Ivan Zasche, portrait of Josip Jela?i?
|Ban of Croatia|
23 March 1848 - 20 April 1859
|Monarch||Ferdinand I of Austria (1848)|
Franz Joseph I of Austria
|Johann Baptist Coronini-Cronberg|
|Governor of Dalmatia|
|Ludwig von Welden|
|Born||16 October 1801|
Petrovaradin, Military Frontier, Habsburg Monarchy, (modern day Serbia
|Died||20 May 1859 (aged 57)|
Zagreb, Kingdom of Croatia, Austrian Empire
|Resting place||Novi Dvori, Zapre?i?, Croatia|
|Spouse(s)||Countess Sofija Jela?i? (née Stockau)|
|Relations||Franjo Jela?i? (father)|
|Alma mater||Theresian Military Academy|
|Awards||Military Order of Maria Theresa|
Order of St. Andrew
|Years of service||1819-1859|
|Commands||Imperial-Royal in Hungary and Croatia|
Hungarian Revolution of 1848
Count Josip Jela?i? von Bu?im (16 October 1801 – 20 May 1859; also spelled Jellachich,Jella?i? or Jellasics; in Croatian: Josip grof Jela?i? Bu?imski) was a Croatian lieutenant field marshal in a Imperial-Royal Army and politician, the Ban of Croatia between 23 March 1848 and 19 April 1859. He was a member of the House of Jela?i? and a noted army general, remembered for his military campaigns during the Revolutions of 1848 and for his abolition of serfdom in Croatia.
The son of Croatian Baron Franjo Jela?i? Bu?imski (or in other documents, Franz Freiherr Jela?i? von Bu?im) (1746-1810), a lieutenant Field Marshal, and Austrian mother Anna Portner von Höflein, Jela?i? was born in the town of Petrovaradin which was a part of the Slavonian Military Frontier of the Habsburg Monarchy and today it is part of Vojvodina, Serbia. He was educated in Vienna at the Theresian Military Academy, where he received a versatile education, showing particular interest in history and foreign languages. He was fluent in all South-Slavic languages, as well as German, Italian, French, and Hungarian. On the 11th of March 1819 Jela?i? joined the Austrian army with the rank of lieutenant in the Vinko Freiherr von Kne?evi? Regiment, named for his uncle.
On 17 October 1835, he led a military campaign against Bosnian Ottoman troops in Velika Kladu?a for which he received a medal.[which?] He was promoted to major on 20 February 1837 in the Freiherr von Gollner regiment, and on the first of May in 1841 to lieutenant colonel in the 1st Croatian Frontier Guard Regiment in Glina, Croatia, then promoted to colonel on October 18.
On 22 March, Jela?i? was promoted to major-general, and simultaneously the Sabor (the National Assembly of Croatia) elected him as Ban of Croatia. The Sabor also declared that the first elections or representatives to the assembly would be held in May 1848.
Jela?i? was promoted to Lieutenant Field Marshal on 7 April 1848, becoming the commander of all Habsburg troops in Croatia.
Jela?i? supported independence for Croatia from the Austrian throne. However, in pursuit of this goal Jela?i? sought to support this goal by ingratiating himself with the Austrian throne by actively supporting Austrian interests in putting down revolutionary movements in northern Italy in 1848 and in actively opposing the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-1849. Consequently, Jela?i?'s reputation differs in Austria where he was looked upon as a rebel seeking to break up the Austrian Empire, Croatia where he is a national hero, and Hungary where he looked up as a traitor to the Hungarian Revolution for independence from Austrian throne.
He traveled to Vienna to take oaths to become counsel of Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand I of Austria, but refused to take the oath as Ban of Croatia, because it was a Hungarian dependent territory. The relations between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Austrian Empire deteriorated after the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution on 15 March 1848. But he later took the oath as Ban of Croatia on 5 June 1848. Because of the absence of Bishop Juraj Haulik, he took the oath before the Orthodox Patriarch Josif Raja?i?.
Jela?i?, now Ban, supported the Croatian aim to maintain autonomy from the Kingdom of Hungary. Jela?i? proceeded to sever all official ties of Croatia from Hungary. The Austrian Imperial Court initially opposed this act as one of disobedience and separatism, declaring him to be a rebel and the Sabor to be illegitimate. But the court soon realized Jela?i? and his Croatian army were an ally against the newly formed Batthyány Government. Traveling back to Zagreb in April, Jela?i? refused to cede to this new government, refused any cooperation, and called for elections to the Sabor on 25 March 1848.
