulgation of a liberal constitution under which the duchy, while preserving its local autonomy, would become an integral part of Denmark. This led to an open uprising by Schleswig-Holstein’s large German majority in support of independence from Denmark and of close association with the German Confederation. The military intervention of the Kingdom of Prussia supported the uprising: the Prussian army drove Denmark’s troops from Schleswig and Holstein in the First Schleswig War of 1848–1851. The second attempt to integrate the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom due to the signing of the November Constitution by King Christian IX of Denmark was seen as a violation of the London Protocol, leading to the Second Schleswig War of 1864.

 

Though Schleswig, Holstein and Denmark all had had the same hereditary ruler for some centuries, the inheritance rules were not quite the same. The Dukedoms of Schleswig and Holstein were inherited under the Salic law, which ignored females: the Kingdom of Denmark had a slightly different inheritance law, which included male heirs inheriting through the female line. In the 19th century this slight difference in inheritance law meant that when the childless King Frederick VII of Denmark died the Kingdom of Denmark would be separated from the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein because two different people would inherit the Kingship and Dukedoms. This finally happened on the death of Frederick in 1863.

The central question was whether the duchy of Schleswig was or was not an integral part of the dominions of the Danish crown, with which it had been associated in the Danish monarchy for centuries or whether Schleswig should, together with Holstein, become an independent part of the German Confederation. Schleswig itself was a fiefdom of Denmark, as the duchy of Holstein was a German fief and therefore part of the German Confederation with the Danish king as duke.This involved the question, raised by the death of the last common male heir to both Denmark and the two duchies, as to the proper succession in the duchies, and the constitutional questions arising out of the relations of the duchies to the Danish crown, to each other, and of Holstein to the German Confederation.

Much of the history of Schleswig-Holstein has a bearing on this question. Following the defeat of Germany in World War I, the Danish majority area of Northern Schleswig was finally unified with Denmark after two plebiscites organised by the Allied powers. A small minority of ethnic Germans still lives in Northern Schleswig.

The North German Confederation 1866–71, was a federation of 22 independent states of northern Germany. It was formed by a constitution accepted by the member states in 1867 and controlled military and foreign policy. It included the new Reichstag, a parliament elected by universal manhood suffrage and a secret ballot. The Reichstag could debate and deal with budgets, but it had limited power compared to the Federal Council, which represented the member states. The Confederation was dominated by its designer and first and only Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who was also the prime minister of the Kingdom of Prussia, which had 80% of the population. After defeating Austria in war, Prussia had just annexed the previously independent nations of Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Nassau and Frankfurt. In 1871 it became the basis of a new nation, the German Empire, which adopted most parts of the federation’s constitution and its flag. It succeeded the German Confederation. Its territory comprised the parts of the German Confederation north of the river Main (with the exception of Luxembourg), plus Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Prussia’s eastern territories and the Duchy of Schleswig, but excluded Austria, Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Luxembourg, Limburg, Liechtenstein and the southern parts of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. It cemented Prussian control over northern Germany in economic matters, especially through the Zollverein (Customs Union), which included the states of southern Germany that were not in the Confederation. The most important work of the new federation was to promote industrial freedom, as demanded by the liberal elements of the business community. For example, economic tolls and restrictions were ended and a federal postal and telegraph system was set up. The result was faster economic growth, and an increase in personal freedom.

The Confederation was replaced by the new German Empire in 1871. Its constitution was largely adopted by the Empire and remained in effect until 1918. This constitution granted immense powers to the new chancellor, Bismarck who was appointed by the President of the Bundesrat (Prussia). This was because the constitution made the chancellor ‘responsible’, though not accountable, to the Reichstag. This therefore allowed him the benefit of being the link between the emperor and the people. The Chancellor retained powers over the military budget, after the constitutional crisis that engulfed Wilhelm I in 1862. Laws also prevented certain civil servants becoming members of the Reichstag, those who were Bismarck’s main opposition in the 1860s.

The Confederation came into being after Prussia defeated Austria and the other remaining states of the German Confederation in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Its constitution, which came into force on 1 July 1867, was written by Bismarck, with major changes made by the delegates to the North German Reichstag. Executive power was vested in a president, a hereditary office of the King of Prussia. He was assisted by a chancellor responsible only to him. Legislative power was vested in a two-house parliament. The states were represented in the Bundesrat (Federal Council) with 43 seats. The people were represented by the Reichstag (Diet), elected by male universal suffrage. The Bundesrat membership was extended before 1871 with the creation of the Zollverein Parliament in 1867, an attempt to create closer unity with the southern states by permitting representatives to be sent to the Bundesrat.

For all intents and purposes, Prussia exercised effective control over the confederation. With four-fifths of the states its territory and population, the Hohenzollern kingdom was larger than the other 21 states combined. It had 17 votes in the Bundesrat, and could easily control the proceedings by making deals with the smaller states. Additionally, Bismarck served as Prussia’s foreign minister as well, and thus had the right to instruct the Prussian representatives to the Bundesrat.

 

Following the Confederation’s quick, decisive victory over the Second French Empire and the subsequently formed Third Republic in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden (together with parts of the Grand Duchy of Hesse which had not originally joined the confederation), unified with the states of the Confederation to form the German Empire, with William I taking the new title of German Emperor (rather than Emperor of Germany as Austria was not included).

Prussia’s victory over Austria increased tensions with France. The French Emperor, Napoleon III, feared that a powerful Germany would change the balance of power in Europe (the French opposition politician Adolphe Thiers had correctly observed that it had really been France who had been defeated at Sadowa). Bismarck, at the same time, did not avoid war with France. He believed that if the German states perceived France as the aggressor, they would unite behind the King of Prussia. In order to achieve this Bismarck kept Napoleon III involved in various intrigues whereby France might gain territory from Luxembourg or Belgium – France never achieved any such gain, but was made to look greedy and untrustworthy.

A suitable premise for war arose in 1870, when the German Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was offered the Spanish throne, which had been vacant since a revolution in 1868. France blocked the candidacy and demanded assurances that no member of the House of Hohenzollern becomes King of Spain. To provoke France into declaring war with Prussia, Bismarck published the Ems Dispatch, a carefully edited version of a conversation between King Wilhelm and the French ambassador to Prussia, Count Benedetti. This conversation had been edited so that each nation felt that its ambassador had been disrespected and ridiculed, thus inflaming popular sentiment on both sides in favour of war.

France mobilized and declared war on 19 July, five days after the dispatch was published in Paris. It was seen as the aggressor and German states, swept up by nationalism and patriotic zeal, rallied to Prussia’s side and provided troops. After all, it came as a sort of déjà vu: current French public musings of the river Rhine as “the natural French border” and the memory of the French revolutionary/Napoleonic wars 1790/1815 (many German territories were devastated serving as theatres of war and the sacking the old German empire by Napoleon) was still alive.

Russia remained aloof and used the opportunity to remilitarise the Black Sea, demilitarised after the Crimean War of the 1850s. Both of Bismarck’s sons served as officers in the Prussian cavalry. The Franco-Prussian War (1870) was a great success for Prussia. The German army, under nominal command of the King but controlled by Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, won victory after victory. The major battles were all fought in one month (7 August till 1 September), and both French armies were captured at Sedan and Metz, the latter after a siege of some weeks. (Napoleon III was taken prisoner at Sedan and kept in Germany for a while in case Bismarck had need of him to head a puppet regime; he later died in exile in England in 1873.)

The remainder of the war featured a siege of Paris, the city was “ineffectually bombarded”; the new French republican regime then tried, without success, to relieve Paris with various hastily assembled armies and increasingly bitter partisan warfare.

Bismarck acted immediately to secure the unification of Germany. He negotiated with representatives of the southern German states, offering special concessions if they agreed to unification. The negotiations succeeded; while the war was in its final phase King Wilhelm of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors in the Château de Versailles. The new German Empire was a federation: each of its 25 constituent states (kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, and free cities) retained some autonomy.

The King of Prussia, as German Emperor, was not sovereign over the entirety of Germany; he was only primus inter pares, or first among equals. However, he held the presidency of the Bundesrat, which met to discuss policy presented from the Chancellor (whom the president appointed). At the end, France had to surrender Alsace and part of Lorraine, because Moltke and his generals insisted that it was needed as a defensive barrier. Bismarck opposed the annexation because he did not wish to make a permanent enemy of France. France was also required to pay an indemnity.

Bismarck did not trust the Catholic Centre Party and the Social Democratic party and doubted their loyalty to him. In 1870 the pope asserted the doctrine of ‘papal infallibility’ and to Bismarck this meant that Catholics could be ordered not to obey his rule. He launched his ‘Kulturkampf’ (“cultural struggle”) and priests had to complete a secular curriculum in order to be ordained and the state would only recognise civil marriages. Gradually Bismarck began to realise that the Catholic party might be useful to him against the Social Democrats and he relaxed his laws and abandoned Kulturkampf. However Catholics and Jews were forbidden high posts in the civil service. The state helped German Protestants to prosper in Poland and buy up properties that would otherwise fall into the hands of Catholics who made up most of the population there. Bismarck became obsessed with destroying the Social Democrats who were proving popular at elections but still only held a handful of seats in the Reichstag (the main legislature of the German state under the Second and Third Reichs.) Two attempts to kill Emperor William II gave Bismarck, who claimed it was a social plot, the ammunition he needed to convince the Reichstag to pass antisocialist legislation that denied socialists the freedom of assembly, association and press. The police acted and suppressed socialist activities and forced workers to quit unions.

