Saturday, December 31, 2016
There was happier news from the British Isles in 2016. Her Majesty the Queen celebrated her ninetieth birthday, becoming the oldest reigning monarch in British history and she is still doing fine. No doubt the Queen needed all of her genetic fortitude when the government insisted on ‘putting on the dog’ for a state visit by the President of China. Ladies such as the Duchess of Cambridge and (soon to be Prime Minister) Theresa May showed up for the state dinner in red dresses in honor of their Chinese guest, though the Queen did not. She was later overheard remarking about how rude the Chinese had been to her ambassador and the Prince of Wales refused to attend the state dinner to show solidarity with the people of Tibet so there was plenty for the media to chatter about. It was as nothing though compared to the British event of the year which was the long-promised but much delayed referendum on U.K. membership in the European Union.
Major events, though they likely seemed innocuous to many in the rest of the world, were also afoot in East Asia in 2016. The conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan pushed ahead for constitutional reforms that would allow for the strengthening of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, more freedom of action and, perhaps, even officially making HM the Emperor the “Head of State” and placing him above the constitution. There were immediate cries from the usual suspects, as well as some unusual ones, that Japan was reverting back to “fascism” and the pre-World War II days. Most, however, looked at the situation with an erratic and nuclear-armed North Korea next door and an expansionist giant in the form of China and considered the changes Abe is seeking as hardly uncalled for.
The biggest news story in Europe for 2016 has likely been the migrant crisis and the increasing occurrence of terrorist attacks by Muslim fanatics. Such events have been pointed to as explaining the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, the rise in popularity of parties that oppose open borders and even the election of Donald Trump in the United States. The Kingdom of Sweden has been particularly hard hit, though Germany is generally regarded as the epicenter. For the most part, the royals involved have their kept their opinions to themselves though the King of Norway cheered many on the left and angered many on the right when he spoke out in favor of open borders and the odd sort of ‘intolerance for the intolerant’ that is so popular with modern-day “progressives” but this was hardly a surprise to anyone who had been keeping up with the words and actions of the current Norwegian Royal Family. The Queen of Denmark would likely never think of saying such a thing and the King of Sweden is probably just trying to keep his head down.
Other royal events of 2016 did not attract too much notice. The Arab monarchies in the Middle East continue to carry on as they have been, for all the sense that makes. The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan saw the birth of an heir to the throne with the little Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel, in Britain the Princess Royal’s daughter suffered a miscarriage and the Federation of Malaysia got a new monarch with the term of Sultan Mohammed V of Kelantan, the fourth youngest ever elected at 47. With the ongoing civil war in Syria, Chinese expansion at sea, the election of Donald Trump and numerous ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks, there has not been much room for other news in 2016. If current trends continue, however, the world could be in for a major realignment and a confrontation between the nationalist and internationalist/globalist camps which could have a significant impact on the cause of traditional authority around the world, both depending on who wins and which side the monarchs of the world are seen to take. No doubt 2017 will prove interesting.
A Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all!
Thursday, December 29, 2016
What were these goals? He wanted to restore the Bogd Khan to power in Mongolia. He succeeded at that and I think that was a good thing. He wanted to see the Qing Emperor restored in China, as would I, certainly at that time. He wanted to ally with the Empire of Japan and invade Russia to destroy the Bolshevik regime and restore the Romanov dynasty to power. Again, I think that was a noble cause. He did not succeed at that, so I would not advocate repeating his actions exactly (which is a problem as many who admire the losing side often fall into the trap of insisting on repeating the actions which obviously didn’t work) but his aims were the right ones in my view. He wanted to start a massive counter-revolutionary movement that would revive traditional authority around the world and that sounds like a noble aspiration to me. For those who are new, or just unfamiliar and would like some more detailed info about Baron von Ungern, I can direct you to the following posts:
The Life of Baron von Ungern-Sternberg
How the Baron Saved Mongolia
Religion and the 'Mad Baron'
Monday, December 26, 2016
First of all, yes, the Prince of Wales was completely wrong in what he said about religion, refugees and politics. The Holy Family was forced to flee persecution, got that right, but Mohammed and his followers did not flee to Medina for religious freedom. Religious freedom is not a 'thing' in Medina even today, centuries after Islam has been the law of the land. Mohammed made war on the tribes around Mecca before gathering and/or subduing sufficient forces to return to Mecca and conquer the place. Not a lot of similarities there with the story of Christ. Then there is the scare-tactic that anyone to the right of a communist must be a fascist of some sort. This is silly and the double-standard is obvious. Liberals who champion democracy are championing a system based on public popularity, yet it is only when the people show signs of going in a direction their liberal masters oppose that this become big, bad, scary "populism". This is never said, of course, when anything left-wing becomes popular. And, of course, the Nazi scare-tactic is just old, tired and flogging a dead horse at this point. It's also ridiculous. I've known some *actual* Nazis in my time, as in people from Nazi Germany, during World War II, not this new lot of kids that have a thing for Arabs, see a Jew behind every bush and wouldn't know genuine nationalism if it bit them on the rump. I've known the real thing and let me assure that the French National Front or Alternative for Germany are *nowhere close* to what the Nazis were. Their policies are totally different, their worldview is totally different, their entire mindset is totally different. Get off it.
