Prague Uprising of 1848

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prague Uprising of 1848


an uprising that took place from June 12 to 17 and was the culmination of the revolutionary democratic movement in the Czech lands during the Revolution of 1848–49.

On June 12, Austrian troops of the Prague garrison fired on a peaceful demonstration of city residents. This caused outbursts of indignation among all strata of the population and incited the uprising. Students, artisans, and factory workers constructed barricades on the streets of Prague and fought against Austrian troops. However, the insurgents had neither a plan nor a central leadership. J. V. Frič, K. Sladkovský, K. Sabina, and other Czech radical democrats commanded only individual groups of insurgents. Along with F. Zakh, L. Ŝtúr, M. A. Bakunin, and other delegates to the Slavic Congress of 1848 who were fighting on the barricades, they attempted to establish a common center for directing and spreading the uprising throughout all the Czech lands. Agitators were sent to the provinces; they called upon the national guards of other cities and the rural population to come to the aid of the insurgents in Prague. Only a few national guard detachments were able to break through the tight ring of Austrian troops surrounding Prague. An antifeudal movement developed in the provinces.

F. Palacký, P. J. Ŝafařík, F. L. Rieger, and other leaders of the Czech liberal bourgeoisie, frightened by the prospect of a general Czech uprising, acted on June 13 as intermediaries between the insurgent people and the commander of the Prague garrison, Prince A. F. Windischgrätz. The insurgents’ demands included the creation of a provisional national government and a Czech military command staff independent of Vienna. Negotiations with the military commission sent from Vienna to Prague were cut short by Windischgrätz, who ordered an artillery barrage of the city on June 17. On the evening of June 17, Prague surrendered. The participants in the uprising were subjected to reprisals by the Austrian authorities.

Marx and Engels thought highly of the Prague uprising, emphasizing its democratic nature; they hailed the entry of the Czechs into the European revolutionary camp.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 5, pp. 83–85, 112–14.
Istoriia Chekhoslovakii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.