Central European Revolutions of 1848: History, Causes & Effects

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:07 Revolution in France
  • 2:06 Prussia and Germany
  • 2:40 Austrian Empire
  • 3:19 Italy
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up


Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson explores the Central European revolutions of 1848. In doing so, it will highlight the nationalist movements across Germany, Austria, and Italy. It will also signify the revolution in France as the catalyst for this historic year.

Revolution in France

There's an old saying that goes something like this: 'When France sneezes, all of Europe catches a cold.' Although there are a few different versions of this saying, they all mean pretty much the same thing - if something starts brewing in France, it usually ends up affecting all of Europe. Perhaps never has this saying proved more true than in the bloody year of 1848.

Not surprisingly, the first of this year's revolutions occurred in France as the middle class, also known as the bourgeois, grew more and more intolerant of King Louis Philippe and his aristocratic cronies. Facing economic depression, a food shortage, inflation, and political inequality, the bourgeois were ready for change. When the French monarch refused to meet the needs of the common class, tensions rose into revolution and King Louis Philippe was ousted from power. However, the bloodshed in France did not end.

Upon ridding themselves of the king, the revolutionaries could not agree on how to run the country. Some felt voting rights were of supreme importance, while others created national workshops, which supplied jobs for the common people of France. When those who favored voting rights were elected into power, they closed these national workshops. Not very happy about losing their jobs, people rioted and blood returned to the streets of France.

This chaos would soon lead to the election of one central figure within France. His name was Napoleon Bonaparte, and as history testifies, the French would find themselves again under the rule of a dictator. All in all, not the happiest of endings - yet France still set the fires of revolution across Europe. Seeing the monarch of France ousted from power, radicals throughout Europe caught the revolutionary spirit. Unfortunately, most would meet a similar fate to that of France.

Prussia and Germany

In Germany, radical groups began calling for the unification of German states. When Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia folded under the demands to create a Prussian assembly, the people of the German provinces became hopeful for themselves. Soon, radicals from all over the German states convened at the Frankfurt Assembly in order to work toward the unification of the German provinces. Although the assembly did make some progress, the lack of a strong leader kept their hopes from becoming a reality.

Austrian Empire

A similar scene played out in Central Europe as the people called for freedom from Prince Metternich and his Austrian Empire. At first, things looked rather promising for the revolutionaries. Vienna was taken by groups of revolutionary students and common-class workers, while the nationalist Lajos Kossuth inspired the people of Hungary to call for a constitution. It seemed like the people of the Austrian Empire might just get their freedom. However, with the help of a strong army, the Austrian Empire regained control. From Vienna to Prague to Budapest, rebellion was crushed within the Empire.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account