This, however, is typical of the Prince of Wales who is hard for the people who categorize and label things to deal with. Quite a few times when the Prince of Wales speaks out on an issue, I have been entirely in his corner. He defended hunting rights, British farmers, spoke out against the ugliness of modernist architecture, all of which is known but which seems to get less attention than when he says something about multiculturalism or environmentalism. Some days he's the Prince who stands up for rural Britain and other times he's the Prince who talks to his plants. Finally, as I have said before, the Prince is also, to a large degree, a product of his environment. Could anyone imagine his father, Prince Philip, saying anything like his son does? Of course not! Prince Philip is probably the most politically in-correct member of the Royal Family (God bless his heart) who usually only makes the news for telling some "offensive" joke about Blacks throwing spears or the shape of Asian people's eyes. But Prince Philip did not have the upbringing that his son did. Prince Charles was the first member of the Royal Family to go to a 'regular' school with 'regular' people rather than being educated privately by a hand-picked tutor in the palace as was tradition. To an extent, Prince Charles and those royals of his and more recent generations, think the way they do because that is how they have been taught to think by the same education professionals that have been warping the minds of generations.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
|Infant of Prague|
The pagan ancestors of the European peoples had their part in the Christmas story as well. As we have talked about here before, the birth of Christ was said to have been prophesied to the Emperor Augustus by the Tiburtine Sybil. This, the story goes, caused Augustus Caesar to refrain from allowing the Senate to declare him a god. It was also, of course, the command of the Emperor for a census to be taken which prompted the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Later, in the Christian era, when there was much debate on the subject, the date chosen on which to celebrate Christmas was that of the Winter Solstice according to the Roman calendar. This was when the pagan Romans celebrated the festival of Brumalia, in honor of the god Saturn (later becoming the Saturnalia, mostly in the East). The incorporation into the Christmas celebration of pre-Christian traditions such as the Yule log, exchanging presents and general merriment, later put off the more Puritanical Protestant sects of Christianity who considered the holiday altogether ‘too Pagan’ which is why Christmas was suppressed in Britain during the dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell, only to be restored when the monarchy was restored under King Charles II, the “Merry Monarch”.
|The coronation of Charlemagne|
In the German lands, Christmas has always been extremely important and tied to the imperial legacy due to the coronation of Charlemagne (or Karl der Grosse as he is in German) on Christmas day. In the British Isles, Christmas gained noticeable royal support during the reign of the House of Stuart. King James I ordered a play to put on for the occasion (something which used to be common in schools but is likely forbidden these days) and King Charles I would dismiss his courtiers at Christmas time in order that they might go home to preside over the traditional Christmas festivities in their locales. Suppressed by Cromwell, as stated, Christmas came back with King Charles II and King James I, at least in England (the Scots actually continued to refuse to make it a public holiday until 1959!) and it carried on after the so-called “Glorious Revolution” under King William III and Queen Mary II. The Dutch Reformed Church had always celebrated Christmas and, of course, the German Hanoverians had no problem with it either.
|Victoria & Albert around their Christmas tree|
Many of the traditions associated with Christmas in the United States only appeared in the Victorian era due to their popularity with the rest of the English-speaking world. Partly because of the lingering effects of Puritanism in New England and the pushing of egalitarianism and opposition to anything associated with royalty or aristocracy, the early United States was devoid of most of the customs modern Americans think of as being traditionally associated with Christmas. These would not start to take root in America until roughly the 1820’s, increasing with their popularity across the British Empire thanks to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. In fact, the only thing similar, previously occurring on American soil, was probably the celebrations of Hessian or other German mercenaries employed by the British during the War for Independence. We do know that the first Christmas tree in Canada was featured at a party held in 1781 by the commander of the troops from Brunswick, Germany General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel and his wife in Quebec, where they were stationed in the event of another attack by the American forces.