The Sabor - now acting as the National Assembly - declared the following demands to the Habsburg emperor:
The Sabor strongly opposed the "massive nationalist Magyarization politics of the Kingdom of Hungary from the Carpathians to Adria, which the newly formed government represents, especially Lajos Kossuth."
On 8 April Jela?i? took his banal oath and was appointed a field-marshal-lieutenant and made commander of the Military Frontier. On 19 April 1848 Jela?i? proclaimed the union of Croatian provinces, and the separation from the Kingdom of Hungary. At the same time, he proclaimed unconditional loyalty to the Habsburg monarchy. The Croatian Constitution of 24 April 1848 declared "languages of all ethnicities should be inviolable".
On serfdom, it was apparent that changing the status of the Croatian peasantry would have to wait until the end of the revolution. Jela?i? kept up the institution of the Military Frontier so he could draft more soldiers. The people in the region protested to this, but Ban Jela?i? quashed the dissent by summary courts martial and by executing many dissenters.
In May, Jela?i? established the Bansko Vije?e ("Ban Council"). Its scope of authority covered ministerial tasks including Internal Affairs, Justice, Schools and Education, Religion, Finance, and Defense, so this council was acting as a governing body in Croatia. The new Sabor was summoned on 5 June.
The Austrian emperor called Jela?i? to Innsbruck, to which the Imperial Court had fled, and the Emperor there told him that the Croatian and Slavonian troops in the Italian provinces wanted to join forces with those in Croatia, but that this would weaken the forces in Italy. So Jela?i? called on all troops stationed in the Italian provinces to remain calm and to stay put.
The Austrian court did not grant the separation of Croatia from Hungary. During his travels back to Zagreb, Jela?i? read in the Lienz railway station that on 10 June the Emperor had relieved him of all his positions. But Jela?i? was still loyal to the Emperor, and kept relations with the Imperial Court, especially with Archduchess Sophia, the mother of Franz Joseph I of Austria.
Immediately after arriving at Zagreb, Jela?i? got the order to join the discussions with the Hungarian government in Vienna. During these, Jela?i? stated that his position was derived from the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, while Lajos Batthyány called him "a separatist" seeking to break away from the Habsburg Monarchy. Jela?i? called this a "rebellion". Batthyány warned Jela?i? that this could mean war. Jela?i? stopped the discussions, saying that "civil war is the worst that could happen" - but that he "would not be intimidated by this, however shocking it might be to hear". Negotiations were closed with Batthyány saying "see you (on the river) Drava" and with Jela?i? responding "no need to tire yourself. See you on the Danube."
Jela?i? returned to Croatia. Hungarian troops had gathered on the border and hostile proclamations were made against him.[who?]
In August, Jela?i? proclaimed a decree for the Croatians, where he denied accusations of separating Croatia in the name of Panslavism. In the decree he said
Being a son of the [Croatian] nation, being the supporter of liberty, and being subject to Austria, I am faithfully committed to the constitutional Emperor of the Empire and its Kings, and I long for a great, free Austria
His closing words were:
The Hungarian Government, as it is evident, would not like to agree on this; they insist on their separatist moves, which means they struggle to dismantle our Empire. It is the command of our duty and honour to go till the ultimate and to call for arms against them. And we, not sparing our wealth, blood and life, will stand for our rightful demands and sacred deeds.
Jela?i? felt disorder growing in the Austrian Empire, and decided on immediate action. On 11 September at Vara?din he crossed the River Drava with 45,000 soldiers, and auxiliary troops (another 8,000 soldiers), led by Brigadier Karl Roth,[who?] crossed the Drava lower down.
Jela?i? occupied Me?imurje (Hungarian: Muraköz), which was mostly Croatian. The two forces were poorly armed because of the rapid engagement. Materiel was not well organised, so the advance into Hungarian territory was difficult. Supplies were taken from the local population.
The enthusiasm of the Croatian troops grew when at Siófok the Ban received a letter from Ferdinand I cancelling the decree removing him from all positions, also promoting him to be general commander of all troops in Hungary.