In 1888 William II became emperor and Bismarck lasted only two years as his chancellor. He was in favour of improving conditions for workers while Bismarck wanted more suppression and, after many bitter arguments, Bismarck resigned. His replacements could do little or nothing to control William II who wanted popularity with the people and defined himself as an agent of God. German conservatism was transforming and becoming more nationalistic and anti-Semitic. The economic crash of 1873 was blamed on Jewish greed. Some Germans identified Jews with liberalism and socialism and in 1892 the German Conservative Party made anti-Semitism part of its party platform. Jews were second class citizens and nothing they could say or do could change that. The social democrats were still gaining in popularity and were engulfed by the mood of aggressive nationalism that was sweeping across Germany. The German Empire embodied the decline of liberalism and the rise of aggressive nationalism in late 19th century Europe.

Germany and Italy were politically unified when leaders mobilised nationalist feeling in upper class circles and carried out aggressive foreign policies and nationalism threatened the existence of the Hapsburg monarchy. The unification of Germany and Italy altered the balance of power in Europe. Unified Germany (not Austria) was the strongest state in central Europe. The provinces that formed the Hapsburg domains represented a wide diversity of linguistic, cultural and historical diversity. However the largest group was the Germans who accounted for 35% of the population. The question here is how did the empire stay together with such a diversity of ethnic rivalries and demands? The answer to this is the process of state making and the discouragement of nationalism. The tradition of the Hapsburg monarchy was drenched in history and in these revolutionary times this represented tradition, which a concept was embraced by a population reliant on custom as security in the face of change. Secondly, the Hapsburgs relied on the middle classes and they reciprocated by investing in grand design and architecture which created a culture of fine art and this was a unification of all ethnic tastes and desires. Thirdly, there was widespread support by other European nobles for the Hapsburgs and some of these even depended on them for continued survival. Fourthly, Catholicism, the religion of the majority of the peoples of the Hapsburg domains was another factor for unity in Austria. Fifthly, the imperial army retained considerable prestige and they helped hold the monarchy together. German speakers held the bigger offices in the army and they rarely interfered (as in France) with social affairs such as strikes by workers. Nationalism was somewhat limited in the Hapsburg domains and the monarchy feared demands for autonomy or independence would pull the empire apart. Nationalism could also challenge the empires structure and the success of German and Italian nationalism also threatened the empires territorial integrity by raising the possibility that the very small Italian and, above all, the German speaking parts of the empire might prefer inclusion in Italy or Germany, respectively. Hungarians were the second largest ethnic group within the empire and they demanded political influence commensurate with the size of the Magyar territorial domains. Baron Alexander von Bach was an Austrian politician and his most notable achievement was instituting a system of centralised control at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. He served as Minister of Justice in 1848 and 1849 and then Minister of the Interior from 1849 to 1859. A well-known liberal lawyer, he was first called a “minister of barricades.” However, he gradually accepted conservative views, endorsing the centralizing constitutional program of Prince Schwarzenberg in March 1849 and thus further inflaming Hungarian sentiments.

After the death of Schwarzenberg in 1852, he largely dictated policy in Austria and Hungary. Bach centralised administrative authority for the Austrian Empire, but he also endorsed reactionary policies that reduced freedom of the press and abandoned public trials. He represented later the Absolutist (or Klerikalabsolutist) direction, which culminated in the concordat of August 1855 that gave the Roman Catholic Church control over education and family life. On the other hand the economic freedom rose greatly in 1850s. The internal customs duties were abolished. Bach was created Baron (Freiherr) in 1854. He was also the guardian of Science Academy in 1849 – 1859. Prisons were full of political prisoners; during his administration, Czech nationalist Karel Havlíček Borovský was expatriated to Brixen (1851 – 1855). The pillars of so-called Bach system (Bachsches System) were, in the words of Adolf Fischhof, four “armies”: a standing army of soldiers, a sitting army of office holders, a kneeling army of priests and a fawning army of sneaks. His fall in 1859 was highly caused by the failure in Italian war against Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and Napoleon III. Bach served as Ambassador to the Holy See in 1859-1867. He died secluded, in 1893.

In the wake of the Austrian defeat in Italy and mounting German hostility and the rise of neoabsolutism Francis Joseph dismissed Bach as head of government and promulgated a new constitution. The October Diploma (1860) re-established a form of conservative federalism. The October Diploma was a constitution adopted by Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph on October 20, 1860. The Diploma attempted to increase the power of the conservative nobles by giving them more power over their own lands through a program of aristocratic federalism. This policy was a failure almost from the start, and Franz Josef was forced to make further concessions in the February Patent of 1861. Even so, Historians have argued that the October Diploma began the “constitutional” period of the Habsburg Empire

 

In 1860, Franz Josef and the Habsburg Empire were “threatened with a crisis of existence.” 1856 had begun a period of diplomatic isolation following the defeat of Russia, a key Austrian ally, in the Crimean War. The second war of Italian Independence had ended in 1859 with an Austrian defeat at the hands of Napoleon III, and Franz Josef was forced to cede Lombardy to the French. These losses worsened the already weak state of the Austrian economy and exposed the weaknesses of the empire’s bureaucracy. Both liberals and conservatives were anxious for reform after a decade of near absolutist rule, while Hungarians and Czechs wanted greater autonomy over their own affairs. In March 1860, Franz Josef asked the Imperial Parliament, or Reichstag, to advise the emperor on matters of reform. The Reichstag, composed almost entirely of conservative aristocrats, naturally recommended a reconstruction of the empire based on the principles of aristocratic federalism. Their report was ignored by Franz Josef, but by the end of the year, he would adopt the principles of aristocratic federalism in his own document. It was the realities of foreign policy that led the emperor to adopt the conservatives’ ideas. He hoped to establish a Holy Alliance with Czar Alexander II of Russia and King William I of Prussia and believed that a strongly conservative domestic policy would be an advantage in the upcoming negotiations. He demanded that a constitution be written within a week and settled the general principles of the document during a train stop en route to the conference.

Historian A.J.P Taylor called the Diploma a victory for the Old Conservative nobility. The Habsburg government was reorganized on a federal basis, and the provincial diets were given the power to pass laws with the Emperor and the Reichstag. In a concession to the liberals, the membership of the Reichstag was increased by over a hundred new members. However, the Diploma called for the Reichstag to meet very infrequently, and its jurisdiction covered only part of the empire. The provincial diets were packed with the landed aristocracy, thus giving them more direct power over their own lands. Hungary was given special status in the Reichstag through a provision that called for non-Hungarian delegates to meet separately from the whole body to discuss non-Hungarian matters. This, however, fell far short of the Hungarian leaders’ desire for greater autonomy and recognition.

Almost immediately after the Diploma was passed, it became clear that it would not last long. The empire’s finances continued to fail, further showing the weaknesses of the current administration. Prussia and the German Confederation began to sense a weakness in the monarchy that could be exploited; while Hungarians were furious with the few reforms they had been given. In the end, it was the German liberals who were eventually able to effect change. These liberals made up a substantial number of the most powerful bureaucrats and, while they often opposed the emperor, they were supporters of a strong centralized state instead of a weak, federalized one. Through their influence, the emperor was pressured into appointing the liberal Anton von Schmerling as Secretary of State in December. Von Schmerling took to rewriting the October Diploma, and in February 1861, the emperor adopted the February Patent.

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (German: Ausgleich, Hungarian: Kiegyezés) established the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The Compromise re-established the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hungary, separate from and no longer subject to the Austrian Empire. Under the Compromise, the Cisleithanian (Austrian) and Transleithanian (Hungarian) regions of the state were governed by separate Parliaments and Prime Ministers. Unity was maintained through rule of a single head of state of both territories and governments. The armed forces were combined with the Emperor-King as commander-in-chief. Certain key ministries were under the direct authority of the Crown, and served the whole Empire and Kingdom.

In the Middle Ages Austria was a quasi-independent state within the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by the House of Habsburg, while the Kingdom of Hungary was a sovereign state outside the Empire. In 1526 at the Battle of Mohács, Hungary was defeated and largely conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The crown of Hungary was inherited by the Habsburgs, with part of the Kingdom preserved from the Ottomans, who were subsequently driven out of Hungary in 1699. From 1526 to 1806, Austria and Hungary were in a “union of crowns,” having the same ruler but remaining two countries. In the 18th century, Hungary was legally subordinated to Austria, though remaining nominally sovereign. In 1804–6, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished, and the Austrian Empire was created. The Austrian Empire included Hungary as a constituent state, no longer sovereign. This was resented by the Hungarian people, or Magyars. Nationalist sentiment among the Magyars and other peoples of the region threatened the stability of the state and the power of the Austrian elite.

In the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Magyars tried to regain independence, and were defeated by the Austrian Empire only with the aid of the Russian Empire. After 1848, the Empire instituted several constitutional reforms, trying to resolve the problem, but without success. In 1866, Austria was completely defeated in the Austro-Prussian War and its position as the leading state of Germany ended forever, as the remaining German minor states were soon absorbed into the German Empire created by Prussia. Austria also lost almost all of her remaining claims and influence in Italy, which had been her chief foreign policy interest. The state needed to redefine itself to maintain unity in the face of nationalism.

 

Adoption: In the wake of the defeat by Prussia, there were renewed calls in Hungary for complete separation from Austria. To avoid this, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and his court floated the suggestion of a dual monarchy.