|Good King Wenceslas|
Taken altogether, Christmas can be considered one of, if not the, most monarchist of holidays. Just as Christ was crucified as a king, so too was His birth heralded as the birth of a king. Many of its traditions had monarchial origins and were spread by kings and princes around the world and the Christmas story set a narrative in the minds of the people that was later imposed on earthly monarchs. Today, few people, if any, give any thought to this at all. However, none of it is hidden, it simply is not a topic. If any person was to consider it for more than a moment, they would see that royal symbolism permeates Christmas at virtually every level. For myself, this Christmas will be a difficult one but I hope every adherent of traditional authority will take the time to consider the many connections discussed and, for all Christian readers certainly, will have a very happy Christmas.
Friday, December 23, 2016
|I-25, which bombed the continental United States|
With the experience of World War I, the Germans and Italians knew that the most effective way to use submarines was to focus primarily on the enemy merchant fleet and in this, as shown above, they performed extremely well. The Imperial Japanese Navy, on the other hand, was intent on using their submarines primarily against enemy warships and incorporated them into their plan for a climactic naval battle that would settle everything with one blow. This is often attributed to the great Japanese victory over the Russians at the Battle of Tsushima in which the entire Russian fleet was totally pulverized by the Japanese ships under the great Admiral Togo. Japan hoped to repeat this same success against the United States, unfortunately, the Americans refused to play by Japanese rules and that great clash of fleets, for which Japan had been saving her best ships, including the largest battleships in the world, never happened. The U.S. Navy fought at a distance mostly with airpower while most American battleships were only ever used to shell island fortifications. The United States also used its own submarines extensively against Japanese merchant vessels, effectively wiping out the entire Japanese merchant marine by the time it was all over. They too scored victories against Japanese warships, no greater success being the sinking of the Japanese super-carrier Shinano (largest warship in the world) by the American submarine USS Archerfish.
|I-58, which sank the cruiser USS Indianapolis|
Those “other duties” usually involved acting as cargo carriers themselves, taking supplies to beleaguered Japanese forces defending islands in the South Pacific. This is both understandable and tragic. It is understandable because the situation was desperate and any way to get any supplies to these forces in the face of American air and naval superiority over the combat zone had to be looked at. The suffering that Japanese soldiers and sailors on these islands, especially Guadalcanal, was so immense as to defy description. Wracked by starvation, exhaustion and tropical diseases, as long as the poor soldiers were not evacuated, it is understandable that any means of getting supplies to them had to be considered. However, it is tragic because they simply should have been evacuated at that point as submarines are simply not effective cargo vessels. They amount of supplies they could possibly carry would necessarily be quite small and this prevented the subs from doing their real job which was sinking enemy ships, a job they were quite good at when given the chance. Subs were also detailed to undertake operations such as shelling the U.S. coast or dropping incendiary bombs in the hopes of sparking massive forest fires which, even if successful, would not have had any major impact on the war and, again, diverted them away from what they were best suited for.
At the outset of the war the biggest advantage Japanese submarines possessed was the Type 95 torpedo which had a very long range (up to 13,100 yards), packed a powerful punch and which ran on oxygen rather than compressed air which meant that it left no tell-tale trail of bubbles behind it, making it much harder to spot by surface ships before it was too late. In comparison, at the beginning of the war, the standard American torpedo was a complete disaster that frequently failed to hit its target, often failed to detonate when it did and sometimes posed a greater threat to the boat that fired it rather than the enemy. The Japanese naval technicians were also constantly working to improve their boats. The Kaidai 6 a/b type, produced in 1934-38, had the fastest surface speed of any sub in the world at 23 knots. The AM Type boats were built to carry attack aircraft and supplement the famous SenToku class boats and had the potential to be quite effective. However, only four were ordered and only two were actually completed before the high command ordered production halted to focus on smaller subs for the defense of Japan.
