1867-1893 World War I

Austria, 1893-1914

Austria-Hungary : Foreign Policy . Germany, after Bismarck, continued to stand to its alliance with Austria-Hungary, in what historians call Nibelungentreue (Nibelungen faithfulness); the alliance would last throughout World War I. When Germany permitted its reinsurance treaty with Russia to lapse in 1891, Russia rethought its foreign policy and entered into an alliance with France (1894), an alliance now directed against Austria; now Russia openly supported the various Slavic political groups in the Double Monarchy in their claims for self-government or more.
The interests of Austria and Russia collided on the Balkan peninsula; Romania had joined the Triple Alliance in 1883; with this alliance, Austria hoped to contain Russian influence on the Balkans; Russia turned from a Bulgarian alliance to a Serbian alliance. The Austro-Russian Near Eastern Entente of 1897 was only a temporary measure, giving Russia free hand in the Far East.
Austria-Hungary participated in the international effort to suppress the Boxer Rebellion (1900) and, in the aftermath, was granted a concession in Tientsin, with extraterritorial rights; it was the beginning of a colonial policy which never really took off.
In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina - a territory it only reluctantly had occupied in 1878, then with the intention to return it to Ottoman rule. The annexation was undertaken to prevent a possible annexation by Serbia, as the Ottoman Empire showed signs of disintegration. The step infuriated Serbian nationalists who wanted to see Bosnia-Herzegovina annexed into the Serbian state (the area has a significant Serbian population element). Early in 1909 Austria (foreign minister Ährenthal) even contemplated a preventive war against Serbia.
In 1912 the First Balkan War broke out, the Allies (Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece) defeating the Ottoman Empire and partitioning most of its European territories. Unwilling to concede Albania to Serbia, Austria together with Italy and Britain exerted diplomatic pressure. An independent kingdom of Albania was created (the Serbs agreed grudgingly). In 1913 the Second Balkan War reduced Bulgaria.
For the last decades the Austrian foreign policy pertaining to the Balkans had been to prevent the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, as Austro-Hungarian politicians were aware that the moment the Ottoman Empire's European possessions were divided up, Austria-Hungary itself would take over the role of the Sick Man of Europe. This situation had appeared in 1913, with Serbia the element most dangerous for German stability, as it had old bills to settle. Both Serbians and Rumanians had an interest in destabilizing Austria-Hungary, as considerable numbers of Serbians (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Banat) and Romanians (Transylvania, Bukovina, Banat) lived in it.

Austria / Cisleithania : Political History . In 1893 the dispute over the language of instruction at the grammar school in Celje (then Styria, now Slovenia) brought about the fall of the Taaffe administration as well as Austrian constitutional government. The Germans of all Cisleithania sympathized with the demands of the Germans of Celje that German should remain the exclusive language of instruction at the school in question, the Slovenians, supported by the Slavs throughout Cisleithania, insisted upon the introduction of Slovenian.
The consequence was that the government gave up of the idea of searching for parliamentary majorities in the case of individual issues, instead ruling via a network of agents, and in the process alienating both the German and the Slavic camps. In 1897 chancellor Badeni decreed that Bohemian state officials had to speak both Germans and Czech - all better educated Czechs qualified, but almost none of the German Bohemians. The decree infuriated the Germans, while the Czechs regarded it as merely a first step. Riots ensued, which Badeni was unable to suppress; he resigned, the decree was cancelled, the Germans were still angry, the Czechs disappointed about a half-hearted measure.
Governing became increasingly difficult, and chancellor Ernst von Körber made use of emergency regulations as stipulated by the constitution of 1867; the Reichsrat now had lost the limited authority it had. Originally intended as a temporary measure, they came to be generally used - the Körber System.
In 1906 the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich (compromise) was renewed. In 1907, an attempt to reintroduce the democratic element was undertaken. For the first time, delegates of the Reichsrat were elected in direct election. Yet the measure did not work miracles; the various ethnic-political groups stuck to their policies of stubborn insistence in their demands, incongruous with those of other groups, and in the goal of political constitutions for the most part incongruous with the present Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
Noblemen dominated the Austria's cabinets into World War I. The national minorities (Czechs etc.) and their political leaders grew increasingly dissatisfied with the political system and began to look for political solutions outside of the framework of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Austria / Cisleithania : The Economy . Both the end of the Era Taaffe and the currency reform of 1892 (from Florin to Kronen) marked turning points in Austrian history.

