Chapter 10, The Cheapest Intelligence Organization

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio


Appearing so early was not Franz's intention; if possible, he would not mind manipulating things from behind the scenes indefinitely.

Unfortunately, this was an impossible task. As the Crown Prince of the Austrian Empire, his every move fell within the purview of those who were watching intently.

Recently, Franz had frequent contacts with the military. Had he not been young and lacking in authority, it is uncertain what kind of storm would have been stirred up.

Whether it was to distract attention or to build momentum through public opinion, Franz had to step to the forefront. The difference lay in whether one was pushed to the forefront or stepped forward voluntarily.

Franz did not want to be a mere pawn; he chose to take the initiative at this time. If history remained unchanged, a revolution would break out in Vienna in March of 1848, and he would ascend to the throne in December.

To avoid being blindsided by rebels and inheriting the throne with the stigma of an executioner, Franz had no choice but to start building momentum first.

Everyone harbors preconceived notions, and as long as a benevolent image was crafted, any attempt at slander or smearing would prove futile. At this time, the prestige of the Austrian Royal Family among the common people had not yet crumbled.

"Raul, how is the covert recruitment of personnel going?" Franz asked with concern.

"Your Highness, it's not going very smoothly. There are too few people who meet your requirements. So far, I've only managed to recruit two people from the secret police, and their abilities just barely meet your minimum standards!" Raul replied with difficulty.

Franz was slightly taken aback; he had not expected that recruiting intelligence personnel would be so difficult. Were the standards he had set really too high?

He had only laid out the most basic requirements: loyalty to the Royal family, no political inclinations, a certain level of intelligence, courage, alertness, and endurance, as well as a keen judgment. A certain level of expertise was also preferable.

He had not even mentioned the standard attributes for intelligence personnel, such as a dignified demeanor, extensive knowledge, sharp political instincts, and strong analytical skills.

"Which area in particular is not meeting the requirements?" Franz asked with concern.

"Highness, there are many who meet one or several criteria, but when combined, there are very few who can meet all of your requirements," Raul reasoned after some thought.

Franz was dumbfounded; indeed, it was true that professional intelligence personnel were scarce in this era, with most being amateurs.

Creating an intelligence organization was an extremely difficult task. Even as the heir to the Empire, could he ensure the loyalty of those he poached from the government?

What if they were spies sent by others?

There was no need for doubt, not to mention that in this era, even professional intelligence personnel in later times had their allegiances. If Franz wanted to establish an intelligence organization, he had to either train his own or poach from the government.

"Do you have any suggestions? Don't hold back," Franz said.

Looking at Raul, who hesitated to speak, Franz frowned and asked.

"Highness, you don't actually have to establish a separate intelligence organization. The Royal family already has one, it's just that these years…" Raul spoke haltingly and then stopped abruptly.

Franz nodded. He was aware of the intelligence organization of the Royal family. Under normal circumstances, this organization was answerable only to the Emperor.


The scale of this Intelligence organization was very small, and its scope of operations was relatively limited, primarily monitoring the domestic situation and keeping an eye on a few neighbors.

After his Uncle Ferdinand I ascended to power, this organization had nearly fallen into disuse, with many of the intelligence personnel having been poached by Prime Minister Metternich.

The loyalty of the remaining personnel was also a matter worth considering.

When the Emperor was timid, Franz would have looked down on these nobles for not taking the opportunity to reach out to these departments.

This also meant that the Intelligence organization under the Royal family's command had essentially become a sieve with numerous factions of uncertain loyalty.

It was for this reason that Franz had wanted to start anew from the beginning; he wanted to build an Intelligence organization that was completely loyal to himself.

Now it seemed that there was not enough time left; the Vienna revolution would break out in a year, and by the time he could train the intelligence personnel, he wouldn't be able to find a trace of them.

"Hmm, Raul, first send someone to check which major powers are infiltrating this organization, do it secretly. I believe there must still be people loyal to the Royal family inside!" Franz said decisively.

If all the personnel had been bought off, then the Habsburg family would have no need to carry on. Having survived from the 11th century to the present, and always standing at the pinnacle of Europe, the Habsburg family was certainly not as simple as it appeared on the surface.

Franz could infer this from the situation in Austria. Now, Uncle Ferdinand I was unable to handle government affairs, and great power had fallen into the hands of Prime Minister Metternich.

Yet, this powerful minister was ridiculously proper, not to mention oppressing the Royal family. Many times, his policies even had to be influenced by the Vienna Court.

It was known that the most significant representative of this generation's Royal family, Archduke Franz Karl, was also inherently flawed, with virtually nonexistent political intelligence.

Franz could easily gain the military's support, with his most significant reliance being his birthright, the heir to the Habsburg family, the Crown Prince of the Austrian Empire.

Otherwise, no matter how hard he tried, it would be in vain. Haven't you seen that after the outbreak of the Vienna revolution in history, Prime Minister Metternich still failed to gain support from the military and was forced to resign?

Then, the situation was not as bad as imagined. Perhaps the nobility had reached out to the Intelligence organization, but it didn't mean they had betrayed the Royal family. As long as it didn't involve their interests, the Intelligence organization could still be used normally.

With this thought, Franz breathed a sigh of relief. There might be conflicts of interest on other issues, but when it came to suppressing rebellion, the great nobles of Vienna were definitely standing with the Emperor.

As for the bourgeoisie, Franz didn't mean to belittle them, but in that era, they were not yet qualified to infiltrate this circle, considering most members of the Intelligence organization were nobility.

Otherwise, if it had not been funded for over a decade, it would have disbanded long ago, and nothing would have been left.

These nobles were scattered across the country, and through them, the Royal family could easily gather domestic intelligence, and most of them didn't even require a salary.

The Habsburg family's Intelligence organization was not the Jin Yi Wei; apart from collecting ordinary intelligence, it hardly had any enforcement power.

The European nobility were under a feudal system; the Emperor had no right to intervene in the affairs within their fiefdoms, let alone the fact that this information was provided by the nobles themselves. Anything they didn't want the Emperor to know would naturally be concealed and unreported.

After much hesitation, Franz still decided to take control of this organization first. As inadequate as the Intelligence organization might be, it was better than nothing. At least when rebellion broke out locally, he could receive the news immediately.

Moreover, as someone as impoverished as he was, he could only afford to maintain such an Intelligence organization.