|The gigantic SenToku-class submarine aircraft carrier|
Certainly there are two types of submarines produced by Japan which most illustrate the great potential that the Imperial Japanese Navy had for submarine warfare if only it had been properly utilized. The first is the most well known, the aforementioned SenToku class which was the largest submarine type ever built and would retain that status all the way until 1965 with the launching of the U.S. nuclear ballistic missile submarine USS Benjamin Franklin. These were huge boats built to be, essentially, submarine aircraft carriers to launch surprise air attacks on extremely distant targets that would never be expected. Their design was highly innovative and a brilliant example of the creativity of Japanese naval engineers. Each could carry two small Seiran bomber aircraft as well as sufficient parts to be used to either repair the other two or put together for a third plane. The subs were coated with a special material, passed along from Germany, to make them more resistant to underwater search gear, special equipment was developed to allow for the aircraft to be prepared for flight while the boat was still submerged so that the boat could surface, launch its aircraft and submerge again as quickly as possible to avoid detection. These boats also had the longest range of any submarine ever developed and would hold that record until the development of the first nuclear submarines by the United States. Even today, there has never been a conventional submarine with a longer range than the Japanese SenToku class.
|The 'super sub' I-401|
The other class of submarine produced by Japan, which highlights Japanese submarine innovation and unrealized potential is less well known but deserves to be celebrated. This was the SenTaka class of which three boats were completed before the end of the war, I-201, I-202 and I-203. In terms of their design, these boats were years ahead of their time and were precursors of the design changes in submarine hulls that would most come to be associated with the age of nuclear submarines. These boats had anything that could cause drag either removed or made retractable so that they were extremely streamlined, making them much faster and more maneuverable underwater than anything the Allies had. The electric motors were twice as powerful as the diesel engines and they were equipped with high-capacity batteries that allowed for huge bursts of speed so that these boats were capable of achieving speeds of over 21 knots while submerged, something unheard of at the time. No other submarine in the world could go so fast underwater as the SenTaka class and they were also fitted with a snorkel so that they could recharge their batteries without having to surface. As a result, though they were small boats with a rather short range, they could conceivably have operated entirely submerged for the duration of their patrol which would have made them almost impossible to detect until they started sinking Allied ships. With four forward tubs and ten torpedoes with two deck guns they also packed a respectable punch for such a small boat.
|The highly advanced HA-201|
Finally, if all of this seems rather depressing for submarine enthusiasts, we have to keep a few things in mind. For one, the submarine force was not alone in being robbed of the chance to achieve its greatest glory. Japan famously produced the largest battleships in the world, saved for the hoped for decisive fleet battle with the United States, and none were ever able to really show what they could do in a ship-to-ship shooting match before they were sunk. It should probably also be mentioned that, like the Americans, the Japanese had little to no submarine combat experience before World War II. That does make a difference as we can clearly see what the German U-boats were able to achieve under the command of Admiral Karl Doenitz who was a veteran submarine commander who saw action in World War I as captain of UB-68. Even for the United States, while lacking the combat experience that the Germans had from World War I, it made a difference that the American naval commander in the Pacific was Admiral Chester Nimitz who, as a young officer, had commanded the USS Skipjack and held numerous submarine flotilla commands prior to World War II. He may have lacked combat experience but he certainly knew and appreciated what submarines were capable of and used them to best effect.
|I-58 carrying Kaiten 'human torpedoes'|
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
The history of Russo-Turkish relations is long and closely tied to the monarchist cause in both countries. For most of their histories, the Russian Empire and the Turkish Ottoman Empire have been implacable enemies. There have been no less than twelve wars between the Russian and Ottoman Empires with the Russians being successful more often than not. These were due to a number of circumstances such as the prevailing international politics of the day, the Russians taking up the cause of defender of the Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire and the Russian wish to end Turkish domination of the Black Sea. However, looking at the bigger picture, the animosity was mostly inevitable and due to geography. Russian emperors for centuries have wanted to have secure Russian access to the eastern Mediterranean and a few have dreamed of taking Constantinople and restoring it as the heart of Orthodox Christianity. The Russian Empire also fought to liberate the Slavic and Orthodox Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.
World War I, however, saw events overtake both empires. Neither the Russian Empire nor the Ottoman Empire would ultimately survive the conflict. As the Russian monarchy was destroyed and finally replaced by the Soviet Union, the Ottoman Sultan was overthrown and replaced by a secular Turkish republic. Turkish nationalism, rather than pan-Islamism became the fashion in Turkey while in Russia, once the defender of Orthodox Christianity, became militantly atheist and Soviet founding father Vladimir Lenin immediately reached out to the revolutionary regime in Turkey, renouncing traditional Russian claims and establishing friendly relations between the Turkish Republic and the USSR. This only changed as a result of World War II in which the Soviets believed the neutral Turks to be rather too friendly with Hitler’s Germany (though Stalin himself had been friendly enough before the summer of 1941). Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin revived some of the old Czarist Russian claims against Turkey and, in response, the Turks shifted over to the Western Allies for guarantees of protection.