During his march toward Pest and Buda (now conjoined as the towns of Budapest), Jela?i? got a message from Archduke Stephen, situated in Veszprém, to inform him of the decision of the Emperor that Lajos Batthyány was approved to set up a new government, and calling him to stop the troops, and to discuss further actions at his office. Jela?i? replied he could not stop his army then, but was prepared for discussions with the archduke at the port of Balatonszemes. The meeting did not take place. According to Austrian sources, advisors to Jela?i? persuaded him not to attend, because of a threat of assassination by agents of the Hungarian Government. After this fiasco, Palatine Stephen resigned and left Hungary, under the Emperor's orders.
Jela?i?'s army occupied Székesfehérvár on 26 September 1848. The same day the Emperor appointed lieutenant-general Count Franz Philipp von Lamberg as general commanding all troops in Hungary, but this was annulled by the Hungarian Parliament. Lajos Kossuth called the Hungarians for resistance, and the Országos Honvédelmi Bizottmány (National Homeguarding Committee) was given the power of execution. Lamberg, trying to take over the command of the Hungarian troops was identified and killed.
Jela?i? advanced onward, reached Lake Velence on 29 September, where he met Hungarian troops. After the first strikes, lieutenant-general János Móga withdrew to north to Sukoró. Jela?i? demanded Móga stand against the rebels, and "get back to the road of honour and duty", but Móga refused, and his army attacked Jela?i? between his position and Pákozd.
The day after, 30 September, Jela?i? asked for a three-day ceasefire; he wanted to use these days to wait for Roth's army. He assessed the greater numbers of the Hungarian troops and the poor armaments and tiredness of his own troops. On 1 October the supply routes to Croatia were cut by rebels, so he advanced toward Vienna. On 3 October Móga was pursuing after Jela?i?, but did not want to make an attack.
Austrian Minister of War Theodor Baillet von Latour called the guards in Vienna to join the troops of Jela?i?, but this caused a riot in Vienna on 6 October in which Latour was killed.
Jela?i? moved onward to Vienna to join the troops around the city. Under Lieutenant-General Todorovi?, he organised a body of 14,000 soldiers to move south to Stayer[where?] to protect Croatia.
The Viennese revolution committee called for aid from the Hungarian Government. On 10 October at Laaer Berg near Vienna, Jela?i? joined Austrian troops led by Auersperg, and the army was strengthened with troops from Bratislava, a regiment of Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn and Franz Joseph I of Austria's regiment. Jela?i?'s forces were soon under Field Marshal Windisch-Grätz. On 21 October, seeing trouble ahead, Móga stopped at the Austrian border, and the revolution in Vienna was suppressed. Jela?i?'s forces were fighting in the Landstrasse, Erdberg and Weissgerber suburbs.
On 21 October - too late - Lajos Kossuth ordered Móga to turn back to Vienna, they met forces of Jela?i? at Schwechat on 30 October. A day of artillery fighting broke out, and Jela?i? initiated a counterattack in the evening. Led by General Karl von Zeisberg, the attack pushed back the Hungarian forces and defeated them. After this defeat, Móga stepped down as general commander, and Kossuth nominated general Artúr Görgey in his place.
On 2 December 1848 Ferdinand I of Austria abdicated, and Franz Joseph I of Austria was installed as Emperor. On 13 December Windisch-Grätz crossed the Hungarian border. On 16 December, Jela?i? also crossed the border and defeated Hungarian troops at Parndorf, later occupying Mosonmagyaróvár and Gy?r. Being informed that Mór Perczel was stationed at Mór, Jela?i? made a detour toward this city and defeated the Hungarian troops there, taking into custody 23 officers and 2,000 honvéd. With this battle, Pest-Buda became vulnerable, so the Hungarian government fled to Debrecen. Görgey could resist the march of Jela?i? at Tétény for some time, but on 5 January Windisch-Grätz, together with Jela?i? occupied Pest-Buda.
After the occupation of Pest and Buda the larger campaigns were over. Windischgrätz declared a military dictatorship, caught the Hungarian leader Lajos Batthyány and asked for surrender. He moved to Debrecen but was stopped by Perczel at Szolnok and Abony. Kossuth nominated Henryk Dembi?ski to replace Artúr Görgey, and started a strategic counterattack but was defeated near Kápolna.
