Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung August 1848

The Milan Bulletin

Source: MECW Volume 7, p. 305;
Written: by Engels on August 1, 1848;
First published: in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 62, August 2, 1848.

In yesterday’s issue of this newspaper we published the victory bulletin of the Provisional Government in Milan and then went on to mention the conflicting victory bulletins from Bolzano in the Augsburg newspaper [i.e. the Allgemeine Zeitung] and from Trieste. ["Mailand, 25. Juli”, “Mailand, 26. Juli”, Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 62, August 1, 1848]

We held the first of these to be the more credible because the information contained in the bulletin that reached us direct from Milan was simultaneously confirmed by reports from two different cities in Switzerland — Zurich and Basle — which have numerous commercial and close geographical links with Milan. But in evaluating the information we had to give special weight to the fact that the Austrian reports of victory were dated earlier and spoke of the battle on July 23, whereas the Milan bulletin dealt with the events of the 24th and the early hours of the 25th. [195] Because of this combination of circumstances we did not doubt that the Italian victory had actually taken place. The Austrians, moreover, had already previously published reports of victories, for example of a victory at Curtatone[196] which later turned out to have been an Austrian defeat, and furthermore it was none other than the Augsburg paper that had acclaimed this alleged victory. A comparison of the reports of both sides shows that the Italians really did win a victory, but that this victory was wrenched from them by the advance of fresh Austrian troops. If anything could have led us astray, it would have been that ambitious but totally incompetent individual Charles Albert about whom we have already repeatedly expressed our opinion. Despite all the bad qualities of this “sword of Italy”, the possibility still existed that at least one of his generals, favoured by such uncommonly advantageous positions, might have possessed the military skill to claim the victory for the Italian colours. Reality shows that this has not happened. And therewith Charles Albert’s fate is sealed. Even his present throne, not to mention the visionary one of the whole of Italy, must shortly collapse. As victor, he could have looked forward to gratifying his ambition for a while; vanquished, he will very soon be tossed to one side as a useless tool by the Italians themselves. After many bloody sacrifices, Italy will surely triumph and show that it has no need of that wretched individual the King of Sardinia to achieve its freedom and national independence.