Today is the 173rd anniversary of one of the most important days in Hungarian history, March 15, 1848. On this day, the Revolution and War of Independence of 1848-49 began, with the aim of separation from the Habsburg Empire.
This war of independence was also significant because it later became part of Hungarian identity. There was a simultaneous effort to achieve individual freedom and national self-determination.
Before March 15, 1848
On March 11th, the Viennese student youth filed a petition against the Habsburg emperor. On March 12th, the 12-point petition, formulated by József Irinyi, was accepted at the Opposition Circle’s meeting in Budapest. An important focal point was the outbreak of the French Revolution in February 1848 and the outbreak of the Viennese Revolution on the 13th of March. As a result of the latter, the plan was developed according to which
they will meet in the Pilvax café on the morning of the 15th and announce the previously formulated 12 points throughout Budapest.
March 15, 1848
Sándor Petőfi met Mór Jókai and Gyula Bulyovszky, among others at 8 am. Jókai read the 12 points, while Petőfi read the poem of the National Song, which he wrote the previous evening. They then went to the University of Law, where a group of students were already waiting for them. At this location, Petőfi recited his poem, and Jókai repeats the 12 points. They also read them out at the Medical University and the Faculty of Engineering and Philosophy. At each station, many students and people from the street joined.
The first wish of the 12 points was to achieve freedom for the press. Therefore, around 10 am, the crowd marched to the Landerer and Heckenast book printing press. There,
the 12 points and the National Song could be printed without censorship.
In the afternoon, the crowd held a large rally in front of the National Museum. The 12 points and the National Song were also reclaimed here. They then went to the Council of Pest, where the members of the council accepted the demands. The same happened in Buda, where the Board of Governors also accepted the 12 points. Censorship was abolished and Mihály Táncsics, who was convicted of press offence, was released from prison.
In the evening, the revolution’s victory was celebrated at the National Theater by performing Bánk bán.
After the 15th of March
After the revolution, the Batthyány government was formed, where Lajos Batthyány became the first prime minister of Hungary. In December 1848, Ferdinand V, who accepted the Hungarian Revolution, resigned and was replaced by Ferenc József. Under his leadership, the Habsburg Empire counterattacked. The battles ended on August 13, 1849. The Prussians also supported the Habsburg Empire, so the Hungarians were oppressed by enormous military superiority.
2021. 03. 15.
This year, the traditional celebration on March 15 will be missed. Attending any meeting due to a coronavirus epidemic violates the law and endangers the lives of yourself and your relatives. The public media celebrated by screening Hungarian classics. Numerous Hungarian films, musical performances, conversations and programs await those interested.
Government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi announced that the presentation of the usual Kossuth and Széchenyi awards is postponed, and the list of the winners will be made public.
March 15 is a public holiday in Hungary, so most of the stores are closed all day.