Hungarian diplomat Ferenc Deák is considered the intellectual force behind the Compromise. Deák initially wanted independence for Hungary and supported the 1848 Revolution, but he broke with the outright nationalists and advocated a modified union under the Habsburgs. Deák took the line that while Hungary had the right to full internal independence, questions of defence and foreign affairs were “common” to both Austria and Hungary under the Pragmatic Sanction. He also felt that Hungary benefited through continued unity with wealthier, more industrialized Austria, and that the Compromise would end the pressures on Austria of continually choosing between the Magyar and Slav populations of the Kingdom of Hungary. Imperial Chancellor Beust quickly negotiated the Compromise with the Hungarian leaders. Beust was particularly eager to renew the conflict with Prussia, and thought a quick settlement with Hungary would make that possible. Franz Joseph and Deák signed the Compromise, and it was ratified by the restored Diet of Hungary on 30 March 1867. Beust’s desired revenge against Prussia did not materialize. When in 1870, Beust wanted Austria-Hungary to support France against Prussia, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy was “vigorously opposed,” effectively vetoing Austrian intervention.

Under the Compromise, Austria and Hungary each had separate parliaments that met in Vienna and Buda (later Budapest), respectively, that passed and maintained separate laws. Each region had its own government, headed by its own prime minister. The “common monarchy” consisted of the emperor-king, and the common ministers of foreign affairs, defence, and finance in Vienna. The terms of the Compromise were renegotiated every ten years.

The Compromise of 1867 was meant to be a temporary solution to the problems the state faced, but the resulting system was maintained until the forced dissolution of the state following World War I. The favouritism shown to the Magyars—the second largest ethnic group in the state after the Germans—caused discontent on the part of other ethnic groups like the Czechs and Romanians. Although a “Nationalities Law” was enacted to preserve the rights of ethnic minorities, the two parliaments took very different approaches to this issue. The basic problem in the later years was that the Compromise with Hungary only whetted the appetites of non-Hungarian minorities and regions in Hungary that were historically within the boundaries of the previous Hungarian Empire. In these, the majority of Hungarians felt they had unwillingly—and only under coercion—accepted the Compromise. The Austrian Archduke—whom was separately crowned King of Hungary—had to swear in his coronation oath not to revise or diminish the historic Imperial (Hungarian) domains to the Hungarian Nobility, Magnates, and Upper Classes. These Hungarian groups never acquiesced to granting “their” minorities the recognition and local autonomy, which the Germans had given of the Magyars themselves in the self-same Compromise. As such, several ethnic minorities faced increased pressures of Magyarization. Furthermore, the renegotiations that occurred every ten years often led to constitutional crises. Ultimately the Compromise—intended to fix the problems faced by a multi-national state—failed to sublet the internal pressures the old unitary state had felt. As to which extent the Dual Monarchy stabilized the country in the face of rising nationalism is debated even today—particularly by those ethnic groups thus disenfranchised.

The unification of Italy and Germany had both largely been affected by the expansion of the most powerful states that would become part of the unified state that resulted. Cavour transformed Piedmont-Sardinia into a liberal monarchy through reforms before achieving the unification of Italy. In Germany Bismarck had harnessed economic liberalism to the goals of conservative political nationalism in achieving the unification of Germany. In the wake of the 1848 revolutions nationalism had proven itself a major force for unification in Italy and Germany. In the Hapsburg lands nationalism was a force that came to challenge the existence of the empire. In the age of militant nationalism, ethnic tensions within the Austro-Hungarian Empire would become those of Europe. Each of Europe’s three other powers, Britain, Russia and France had political unification for centuries and had had no revolution in 1848. France emerged from this period with an authoritarian empire.

Primary Source.

John Merriman

A History Of Modern Europe.

Revolutions (1848)

 

1848 : Year Of Revolutions.

 

1848 was the year of Revolutions in Europe. In Sicily, France, London, Brussels, Zürich and other major European countries those who were exiled, through poverty or war, from their homelands began to return to their, by now, more prosperous and peaceful Native places. The new republic in France was the catalyst for Revolutionary central Europe. Clumsy attempts at suppression led to forced acceptance of a Liberal agenda. Only Britain and Russia were to escape the Revolutionary wave. In Many countries the Monarchy gave in to Liberal demands and new Governments were appointed. A common process was present in many of the European Revolutions. Mobilisation of Liberalism, republicans and nationalists unifying to anti-regime units combined with harvest and business failure had increased dissatisfaction with Conservatism. Essentially, middle class movements with the support of artisans believed that political change would inevitably change trade and profits but such victory would only come at a heavy price.

The late 1840s brought food shortages to Europe. Unemployment plagued Manufacturing towns. Economic discontent was not the cause of a wave of Revolutions across Europe. Hard times provided the impetus to political opponents of existing regimes. Liberal reformers pursuing change were ready to push for male suffrage, press freedom, radical reforms to improve the conditions of the labouring poor. When a spark ignited the fires of protest, moderates and radicals joined forces in Revolution. The sudden overthrow of the ‘July Monarchy’ in France was that spark.

The Monarchy in France had more enemies than friends. Nobles doubted its legitimacy while others demanded a more popular sovereignty. A disastrous harvest in 1846, which led to a severe recession in 1848 as workers, demanded voting rights and state assistance for their trades. A giant banquet on February 22nd 1848 in Paris was banned and in protest Demonstrators paraded the streets and the National Guard refused to disperse the crowd. However, as the day wore on violence broke out and forty people were shot dead. Protesters barricaded the streets and after the King was forced to abdicate the victorious crowd proclaimed the Second French republic at the town hall. Universal male suffrage and abolition of slavery in the French colonies were proclaimed. Soon the Revolution spread in the provinces of France and liberty trees were planted all across the country. The euphoric Revolutionary wave had begun in the new republic. Political clubs began to crop up and new newspapers began to appear and political awareness was on the increase.

German liberals and radicals had some fundamental differences. Liberals bided their time as radicals were more restive. The ‘hungry forties’ in Germany meant frustrated citizens started to cause riots and the formation of so called ‘craftsmen clubs’ meant political ideology began to spread. Demands for an end to feudalism, repression, unconstitutional states and voting expansion were proliferating. The outbreak of the 1848 Revolution in France forced the German states to start making concessions. One of the most significant of these was the ‘march Government’ of 1848 which was formed out of fear of Revolution. Barricades were erected at Altenburg and the military executed 250 people. The shootings led to further riots and soon the King of Prussia relented and announced unification with Germany. Industrialisation was also a source of civil unrest as artisans struggled to compete with mechanisation and mass production. Clubs and unions started to form in other German states that saw Prussian success. In a short few months Germany was unified and the political landscape had changed in favour of Liberalism.

In Habsburg the liberals wanted constitutional reform, emancipation of peasantry, freedom of press and voting rights. Rebels in Hungary also had similar demands and so had Austria. Poland and Italy sought freedom from Habsburg rule. Liberals and radicals in central Europe followed the lead of France and students and artisans demanded reforms. The Habsburg dynasty hopes for holding its Empire together was collapsing and fading into oblivion. Revolution soon came to Bohemia with demands for independence. The fire of Revolution was widespread.

Italians revolted against Austrian rule. Italian demands for political reform, Italian unification, radicals wanted a republic and workers wanted improved benefits. Street riots echoing Paris, Berlin and Vienna were organised. The Revolutions of 1848 generated resistance from the political and social forces that had most to lose. In Prussia it was Kings and Nobles, in Habsburg the Emperor and his army, in France the upper classes. The split between liberals and radicals worked to the advantage of the oppositions.

In France the political crisis intensified by May 15th 1848. Up to this point all Revolutions in France were caused by the fact that rulers that came to power were Conservative. That was the case up to Louis Philippe. He extended voting rights among other privileges to middle classes but also retained some of the qualities of previous rulers. The lower classes remained ignored and eventually Louis Philippe abdicated to England after civil unrest by the lower classes and the French second republic was formed. This Government got off to a good start. It introduced universal adult suffrage (everyone over 21 could now vote) and also made dramatic changes, for the better, to the streets of Paris and started to ‘national workshops’ scheme of Government supported employment for skilled and unskilled workers. However, these workshops were never financially viable and in a short period of time the system collapsed due to oversubscription.

The Government had no choice but to terminate the service which left thousands of men unemployed and infuriated and the so called ‘June Days’ began. More barricades were erected and fighting broke out. After three days of bloodshed the insurgents were defeated and departed and the Revolution abandoned. New laws were introduced to restrict freedom of press and public assembly while political clubs were closed down and women banned from political involvement. By November the new elections introduced Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as best candidate and he won with an overwhelming majority and became President of the second republic.

The Frankfurt assembly of 1848 was the first freely elected Parliament for all of Germany and it owed its existence to the March Revolution in the states of the German confederation. In the German states liberals and radicals split as Conservatives gained momentum. Liberals wanted unification under a constitutional Monarchy while radicals wanted a republic. In May 1848 over eight hundred elected delegates met at Frankfurt’s St. Paul’s Church   intending to share the future of the German states. Delegates had many different views as to how Germany should be unified and after months of deliberation the solution of a ‘smaller Germany’ came about. The Parliament voted that any state could join the Union but only if it had German speaking Natives.

Using the ‘American Declaration of Independence’ as a template the Frankfurt parliament declared the equality of every citizen. However, before the parliament could approve the constitution proposed by the Frankfurt liberals the King dissolved it in April 1849 and declared a state of emergency. Liberal abstentions and popular indifference gave Conservative domination and they created a new system of Nobles, officials and churchmen and others selected by King. The Frankfurt Parliament was an abject failure for liberals and nationalists. Germany would not be unified by liberals.