Austria / Cisleithania : Cultural History . The Austrian Football Association was established in 1904. The Austrian Football Championship was first contested in 1911-1912. The Austrian National Football Team had played its first international game in 1902.
The Austrian National Olympic Committee was formed in 1908 and received recognition by the I.O.C. in 1912. Austrian athletes (separate from those from Hungary and Bohemia) participated in the Summer Olympics of Athens 1896, Paris 1900, St. Louis 1904, London 1908 and Stockholm 1912.
Austrian Mathias Zdarsky in 1905 created Alpine Skiing.
The Austrian Ice Hockey Association (Österreichischer Eishockeyverband) was formed in 1912. In the European championship of 1913, the Austrian team took 3rd place.
In Vienna 1899, Sigmund Freud published his main work, Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams). From 1897 onward he refered to his method as psychoanalysis.
Austrian novelist and peace activist Bertha von Suttner was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 1905.
In 1911, Hugo von Hofmannsthal published Jedermann (everybody), performed annually at the Salzburg Festival since 1920.
Franz Kafka published Das Urteil (The Judgment) in Prague in 1912, in German language.
Gustav Mahler was conductor of the Vienna Opera from 1897 to 1907.

Articles Austrian Football Association, Austrian Football Championship, National Olympic Committee, Austrian National Football Team, Österreichischer Eishockeyverband, in German, Austria at the 1896 Summer Olympics, Austria at the 1900 Summer Olympics, Austria at the 1904 Summer Olympics, Austria at the 1908 Summer Olympics, Austria at the 1912 Summer Olympics, Bertha von Suttner, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Gustav Mahler, from Wikipedia
Philip R. Abbey, Treaty Ports & Extraterritoriality in 1920s China , scroll down for Tientsin
Deutsche Zollgeschichte : Österreich, from Deutsche Zollgeschichte, postcards with German comment
The Ghosts of Mayerling, The death of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria-Hungary (1858-1889), from eurohistory
Elisabeth of Wittelsbach (Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary), from Roses de Baviere
Chronology Austria under Franz Joseph, from Coins of Austria 1657-1918
Turning Points in the Development of Parliamentarism in Austria : The Development of the Franchise; From the Monarchy to the Republic (1905-); from the Austrian Parliament
Towards the Dual Monarchy and Constitutional Government, from Austrian Parliament
Vom Einigungsparteitag bis zur Ausrufung der ersten Republik, from SPÖ, Geschichte, in German, chronology 1888-1918
Christian Socialist Party, from aeiou
Geschichte des Ski (History of Skiing), from Skiabteilung Heuchlingen, in German
DOCUMENTS Lists of Austrian Emperors, Chancellors, from World Statesmen : Austria by Ben Cahoon
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Bertha von Suttner
Photo : women demonstrate for women's right to vote, Vienna 1913, from AustroDIR
Arbitration Convention Between the United States and Austria-Hungary; January 15, 1909, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Friedrich Graf Szapary, Das Verhältnis Österreich-Ungarns zu Russland, from H-net
Friedrich Graf Szapary, Aus den Krisenjahren 1908-1913, from H-net
Italian ex-premier Giolitti on a planned Austrian invasion of Serbia 1913, from Mt. Holyoke
The Efforts of the Powers to Prevent the Outbreak of the First Balkan War (1912), posted by Mt.Holyoke, much on Austrian policy
Coins of Austria 1892-1918, from Austrian Coins 1657-1918
News from Austria, in "The Great Round World and What is Going on in it", Vol.1 No.55, November 1897, Vol.1 No.58, December 1897, Vol.1 No.59, December 1897, posted by Gutenberg Library Online
REFERENCE National Awakening in the Habsburg Lands (pp.778-785); Mass Politics and Nationalism : Austria-Hungary, 1867-1914 (pp.950-953) in : John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, NY : W.W. Norton 1996
The Years of Confusion : From Taaffe to Badeni, 1893-1897 (pp.169-184); Hungary after 1867 : Koloman Tisza and the Magyar Gentry (pp.185-195); Democratic Pretence : The Indian Summer of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1897-1908, (pp.196-213); Solution by Violence, 1908-1914 (pp.214-232), from : A.J.P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918, Chicago : UP (1948) 1976
Paul Kennedy, The Position of the Powers, 1885-1918 : Austria-Hungary, pp.215-219 in : Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, NY : Vintage (1987) 1989
Article : Austria-Hungary, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 pp. 953-966 (on events of 1912) [G]
Article : Austria-Hungary, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 pp.333-374, 1898 pp.333-375 [G]
Article : Austria-Hungary - Austria, in : Statesman's Year Book 1901 pp.379-408, 428-432, 1905 pp.408-441, 461-468, 1910 pp.593-608 [G]
Article : Austria-Hungary, in : The International Year Book 1899 pp.88-93, 1900 pp.91-98, 1907 pp.71-77, 1908 pp.62-68, 1909 pp.65-71, 1913 pp.78-85, 1914 pp.76-83 [G]
Article : Austria-Hungary, in : Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events 1894 pp.62-69 [G]
Algernon Bastard, The Gourmet's Guide to Europe (1903), posted by Gutenberg Library Online, chapter XI pp.196-207 on Austria and Hungary
Frederic Augustin Ogg, The Governments of Europe (1913), posted by Gutenberg Library Online, Pt.6 pp.442-517 on Austria-Hungary

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First posted in 2000, last revised on October 20th 2007

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