A History of Slovenia
Edited By Oto Luthar
MODERNIZATION AND NATIONAL EMANCIPATION 255
255 MODERNIzATION AND NATIONAL EMANCIPATION FRENCH RULE In 1792, eight years before the end of the 18th century, the Habsburg crown passed to Francis II, the untried and conservative emperor. His imposition of stringent censorship and political pressure and his persecution of defend- ers of the Enlightenment and sympathizers with French revolutionary ideas hampered the reformist impetus in the Habsburg Monarchy. However, it did not completely paralyze the adherents of new ideological movements, who continued to meet in secret societies and Masonic lodges. One border regi- ment officer, Baron Siegfried von Taufferer, not only embraced the ideas of the French Revolution but also tried to use them to bring change to the monar- chy. He established direct contact with the revolutionary government in Paris and organized volunteer companies of Austrian war prisoners to fight for the French, whose assistance and revolutionary experience he found instrumen- tal in replacing the absolutist system with a government formed on the prin- ciples of the French Revolution. He also drew up a plan for the secession of the Slovenian and Croatian provinces and their incorporation into the French Empire. In 1795 he was captured by the Austrians and executed in Vienna. However, the Slovenian territory not only experienced French influence ideologically and spiritually, but also directly. In 1797 French troops nipped at the heels of the defeated Austrians, who were retreating across northern Italy and along the Soča River towards Carinthia. Gorizia fell first on March 20, af- ter the French army had...
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