A lack of consensus among the Revolutionaries led to counter Revolutions in the Habsburg Empire and in German and Italian states. Ethic conflicts broke out across Europe and landowners and peasants went to war. The complexity of central Europe was far from being resolved by the 1848 Revolutions.

The confusion of competing national claims and rivalries within the Habsburg Empire made counter Revolution an easy task. To all states, freedom meant many things to many people. The only real agreement was on the contempt held for the Habsburg policies. This contempt for Austrian control was rampant. One by one in the German states the March Ministries of 1848 fell from power as rulers counter revolted against parliaments and assemblies that were quickly rendered powerless. Scattered radical insurrections failed. The German Revolution of 1848 was over and in August 1851 the German confederation annulled the basic rights of the German people. The major work of the Frankfurt parliament had been undone.

Now that the German Revolution had been swept away by counter Revolution the Prussian Monarchy proposed the creation of a Prussian union. It would consist of two unions. The German confederation and all German speaking nations. However, the proposal had a short life span because both Prussia and Austria wanted European domination. In 1848 Revolutionaries challenged the authority of the Pope in the Papal States. An insurrection against Pope Pius IX was suppressed but yet another outbreak came in Rome. In Rome, after Pope Pius fled a new cabinet met workers demands and confiscated church property. In elections, the radicals won an overwhelming victory and the Roman Republic was proclaimed. French troops were summonsed by Pope Pius but they had to retreat when met by resistance. Pro Papal forces were sent in by Naples and Spain and the French shelled Rome in 1849. The constitutional assembly capitulated under force and soon the lack of strong popular support for unification restored old powers.

The French Second Republic (or simply the Second Republic) was the republican government of France between the 1848 Revolution and the coup by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, which initiated the Second Empire. It officially adopted the motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. The Second Republic witnessed the tension between the “Social and Democratic Republic” (French: la République démocratique et sociale) and a Liberal form of Republic, which exploded during the June Days Uprising of 1848. In France, the democratic socialist movement was gaining momentum winning major support among peasants. The ‘Montagnards’ called for progressive taxation, higher wages, no tax on wine, credit facilities for peasants and free primary schools. The left lost some credibility in the aftermath of a failed insurrection in 1849 when the French army were sent to support the Pope in Rome, which the left claimed, was a violation of the new constitution. The insurrection did not draw enough support to defeat the French army and the insurrection was quelled. However, Louis Napoleon was given the necessary motivation to act against the left wing liberals and ordered suppression of the left and curtailed freedom of association and assembly. For now, at least, the left were silenced.

The so called ‘springtime of the people’ of Europe led to a wave of repression that dashed the hopes of the Liberal movement in 1848. European history reached a turning point, in the words of some historians, and failed to turn. States became stronger and more unified in the common cause of Liberal suppression; more professional armies enforced the counter-revolutions and restored order. 1848 was the first time that European workers put forward demands for political rights and although they failed on this occasion they did leave some very crucial legacies.

Primary Source.

John Merriman

A History Of Modern Europe.

Challenges To Restoration.

 

Challenges To Restoration Europe.

 

The Congress of Vienna came together to re-establish peace in Europe. By creating the concert of Europe they could prevent any further Revolutions on the continent. Conservatives were blaming Liberalistic ideologies for uprisings and reforms were necessary.  In the wake of troubles in France the representatives at the Congress redrew the map of Europe and put old rulers back on their thrones. Liberalism implied the absence of Government constraints that could interfere with individuality. It was a philosophy applicable to the middle classes and rapid population growth was producing more middle class citizens. Individual freedom was finding expression in politics and in the arts. Liberal movements were tied to nationalism, which was defined, by language and cultural tradition. Nationalism threatened Europe and its Monarchies and was therefore unacceptable to the Congress of Vienna. The rise of Liberalism was clearly co-existent with the rise of nationalism and calls for independence were loud all over Europe.

The Congress wanted to ensure that France could never again dominate Europe. Even prior to napoleons first defeat Prussia, Austria, Russia and Britain had formed the ‘Quadruple alliance’ to stop France and other states from threatening the Monarchies of Europe. The Treaty of Paris (1814) was signed one year prior to the Congress of Vienna. The victorious powers agreed to restore the Bourbons in France. The allies forced the French to sign a draconian treaty but they were not dealing with the then defeated Napoleon but with the Bourbons themselves whose only desire was to regain the throne and solidify themselves against Liberal challenge.

The goals of the Congress were threefold; to redistribute territory, to achieve balance of power and to make future Revolutions impossible. Russia insisted on European rulers based on ‘holy Religion’ and all but Britain agreed and thus the ‘holy alliance was formed between Russia, Prussia and Austria. The ‘Congress of Vienna’ drew a map of Europe that lasted for many generations. They restored the principal of dynastic legitimacy and the balance of international power in Europe. Most territorial settlements were made without neither consultation nor public opinion considered. The allies emphasised the principle of legitimacy but they never hesitated to dispense with smaller legitimate princes whose claims were not of benefit to the ‘Congress of Vienna’. Britain, Russia, Austria, Prussia and France formed the concert of Europe, which was an extended ‘Congress of Vienna’ of Vienna. Their primary objective was to ‘put down’ any movement that threatened the status quo. The Monarchs, diplomats and nobles at the ‘Congress Of Vienna’ of Vienna were guided by Conservative principles of Monarchical legitimacy, with the rights to the thrones of Europe to be determined by hereditary succession, and by close ties to the prerogatives of the established churches.

Monarchs, nobles and clergy returned to power, prestige and influence. The French Revolution had by no means eliminated noble influence in the states of Europe. Indeed, noble style and distinction retained great influence. In much of Europe public buildings and statues affirmed aristocratic values and moral claims that had characterised the old regimes. European nobles retained close ties to the established churches, which still deferred to aristocratic status. During the Revolutionary era churches, especially catholic, had suffered but now Europe witnessed a marked religious revival. In France, the old religious confraternities were revived, families contributed money to rebuild churches and in Britain ‘Anglicans’ rejected divine right Monarchy and opposed all dissenters, especially Catholics.

This ideology drew on several sources. Conservatives believed that states emerged organically and Monarchs were legitimate through birth right. A combination of Religion and Monarchy could maintain order. This alliance of throne and altar dictated the King’s power as divine and therefor untouchable by Man. Most Conservatives saw no difference between reform and Revolution and believed that reform led to Revolution and Revolution led to social change. Conservatives were opposed to political freedom and nationalism. The Industrial Revolution meant change was happening at a rapid rate and this meant a narrowing support.

Liberals shared a confidence that human progress was inevitable, but only gradual. Faith in science was the uncontrollable motor of progress. Liberalism reflected middle class confidence and economic aspirations. In short, Liberalism was about progress, which led to freedom. Liberalism was a middle class condition entrepreneurs and capitalists used to describe their status of exclusion from politics in Europe. They believed that all individuals were equal before the law because all are born good, free and capable of improvement. They believed in ‘Laissez Faire’ (Let it be) economics and Government by Constitution and elected parliaments. They also wanted freedom of the press and education for all. These took ‘enlightenment’ of ‘rights of Man’ to ‘rights of citizens’. Monarchical control over the affairs of the nation was unwelcome and they further wanted extended voting systems for all people to vote. However, by ‘all’ they actually meant the landed gentry and only men should have voting rights.

Laissez Faire was defined as “The Government is best when it governs least.” Liberals sought to restrict Government control especially in the economy. The ‘invisible hand’ of supply and demand would bring about change without Government interference. Adam Smith (1723-1790) author of ‘Wealth of Nations’ argued that the unrestricted functioning of the free economy would ensure the pursuit of private interests. This would create more wealth and a new social hierarchy would emerge. Utilitarianism was an entrepreneurs ideal and one accepted by Liberals. This dictates that ‘laws’ should be judged by their utility and if or not such laws provided ‘the greatest good for the greatest number of people’. In short, does it work?

Romantics defined freedom as the unleashing of the senses and passion of the soul. Romantic writers and artists were literary and academic outsiders. Romantic painters sought to convey feelings through the depiction of the helplessness of the individual confronted by the powers of nature. Romantic artists and musicians believed that music was poetry capable of releasing torrents of emotion. Romanticism emphasised individuality and freedom of expression.

During the first half of the 19th Century almost every country in Europe experienced a confrontation between the old political order, represented by the ‘Congress of Vienna’ of Vienna, and nascent Liberalism. The middle classes clamoured for constitutions and elimination of ‘old corruptions’. Liberalism was closely associated with emerging groups of Nationalists. Intellectuals, professionals, artisans and students called for independence. Demands for new nationalistic states as opposed to Monarchical states would threaten the major European Empires.

The first test for the ‘Congress of Vienna’ came from Spain. King Ferdinand VII returned to power at the behest of the ‘Congress of Vienna’ and refused to recognise the Liberal Constitution. It guaranteed the right of property, freedom of the press and freedom from arbitrary arrest. In 1820 a military revolt broke out in Spain and the army were soon joined by merchants and lawyers. The King soon agreed to abide by the Liberal Constitution of 1812 but the ‘Congress of Vienna’ failed to secure the backing of Britain as an allied force to help quell the Revolution.