This return to the traditional antagonism was never quite as intense as it had been under the monarchy, with the Soviets even secretly backing the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the hope that this would result in a split in NATO between pro-Greek and pro-Turkish factions. However, it all ended with the fall of the Soviet Union which has seen Russia make many unprecedented changes in policy, supporting, protecting and even arming neighboring countries which have been traditional enemies of Russia and which have historical grievances against Russia. Turkey, on the other hand, has been, particularly under Erdogan, shifting away from secularism and more toward Islamic fundamentalism. Turkey has been adopting a more robust foreign policy, supporting other Islamic powers and even Islamic powers that had been enemies of the Turks in the Ottoman days. In 2006 the King of Saudi Arabia visited Turkey for the first time in forty years and Erdogan has voiced his support of the Saudi intervention in Yemen against Iranian-backed factions. Turkey has been returning to a more ambitious, Ottoman-style foreign policy whereas Russia has been reversing many of the foreign policy attitudes of the Romanovs, sticking to Soviet-era relationships except, bizarrely, for those which coincided with Czarist policies.
Will anything come of this latest incident? It is possible but, again, I am not too alarmed. Russia has shown that they want no trouble with Turkey in spite of even very blatant hostile actions. The Turks can, likewise, try to shift the blame and the Russians seem anxious to accept such a course. Turkey has their opposition to Assad and their threat to release more “refugees” upon Europe to maintain at least the grudging support of the western powers while Russia has never taken retaliatory measures in the past and the displeasure they have shown before was always of limited duration. Turkey seems to be in a strong position, able to annoy both sides of the east-west divide but with neither side being willing to do anything about it. They can maintain their current policy in the Middle East and negotiations with Europe. The Arabs are on their side and the NATO countries will almost certainly not wish to irritate all of them and if Russia has taken no action up until now in spite of Turkish support for anti-Assad radicals, opposition to the annexation of Crimea, the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet, it seems doubtful that they will suddenly decide to draw the line with this assassination.
Russia, on the other hand, has reversed most of the long-standing foreign policy positions of the old Russian Empire. Imperial Russian opposition to the Turks, Persians and Chinese has been replaced by generous trade, military and energy agreements with Turkey, Iran and China by the Russian Federation. No danger from any quarter other than Western Europe or North America seems to be recognized and yet when it comes to the NATO countries, Russia has steadfastly refused to take a hard line. Whether this is good or bad depends on whether one takes the side of Russia or the west. If you side with the west, it has been good, because Russia has refused to actually challenge the west. If you side with Russia, it has not been good because the west carries on whereas, I have not the slightest doubt, if Russia were to ever actually do as NATO does and say, “do this and it means war”, the west would want no part of that. The current leadership of the western world are the sort to threaten war but not the sort to actually commit to it, at least not a war in which the other side has the capacity to hit back.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
These different types of monarchy may be vastly different but there is no fundamental reason why they should be antagonistic toward each other. Certainly, not being an Arab or a Muslim I would certainly not wish to live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, as I am so far removed from it, what they do and how they order their society is none of my concern. The current situation with the absolute monarchies of the world, be they Saudi Arabia, Swaziland or Brunei, calls to mind some memorable lines from Bishop Jacques Bossuet's book, "Politics Drawn from Holy Scripture". In it the Bishop writes, while explaining the difference between absolute power (which he is for) and arbitrary power (which he is not) and laying out exactly what constitutes arbitrary power that,
"I do not wish to examine whether it is permissible or illicit. There are nations and great empires which are content with it; and it is not for us to awaken doubts in them about the form of their government. It suffices for us to say that it is barbarous and odious. These four characteristics are quite far from our own customs; and so among us there is no arbitrary government."
For those western monarchies that have been reduced to a totally or almost totally ceremonial status, I find this situation less than ideal but still preferable to having no monarchy at all. That is the direction that the arc of history has, unfortunately, taken. Personally, I prefer the traditional absolute (but not arbitrary!) form of monarchy but just as I would prefer a monarch that shared power to a monarch with no power at all, so too do I prefer a monarch with no power to having no monarch at all. There is, however, the added difficulty that, for me and most in the circles that I move in, a rather different set of circumstances than what most other monarchies have to deal with that takes priority. This is that, alongside the problem of having fewer monarchs with increasingly less authority, you have an overall decline in the traditions, culture and even the populations themselves of these nations as a whole. Between the centralizing, secularist forces of the European Union, the "social justice" movement, the open borders obsession and so on, the cultural and even physical distinctiveness of western monarchies is under immense threat.