Windisch-Grätz ordered Jela?i? to quick march to Jászfényszaru. On 4 April Klapka attacked him but at Tápióbicske the bayonets of Jela?i? pushed them back. On 5 March Damjanich reoccupied Szolnok. Jela?i? now got a new order to turn from Jászfényszaru and head to Gödöll?. On 2 April Jela?i? met János Damjanich at Tápióbicske and was defeated. On 6 April Windisch-Grätz and Jela?i?, were defeated in the Battle of Isaszeg, retreating to Rákospatak, a suburb of Pest-Buda.
After the defeat, Windisch-Grätz was relieved of general command, and was replaced by General Welden and later Julius Jacob von Haynau. Jela?i? was ordered to gather the scattered troops in southern Hungary and to organise an army. This consisted of 15,800 infantry, 5,100 cavalry and 74 cannon, and moved to Osijek immediately. During his march south, Jela?i? had to suppress rebellions, especially in Pécs. After a series of wrong decisions, Jela?i?'s army could not join up with the Emperor's, so it was put to defensive fights.
He was in a bad situation, as the Austrians were calling for the help of Russian Empire to suppress the Hungarians and the support from Vienna dissolved. Jela?i? was lacking proper materiel, and many of his troops died of cholera.
The Serbian troops, led by Kuzman Todorovi?, had to surrender strategic points to the honvédség (Hungarian Army). The Hungarians occupied and fortified Petrovaradin, where the troops received supplies because the population supported the Hungarian revolution. In April, Mór Perczel occupied Srbobran and broke up the encirclement of Petrovaradin, defeated Todorovi? so he could occupy Pan?evo and finally, together with Józef Bem, occupied Temes County (now Timi? County, Romania).
Jela?i?, cut off from all supplies, fortified his armies for defense and fought small battles in Slavonia. The supplies from the Austrian Empire were stuck at Stari Slankamen. In June he decided to break out and advance to Sombor - Dunaföldvár. During his march, on 6 June, Perczel attacked him near Ka? and ?abalj. He defeated Perczel, marched forward, but could not occupy Novi Sad.
On 24 June he successfully occupied Óbecse, but was retaken by Hungarians on 28th. This way Jela?i? could not dislodge the Hungarian forces from Ba?ka. On 6 July Richard Guyon drove out the Croatian troops at Mali I?o?. On 14 July Hungarians took control over Feketi? and Lov?enac, defeating Jela?i? in the Battle of Hegyes. Jela?i? had to retreat. This was the last battle in the region.
After Timi?oara fell, Jela?i? joined Haynau's troops, and after the end of revolution, he traveled to Vienna to take part in discussions of reorganising Croatia, Slavonia and the frontier regions.
When peace was restored, Jela?i? returned to Croatia where he was treated as national hero, the saviour of the homeland.
After the war the Empire's new constitution stripped the local authorities in Hungary of their political power, but this punishment also affected Croatia despite its assistance to the imperial cause during the revolution. Nevertheless, Jela?i? implemented the new Constitution (published 4 March 1849), and proceeded to outlaw various newspapers that published anti-Austrian opinions. In 1851, when Baron Alexander von Bach came to power in the Kingdom of Hungary, Jela?i? worked under him and made no objections to the Germanization of Croatia. He remained in office until his death.
In his time and shortly after, Jela?i? was a fairly unpopular figure among the Croatian political elite, including Ante Star?evi? and others, and especially among the people who suffered losses due to his military campaigns and had little benefit from his economic measures.
Today, Jela?i? is considered an important and admirable figure in Croatian history, alongside Ante Star?evi?, and Stjepan Radi?, the Croatian political leader until 1928. The central square of the city of Zagreb was named Ban Jela?i? Square in 1848, and a statue of him by Anton Dominik Fernkorn was erected in the square in 1866, removed under Communist rule in 1947, and reinstalled in 1990, after the fall of Communism.
The patriotic song "Ustani bane" (Rise, Ban) was written to glorify Jela?i?.
In Hungary, he is a very unpopular historical figure. He is often referred to as "Jelasics the coward," who "runs back to Vienna with his army beaten", quote from Sándor Pet?fi's poem A vén zászlótartó.
In 2008, a total of 211 streets in Croatia were named after Josip Jela?i?, making him the fourth most common person eponym of streets in the country.
He received the Military Order of Maria Theresa, the cross of order of Lipot from Franz Joseph. He was elected as Count on 24 April 1854 (as Jela?i? von Bu?im). He received medals from the Russian Tsar, the King of Saxony, King of Hanover, and Duke of Parma.
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