Meanwhile, the fires of Revolution also burned in Portugal in the absence of King John VI who had fled to Brazil during the Napoleonic wars. The Portuguese drafted a Liberal Constitution that guaranteed religious toleration, civic rights and sanctity of property. In 1820 an insurrection had also broken out in Italy as army officers and merchants in Naples and Sicily revolted against the rule of King Ferdinand I who had been restored by the ‘Congress of Vienna’. A secret society known as the ‘Carbonari’ directed their contempt for the King placed on the throne, by Austrians, without Italian consent. However, the Austrian army put down the revolt. The ‘Congress of Vienna’ invoked their right under the ‘Holy Alliance’ to intervene but, yet again, Britain distanced itself from the intervention and their withdrawal cleared the way for military action, not only in Italy but also in Spain. In the US President James Monroe issued a proclamation (Monroe Doctrine) warning against European intervention on United States soil.

Liberalists and Nationalists were often one and the same in Italian and German states. Mostly students and academics in these states were considered the most radical citizens and for this reason the Concert of Vienna imposed the Karlsbad Decrees. These muzzled the press and dissolved student fraternities. Metternich convinced Fredrick William to renounce any form of universal representation in his Kingdom. By this act alone, Metternich’s victory over Constitutionalism was clinched.

The congress system was shattered by the Greek revolt against ottoman Turks in 1821. Christian Europeans considered the Turks as savages and infidels. The congress powers condemned the insurrection but the revolt caught the imagination of European scholars and intellectuals who saw it as a ‘modern crusade’ for Christianity. They saw Turkish influence in Greece, the birthplace of Western civilisation, as a form of oppression and thus supported any cause to further Greek independence. Thousands of Turks were massacred but it was the brutal Turkish repression that caught the attention of Western Conservatives and liberals. In 1832 the Greeks gained independence and a young Bavarian prince was made King of Greece (Otto I) and he ruled from 1833 to 1862.

The Decembrist revolt (or uprising) took place in Russia in 1825. The Russian army officers led soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I assumption of throne after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of succession. The uprising was quickly suppressed by Nicholas 1st loyal troops and the ‘traitors’ were executed.

The concert of Europe restored by arms the Monarchy to the heirs of the house of Bourbon who, once gain, possessors of the Kingdom of France. There is little evidence, judging from their behaviour, that the Bourbon regime had learned any lessons during their exile and quickly became increasingly annoying to the Parisian populace and around France in general. The pre-Revolution problems soon returned with the Bourbon Court’s behaviour driving home new hatreds and resurrecting old ones between upper and lower classes. However, this time around it was a constitutional Monarchy so had some limits on its abilities to repress the population at large. Many merchants, Manufacturers and entrepreneurs believed that the restoration Monarchy paid insufficient attention to commerce and industry, listening only to rural nobles. The opposition received major boosts from a new generation of ‘romantic writers’ declaring the righteousness of Liberalism. Victor Hugo wrote, “Romanticism is nothing less than Liberalism in literature.” The vociferous opposition was to go out of control when Charles X decided on a move that was hoped would end the crisis but instead caused Revolution. He dissolved the newly elected ‘Chamber of Deputies’ changed voting entitlements and muzzled the press. This led to fierce public unrest and his soldiers were soon demoralised by public abuse. Public calls for a new King ‘Louis Philippe’ were loud. He was a known Liberal and he became ‘King of the French’ (as opposed to ‘King of France’ which title carried a divine rather than human responsibility) as Charles X abdicated. The new Liberal Monarchy quickly won acceptance from other European powers and continued to rule in relative peace and popularity.

The 1830 French Revolution encouraged pan-European liberality and nationalism. In Belgium, French speaking Catholics in the South and Flemish speaking Catholics in the North were discontented with protestant suppression especially in Brussels. After some street insurgencies a provisional Government declared Belgium’s independence and the state soon became a constitutional Monarchy. All across Europe nationalism quickly emerged as a force for change. It was tied to Liberalism and intellectuals demanded that national boundaries correspond to linguistic frontiers. The ‘November Uprisings (1830-1831) also known as the Polish Russian War or cadet Revolution in Poland  was an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. Young Polish officers revolted and they were joined by large segments of Polish society. Despite some local successes, the uprising was eventually crushed by a numerically superior imperial Russian army. Further uprisings were also taking place in Italy and Spain. In Italy they began as protests against inefficient and corrupt rule. Several cities that declared themselves independent from the Papal States proclaimed ‘The United Provinces of Italy’. However the Italian insurrections collapsed due to lack of popular support. However, a popular Revolutionist named Giuseppe Mazzini motivated by bringing peace to Europe by liberating all peoples. He was one of the first to suggest that the states of Europe might evolve into a federation of Democratic states based on the principle of nationality (A Federation of European Democratic Republics). In Spain, the arrival through accession of a female Monarch, Isabella, was not acceptable to the nobles and churchmen on the basis that she was a woman. Civil war broke out between liberals and Conservatives.

In the German states, liberals faced an uphill battle. However, the wave of Liberal and nationalist movements had reached central Europe and was starting to take hold in Germany. Students organised rallies and politicians responded by placing universities under surveillance, repression, prohibition of public meetings and threatened attack on any state threatening Germanic peace. However, Liberalism gained momentum with students, intellectuals and professionals forming new societies such as ‘Young Germans’. Liberal economic theory attracted German merchants and Manufacturers who objected to the complexity of tariffs along roads and rivers that prevented economically viable trading. To Liberal nationalists the notion of less expensive imports and exports was appealing.

Demands for political reform including the expansion of the electoral franchise to include more middle class voters would be the true test of the ability of the British to compromise in the interest of social and political reform. Soldiers now Demobilised after Waterloo depended on poor relief. Furthermore, poor harvests in 1818 and 1819 brought riots but the Combination Acts made strikes illegal. Riots in Manchester (Peterloo Riots) were quelled by use of armed forces. By the 1820s crime was increasing and workers continued to suffer as they tried to form unions. ‘Friendly Societies’ began to appear and these offered help and assistance to the unemployed or paid for funerals to avoid the indignity of a pauper’s grave.

There was no Revolution in 19th Century Britain. Instead the Government enacted reforms that defused political and social tensions by bowing to middle class demands. The fear of Revolution led them to compromise. Religion played a part in that the Government financed construction of Anglican churches in Working class areas and new forms of Religion (such as Methodism) won converts and reduced social tensions. In 1828 Parliament repealed the ‘test and Corporation’ Acts which, up until then, forced anyone taking public office to be Anglican. Catholic emancipation had become a major issue, which led to Catholic emancipation act of 1829, and Catholics could now hold office or serve in Parliament. Political Liberalism was still gaining popularity and the French Revolution of 1830 instilled fear in upper class circles that workers were on the rise.

The reform bill of 1832 was an act of Parliament that introduced wide ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. The act was designed to take measures for correcting abuses in selecting members to serve in Parliament. The act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that had sprung up during the Industrial Revolution and took away seats from so called ‘rotten boroughs’; those with very small populations. The act also increased the number of individuals entitled to vote. Separate reform acts were passed in the same year for Scotland and Ireland.

The ‘Chartist’ movement were a political and social reform group and was possibly the first mass working class Labour movement. In the UK, Chartists felt ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ while elsewhere in Europe it was the other way around. The founder members prepared the Great Charter, which called for Democracy, male suffrage, annual elections, equal electoral districts, secret ballots and salaries for Parliament members. The movement had little success and quickly disappeared off the European map. The peal of the Corn (Wheat) Law had a very significant impact. Up until then a tariff had been imposed on domestic wheat if ‘non-imported wheat’ were in short supply. This tariff kept imported wheat and domestic wheat at equal price at normal times but if harvests were poor then bread prices ran high. Thus, in 1839, 1840 and 1841 when harvests were poor the resulting high cost of bread created extreme deprivation and starvation. The Government believed only repeal would prevent insurrection and in 1846 Parliament repealed the law.

From 1800 to 1850 Liberals and Nationals challenged Conservatism. Revolutions brought about much change across Europe. Political momentum was with those seeking to break down the bastions of old traditional Europe. The Revolutions created a new fear amongst the old powerful elite that their day of reckoning had come and change was inevitable if they were to maintain power.

Prior to 1815 Europe had already begun to face inevitable change that would see the rise of Liberalism, nationalism and a new Revolutionary continent. The ideas of liberty and equality did not appeal to the old law mongers who believed that the quadruple alliance could stop French aggression and could therefore stop all aggression. In Italy a new concert emerged that was to change European politics forever.

Italy had adopted a system known as ‘balance of power’ and the warring subsided. By creating a system of alliances and agreements that kept the small states in check by the big states and the system seemed to work. The European leaders decided that this was a good idea and further agreed that along with keeping France from misbehaving again it would also ensure that no other European states would step out of line. The on-going Industrial Revolution, by now in full swing, meant peace and wealth and no power wanted to contend with war so all agreed on the new deal.

The alliance of Austria, Prussia and Russia, Great Britain and eventually France decided that the restoration of Monarchs in France (which suited other European Monarchies) was the best way forward. The Quadruple Alliance met again and renamed the alliance as the Congress of Vienna where the future of Europe would be decided. They agreed on meeting every few years as was necessary to monitor progress and these meetings were known as the Concert of Europe.

Europe was shared out between the superpowers and  all agreed that, after Napoleon and his notorious wars and reign that it was best to take steps to ensure that other states would not ‘bully’ other countries and that the superpowers would unite against any such action if it were to threaten Europe’s peace and prosperity in any way. The key point here is that the lands of Europe were ‘reallocated’ and protected by the bigger states.

The congress were criticised as attempting to repress the new sense of Liberalism that was creeping across Europe and because Metternich was an arch Conservative it was possible that these allegations were not without foundation. Historians agree that Metternich fathered the concept of the United Nations.