In short, I think all are worth defending, whether for what they are or for what they could be. The constitutional monarchies of Europe may not look like much today, but has a European republic ever done better? The most sustained example one could point to would be France and history clearly shows that most of their strength came from the gains they made during their on-again, off-again periods as a monarchy. No, all of these countries rose to their grandest heights as monarchies, the monarchy is integral to their cultural heritage and that alone should make them worth holding on to. Most also came to be what they are because of their own unique history, over a great length of time. This is because monarchies, in their purest form, are organic. Despite the best efforts of the Stuarts, the history of the British Isles, the growth of the parliamentary system in England, the tribal feuding of Scotland and Ireland, meant that Great Britain was never going to become a centralized, absolute monarchy like Bourbon France. The Dutch monarch should not be powerless, but given the history of the Netherlands, no Prince of Orange was ever going to be like the Czar of Russia. By that same token, although many advocate for it today and I am all for them, it is quite impossible for me to imagine Russia having a largely ceremonial monarch. Nonetheless, I want them all to have one.
|"Tomorrow in the Senate, let them offer the sands of Libya|
as my kingdom ... I will accept."
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
|The First Reich|
Born in 1782 in Florence, Italy, the thirteenth child of the very prolific Habsburg Grand Duke of Tuscany, later the Emperor Leopold II, Archduke Johann was given command of the Austrian Imperial Army at the start of the wars with Napoleon. He did not think he was up to the job and was ultimately proven correct. Though personally brave and intelligent, he was no great commander and his forces were soundly beaten. Afterwards, he was put in charge of overseeing military fortifications and later the military academy which were jobs more suited to his particular skill-set. Called back into service by the outbreak of the War of the Third Coalition, he proved much more capable as a defensive commander in the mountainous Tyrol region, fighting the French and their Bavarian allies. When the Austrian Emperor was forced to cede this territory, Archduke Johann supported the resistance of the Austrian population in the Tyrol led by the famous Tyrolean hero Andreas Hofer. In the War of the Fifth Coalition, he was once again given command of an army and did have some success but was ultimately defeated by the Franco-Italian army of Napoleon’s stepson Eugene, Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy.
Doubtless though it was that very reputation which was at least somewhat responsible for him becoming Imperial Regent of the short-lived German Empire of 1848. At the height of the March Revolution of that year, which in the German-speaking lands had started in Austria and quickly spread to Baden, the Palatinate, Prussia, Saxony, the Rhineland and Bavaria, leading German revolutionary nationalists got together in Heidelberg and organized an elected pan-German parliament that met in May in Frankfurt. All the German states had agreed to this elected assembly and all sent representatives. This National Assembly, known as the Frankfurt Assembly today, tried to come to a consensus for the creation of a new pan-German Reich that would include all German-speaking peoples. The first question was what form it would take. The most liberal proposed a federal republic similar to that of the United States of America but they lost to the more moderate majority that favored a constitutional monarchy.
The president of this assembly was Baron Heinrich von Gagern but they needed someone to occupy the position of Head of State, at least temporarily while this new German Reich established itself. So it was that the position of regent, or officially, “Imperial Vicar” was established and given to Archduke Johann of Austria. Baron von Gagern pushed for his election but this itself was something that was argued over. For many, the idea of a German Reich with a Habsburg in the highest position of leadership was only natural given how the Austrian Imperial Family had become, effectively, the Imperial Family of the First German Reich (the elections having long become a mere formality). However, there were those who thought that the Austrian lands, united with so many non-Germans such as Slavs and Hungarians, should be excluded from the new Reich whereas the adherents of the “Greater Germany” ideal, argued for their inclusion.
|King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia|
The King of Prussia further undercut the liberal nationalist movement by enacting his own constitution for Prussia, one that would keep power in the hands he trusted most. For the Imperial Vicar, Archduke Johann, he took this in stride, asserting that he could carry on exercising executive authority, however, with the Austrians removing themselves from the movement and the Prussians also rejecting it, the refusal of the King of Prussia really spelled the end for the whole concept. Some states enacted liberal changes, others did not but the Revolutionary movement ultimately ground to a halt and rendered the Frankfurt Assembly powerless, ignored by all. Archduke Johann officially resigned his position on December 20, 1849 and the effort at a new German Reich came to an end with the German Confederation remaining the only pan-German government organization. He later became the only member of the Imperial Family to ever be elected mayor. The Archduke died ten years later in 1859.
|Reichsflotte / Imperial Fleet|