In short order the simmering discontent spread to Naples and Sicily. Streets in Palermo were barricaded by angry crowds and King Ferdinand dispatched 5,000 soldiers to quell unrest in Sicily. On January 27 roughly 25,000 people demonstrated in front of the Royal Palace. King Ferdinand dispatched cavalry to disperse the crowd but the troops were surrounded by the crowd and Ferdinand, fearing for his throne, offered a constitution to quell the mob. Pope Pious IX tried to quell matters in the south by calling for a day a prayer for continuance of the monarchy. For his support of Ferdinand, demonstrations spread to Rome. The Milanese and the Austrians later would fight open battles as that Empire lashed out as its crumbling began. Fighting in mid-March drove Radetsky from his home. Units supporting the Milanese monarchy and republicans fought the Austrians and then looked towards their own differences.
Revolution spread to France in February, where crowds jostled with National Guards, Municipal Guards, and dragoons in the Place de la Concorde and the Chamber of Deputies. When the Municipal Guards hacked their way through the crowds with their sabers, the crowds showered them with stones and began to loot gun shops for weapons. The crowds barricaded the streets and the sounds of shooting filled the air. Roughly 120,000 soldiers were under arms to restore order. The situation calmed down temporarily with the announcement of the resignation of a government minister but quickly returned to violence as the military fired into celebrating crowds. As fighting raged many National Guards deserted and the mob captured military supplies and cleaned out armories. Louis-Phillipe struck back with an iron hand but the routing of a column of his troops under General Alphonse Bedeau started a chain of events which soon saw the mobs occupying the palace and Louis-Phillipe besieged in Chateau d'Eau. As the Chateau burned King Louis-Phillipe abdicated his throne.
Revolution spread like a fire to German states; Grand Duchy of Baden, Wurttemberg, Nassau, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Bavaria, where crowds forced more abdications. Soon there were additional demonstrations in Prussia and Austria. By mid-March thousands of students were marching out of their classes in Vienna, calling for reform. Soon hoards of workers, armed with rakes, shovels, pitchforks and the like were confronting soldiers. When Archduke Albert was struck by a flying stone, the army was allowed to mow down the demonstrators with gunfire and bayonets. Fighting became general and the students formed a militia called the Academic Legion. Chancellor Metternich resigned but set the course for revolutions throughout the German-speaking world. The Austrian government sent firebrand Prince Alfred Windischgratz to restore oder. The Prince declared Vienna to be under a state of siege, an act which prompted unimaginable destruction of factories and shops. The Prince folded and recommended that a constitution be established to stop the destruction.
With the fall of Metternich, the Hungarians were able to cajole the Emperor to grant them their own diet and manage their own affairs. At almost the same time the Czechs pushed for autonomy for themselves Silesia, Bohemia, and Moravia. The Austrian empire was rapidly splintering.
March also saw civil disobedience by the Prussian citizenry in Berlin. As the King called upon troops to restore order this only enraged the crowds further. With 20,000 troops in Berlin to keep order, King Frederick Wilhelm offered abolishment of censorship and reform of the German Confederation. When troops fired on citizens the familiar scenes of erecting barricades in the streets and street combat filled Berlin. Soon the Prussian Army was bombarding the demonstrators with artillery as the soldiers fired indiscriminately into homes and streets to quell the disorder. The army's iron fist ruled the town and the King wept at what he had done to his people. The King pulled back his troops and offered the recalcitrant Berliners an olive branch. On March 22nd he offered his people a constitution.
Unrest spread to the Piedmont and Venice in Northern Italy, involving them with the struggle against Austria. Uprisings in Spain and Catalonia failed. In the Spanish instance the timely enactment of reforms for civil liberties and the temporary dissolution of Parliament helped stave off revolution. Britain crushed a small rebellion in Ireland. A compromise headed off conflict in Holland.
In colder climates Sweden, Norway, and Russia also found themselves dealing with he waves of republican change. King Oscar I imprisoned those who might cause trouble. Tsar Nicholas I mobilized his armies and banned publication of any news regarding the recent events in Europe. Draconian censorship measures were put in place to keep Russia from being swept up in the tide of revolution.
All those things didn't happen because of a tobacco boycott or a rude Austrian sergeant. It took generations of repression to turn Europe into a powder keg that could be ignited by one offensive cigar.