Meanwhile the intellectuals of Europe were intrigued by ideas of Liberalism, nationalism, a sense of belonging or duty to a nation and are fostered by a sense of common culture, language, history, Religion, customs and values. Nationalists were also liberalists expounding ideas of liberty, equality and freedom. Ideas they adapted from the ‘enlightenment’. Liberals wanted little Government intervention in the lives of the people and those who were opposed to Liberalism were Conservatives.

Liberals wanted change while Conservatives wanted a status quo. Conservatives were the real power mongers of the period and Liberalism was the ‘kiss of death’ to Conservative rule. One of the main concerns was that liberals and nationalists were perceived as Revolutionists and Revolutions had already exercised extreme brutality to achieve their ends in other countries, including France, where they even beheaded Monarchs. Metternich openly blamed nationalists and liberalists for Revolutionary ideas and so suppression of such ideals was also a life preserving motive and justification for suppression.

By introducing the Karlsbad Decrees gave Revolutionists no safe place to hide and tried to suppress Revolutionary philosophies and preserved Conservatism 9as it was then) for a little longer. However, a wave of Revolutions in 1848 across Europe meant that the age of Metternich was coming to an end. The Industrial Revolution was spreading from Britain across Europe and it was an inevitable follow on to the agricultural and Demographic Revolutions. More population because of less war meant more need for food and clothing, which was to herald in the age of Industrial Revolution. Necessity was the mother of invention and as the need arose so did the inventor or invention.

Although the Industrial Revolution began in small country homes, in a short period of time it had been placed in the hearts of the big cities that sprawled around big factories expanding to rise to the demands of the growing population. In the midst of all this European wide industrialisation, politics and progress a rapidly expanding community of enlightened thinkers was growing and developing romantic notions as to how the world should be. Romanticism was a Manifestation of enlightenment combined with Liberalism and nationalism. Ideas of radicalism were severely depressed but found their way into opera, literature, art, poetry and music. This nonconformist school of thinking emphasised individuality, emotions, passions and beauty, the expressions of the human spirit being free from suppression, repression and aggression.

This was an age of change. A Revolutionary period that had another kind of Revolution, invisible to the human eye, taking places in the minds, hearts, souls and spirits of the people of the 19th Century. This was the age of suppressed Liberalism and nationalism that was like a menacing volcano that would eventually erupt. Liberalism and all of its Manifestations from the workplace to the theatre, poetry, music and art was about to explode in the faces of the Conservatives and that explosion would not happen until 1848. This was the so called ‘final leap’ to human freedom. However, before we explore this significant year it is necessary to look at what was happening on the streets of Europe in the run up to that explosive year.

Primary Source.

John Merriman

A History Of Modern Europe.

Industrial Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution.

Although the Industrial Revolution had been on-going since the middle of the 18th century with every economy depending on production of clothes, tools and utensils, most of this work was done on a small scale in rural homes or small workshops. By the early 19th Century the banks system became sophisticated, transport systems elaborate and roads opened up to expand markets. Urbanisation was on the increase and as the population expanded so did the demand for manufactured goods. The number of people working in cities continued to rise and mechanised production meant faster and more efficient delivery to market of demanded goods.

Slowly but surely factory production transformed the way Europeans lived. Factory workers had to endure appalling hardships and abuse and they saw themselves as a class with interests defined by shared work experience. Workers demanded social and Political reform and proclaimed the equality of all people, the dignity of Labour and the evils of Capitalism. The first socials began to emerge and challenged the existing economy and the social and Political order. The transformation of the European economy is known as the Industrial Revolution.

The reality of the Revolution is a little different than the name suggests. The Revolution began, not in factories, but in small rural towns and villages around Europe. Increased agricultural productivity in rural areas helped sustain a larger population. In turn, an increase in population generated greater consumer demand for manufactured goods now transported with relative ease to Man places by trains and steamships across the Western continent. The rise in populations of all countries across Europe also contributed in a significant way to the Industrial Revolution. Agricultural production continued to sustain this rise in population and permitted the accumulation of wealth. More land came under cultivation and farm yields increased in most of Europe.

Remarkable improvements in Transportation also contributed to the transformations of the Industrial Revolution. In Britain Railway, construction and operation brought other benefits to the expanding British economy. It spurred the metallurgical industry, reduced shipping costs, increased tourism, and the hotel and hospitality business. The Industrial Revolution affected most of Western Europe, more than it did the countries of Southern and Eastern Europe. Countries that were densely populated and urbanised faired best.

The Revolution began in Britain when capital-intensive farming began to transform English agriculture. Britain was blessed with coal and iron ore deposits located near water transportation, which meant that raw materials could be transported with relative ease. Former rich colonial trade provided capital investment. British entrepreneurs were self-financed and it was easier to begin a company because Government ensured fewer social barriers by adopting a general policy of non-interference. Government also continued to invest in full transportation systems, which aided traders, Manufacturers, and merchants. Mechanisation led the Industrial Revolution and carried along other industries in its wake. Cotton clothing was in fashion and it accounted for a major part of Britain’s exports in the first half of the 19th Century.

France was the second leading economy in the world. Deprived of natural resources like coal and iron ore it was more expensive to transport goods. Population increases were not as big as in the United Kingdom so demand was not on the increase. The Banking system was rudimentary and the primary function of the French bank was to loan money to the state. Textiles were the catalyst for Industrial development with high fashion goods and fine furniture being in great demand by the middle classes.

Rural industry spurred by a modest level of urban growth remained essential to French economic growth. Taxes on commerce and industry remained low and Government provided a decisive push in the launching of railways in France, purchasing lands in which tracks were to pass. Bankruptcy laws became lenient eliminating the humiliation of incarceration as a penalty. ‘Anonymous Societies’ where investors could legally create investment partnerships with strangers were encouraged by new legislation and the Government also pleased the businessmen by crushing insurrections by republicans and strikes were kept illegal.

Germany had lagged behind Britain and France during the years of the Industrial Revolution. There were three main reasons for this; the multiplicity of independent states, the amounts of tolls and customs that had to be paid by wagons or boats carrying merchandise had to pay monopolies held over production of and distribution of goods. Yet, in the mid 1830s textile Manufacturing started to develop and berlin started to emerge as a centre of machine production. Coal mining and iron production developed and Prussia began to take a more active role in private enterprise. The bank of Prussia began extending credit, other German banks followed this move with sweeping changes to taxes, and tariffs that would encourage entrepreneurship and thus the Industrial Revolution in the German states came into being.

Elsewhere in Europe the Revolution was slow to arrive because most countries remained rural based small communities with undeveloped resources and insignificant Political attention. Entrepreneurs had great difficulty raising finance and there was little or no investment in these economies. There were some exceptions but none very significant. Spain was slow to industrialise itself because of inadequate transportation and laws that discouraged investment. There were few navigable rivers and an absent railway system prevented the Industrial Revolution from having any major impact on the Spanish economy.

Russia had a tiny middle class population and being that the majority of citizens were serfs bounded for life on land owned by others there was little enthusiasm for development. Their bondage made it impossible to develop as entrepreneurs and for the few entrepreneurs that did exist there was only a small workforce to choose from. The transport system was rudimentary and Government had issues with freedom of movement for citizens so little money was spent on transportation. Serviceable roads were designed and built for military purposes and boats were not steam driven. Hostility toward Industrialisation remained entrenched in Russia and this was mostly orchestrated by the Orthodox Church.

Most European middle class people were very much influenced by the Industrial Revolution. They were, for the most part, Liberals with the family as the basis for social order. Men and women had clear and distinct separate spheres. Frugality had little place in middle class life. They lived in a culture of comfort by comparison to the lower classes. Outside of Russia most middle class people across Europe had comfortable lives and held a great range of positions, occupations, educational levels and expectations.

Entrepreneurs were revered and emulated while the nobles were denounced for making money (from the land they owned) while sleeping. Hard work was seen as virtuous and the middle classes struggled to avoid shame of bankruptcy and so mostly prospered and created employment. The ‘self made Man’ was  a noble ideal but it remained difficult to be upwardly mobile and only a few elevated beyond upper middle class. Recession or ill health could mean overnight poverty for the self made Man and his family so they were perceived as ‘men of straw’ whose wealth and power could vanish in an instant. Crisis and disaster was a permanent threat to their position on the social ladder.

Urban growth led to an increase in demand for professionals who were held in high esteem but in reality earned very little money. Lawyers (Notary publics) charged fees up to ten per cent the value of property and estates and were very up to date with client’s financial circumstances. Doctors were limited in the treatments at their disposal, which also contributed to the professions lack of prestige. In Western Europe Doctors began to form professional associations to encourage standardised training and professional identity. Other professions such as Accountants and solicitors gradually commanded respect. As the growing reach of the state required more officials and bureaucrats the middle classes were provided with careers of prestige.

The middle classes believed that families offered the best guarantee of social order. Marriages of common class were desirable because they enhanced family wealth and position within Society. To ensure the future of the children parents began to practise contraception. Domesticity of women for 19th Century middle classes was standard. Women only worked outside of the house in their husbands businesses. Men provided for and assured the future for all the family. A woman’s status was tied to that of her father and husband. Middle class women cared for their children, planned and oversaw the preparation of meals, supervised the servants and attended to family social responsibilities. Middle class feminists began to challenge female legal and Political subordination and demanded the right to vote. Opponents of women’s rights identified the feminist movement with French Revolutionaries and militants and therefore unrespectable.

