Citizens take heart! The first public speeches

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On the first day of the revolution in Vienna the people disregarded the censorship regulations. Adolf Fischhof expressed vigorous criticism in the first public speech in this country.

Yes, on us there falls the heavy curse of a suffocating smoke. From the charnel house of the Viennese system a polluted air is blowing over us, paralysing our nerves and stifling our spirit. … A dynasty that is based on the freedom of peoples will always promote enthusiasm, for only a free man can be loyal in his heart. … Yes, praiseworthy estates! It is my firm conviction that the future of the dynasty is bound up with confraternization between the different peoples of the Monarchy, and that this confraternization, taking into account the existing nationalities, can only be brought about with the cement of constitutionality that arouses similar feelings everywhere. Bureaus and bayonets are a miserable way of joining people together. …

Ludwig Kossuth on 3 March to the Diet in Pressburg (present-day Bratislava)

Today we have a serious mission to fulfil. We must take heart, be decisive and hold out bravely. Those who have no courage on this day belong in the political nursery … Ill-advised statecraft has kept the peoples of Austria apart, they must now come together as brothers and increase their strength through unity. In this way the weakness of one nationality will find compensation in the virtues of another and the merits of all will be intensified through being united.

Thus did Adolf Fischhof mark the beginning of the revolution in Austria on the morning of 13 March 1848 with the first public political speech ever given in this country. Similarly, a German version of the speech given by Louis Kossuth on 3 March to the Diet in Pressburg (present-day Bratislava) was distributed in pamphlet form and read in Vienna.

Yes, on us there falls the heavy curse of a suffocating smoke. From the charnel house of the Viennese system a polluted air is blowing over us, paralysing our nerves and stifling our spirit. … A dynasty that is based on the freedom of peoples will always promote enthusiasm, for only a free man can be loyal in his heart. … Yes, praiseworthy estates! It is my firm conviction that the future of the dynasty is bound up with confraternization between the different peoples of the Monarchy, and that this confraternization, taking into account the existing nationalities, can only be brought about with the cement of constitutionality that arouses similar feelings everywhere. Bureaus and bayonets are a miserable way of joining people together. …

Anita Winkler