European middle classes gradually shaped a culture based on comfort. Homes were usually decorated elegantly with ornaments and furniture passed down from one generation to the next. Men were dressed in black suits and cashmere scarfs and women dressed simply but jewellery Demonstrated family wealth. Expanding readership encouraged a proliferation of novels, newspapers and journals. Travel for pleasure became more common for the middle classes and was seen as a means of self improvement.

Secondary education provided a common cultural background for the middle classes in Britain. The victory of the entrepreneurial ideal was reflected in school curriculums. However, many believed that the ‘college of life’ was the best education of all. In France some parents took their children from school at an early age (11 or 12) and considered academic education as being irrelevant to the common tasks of life. Private schools operated by the Clergy were strong in catholic countries and the middle classes sent their daughters to learn about the arts and domestic skills while boys went to learn about sport and Manual skills. France was opposed to religious influence in education and legislation demanded that schools taught secular, nationalistic values. Churches had greater control in Germany, Spain and Italy. Educational systems did teach reading and writing and literacy was consequently on the increase across Europe.

Religious ideals played an important part in the middle class view of the world. There was some strong disenchantment with organised Religion but Christianity and morality were permanently linked throughout Europe, middle class women manifested a much higher rate of religious observance than did men. Many men and women deplored the materialism that lured people away from the church. Religion was also perceived as a way of moralising workers by teaching them self respect. Charitable activities were also an important part of middle class life. Charities were often closely tied to Religion. Impressive efforts to aid the suppressed paupers suffering appalling conditions were common. Such charitable work, mostly aimed at children, also offered a chance at indoctrination.

While the Industrial Revolution changed the way people lived these changes were by no means fast to occur. Most rural people in Europe were not landowners and only had occasional work on farms. Rural protest increased as farm machinery took over jobs and rendered local workers obsolete. Rural poverty weighed heavily across the continent. Property owners were murdered to avoid payment of taxes and duties. Rural people were hungry and angry as they lost their land, livelihoods and families.

The first half of the 19th Century brought about a marked urbanisation of the European populations. The percentage of people who lived in towns and cities rose rapidly as work in rural areas lessened a mass exodus to the cities and employment took place. Smaller towns started to grow too and Industrial towns grew rapidly but commercial and administrative centres too gained population. The poorer districts quickly became over crowded as cheaper properties were constructed to house workers in the inner city where they can be put to work nearby. The middle class elite lived away from the inner city and densely populated suburbs and opted for country life on the outskirts of the cities and alienated themselves from the common workforce. To these upper classes urban growth seemed threatening. Social segregation intensified within cities. Industrial pollution altered residential patterns and the wealthy moved away from the city to enjoy vast country gardens.

Death outnumbered birth in most large European cities and immigration of peasants and unskilled workers meant that Native residents were a minority. Immigrants lived in areas sharing with others from their own countries. Between 1916 and 1850 at least Five million Europeans travelled across seas, particularly during ‘the hungry Forties’ which hit Europe hard and Ireland even harder. One and a half million people left Ireland from 1835 to 1850 while over two million people died during the Potato famine. Following the Irish were the Germans, Norwegians and Russians. Improvements in transportation meant further distances could be travelled and consequently the phenomenon of ‘seasonal migration took men even further while leaving families at home.

Domestic service was the largest category of female employment in Western Europe. Country women spun and wove wool, linen and cotton and worked in fields or gardens while taking care of their children. Urban women tended to work in fabric mills using skills they learned in their rural homes. Women worked for half of what their male counterparts earned and that was a major reason for their employment, in short, if a woman could do the job then a Man would not be hired. Wage Labour changed the dynamics of Society and broke down the old rules of sphere and traditional views of a woman’s place being in the home. Women with families who could not work or could only work part time had to supplement their income by becoming prostitutes. They could earn more money for sexual favours and many women were therefore attracted to the profession.

Children had always worked in agriculture and from a young age they were sent to work in factories too. Factory work often employed entire families with the adult male supervising other family members. Long days of labor were perceived by many as instilling discipline instead of idleness, which encouraged sin and criminality. There were numerous attempts to impose new laws to protect children but these were difficult to enforce as employers and willing cash-strapped parents flouted the laws without fear of chastisement.

The ‘happy’ view of the Industrial Revolution was that it improved life for everybody by increasing employment and lowering prices. The ‘unhappy’ view is that Industrial Capitalism was making life miserable for workers and their families as the number of people needing jobs and wages grew faster than jobs and pay. Mechanisation all but terminated artisanship and work was so seasonal that many suffered for extended periods throughout the year. The gap between rich and poor widened as upper class people earned quadruple the amounts of their lower class counterparts. For immigrants from rural societies the sense of community spirit that helped them through lean periods was now gone. Inexpensive housing for workers was constructed to maximise profits for capitalists. Families lived in vile environments with smells of raw sewage, garbage and, in many cases, Industrial sewage. Seasonal climate changes caused serious ailments and many people died of contagious diseases.

Workers began to think of themselves as ‘working classes’ with different interests to other classes. They had a sense of community based on a belief in the dignity of Labour. Artisans and specialists started to form Guilds that restricted entry into certain trades without apprenticeships. Gradual mechanisation of trades brought protest. The response was a number of illegal secret societies determined to destroy the machinery that deprived them of their livelihood. The so-called ‘Luddies’ wanted a return to the old ways and thought obliteration of machinery was the way to achieve this. Machinery was ‘the Devil’s invention’ and the committed secret societies were oblivious to the pointlessness of their moral campaign against evil. However, the existence of such secret societies across Europe suggests that artisans and workers were becoming united in a common cause.

Workers associations helped shape working class consciousness and militancy. They also became the foundations of fledgling trade unions. Members sought to protect wages and improve conditions. Most unions found membership in skilled workers because unskilled could not afford dues. Skilled workers were also more anxious to protect their trades. Liberty, fraternity and equality was the battle cry of the Unions, which was a heritage from the French Revolution. In Britain, as a result of the pressures on Government placed by the Unions, the ‘Reform Bill’ (1832) which expanded the number of those eligible to vote (but not common workers) was introduced. The exclusion of workers from voting only served to unite them even more in their struggle for equality. Soon, many people accepted the inevitability of Capitalism and were now demanding their fair share of the profit pie.

Advancing Industrialisation transformed economy and Society along with transformations in thoughts and attitudes. One of the most salient results of this was the emergence of the movement known as Socialism. Essentially there were two distinct types of socialist; Utopian and Practical. Utopian Socialism was a consequence of economic Liberalism, according to some analysts of the Industrial Revolution. Utopian socialists were critical over the living conditions of the poor. Egotistic individualism of acquisition, say the Utopians, is wrong because it lacked cooperation. They championed the power of science and technology to construct new social and Political institutions.

One French theorist, Henry De Saint Simon, suggested, “If all nobles and elite were wiped out in a ship wreck the consequences for France would be inconsiderable. However, if France lost its artisans, learned men and productive farmers the consequences for France would be disastrous. He further postulated that Mankind could anticipate a better future where science would solve material problems in harmony with an era of moral improvement. For this to occur; people of talent should be freed from the shackles of restraints placed upon them by nobles. De saint Simon contemporary, Charles Fourier (1772-1837) argued that the art of selling was the practise of lies and deception. He claimed that history moves in cycles toward a more perfect future. He proposed a commune (Phalanx) type of lifestyle where people could live and work together in one unit to survive and live life to its best. British Utopian, Robert Owen, believed that Education and environment could share a spirit of cooperation. He built a mill in Scotland, provided decent housing and established schools for children.

The most popular Utopian socialist was Frenchman Etienne Cabet who sought to apply the principles of Christianity to problems of the day. His imaginary city and vision of economic and social organisation that would covert to principles of cooperation and association. He moved to America with some of his supporters and set up colonies in Texas and Iowa. Cabet was a Communist and had been involved in Communistic publications prior to his departure and thus saw Communism as the Utopian ideal.

Practical Socialists saw the bourgeois as ‘non-producers and workers as producers. Feminists believed that emancipation of women could only come with the emancipation of their ‘kindred spirits’ the workers. One feminist socialist, Flora Tristan (1801-1844) campaigned against women’s inequality in marriage and in law. She linked feminism and socialism and campaigned for female emancipation. Louis Blance (1812-1882) wanted Governments to give scientists a free hand in applying their talents to the betterment of the human condition. The state should also guarantee workers the ‘right to work’, employment in times of stress and a decent wage in the face of unchecked competition. Pierre Joseph Prouduor (1804-1865) wanted the state abolished. The existence of the state was the reason why Capitalism exploited workers. “Property is theft” he declared. Property to him was unearned (by Manual Labour) profit. He wanted workers to organise themselves into small autonomous groups Governing themselves.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) and the Origins of Scientific Socialism: Marx studied the Utopian Socialists but thought them naïve. He thought of Capitalism as no more than a stage in History. Ideas and institutions were opposing forces to the progression of world history. His theory that proletariat struggle against bourgeois was only the latest round in an on-going war. When the proletariat achieved power then socialism would prosper. The end of private property and pure communism would follow. This victory for proletariats would come in time. He argued that a workers Revolution would come if the proletariat organised themselves. “Workers unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.”

Europeans were impressed with the rapid pace of change. Trains brought places closer together. Cities grew and prospered and more and more people worked in industry while the upper classes were worried about urban chaos. The Industrial Revolution generated material progress, opulence abounded but so did wrenching poverty. The European powers (Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia) tried to restore old ways with new rules but Liberalism was for the rich at the cost of the growing poor. The year of reckoning came for the Conservatives in 1848.

Primary Source:

John Merriman

History Of Modern Europe.

Glorious Revolution.

The Glorious Revolution.

The Glorious Revolution’, or, more accurately a power struggle between protestant profiteering Parliament and Catholic absolutist Monarchy, was a total revolution by Aristotelian definition, ‘modification of an existing constitution’ , and by the parameters described by Historian Jeff Goodwin’s broad definition as ‘any and all instances in which a state or a political regime is overthrown and thereby transformed by a popular movement in an irregular extra constitutional and/or violent fashion’ . However, although it fits the academic definition, this essay will argue that it was also predominantly a ‘business transaction’ disguised as a ‘holy war’ to justify its advocating noble commercial beneficiaries; “With The constitutional changes of the Glorious revolution, government debt was transformed from the royal debt to the national debt, backed by both Crown and parliament” . As such it was neither ‘glorious’ nor a revolution, “it would have been more glorious to assist our undoubted sovereign (sic), than to suffer him to be dethroned, solely because he is a Roman Catholic”. This does not alter the fact that it had deep and radical transformational consequences in English history. It contributed significantly to the termination of the ideology of absolutism, tyrannical dictatorship and monarchical manipulation. It further contributed to the rise of democracy and capitalism with their inevitable consequences of freedom of expression and religious liberty, “The first Modern Revolution radically transformed England and ultimately helped to shape the modern world”

Prior to the Glorious Revolution British society was still very much controlled by the constitutional constraints of the ancient anti-absolutist Magna Carte (1215), “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”. The Magna Carte did not restrict challenges to monarchical authority, “To the king’s opponents, Parliament existed to protect fundamental English liberties that had been established under the Magna Carta in 1215.” Steve Pincus confirms this belief when he states, “When James II tried to impose a foreign Catholic and absolutist monarchy on the English people, they united against him to restore the ancient constitution.”

Absolutism, the divine right of kings, meant that many European Monarchs (c.1610-c.1789) were unrepressed by all other institutions, regardless of its ideological success or failure; it is plausible that its dissolution was a major contributing element to the evolution of feudalism to modern capitalism. The Glorious Revolution was then a full ‘revolution’ in the wheel of time and a restoration of the Magna Carta advocated ideology, “This pragmatism, this preference for adapting the old rather than sweeping all away and starting afresh, was a feature of the Glorious Revolution” . It was a return to a status demanded by revolutionaries who embraced wild anti Catholic propaganda, such as Titus Oates’ ‘Popist Plot’ conspiracy theory, “the true conspiracy was entirely a Protestant conspiracy against the king” . The propaganda was useful to generate the necessary mass motivation to return to governmental societal control, “Most people identified Catholicism and popery with the Spanish Inquisition, the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre in France, and the Duke of Alba’s Council of Blood in the Netherlands”.

It is significant that Absolutism was widespread amongst the profiteering and biased nobility and gentry at the time of James II succession to the throne in 1685 and thus ensured he secured and held power. However, within three years his Catholicism became a source of concern and his desire for an absolute monarchy became secondary and turned the elite against him. William of Orange and his wife Mary were invited to ‘invade’ by popular public demand, “your highness may be assured there are nineteen parts of twenty of the people throughout the kingdom who are desirous of a change” James fled and the new sovereigns published the ‘Declaration of Rights’ (February 1689) and thus created the hybrid state where parliament became the important seat of power. It is further significant that those who invited William to invade, the Whigs, Charles Talbot, William Cavendish, Henry Sidney and Edward Russell and Tories Thomas Osborne, Richard Lumley and Henry Compton were also to play substantial roles in his post-revolutionary parliament.

From this it is clear that the revolution was an elaborate business transaction to secure the profits and incomes of the elite. Religion was the excuse for the revolution but not the reason and this is made clear in William III’s anti-Catholic Declaration, of October 1688 when he condemns papacy and its advocates (Councillors), “we have thought fit to go over to England, and to carry with us a force sufficient by the blessing of God to defend us from the violence of those evil councillors” Making the invasion ‘divine’ perfectly concealed the reality of its commercial nature and thus more acceptable to the revolutionaries.

Whether it was a popular revolution with the peasantry is not significant. The powerless serfs were at the mercy of the nobility, who claimed its popularity, and consequently there is little or no historical information as to how the common serfs felt about it. Indeed, it is mostly uncertain that they were aware, cared, understood or ill-informed by propaganda that a revolution had taken place at all, in the House of Commons on July 7th 1988 the radical politician Tony Benn declared, “The revolution caused hideous bloodshed, disabled Catholics, did nothing at all for the people, who were not represented in the Convention of 1688 (sic)” William of Orange’s ‘Declaration Of Reasons’ (October 1688) claims that the English Constitution was under threat and thus his invasion was for the common good is an arguable contention. It is clear that his justification proffered little or no consideration to the lower orders: “The study of Orange propaganda has been extremely valuable. It has uncovered little known aspects of William’s preparations for his expedition to England, and has greatly clarified our understanding of the choices presented to Englishmen after their country had been invaded.” The ‘business transaction’ was a great success and was immediately proclaimed to the international commercial community by London based merchants who desired to retain confidence with their trading associates, “Now when the providences of God are considered in this whole transaction, never anything happened with so many amazing circumstances as this hath done” The immediacy of this entire communication clearly implies the urgency of the instantaneous quelling of international commercial fears necessary to sustain good business relations: ‘Our foreign trade is now become the Strength and Riches of the Kingdom…and is the living Fountain from whence we draw all our Nourishment: It disperses that Blood and Spirits throughout all the Members, by which the Body Politick subsists”. It is noteworthy that the Letter prioritises the business, not religious, aspects of the revolution.

The Glorious Revolution while not bloodless, “bloodless coups often occur in which no one is killed, but a new set of elites assumes the major roles in the political authority structure’ , but still a relatively peaceful one and the question remains as to whether the king was usurped or abdicated. The revolutionaries, primarily the businessmen or nobility, were restoring ancient rites, ideas and values that had proven successful and were unwelcoming of unnecessary innovation, “the resulting institutional changes ushered in financial developments that laid the foundations for the Industrial revolution and ultimately established Britain as a world power” .

The revolutionaries marked the death of the divine rite monarchy and this concept of absolutism was perhaps the most significant feature of the revolution. It was not a conservative revolution because the power of the king was deposed and that in itself was a very radical manoeuvre. Government by consent meant that the Monarchy had its power diminished. After the Revolution there was an increase in religious tolerance to both Protestants and Catholics and as such was of great benefit to all citizens, regardless of class, and with the advancement of religious expression came the inevitable freedom of expression and respect for faith tradition. The radicalism of the revolution is arguable because it not only created political and religious settlement but it also created bigger divisions, constitutional and religious instability and this religious division still has consequences in modern Europe.

References 1. Chambers, Liam (LAN) ; Tutorial Documents: Document 2: William III, The Declaration, October 1688. 2. Aristotle, The Politics V, Tr. T.A. Sinclair (Baltimore, Penguin Books, 1964, 1972), P.190 3. Jeff Goodwin, No Other Way Out; States And Revolutionary Movements, 1945-1991. Cambridge University Press, 2001, P.5 4. Quinn, Stephen The Glorious Revolution’s Effect on English Private Finance: A Microhistory, 1680-1705 / The Journal Of Economic History Vol. 61, No. 3, Sep 2001 p.596 5. Who Dubbed It The Glorious Revolution James R. Hertzler (Some Reflections On The Humble Petition…Of The Lords) (November 1688) Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned With British Studies Published By The North American Conference On British Studies. 6. The American Historical Review Vol. 115, No. 2, April 2010 p.486 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Historical Association. 7. Danny Danziger & John Gillingham, “1215: The Year Of Magna Carta” (2004) P.278 8. Chambers, Liam (LAN): John Merriman, A History Of Modern Europe, Volume 1, From The Renaissance To The Age Of Napoleon (1996), P232-273. 9. Miller, John The Glorious Revolution, Longman (1983) p.94 10. Steve Pincus’ “1688: The First Modern Revolution” p.99 11. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol 39, No. 153, March 1950. Pub/ Irish Province Of The Society Of Jesus: Source: 12. Chambers, Liam (LAN): John Merriman, A History Of Modern Europe, Volume 1, From The Renaissance To The Age Of Napoleon (1996), P232-273. 13. Chambers, Liam (LAN): Tutorial Documents: Document 1: Invitation Of The Seven To The Prince Of Orange June 30, 1688. 14. Chambers, Liam (LAN): Tutorial Documents: Document 2: William III, The Declaration, October 1688. 15. Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned With British Studies/ Celebrating The Glorious Revolution By Lois G. Schwoerer (1689, 1989) 16. William III’s Declaration Of Reasons And The Glorious Revolution By Tony Claydon P.88 (University Of Wales, Bangor) The Historical Journal, 39.1 © (1996), Published By Cambridge University Press, Article Stable URL; 17. Chambers, Liam (LAN): Tutorial Documents: Document 3: Francis Barrington And Benjamin Steele A Letter Describing The Revolution To Thomas Goodwin And Kinnard Delabere 11 January 1689 18. Wood, W, A Survey Of Trade (1718), p.4. http://www.fdsoup.com/pdf/13/9780198228424.pdf (Accessed 23.02.2011) 19. A Theory Of Revolution, Raymond Tanter & Manus Midlarsky, Sage Publications Inc. 20. The Journal Of Economic History, Puns Cambridge University Press On Behalf Of Economic History Association.

%d bloggers like this: