Austrian History as described in Historic Encyclopedias



Meyer 1902-1909





Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1902-1909, Article : Österreich
... To maintain the position as a European power, which Austria occupied at the Vienna Congress, and to strengthen it, was the goal of Metternich's policy, who as chancellor until 1848 stood at the helm of the Austrian government. For this purpose the Euopean conditions, as established by the Congress, where to remain unchanged everywhere, by the suppression of any popular movement the recorrence of the ruinous revolution prevented, and absolutist rule was to preserve the monarchies. Persons such as Gentz, A. Müller, Fr. Schlegel and others praised this narrow-minded, short-sighted policy of Metternich as a highly political system. Any liberal movement in Austria, even in the field of literature, was suppressed by a severe, even brutal censorship. Anywhere, where the authority of government had to be protedted against the claims of the people, where movements for national freedom needed to be suppressed, Austria from 1815-1848 stood at the hem of reaction. It was Metternich who called for the convention of the three congresses of the Holy Alliance in Troppau (1820), Laibach (1821) and Verona (1822), all three held on Austrian soil, where the decision was taken, to undo the constitutions adopted in Naples, Piemont and Spain by armed intervention, and to restore absolute monarchy. Also the Greek Rebellion (1821) was viewed as a punishable rebellion against the legitimate rule of the Turks [!], because it disturbed calm on the Balkan peninsula at an inappropriate time, and therefore it was fought diplomatically by Austria, be it without success. When, after the French Juli Revolution, in February 1831 the Princes of Parma and Modena had to flee, and the papal officials were chased out of the Romagna, Austrian troops invaded these countries and suppressed the rebellion. At the meeting of the Emperors of Austria and Russia and the Crown Prince of Prussia at Münchengrätz (in September 1833), also for Germany energetic measures to suppress the revolutionary movement were decided on, such as the appointment of a central commission in Mainz, curtailing of freedom of the press, supervision of the universities etc. In Switzerland Austria supported the resistance of the Catholic cantons against any reform of the federat constitution. When the little free state of Cracow, created at the Vienna Congress in 1815, as the seat of a revolutionary national [Polish] government became the center for political intrigues against Russian rule in Poland, according to a treaty among the protecting powers it was annexed by Austria (November 6th 1846).
To a lesser extent did Metternich control Austria's domestic policy. The latter stagnated almost completely. In order to raise the deteriorated state finances little was done. After general peace had come, Austria only could declare state bankrupcy for a second time in 1816. The course of the so-called Viennese currency was fixed at 40; 250 Florin of this currency were ro equal 100 Florin of convention currency. A National Bank, founded by Count Philipp Stadion, the former minister of foreign affairs, in 1816, was given the exclusive right to issue banknotes, and until 1841 the monopoly for foreign exchange. But as the custom of taking on loans was continued under the successor of Stadion, Count Klebelsberg, in 1834 again a difficulty arose. There had been no lack of attempts to stimulate the economy. Steam shipping on the Danube was begun in 1829; the northern railroad connecting the center of the empire with Moravia and Galicia was one of the first on the continent, the steam ship company of the Trieste Lloyd was to raise sea communication; but as in the customs ordinnances of 1835 and 1838 the administration could not abolish the hitherto practiced prohibitive system, that the customs border separating the Hungarian from the Austro-Slavic lands was not abolished, that clerical pressure on the people failed to develop understanding of their economic advantage, prevented any real economic boom, despite of all natural resources which Austria provided over at that time. While Metternich realized that regular progress was not harmful to the maintenance of the state, that reforms in customs and economic policy, as conducted in Prussia, and as they had been taken over by the other states of the Zollverein, would increase Austria's means of power. Franz I. did not want to deal with such matters, and when he died on March 2nd 1835, he warned his successor : "Do not alter anything in the edifice of state, govern, do not reform !" The latter, Ferdinand I. (1835-1848) was unsuited for personal involvement in government. In order not to leave exclusive authority to Metternich, the party of the Archdukes in December 1835 pushed through the establishment of a state conference, in which at the side of Metternich were placed his rival, the Bohemian chancellor Kolowrat, and Archduke Ludwig, who was opposed to all reforms. The consequence was that now all suggested reforms to favour trade by trade treaties, to call on the deputees in the diets to fight the financial malaise etc. failed because of the opposition of the Archduke. But the lively political movement, which began in Germany in 1840, also spread into Austria. In the diet of Lower Austria Count Brenner shocked the government by suggesting to bring in representatives of the burghers; to abolish feudal burdens; to reform education; the Bohemian diet petitioned for a milder implementation of censorship. But these were isolated incidents without greater importance. Of greater importance was that the nationalities began to rise, that in Hungary the Magyars under the leadership of Count Stephan Szechenyi began to reform their state in a liberal and national spirit, and that they pushed through against the Viennese administration, that the Croats, Serbs and Slovenians became conscious of them being of related peoples, and that in Bohemia, leaning on the museum established by Count Sternberg, a National Czech Party was founded, which in the diet did demand liberal concessions from the government, but which mainly strove for Bohemia's autonomy under Austrian suzerainty, and which established Czech institutes, clubs and newspapers. Vis-a-vis these wishes for the autonomy of its nationalities, Austria had failed to do anything to strengthen the unifying elements.
From the Outbreak of the March Revolution 1848 to Austria Leaving Germany in 1866

The outbreak of the February Revolution 1848 in France also in Austria gave the signal for revolutionary movements with the aim of gaining political freedom. In Vienna and in the provinces in March a storm of calls for reforms rose, against which censorship and police were powerless. Most important was the call by the students of the University of Vienna for general representation of the people, freedom of the press, speech, teaching and learning and freedom of religion, which was handed over to the Emperor on the evening of March 12th. The unsatisfactory response which was given, the fact that on the following day, March 13th, the diet of Lower Austria opened its session, provided an outward incentive for the passionate masses to begin a revolt, to demand the dismissal of Metternich and of prefect of the police Sedlnitzky. The Conmference of State not only acceded to these demands, but also granted a new press law, the armament of the students and the formation of a National Guard. On march 15th an Imperial manifesto proclamed the convocation of a popular representation and the adoption of a new constitution to be drafted by the new cabinet which was to be formed around Franz Freiherr von Pillersdorff. It was published on April 25th (the April or Pillersdorff Constitution), but did little to satisfy, because Lombardo-Venetia and Hungary were excluded. Dissatisfaction increased; the political central committee, formed by delegates of the National Guard and of the Academic Legion, and which took the lead of the movement, on May 15th organized a storm petition, which requested the suspension of the constitution, the convocation of a Constituant Imperial Assembly, and pushed through their demands, when the Academic Legion and the workers, fully armed, approached. On May 17th the Emperor suddenly departed to Innsbruck, because of these circumstances. The collapse of governmental authority freed all centrifugal forces in the monarchy. In Hungary, where Ferdinan personally on April 11th in Pressburg [Bratislava] had sanctioned the constitution ("laws of 1848") which Kossuth had demanded in an address to the king on March 3rd, the Austrian colours and the Imperial eagle disappeared. The successes of the Hungarians caused the Croats and Serbs to demand their separation from Hungary. In Prague a National Committee was formed, which demanded of the Emperor the unification of the lands of the crown of St. Wenceslas to one state, and a new constitution for Bohemia. In Cracow an insurrection broke out, which was suppressed by Governor Stadion on April 26th. But facing the insurrection of the Italians the Austrians had to evacuate Milan and Venice, and Radetzky had to withdraw with his troops into the fortress quadrangle. The German Austrians did not regard this dissolution of the Old Austria as a danger to their political position, only a defeat of the government they hated. In Vienna, Pillersdorff by force attempted to dissolve the Academic Legion; he only achieved, that a so-called Security Committee was formed of burghers, the National Guard and the Academic Legion, which declared itself independent from any other authority, which took all property of the crown and of the state under its protection and which acted in dictatorial independence. When Archduke Johann, based on an Imperial order, on June 26th took over government in Vienna, at the request of the Security Committee he dismissed the cabinet Pillersdorff and charged Doblhoff with the formation of a new cabinet, which was joined by the democrats Hornbostl, Latour, Kraus, Wessenberg, Schwarzer and A. Bach, "in order to create a popular monarchy on the basis of the legally expressed will of the people". The first Austrian Constituant Reichstag was opened by the Archduke on July 22nd. The 383 deputees of the German-Slavic crown lands mostly formed national groups. A Constitution Committee was elected on August 1st, it produced a constitution draft, but the latter was never discussed. The only act of this assembly was the acceptance of Kudlich's proposal of July 26th which abolished the serfdom and feudal dues (robot) and which declared the soil for free.
In the meantime the government had gained in reputation and power in the provinces. A rebellion following the Pan-Slavic Congress in Prague on June 12th was suppressed by Windisch-Grätz, and thus the Czech movement for the independence of Bohemia was terminated. Radetzky in July 1848 advanced from the fortress quadrangle, on July 23rd defeated the Sardinian army near Sommacampagna and on July 25th near Custozza, entered Milan, in consequence of which the Sardinians evacuated the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom. Only Venice remained undefeated. In September the Ban of Croatia, Jelacic, began the war against the Magyars. The Hungarian diet sent a deputation to the Imperial diet and to the people of Vienna to complain; it was not permitted to appear before the Reichstag, but wlcomed by the Viennese democracy with open arms. When the commander for Hungary appointed by the Viennese government, Count Lamberg, was murdered in Pest on September 27th, the government declared the Hungarian diet for dissolved, charged Jelacic with the supreme command over all troops in the country, and minister of war Latour wanted to dispatch troops in his support to Hungary. This was opposed by the Radical Party in Vienna, which regarded the submission of the Hungarians a danger for the achievements of Austria; on October 6th a skirmish between the troops, the National Guard and the popular masses occurred, in which the latter were victorious. The insurrection spread into the city's center, in the course of which Latour was cruelly murdered. Now the Court Party, after the Emperor, who had returned in August, left Vienna on October 7th and had gone to Olmütz [Olomouc], took forceful measures against Vienna. Count Karl Auersperg held the garrison of Vienna assembled near Schönbrunn, Jelacic came from Hungary, Prince Alfred Windisch-Grätz, the commander of all Austrian troops, arrived in front of Vienna on the 20th coming from Prague with all his forces and immediately declared the stage of siege, and military law. In Vienna the population, of whom 100,000 had fled, was unwilling to determined resistance. The Central Committee of the Democratic Associations charged ex-lieutenant Messenhauser with supreme command over the city; he was joined by international revolutionaries, of whom the Pole Bem took command of the mobile troops. They also counted on the assistance of the Hungarians, who already had crossed the Leitha. The Frankfurt Parliament members Robert Blum and Fröbel brought an address of the Frankfurt Left, which expressed recognition for the Viennese; other deputees went to Olmütz, to negotiate with the court. But when Windisch-Grätz's demands to disarm and to hand over Bem, Pulszky, the murderers of Latour and others were not fulfilled, on October 26th he attacked Vienna, which had to surrender on October 30th. Already the implementation of the surrender was in progress, when cannon thunder announced the arrival of the Hungarians who had been awaited so long. The struggle was now renewed by Messenhauser's orderly, Fenner von Fenneberg. But the Hungarians were defeated at Schwechat by Jelacic, and Vienna, which was defended without a plan, was conquered by Windisch-Grätz in the night of October 31st. Messenhauser, the writers Becher and Jellinek, as well as Blum were shot, many others sentenced by military courts to incarceration.
After the suppression of the rebellionin the western half of the Empire, Prince Schwarzenberg on November 22nd 1848 was appointed prime minister of a cabinet which included Stadion, Bach, Krauss, Bruck and later Schmerling, which was to restore the monarchy, while the Reichstag deliberated in Kremsier since October 22nd. Emperor Ferdinand laid down the crown on December 2nd, his nephew Franz Joseph I. took on rule at the age of 18, in the hope, as expressed in his proclamation, "that he would succeed to unite all territories and peoples of the monarchy to a single large body of state". On March 4th 1849, irrespective of the activity of the Reichstag in Kremsier, which was declared dissolved on March 7th, the Emperor decreed a constitution for all of Austria, drafted by the progressist Count Franz Stadion. Many representatives of the people, such as Hans Kudlich, Füster, Goldmark, fled, Fischhof was arrested. As the new constitution, based on a centralist concept, also claimed to be valid in Hungary, the Hungarian diet on April 14th decided that Hungary with all her sidelands should form a separate state, that the House of Habsburg-Lorraine were deposed and Kossuth was appointed governor of Hungary, the military submission of Hungary became a necessity. While the Hungarians laid siege to Ofen [Buda] and stormed it on May 21st, the Emperor, based on an earlier promise, called for Russian aid against the revolution, which Czar Nicholas immediately agreed to. A Russian corps under Paskevich moved across the Carpathians into Hungary, simultaneously the Austrians under Haynau moved down the Danube. The Hungarians submitted to the overwhelming power of their enemies; on August 13th Görgei with the main force (23,000 men) surrendered unconditionally to Russian General Rüdiger at Vilagos. A cruel trial was held over the leaders of the insurrection; many were executed, the refugees, among them Kossuth and the later minister, Count Julius Andrassy, hanged in effigy. The Hungarian constitution was abolished, Hungary transformed into a mere crownland of the Austrian state, the sidelands elevated to separate crownlands. At the same time the war in Italy, in March 1849 declared anew by Sardinia, after Radetzky's glorious victory near Novara, in August was completed by the submission of Venice, and the conditions on the Appennine peninsula restored as they had been prior to 1848. The same restoration of its position of power Austria succeeded to achieve in Germany. When King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. was elected Emperor of the Germans, Austria on April 5th 1849 recalled her delegates from the Frankfurt parliament. This position Austria took in regard to the parliament was one more reason for the king to reject the crown offered to him. From that moment onward the parliament lost its importance (See Germany, History of, p.823). In the Treaty of Olmütz (November 1850) Austria succeeded in obliging Prussia to give up its union policy; after the Dresden Conferences (Dec. 23rd 1850 to May 15th 1851) the Bundestag as the representative of the Federation of German Princes seemed to be restored as it had been.
These successes of Schwarzenberg's policy placed the Court and Military Party lead by him in a position of power. After the resignation of Count Stadion (May 17th 1849), who at least wanted to introduce a reasonable system of administration, reaction ruled unrestrained. His successor in the ministry of the interior, Alexander Bach, pursued the goal to turn Austria into a unitary, absolutist monarchy, in consequence of which in January 1851 Schmerling and Bruck resigned from the cabinet. After on April 14th 1851 as a replacement of the popular representation a Reichsrat composed of Imperial appointees, with only consultative function, had been established, on August 20th the responsibility of ministers, Stadion's municipal law and Schmerling's judicial reform with the institute of trial by jury were abolished, finally on December 31st the constitution of March 4th 1849 was abolished. After the death of Schwarzenberg (April 5th 1852), Bach and minister of culture Count Leo Thun seemingly successfully worked toward centralism and absolutism, with the aid of the military, the bureaucracy and the Catholic clergy, the excessive influence of which became apparent in the concordat concluded with the Papal See on August 18th 1855, which restricted the sovereinty of the state more than did any constitution, and which conceded basic education to the clergy. On the other hand, the cabinet did make progress by reforming secondary education following the German model, and in raising material culture, for which the minister of finances, Bruck, reappointed in 1855, signed responsible. In this period, when absolutism tried to compensate the people for the loss of political and intellectual freedom by increasing the ability of the people to consume, foreign capital was drawn to Austria, new railroads emerged (the one over the Semmering in 1854), according to modern patterns banking was promoted by the establishment of the Eskompte Bank and of the Kreditanstalt; institutes for higher commercial education in the Chambers of Commerce of Vienna, Prague and Graz were established. But the fruits of these efforts immediately were wasted by a flawed foreign policy. When the Russian-Turkish [!] War of 1853 (Crimean War) broke out, Austria forced Russia to evacuate the Danube Principalities, which itself then occupied. Contrary to the expectations of the western powers, England [!] and France, which in 1854 entered the war against Russia, and despite a treaty of alliance concluded with the latter on December 2nd 1854, Austria did not decide on an offensive. This policy of half-measures lead to the result that Russia was deeply hurt and harbored a feeling of hatred toward Austria; while Austria failed to gain the confidence of the western powers, and to gain any material advantage from this war. Instead, the occupation of the Danube Principalities consumed a loan of more than 600 million Florins. The general feeling of disappointment in Austria was used by Cavour, the representative of Sardinia, which had provided the western powers with 15,000 troops against Russia, on the Paris Congress 1856, to win over Napoleon III. for the plan to topple Austrian rule in Italy. The address of Napoleon to the Austrian ambassador Baron Hübner on January 1st 1859 hinted at war, and when Sardinia failed to respond to the Austrian ultimatum of April 23rd, which demanded it to demobilize, Quartermaster Gyulai (see there) invaded Piemonte, but permitted weeks to uselessly pass by, until the French crossed the Alps and united their forces with the Sardinians. After the Battles of Magenta (June 4th) and Solferino (June 24th), unfavorable for Austria, Napoleon and Emperor Franz Joseph on July 8th in Villafranca met, and on July 11th the preliminary peace was concluded, which was confirmed in the Peace of Zürich on November 10th. Austria ceded Lombardy without Mantua and Peschiera to Napoleon, who left it to Sardinia, but held on to Venice.
The unfortunate result pf the war of 1859 had proven the lack of success of the absolutist system. Austria had been isolated, state credit had been shaken, the burden of debt great, the National Bank had to declare a moratorium on payments in cash, the state-owned southern railroad had to be sold to a French society. It showed that chaos ruled in the administration, that the supplies of the army had been compromised by embezzlement. Minister of finances Bruck, involved in the trial for embezzlement against Lieutenant Field Marshall von Eynatten, ended by suicide (April 22nd 1860), although the suspicion against him later proved unjustified. These conditions caused the Emperor to return to the constitutional form of state. The cabinet Bach was dismissed, the stadholder of Galicia, Count Agenor Goluchowski took over as minister of state the domestic administration. On October 20th 1860 an Imperial manifesto was published (October Diploma), which announced the foundation for a new constitution, which was to provide for both the autonomy of the crown lands and for the unity of the Empire. The Hungarians were given back the constitution they had had prior to 1848; in all other crown lands diets (Landtag) should take care of their special interests, but the common affairs, both those of Hungary as well as those of the other lands, were to be debated by a Reichsrat, the members of which in part were to be appointed by the Emperor, in part to be elected by the regional diets. But this October Constitution never took force, as it caused discontent both in Hungary and in the German provinces, because of the federalist state model. The general fear, that Austria, after having lost its position of power in Italy, now also would do so in Germany, finally caused the Emperor, on December 13th 1860 to dismiss Goluchowski and to appoint Schmerling, known as Liberal and Pro-German, as prime minister. The latter's program announced on December 23rd, that the diets were to be a representation of the various interest groups, not of the estates (as before), and that they were to elect the members of the Reichsrat; both were to be public and to be granted initiative. The program was executed in form of the proclamation of a constitution on February 26th 1861 (February Constitution) for the entire state, and of territorial ordinnances for the crown lands with the exception of the lands of the Hungarian crown and of Venetia. The representation of the entire state was to be the Reichsrat, to be convoked annually and to consist of the House of Lords and the Chamber of Deputees; the House of Lords was to be composed of hereditary members and of those appointed by the Emperor for life, the House of Deputees of 343 deputees directly elected by the regional diets, of whom 203 were from the 17 Cisleithanian diets, 120 from those of Hungary, Croatia and Transylvania, 20 on Venetia. The electoral regulations secured a majority for the Progressive- Minded German Burghers' Party together with the owners of large estates. On February 26th the Reichsrat was dissolved and a State Council was instituted. Hereby Austria joined the constitutional states.
But the implementation of the new constitution met resistance from many directions. The supporters of Absolutism in army and bureaucracy disregarded, the proponents of feudal and clerical views disregarded, in Bohemia, Galicia and elsewhere the Slavic elements rose and caused that the elections for the Reichsrat were held only partially and conditionally. In Hungary the dislike against any constitution for the whole state was expressed so strongly, that the government refused taxation and drafting to the army, and the diet did not conduct the election of delegates to the Reichsrat. When the latter was opened on May 1st 1861, Hungary, Croatia, Istria and Venetia were not represented. Transylvania accepted the February Constitution only in 1863. One ajusted to these conditions by calling the Reichsrat, as assembled, as the "Narrow Reichsrat" as a pure representation of the German-Slavic lands, while the "Wider Reichsrat" was to describe a complete assembly including the Hungarians. But even in the "Narrow Reichsrat" the representatives of the Slavs were in the opposition, so that the entire constitution rested only on the 130 votes of the German deputees, the so-called Left. To these internal difficulties was added the important question of Austria's relation to Germany. Schmerling strove for reform of the German Federation, which would secure Austria hegemony in Germany, and German-Austria rule over the entire state. For this purpose Emperor Franz Joseph called for Germany's princes to convene in Frankfurt in August 1863. The plan to reform the federation discussed here failed because of Prussia's objection, Prussia had refused any participation in the reform. In a quick turn, the minister of foreign affairs, Rechberg, when the Schleswig-Holstein Question in November 1863 became an issue again because of the death of Danish King Frederik VII., concluded an alliance with Prussia for a war against Denmark. The German-Danish War, in which Austrian troops under Gablenz distinguished themselves by their stormy courage, resulted in the cession of Schleswig-Holstein and Lauenburg to Austria and Prussia in the Treaty of Vienna (October 30th 1864). But the common possession soon became the source of minunderstanding between the two conquerors.
The failure of the [attempt to] reform the German Federation, in combination with the [continued] absense of the Hungarians [from the Reichstag] undermined Schmerling's reputation at court. To this was added a conflict with Reichsrat over the financial situation. The Chamber of Deputees approved an increase in taxes for 1865 only for three months, and reduced by cuts the deficit to 7 million. The government requested the House of Lords to approve additional 6 million for army and navy, and demanded a further loan of 117 million to cover further deficit and a lack in collected taxes, which caused sharp criticism in the Chamber of Deputees. These difficulties of the cabinet Schmerling were used by the Court Party, to which namely Count Moritz Esterhazy (see there) belonged, to bring about a reconciliation of the court with Hungary. This was achieved on the occasion of a tour of the Emperor to Pest in June 1865; in place of the chancellors of Hungary and Transylvania, the Counts Franz Zichy and Nodasdy, supporters of the February Constitution, Count Mailoth, one of the leaders of the Old Conservative Magnates, was appointed, which resulted in Schmerling immediately handing in his resignation; he was replaced by Counr Belcredi. Count Larisch replaced Plener as minister of finances, Count Mensdorff-Pouilly the ministry of foreign affairs (the three counts cabinet). An Imperial manifesto of September 20th 1865 postponed the session of the Reichstag, and thus the February Constitution was adjourned. On the other hand, the Emperor opened the Hungarian diet in person in December. The throne address recognized the juridical continuity and validity of the laws of 1848, but required their revision, while the Hungarians insisted on their introduction first. In this matter an agreement had not yet been achieved, when the war with Prussia broke out and the Hungarian diet was closed on June 26th 1866. In the Schleswig-Holstein Question Prussia and Austria had agreed on the Gastein Convention (August 14th 1865), but the treaty onlu postponed hostilities, which erupted, when the Viennese court charged the German Federation with the decision in the matter, which Prussia declared a breach of the treaty. After intense disputes Emperor Franz Joseph, against the advice of minister Count Mensdorff, trusting in his military superiority and the support of most German states, brought about the outbreak of the war (see Prussian-German War) by requesting the mobilization of the non-Prussian federal corps, which was accepted on June 14th 1866 by the Bundestag. The Austrian army was victorious over Prussia's ally Italy on land near Custozza on June 24th and on sea on July 20th near Lissa, but was defeated by the Prussians in Bohemia, last on July 3rd near Königgrätz. Austria was forced to conclude the Peace of Prague (August 23rd), abandoning her German allies. Prussia did not require Austria to cede any land, except for Venetia, but Austria left Germany, so that the dominating position Austria had gained in Germany and Italy in 1815 and regained in 1849 simultaneously and forever were lost, and it had to agree to the reorganization of Germany without the participation of Austria.
Naturally the unfortunate outcome of the war had a great impact on the domestic conditions of Austria. Belcredi did stay in office, but the minister of foreign affairs, hitherto Saxon minister Baron Ferdinand Beust, , who soon also became minister of the Imperial house, also gained influence on domestic policy. Belcredi at first planned a thransformation of Austria into 5 kingdoms : Czechia, Poland, Southern Slavia, Hungary with Transylvania, and the remaining lands. For this purpose, by the patent of January 2nd 1867, an extraordinary session of the Reichsrat was convoked for February 25th. But against this feudal-federal constitution project, which would have granted the Slavs a dominating role in the Empire, the Hungarians spoke out, where the Old Conservative Noble's Party had difficulty to stand their ground against the Progressive Party of deak, and also the German diets spoke out against it. The latter threatened to refuse the elections, the former, to demand a mere personal union. Under these circumstances Beust persuaded the Emperor to fulfill the wishes of the Germans and Hungarians, and immediately to appoint a cabinet in Hungary, with which an Ausgleich could be concluded. Belcredi was dismissed, ans on February 7th 1867 Beust was appointed prime minister. In Hungary on February 17th Count Andrassy was appointed president of a responsible cabinet. With the latter and with Deak the conditions of the Ausgleich between Hungary and Austria were negotiated, and after being sanctioned by the Emperor, announced in February 1867. The Ausgleich divided the Empire into an Austrian (Cisleithania) and a Hungarian half (Transleithania), which in addition to the person of the ruler also were tied to each other by common institutions. As common affairs of the Empire were defined : (1) foreign affairs, but the approval of international treaties was reserved for the representative bodies of both parts, (2) war, exclusively the legislation on military duty, the approval of recruits, the common budget and the provisions for the army, (3) finances, as far as commonly made expenses, the common budget and control over bookkeeping was concerned. In regard to common expenses, every 10 years an agreement was to be made; they should be paid for by the customs revenues, the remainder should be divided according to a ratio of 70 to 30 % (after the annexation of the military frontier 68 to 32 %). Commercial matters, especially customs legislation, indirect taxes affecting the industry (sugar, alcoholic spirits etc.), the determination of valuta should follow according principles both sides should agree on from time to time (Customs and Trade Alliance). The administration of common affairs was to be conducted by a common ministry (for foreign affairs, war and common finances), which was to be responsible to "delegations" annually sent by the Austrian Reichstag and the Hungarian diet. This Ausgleich was concluded in the coronation of Emperor Franz Joseph in Ofen [Buda] on June 6th 1867. Later in a circular letter it was decreed that the Empire from then on was to be referred to as the "Austro-Hungarian Monarchy".
After having granted so important political rights to the Hungarians, also in Cisleithania constitutional rights had to be coupled with stronger guarantees. Count Taaffe was charged with the formation of an interimist cabinet, and on May 22nd 1867 the "Narrow" Reichsrat was convened, which in December 1867 approved the Ausgleich (which had been negotiated without their participation), and the constitutional committee of which established 4 state basic laws, on the general rights of the citizens, on the exercise of government and executive power, on the judicial power and the establishment of an Imperial court, which together with the law on the representation of the Empire on December 21st 1867 were confirmed by the Emperor. The last-mentioned constitution (December constitution) was based on the February constitution of February 26th 1861.

The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy since 1867

The new cabinet (Beust chancellor, Becke minister for finances, John (later Kuhn) minister of war) was appointed on December 24th 1867; the delegations met for the first time in January 1868 in Vienna. For Cisleithania on January 1st 1868 a new cabinet, the so-called burgher cabinet, was appointed; the presidency was held by Pronce Carlos Auersperg, later by Taaffe, its foremost members were the lawyers Giskra, Herbst, Brestel, Hasner, Plener and Berger. In cooperation with the German Liberal parties it unfolded productive legislative activity; most of all it achieved the acceptance of three church laws, which transferred jurisdiction in matters of marriage to secular courts, recognized supervision of education as a responsibility of the state, regulated inter-confessional relations on the basis of equality, despite the protests of the clergy and of Pope Pius IX. State finances were put in order, the military reorganized, territorial administrations reorganized according to new principles. a law for basic education, a law for the introduction of trial by jury in case of violations of the press law passed. Resistance against the new liberal government rose first in the Slavic lands. When the Bohemian diet was opened on August 22nd 1868, the 81 Czech deputees did not show up, but on August 23rd handed over a "Declaration" (see there), in which they demanded a regulation of the relations of Bohemia to the Empire by granting the "lands of the Bohemian crown" (Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia) special status. The excitement in Bohemia even escalated so much, that the government appointed General von Koller to civil and military governor, and on October 10th declared the state of siege over Prague. The Czech members also left the Moravian diet. The Poles demanded the complete autonomy of Galicia, the Slovenes a Slovenian kingdom. In Dalmatia in 1869 the Bocchese in the Krivosije rose against the law imposing mandatory military duty. They could not be overcome, so that General Rodich had to conclude a formal peace with them (at Knezlac, January 11th 1870). Conflicts arose within the cabinet, as a minority (Taaffe, Potocki, Berger) in agreement with Beust argued for an Ausgleich with the resentful minorirties by a new Reichsrat convoked for this purpose; the majority (Hasner, Brestel, Giskra, Plener, Herbst) on the other hand recommended such a revision by the existing Reichsrat. As also the House of Lords opted for the majority, these three ministers resigned, and Hasner on January 25th 1870 took over the presidency. But only for a short time. The cabinet Hasner had made such far-reaching concessions to the Poles, that by a ministerial decree of June 5th 1869 Polish was introduced in Galicia as the language of administration, but not more, and when by an emergency law direct elections for the Reichstag were to be declared permissible, if individual diet majorities were to refuse to send delegations to the Reichstag, even the Poles, as had done the Czechs, left the Chamber of Deputees. They were followed by the federalist-minded Slovenians, Istrians and Bukovinans; the Tyroleans, which did not like the new constitution for ecclesiastic reasons, had left earlier, the house was hardly capable of making decisions. The suggestion of the cabinet to dissolve these regional diets did not meet the approval of the Emperor, so that the cabinet resigned on April 4th 1870.
The new cabinet Potocki with Taaffe for the interior, Distler, later Holzgethan for finances, and since June 30th 1870 Stremayr for culture and education, who was given the task, in consequence of the declaration of infallibility of the pope proclaimed on the Second Vatican Council to abolish the Austrian concordat, in the domestic arena was to bring about an understanding with the Poles and Czechs. As the Bohemian diet stood to the Declarations, the Chamber of Deputees and the House of Lords on the other hand insisted on the maintenance of the constitution, all attempts of a reconciliation failed. The cabinet Potocki fell in February 1871; in its place a cabinet ostensibly standing above the parties, in reality being rather federalist, under Count Karl Hohenwart, to which belonged two Czechs (Habietinek for justice, Jirecek for culture), one Pole, Grocholski, further Schäffle as minister of trade, and which took upon itself to adapt the Austrian constutution to the demands of the Slavs. On April 25th it presented to Reichsrat the draft of a law which granted the regional diets the initiative in legislation, and on May 5th another draft, which granted Galicia the desired autonomy. Hohenwart declared on this occasion that he would be willing to move forward, if Bohemia would declare itself satisfied with the autonomy granted to Galicia. The first draft was rejected by the Chamber of Deputees on May 9th; against the second, on May 26th, it appealed to the Emperor, who in his response on May 30th expressed his confidence in the cabinet. After the proposal of Herbst, not to enter into the discussion of the budget, had been rejected, and the budget been approved on July 4th, the Reichsrat on July 10th 1871 was postponed until an undetermined date. The seven regional diets loyal to the constitution were dissolved; new elections created a pro-government majority in Upper Austria and Moravia, so that the cabinet in the Chamber of Deputees, the Bohemians included, could lean on 203 votes against only 66 votes loyal to the constitution, and thus could count on the two thirds majority necessary for constitutional changes. In a letter, with which the Bohemian diet was opened on September 14th 1871, the Emperor recognized the rights of the Kingdom of Bohemia and declared to be willing to confirm these rights in his coronation oath. In agreement with Hohenwart a committee of the Bohemian diet drafted the 18 Fundamental Articles, which were to grant Bohemia a position similar to that of Hungary, and which would break up Austria into individual states with a Congress of Delegates and a Senat as common representative bodies. The articles were presented to the Emperor for his approval on October 10th.
But as the excitement of the Germans because of the planned breach of the constitution rose from day to day, and in the cabinet there was no complete unity, first Beust presented to the Emperor his concerns against the introduction of the Fundamental Articles in a memorandum. The matter which proved decisive was that the Hungarian prime minister Julius Count Andrassy, who already during the Franco-German War, against the wishes of Beust and themilitary party, had won over the Emperor for a policy of strict neutrality, with determination spoke out against the planned constitutional reform, as he feared an effect on the Slavs living in Hungary (over 4 million). The Emperor decided on October 21st that the Fundamental Articles were not suited to be presented to the Reichsrat, and after an attempt to persuade the Czechs to moderate their claims had failed, Hohenwart on October 26th requested his demission. But also Beust, as minister of foreign affairs, on November 6th was replaced by Andrassy, which outwardly documented, that the revanche policy for 1866 was abandoned, while even Beust, after the unprecedented German victories, had responded on Bismarck's letter announcing the establishment of the German Empire and expressing the hope for friendly relations with Austria, in a benevolent manner. On November 25th 1871 a cabinet loyal to the constitution, the cabinet under Prince Adolf Auersperg, the leading figure of which was minister of the interior Lasser, took responsibility for Cisleithania. Lasser dissolved the regional diets newly elected during the summer, and as the diets of Upper Austria, Moravia and the Bukovina were regained for the party of loyalists to the constitution, the ability of the Chamber of Deputees to come to a decision and a majority loyal to the constitution were secured. Its most urgent task was the electoral reform, which was decided on in March 1873 and which established the direct election of the Reichstag deputees, the number of whom was raised to 353. Thus the Reichstag became independent from the regional diets and from the political tendencies dominating there, and the state was freed from a constant danger of a crisis. The first election according to the new law were held on September 7th 1873 and produced a Constitutionalist majority of 233 votes against 81 Poles and Ultramontanes; the Czechs did not join the Reichsrat.
Disconcerting for the new government, its taking office coincided with the begin of a severe economic crisis. Already the cabinet Belcredi had, in order to gain the favour of England [!] and France for its loans, and in order to promote the approachment to Ilberal-Agrarian Hungary, had prepared the transition from a policy of protective tariffs to a free trade policy, visible expressions of which were the trade agreements with France (1866), Germany (1866), but especially with England, with the supplemental convention of 1869. This system defended by liberal Doctrinarism and the other liberal legislation and administration opened the gates for unrestricted speculation, and the wave of establishments [of companies] from 1868 to 1873 celebrated orgies, until just after the opening of the World Exhibition in Vienna on May 1st 1873 the "great crash" took place, which brought about a slow-moving crisis until 1879, but also a breach with the for Austria untenable system of free trade and a free economy. The World Exhibition had served, by the visits of Czar Alexander of Russia, Emperor Wilhelm I. and Bismarck, and finally of Vittorio Emmanuele, to confirm the good relations of the Empire to its adjacent powers, a policy which had begun in 1872 with the Three Emperors' Meeting in Berlin.
The Constitutionalist Party, in the field of liberal legislation, in its first years was industrious, even of the confessional laws which had been made necessary by the cancellation of the concordat, all except for the law on monasteries had been approved by the Reichsrat, despite the resistance of the episcopat and of the clerical-feudal members of the House of Lords, and had been sanctioned by the Emperor on May 7th and 20th 1874. But the government failed to strengthen the Deutschtum ["Germanness"] by laws and institutions, and to secure the German language as the official language. Repeatedly it rejected demands for the strengthening of the armed forces; in the delegations the army budget repeatedly was approved by the Hungarians and Ultramontanes against the votes of the government. The Constitutionalist Party stubbornly resisted the renewal of the financial Ausgleich with Hungary on the basis of [that of] 1867 and abandoned its resistance only, when Count Auersperg threatened with the resignation of the cabinet. The Ausgleich treaty only was signed after two years of negotiation in 1878. The position of the Constitutionalist cabinet hereby was undermined in a concerning manner. It became even more difficult, when Austria was drawn into the Oriental crisis, which had been caused by the rebellion which had broken out in Bosnia and the Herzegovina in 1875 against Turkish [!] rule. The various nations of the Empire sympathized with opposing camps : the Hungarians were pro-Turkish, the Czechs and South Slavs Pan-Slavist, only the Germans determinedly pacifist. Andrassy pursued the policy of careful restraint, and on the occasion of a meeting of the Czar with Emperor Franz Joseph in Reichstadt (July 8th 1876), for the promise of neutrality obtained the promise from Russia that Austria after the war would be permitted to occupy Bosnia and the Herzegovina. But when Russia in the Treaty of San Stefano with Turkey [!] (March 3rd 1878), based on its successes, left the agreement with Austria out of consideration, Abdrassy demanded the delegations on March 9th 1878 to approve a loan of 60 million, to be prepared for an eventual military action, and proposed to the powers the Berlin Congress to regulate the Oriental Question. Here Austria achjieved on June 29th the confirmation of the Russian concession, to be permitted to occupy Bosnia and the Herzegovina, and to take under her administration. Austrian troops under Philippovich on July 29th 1878 moved into Bosnia and the Herzegovina, which was occupied within two months despite heavy resistance. The new provinces, the occupation of which the Porte recognized until it were to repay the costs for the latter, were annexed into the Austrian customs zone, and the Empire's minister of finances was charged with their administration.
The considerable sacrifices and costs (62 million) of the occupation caused great dissatisfaction in Austria as well as in Hungary. Over this issue the Constitutionalist Party fell out with cabinet Auersperg, which resigned already on Jult 13th 1878. The minister of finances, De Pretis-Cagnodo (see there) was charged by the EmperorEmperor in which the occupation was criticized from a political and financial standpoint. Herbst and Giskra also continued their opposition in the delegations, and in January 1879 in the Chamber of Deputees not only proposed the rejection of the Treaty of Berlin, but also the rejection of the extension of the law on mandatory military duty and the approval of the provisional raise of taxation for 1879 for merely one month. But they only achieved to break up the Constitutionalist Party, as all their proposals were rejected against 112 votes. When in consequence of the discord in the Constitutionalist Party the attempt of De Pretis to form a government failed, from the remnants of the former a new one under Stremayr was formed, in which Count Taaffe as minister of the interior joined with the mission to secure the acts of government against renewed resistance of the Liberals, and to form a firm majority. To serve this purpose, new elections were held in June and July 1879. The Bohemian and Moravian estate owners, who did nor approve the opposition in military matters, broke away from the Constitutionalists; the Bohemian nobles, in a compromise, were allocated 10 of 23 seats, and finally also the Czechs, by a range of promises, were won over for joining the Chamber of Deputees, where they swore the oath without reservation. Only when the deliberations began, did they object. So the new elections turned out only 145 German Liberals, split in the Club of Liberals and the Progress Party, about 168 Conservatives (Poles, Czechs, Clericals), while the remaining 40 were deputees without party affiliation. Under these circumstances the predominantly Liberal cabinet resigned, and now Taaffe formed a new cabinet which was to be an attempt of reconciliation, in which Stremayr served as minister of justice aside the Czech Prazak, the Clerical Count Falkenhayn and the Pole Ziemialkowski. But this government only was to have vitality, if they succeeded in simultaneously forming a center party of corresponding strength, by a coalition of various groups. The attempt was not successful. On a party congress on August 3rd and 31st in Linz, the German Liberals determinedly rejected the new program, in response to which the Conservatives (Poles, Czechs, Slovenians, German Clericals and nobles) placed themselves at the disposal of the government.
A few days later, on September 21st, Bismarck came to Vienna and on October 7th 1879 concluded the German-Austrian alliance, which in 1881, by Italy joining, was expanded to the Triple Alliance, which until today has formed the basis for Austria's foreign policy. After the conclusion of the treaty Andrassy resigned still in 1879, and as leader of Austria's foreign policy first he was succeeded by Baron Haymerle, after the death of the latter (1881) by Kalnoky and after his resignation (1895) by Goluchowski.
In domestic policy soon change in favour of the Slavic-Federalist majority, on which Taaffe had to lean, if he wanted to stay in power, took place, and by all kinds of concessions he secured their support. Among these concessions were the replacement of the last Constitutionalist members of the cabinet by politicians from the right : in June 1880 the German Liberals Stremayr, Horst and Korb-Weidenheim resigned; the Pole Dunajewsky was given the ministry of finances, in January 1881 the Czech Prazak the ministry of justice. As characteristic for the policy of the cabinet were the language ordinnances, the first of which was decreed on April 19th 1880 for Bohemia and Moravia; on April 29th 1882 one followed for the Slovenian areas within Styria, and on October 20th for Silesia. Further the Czechs achieved the partition of the University of Prague in a Czech and a German one (1882), the Slavization of numerous middle schools, the dissolution of the Bohemian diet (1883), where now the Czechs and the feudal estate owners held the majority. The Poles gained material advantages (favored treatment when it came to tax proposals, railroads etc.), they were also given a free hand in their treatment of the Ruthenians in Galicia. The Clericals were unable to push through the confessional school which they desired, but in 1883 were compensated by a draft for the school law, which permitted the municipalities to decide if they wanted to reduce the period of mandatory schooling from 8 to 6 years, and which determined that the school principal had to be of the majority confession.
The Germans, for the purpose of national defense, took several measures. In the Chamber of Deputees the two German parties merged to form the so-called United Left (November 19th 1881), which initially had about 150 members. In 1883 the proposal of Count Wurmbrand for a language law and the constitutional determination of German as official language was made, but on January 29th 1884 rejected by 186 over 155 votes. Associations were founded which were to have an effect in the national spirit, in 1880 the German School Association, the Böhmerwald Union, the Society of the Germans of Northern Moravia, of the Southern March etc. The impact of these conditions showed in the elections to the Chamber of Deputees of June 1885 : the right increased their numbers to 192, the Left saw their numbers shrink to 132 votes; even more disadvantageous was, that the former United Left split in a German-Austrian and a German Club, and of the latter in 1887 the German National Union broke away, in consequence of which the remainder of the German Club merged with the German-Austrian Club to form the United German Left, with a strength of 112 members. Facing the split of the German forces, the fractions of the right dared to demand more and more. At first minister of education Baron Conrad, unpopular with the Czechs, had to go on November 1885 to make room for the colourless von Gautsch. Soon after, in March 1886, a new law draft for establishing German as state language was forwarded to a committee, never to reappear. The language ordinnance of April 19th 1880 so disadvantageous to the Germans in Bohemia, on September 23rd was supplemented by a new decree, according to which cases which were presented to ithe supreme courts in Prague and Brünn in Czech language were to be responded to in Czech language. The situation of the Germans deteriorated from day to day. In December 1886 they left the Bohemian diet, as their suggestions to change the language ordinnances were ignored (see Bohemia). In October 1888 the Slavic and Clerical element was strengthened by including the Clerical-Feudal Pole von Zaleski and the pro-Czech Count Schönborn in the cabinet. It was a severe blow for them, as for all of Austria, when Crown Prince Rudolf suddenly died a horrible death on January 30th 1889. Great excitement was caused by the proposal made by Prince Alois Liechtenstein, according to which the duration of mandatory schooling should be lowered from 8 to 6 years, the number of school subjects limited, the church, in addition to the state, granted supervision of the schools, and the church administration given influence in the hiring of teachers. But in the Chamber of Deputees, not only the Liberal Germans, but also the Liberal Young Czechs spoke out, who used this as a slogan in their struggle with the Old Czechs under the leadership of Rieger. In their home province they found so much support, that the elections to the Bohemian diet of 1889 turned out an unexpectedly large number of their candidates as elected members, which brought about an important turn in political conditions (further see Bohemia). The worry, that the coming Reichsrat elections would help the Young Czechs to win over the Old Czechs, which could lead to split the right, which already suffered from other tension, such as between the Clericals and the Poles, caused the government to approach the Germans. The Ausgleich Conferences in January 1890 (see Bohemia) failed, but the Germans had rejoined the Bohemian diet, Dunajewski in February 1891 was replaced by Steinbach, in December 1891 Count Kuenburg, as representative of the left, joined the cabinet. The Reichsrat elections of March 1891 had cost the Old Czechs all their mandates in Bohemia, which had fallen to the Young Czechs, so that the "iron ring" of the old majority indeed had been broken. The radical-national Young Czechs joined the opposition. At first it was planned to form a parliamentary majority of the German Liberals, the Poles and the Left Center (Coronini Club), but this failed because of the resistance of the Poles, as all attempts of Count Taaffe in 1891-1893 to bring the Germans permanently into government failed because of his indecision to cut earlier relations and to bring about a change of system. He constantly shifted between Germans and Czechs, Clericals and Liberals, without a clearly recognizable goal, which finally resulted in the complete shipwreck of the system Taaffe of the pretended reconciliation of the nations. With a measure of force, the proposal to introduce universal suffrage (October 10th 1893) Taaffe freed himself from an untenable position, as the three large parties, German Liberals, Clericals and Poles, in order to insure their continued existence, were forced to come to an understanding and to form a coalition cabinet. On November 12th 1893 the Emperor accepted the resignation of Taaffe, who had lead Austrian policy for almost 14 years.
As ruinous and destructive as this period had been in [German] national and liberal respect, in economic aspect much of lasting success had been accomplished. Numerous railroads had been nationalized; only to the northern railroad, against the votes of the Germans, their privilege had been confirmed for 50 years. In 1882, in order to support industry and state finances, the positions of autonomous customs tariff had been increased considerably, namely the tariffs on coffee and petrol generated rich revenues. Also Hungary, hitherto prefering free trade, adopted protective customs tariffs, in order to induce Germany to abolish its ban on the import of livestock by charging high tariffs for industrial products. While this policy was without success early on, a second increase in customs tariffs in 1887, especially the introduction of agrarian tariffs on the Romanian border, proved disadvantageous, as the industry lost an important market in the east, but as Hungary's agriculture did not gain anything. Still, the trade balance since 1876 remained active, and when, in addition to a pressingly high tax on edifices (1882), state revenues, in agreement with Hungary were considerably raised by a new tax law on the production of sugar and alcoholic spirits (1888), so that the Poles could be granted a compensation of 1,100,000 Florin for their losses in distilleries and bar licenses for 22 years, since 1889 the deficit disappeared from the Austrian budget. The continually favorable financial situation of the Empire made it possible to regulate the currency, which was implemented by minister of finances Steinbach, who presented respective laws in May 1892 which resulted in the introduction of the Krone currency. A second important law draft presented by the same minister stipulated a tax reform implemented in February 1892, which replaced the traditional income tax by a tax on income, salary, pension and personal income of any kind. Just before, in January 1892 new trade treaties with Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland had been approved. In foreign policy, the German-Austrian-Italian alliance had remained in place; only relations with Russia changed. After meetings of Franz Josef with Alexander III. in Skierniewice (1884) and Kremsier (1885) amiable relations between both powers seemed to be established, but in 1886 and 1887 after the abdication of Prince Alexander of Bulgaria and the election of Prince Ferdinand of Coburg differences reemerged, not less in 1889, when King Milan of Serbia abdicated and here, too, the pro-Russian faction forced Austria to be on its guard. Already in 1883 the militia had been tied closer to the regular army. In 1886 the Landsturm law was passed, which obliged all citizens capable of serving, from the 19th to the 42nd year of age, insofar as they did not serve yet in other parts of the armed service, and officers and military officials in retirement until their 60th year of age, to serve [if called upon]. In 1889 a new defense law was passed, which increased the number of 7600 men, which allocated all who hitherto had been freed from military service to the reserve, and which required the latter to periodical military exercises. Weaponry was modernized by the introduction of the pump-action rifle, carabiner, modern artillery pieces for fortresses and coastal batteries, powder produning little smoke etc. All these sacrifices were shared by Hungary, with which the customs- and trade alliance was renewed in 1877 and 1887, and where in the 1880s domestic conditions had consolidated and the state credit had increased considerably (see Hungary).
The new Austrian cabinet, which had been formed by the three large parties, was presided by Prince Alfred Windisch-Grätz ; from the former cabinet Marquis Bacquehem, now minister of the interior, Count Falkenhayn as minister of agriculture, Count Welsersheimb as minister of defense and Count Schönborn as minister of justice continued to serve. New were the Poles von Jaworski as minister for Galicia and von Madeyski as minister of education, then the leader of the United German Left, von Plener, as minister of finances and Count Wurmbrand as minister of trade. The government declared it to be their first duty to bring about an election reform, which while maintaining the representation of interest groups, was to considerably extend the franchise. Until this reform was implemented, the fundamental political matters should not be dealt with, and the activity of the government should be limited to the solution of financial and economic matters, namely the tax reform and dealing with judicial matters (penal law, civil trial). Only the planned reform of electoral law presented to the Chamber of Deputees in March 1894 by the government did not even find the approval of all parties in the coalition government, and by being forwarded to the committee for electoral reform in October 1894 was postponed indefinitely, while popular assemblies everywhere demanded universal suffrage. But also the temporary forgoing of the implementation of certain national wishes, as demanded by the government, proved to be a difficult condition, namely when the Slovenians demanded the fulfilling of a promise given to them years ago, the establishment of a Slovenian undergymnasium in the German city of Cilli [Celje], and as the government did not want to refuse this request to Count Hohenwart, who had been elected by Slovenians. These differences between the coalition parties provided the radical parties, most of all the Young Czechs and the Christian-Social Anti-Semites, with material for repeated attacks, especially during the discussion of the new penal law, which was dropped, and of the tax reform, which was prevented by obstruction. The weak stand of the government caused dissatisfaction with the system in wide circles of the population, so that in municipal elections in March 1895 in Vienna and Salzburg the radical anti-Semites won over moderate Liberals, while the agitating movement among the workers for universal suffrage, which had been rejected by government and parliament, did not loose in intensity. When, finally, because of the cabinet giving in in the question of the gymnasium in Cilli, also in German national circles deep resentment spread, which became visible first in the decision in the budget committee, the coalition had to be regarded as dissolved, and the cabinet based on this coalition in June 1895 resigned. After an interimist cabinet consisting of state officials lead by the stadholder of Lower Austria, Count Kielmannsegg, at the beginning of October the Emperor appointed the stadholder of Galicia, Count Casimir Badeni, prime minister and minister of the interior; he selected his colleagues from outside of parliament; Baron Gautsch again became minister of education, Count Gleipach minister of justice, Bilinski minister of finances, Baron Glanz minister of trade, Count Ledebur minister of agriculture, later they were joined by von Guttenberg as minister of railroads and by Rittner as minister for Galicia.
Of the two main tasks the new cabinets had been charged with, the first was solved successfully : on May 7th 1896 the Chamber of Deputees passed the electoral law with great majority. The critical point of the law was the addition to the previous 353 delegates by further 72, from a newly created class of general voters, to which every citizen 24 years of age belonged, who resided in the electoral district for longer than 6 months. All the more fatal was the attempt to solve the second task : the renewal of the economic Ausgleich with Hungary. The Reichsrat elections of 1897 again resulted in a weakening of the German Liberal Party; on the other hand, the Clericals, Anti-Semites and radical national parties saw a significant increase. In order to secure a majority in the fragmented parliament, Badeni won over the Young Czechs by new language ordinnances for Bohemia and Moravia (April 5th), which caused great resentment among the Germans of all Austria. Badeni offered his resignation, which the Emperor in a polite letter of April 6th refused to accept. The German opposition demanded the language ordinnance to be taken back, and by the means of obstruction of parliamentary debates tried to force the issue, which resulted in stormy debates in the Chamber of Deputees, until the [session of the] Reichstag was postponed on June 2nd. The opposition now was continued on various party congresses, on the occasion of which, especially on the great German People's Day in Eger [Györ] (July 11th), clashes between people and military occurred and emotional demonstrations against the government were held. When the Reichstag reconvened on September 23rd, the German parties proposed to sue Badeni because of the language ordinnance. The proposal was rejected on October 20th by 161 to 141 votes, as was another proposal in connection with the events at Eger on October 26th, by 172 against 145 votes. From then on the conflict of the parties intensified from session to session. After the vresignation of the first president, Kathrein (Catholic People's Party), the Pole Abrahamovicz became his successor, Kramar (Young Czech) first, Fuchs (Catholic People's Party) second vice president; on October 28th the German parties obstructed the debate on the provisional Ausgleich by a session lasting 33 hours, with a speech by Leicher lasting 12 hours. On November 4th, after a stormy debate, the provisional Ausgleich was forwarded to the committee by 177 to 122 votes. On October 12th new requests were made to sue the cabinet; on November 24th the second debate on the provisional Ausgleich was to begin. As the Germans obstructed, on the 25th and 26th an attempt to alter the agenda was undertaken (Lex Falkenhayn), and police used against the obstructors, which caused such a storm of resentment in Vienna and the German provinces, that Badeni was dismissed on November 25th, after which the minister of education von Gautsch was appointed prime minister, and the Reichsrat was postponed. The change in ministers caused dangerous excesses against the Germans in several places in Bohemia, so that on December 2nd martial law was declared in Prague, which already was lifted on January 8th 1898. As the new cabinet Gautsch failed to win the parties over for new language ordinnances, which were to replace those imposed by Badeni, and under such circumstances the convocation of the Reichstag to discuss the Ausgleich seemed futile, on March 5th the cabinet resigned. Now Count Thun, former stadholder of Bohemia, was charged with the formation of a new cabinet. By taking in the Young Czech Kaizl (for finances), Bärnreither from the German estate owners, Baron Kast from the Catholic People's Party (for agriculture) and the Pole Jendrejowicz, he hoped to win the large parties over for the Ausgleich. Only the fact, that the cabinet did not dare to take a decisive step in the question of the language ordinnances, caused the German parties, to continue in their strategy of obstruction. In the summer of 1898 the prime minister held new negotiations with the opposition in the question of the languages, which failed to produce a result. Despite the only German representative Bärnreither leaving the cabinet after the reopening of the Reichstag on September 26th, he was replaced by Dipauli from the Catholic People's Party, the majority of the German parties decided to give uo the obstruction against the debate of the Ausgleich, to make it impossible for the government, to implement the Ausgleich by making use of paragraph 14 of the basic law on parliament (emergency legislation); but the government postponed the session of the Reichsrat even before the commission debate came to an end, on December 20th, and on December 31st the Ausgleich was extended by Imperial decrees according to paragraph 14. But when in the following year all attempts failed to make the Chamber of Deputees unable to work, and when a new language law met the resistance of the Czechs, the Separate-from-Rome Movement steadily increased, the implementation of the new provisional Ausgleich on the basis of paragraph 14 caused the opposition to severe protests in many assemblies, and the last attempts of the government to bring about an approachment [of the positions] of the parties, failed due to the resistance of the Germans, the cabinet Thun on September 23rd 1899 resigned. The new cabinet under the presidency of Count Clary-Aldringen abolished Gautsch's language ordinnances without condition, and by doing so gained the collaboration of some German parties, but failed to push through parliament the Ausgleich laws because of the Czech obstruction, and therefore resigned on December 19th. Now a cabinet composed of state officials under Wittek conducted the business of government until January 18th 1900, in order to solve the most urgent government issues, a provisional budget and the question of quotas.
The difficult task, which had lead to so frequent failure in the latest years, to make the Chamber of Deputees capable of functioning, to reconcile the hostile parties, to bring about an understanding between Czechs and Germans in the language question, was given by the Emperor to a new cabinet, in which von Körber held the presidency and the ministry of the interior, Welsersheimb the ministry of defense, Wittek railroads, Böhm von Bawerk finances, Spens-Boden justice, Hartel culture and education, Call trade, Giovanelli agriculture, and in which Pientak took charge of Polish affairs, Rezek Czech affairs. Körber began the activity of the cabinet by reconciliation conferences of Germans and Czechs, which began on February 5th 1900 in Vienna, and which were joined by all parties except the German Nationals and the Radical Czechs. Simultaneously the Reichsrat was reopened on February 22nd, in the Chamber of Deputees Prade, of the German Left, became first vice president, the Czech Zacek second vice president. The conferences did not produce any result, the diet debates in Prague had resulted in a worsening of the relations between Germans and Czechs, and when on May 8th the cabinet presented language laws for Bohemia and Moravia, the Czechs immediately announced obstruction against the parliamentary discussion of the latter. The Germans showed to be little satisfied. On June 8th, inmidst a stormy night session without prospect of any progress, the Chamber [session] had to be postponed, as the Czechs also obstructed the debate of the provisional budget. For the conduct of the necessary business of state usage of paragraph 14 (emergency legislation) again was made. In order to create a new environment, on September 7th the Chamber of Deputees was dissolved, and new elections were ordered for January 1901. These produced a strong increase of radical votes among the Germans and Czechs. The new session began stormy on January 30th 1901, but in March the obstruction mildened, and by the preferential treatment of economic and cultural questions (establishment of a Gallery of Modern Art in Prague, construction of large canals), by a personal visit of the Emperor in Prague and Aussig (in June), Körber attempted to distract the interests of the parties from the language question. But the fall session again was characterized by the obstruction of the Czech Radicals, and only with the slowest speed parliamentary work progressed, so that the prime minister in the session of December 9th threatened with a :radical cure", which was generally interpreted as an attempt of a coup d'etat. But in the session of February 24th 1902 Körber rejected this interpretation. At least it became possible in May to have an ordinary debate of the budget, and to get it approved, for the first time since 1897, in June the Czechs even were persuaded to abandon the strategy of obstruction, as they had been promised that new language laws would be presented in the fall session. The draft regarding the regulation of the language question in Bohemia and Moravia of October 14th 1902 was responded to by the Czech Club by the latter taking on the struggle against cabinet Körber with the sharpest of means usual in the Viennese parliament. In the face of a collapse of the constitution, the German Bohemian deputees, with the exception of the radical East German and All German groups, which made the determination of German as the official language of the state as a condition of their participation, in December 1902 approached the Czechs with new proposals of an understanding. They suggested to deal with all disputed points step by step; they were combined in the following groups : (1) outward and domestic language of administration and reform of the administration, (2) the question of state officials, (3) schools for the minority, (4) the separation of chambers of commerce and industry by language, (5) reform of the electoral ordinnance and of the curias. The memoranda exchanged by Germans and Czechs in these questions in the first days of Januar 1903 resulted in common conferences in Vienna under the presidency of prime minister Körber. But the proposal made by him to organize Bohemia into 5 Czech, 3 German and 2 mixed-language districts, on January 12th was rejected by the Club of Czech Reichsrat and diet members, and the reconciliation conference was terminated without a result. The club, on January 23rd 1903, renewed his decision to obstruct; only for tactical purposes some government proposals, the defense law, the law on the sugar tax, and urgent requests addressing problems at the University of Prague, and in regard to the agenda, were exempted from the obstruction. These difficulties in regard to the domestic situation were made worse by the development of the political conditions in Hungary, where the defense law, which in Cisleithania was accepted by a large majority on February 19th 1903, provided an occasion to bring up constitutional questions of much larger scale. The events in Hungary, the resignation of the cabinet Szell, who could not overcome the obstruction against defense laws, the new formation of a cabinet by Count Khuen-Hedervary, his concession to the opposition by partial withdrawal of the defense law, caused the cabinet Körber on June 26th to request its demission, which was not accepted. Only the minister of Czech affairs Rezek in July 11th resigned. The parliamentary crisis in Hungary, which since the Emperor's army order of Chlopy of September 16th had concerning character, caused Körber to convoke the Reichsrat on September 23rd, which approved the recruitment law, which had become necessary because of the Hungarian crisis, but the debate of the provisional budget could not even be begun. The Czechs continued in their obstruction and on November 8th established an unimplementable constitutional program, because of which the [session of the] Reichsrat was postponed on December 12th. The Bohemian diet had to cease its activity even earlier, because the Germans obstructed work there for as long as the Czechs obstructed the Reichsrat. Also in the spring of 1904 the Chamber of Deputees, which convened on March 8th, in the words of the prime minister, provided "the image of a parliamentary dead city", as except for elections for committes and quota deputations, time was wasted with the obstructionist lecture of interpellations.
To this came new difficulties. The introduction of Italian language courses at the University of Innsbruck already in May 1903 had caused serious unrest, and the courses soon were cancelled. The Italians demanded a separate Italian university in Trieste, while the prime minister only promised the establishment at a fitting location, with Rovereto in mind. The Slovenians demanded a track taught in Slovenian at the German gymnasium of Trieste, next to a Slovenian academy in Laibach. Both parties, as their demands could not be implemented, supported the Czech obstruction. The German parties were upset about the decree concerning the recognition of the course of law at the University of Agram [Zagreb] and of examinations taken at other Austrian universities, and about the planned establishment of Czech and Polish language tracks at the German teachers' seminaries in Silesia. In German circles the tour of Galicia undertaken by the prime minister and the cabinet reshuffling undertaken in October, in which minister Böhm von Bawerk was replaced by the former director of the postal savings banks Kosel, minister of agriculture Giovanelli by Count Bucquoy, and Professor Rauda of the Czech University in Prague appointed minister of Czech affairs, caused concern. The provisional faculty of law and political science with Italian as the language of instruction at the University of Innsbruck, established by the government by decree, had to be closed again, when in Innsbruck early in November 1904 again severe unrest broke out, which affected the student body in Vienna. The new Reichsrat session opened under such auspices on November 17th thus was very stormy, and was closed on December 9th, as the demands of refunding presented by the government (an expense of 69 million Kronen to repay loans / to refund the treasury) were rejected. These difficulties caused the cabinet Körber to request its demission, which was accepted by the Emperor on December 27th. Now Baron von Gautsch on December 31st reshuffled the cabinet. He completed the cabinet by appointing the stadholder of Upper Austria, Count Bylandt-Rheidt minister of the interior, and section chief Klein minister of justice, and opened the Reichsrat on January 24th 1905 with an optimistic speech. Indeed, the session initially was focussed on matters in a rational way. the many urgent proposals (181) which postponed the discussion of the agenda, were withdrawn by the political parties. The refunding proposal was approved, even the replacement of railroad minister Wittek, who had permitted spending way beyond the railroad budgets in regard to the Alpine railroads, by section chief Wrba were approved (May 2nd), and did not have an impact on the situation of the government. Also the trade agreement with Germany was passed on July 6th after a long, partially stormy debate, partially obstructed by the Czech Radical Party, as were provisional agreements with Switzerland and Bulgaria, and soon after the session of the Reichsrat postponed.
Before its reopening several important changes in the composition of the cabinet had taken place, as on September 11th the minister of culture and education von Hartel and the minister of trade von Call had resigned and were replaced by section chiefs Richard Freiherr von Bienerth (born in 1863 in Verona) to minister of education and Count Leopold Auersperg (born in 1855 in Budapest) to minister of trade. From its beginning, the new session was under the impression of conditions in Hungary, where the government in August seriously considered the introduction of universal [adult manhood] suffrage, in order to solve its domestic crisis, but was not given the approval of the crown to present laws in this respect, and therefore requested demission in September. It was said that the opposition of the crown was based on the serious concern expressed by the Austrian government in regard to repercussions the introduction of universal suffrage in Hungary would have for Austria. Prime minister von Gautsch in the opening session declared that he opposed the introduction of universal suffrage in Austria, because consideration of the national composition of Austria required the government to protect important interests. A universal suffrage in Cisleithania, if it would contain the guarantee of [Cisleithania's] existence, could only be based on a firm and lasting regulation of national conditions. The urgent proposal made by the Czechs for the introduction of universal suffrage ended with the rejection of its urgency, for the approval of which a two-thirds majority would have been necessary. But the vote showed, that the majority in both houses indeed had opted for the introduction of universal equal suffrage. The [session of the] Chamber of Deputees was postponed already on October 6th, in order to make regional diet sessions possible; but from this moment on political life in Austria was dominated by the question of the introduction of universal equal suffrage for elections to the Chamber of Deputees. In many larger cities mass demonstrations for universal suffrage took place, so that the government gave up her earlier resistance based on principles (see "Wiener Abendpost" of November 4th 1905). When the Reichsrat reconvened on November 28th (on the same day the workers of Vienna, by a demonstration of about 100,000 men, demonstrated for the introduction of universal equal suffrage), the prime minister announced to present within two months a proposal for an electoral reform on the basis of universal suffrage. This promise was received in the Chamber of Deputees with approval, while in the House of Lords in the debate of December 1st and 2nd, especially the representatives of feudal nobility (Prince Karl Schwarzenberg and Count Karl Thun) severely criticized the preform project on the basis expressed by the prime minister. The parliamentary winter vacation from December 19th 1905 to January 30th 1906 were used by the prime minister for discussions with the parties; also a first attempt (in vain) to parliamentarise the cabinet was made. On February 23rd 1906 the government brought in their proposal for an electoral reform in the Chamber of Deputees, which consisted of 5 law drafts : 1) change of the constitution in regard to the representation of the Empire, 2) election ordinnance including the division in electoral districts, 3) protection of the freedom of election, 4) complementation of paragraph 16 of the constitution in regard to the representation of the Empire (immunity of the members) and 5) alteration of the agenda of the Reichsrat. While the combination of the reform of the agenda and the national distribution of mandates (Germans 205, Czechs 99, Poles and Ruthenians 95, Italians 17, southern Slavs 35, Romanians, in total 455) from the beginning caused strong opposition among the various parties, still in mid March the election of a committee for further consultation took place, as both prime minister and minister of the interior declared their willingness to accept changes in regard to the number of mandates and the delimitation of electoral districts. But already the presentation of two urgent proposals, 1) to grant Galicia special status, by All German Schönerer, 2) to revise the constitution by the Young Czech Herold, clearly showed that the electoral reform, in this shape, was to run into difficulties. The treatment as an urgent matter, which required a majority of two thirds, was denied to both proposals, but that the former, on special status for Galicia, received a majority of 19 votes, was regarded a defeat of the government, especially as the parties at the opposite of the political spectrum (All Germans and Poles) cooperated in this vote. Under the pretext of the necessity of the convocation of the diet of Carniola, by postponement of the Reichsrat session on March 31st the discussions of the Chamber of Deputees, and thus also of the committee on electoral reform, were interrupted at an unexpectedly early point, in order to gain time for new negotiations.
Important was the conclusion of the Hungarian domestic crisis in the first days of April by the conclusion of peace between the crown and the coalition, by the appointment of the cabinet Wekerle. The parliament convening on April 24th thus found a different, thoroughly changed situation. The difficulties in regard to electoral reform had not changed, now the prospect was added that the Chamber soon had to enter into serious discussions of the relations of Austria with Hungary, and to conduct elections of the delegations. The prime minister believed, by a serious attempt to parliamentarise the cabinet in such a way that all large parties, Germans, Czechs and Poles, were represented in it, to find a way to secure the electoral reform. But the Poles tied such conditions in regard to changes to the draft of the electoral law, that on this basis no agreement was possible. On April 30th prime minister Gautsch requested his demission, which was approved by the Emperor, as was the resignation of minister of the interior, Count Bylandt-Rheidt, on May 2nd. Simultaneously, [the session of] the Reichsrat was postponed for a brief period until a new cabinet was constituted. The Emperor appointed Prince Konrad zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, son of the deceased chamberlain of the Emperor, Konstantin Prince Hohenlohe (born 1863), who hitherto was stadholder in Trieste. After lengthy consultations with the deputees of all parties, the Reichsrat was reopened on May 15th. The prime minister declared the two most important points of his program to be the implementation of the electoral reform and the regulation of relations with Hungary. In the first respect, of the prime minister it was known that he was a supporter of universal suffrage, and that this conviction of his had recommended him as the successor to Baron von Gautsch. His program speech culminated in the sentence, that the electoral reform not only "was a demand of justice in regard to the lower classes of the population, which hitherto had been discriminated against in regard to their political rights", but that it also was to lay the foundation of a national peace project in Austria, or at least facilitate its implementation. As far as the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich was concerned, Hohenlohe expressed the prospect, that both governments were to take up negotiations covering "the entire complex of disputed questions". But the Hungarian prime minister responded to intend to present the common customs tariff, agreed upon by the cabinets Koerber and Szell, which had been approved by the Austrian Reichsrat, to present to the Hungarian diet, to be opened, as a separate Hungarian customs tariff. The differences of opinion between the two prime ministers could not be overcome, although the Crown Council under the presidency of the Emperor was held, as Hohenlohe insisted on the undoubtedly correct position, that nothing should be changed in the existing conditions before the negotiations were to be opened. Against expectations on May 27th the position of the Hungarian prime minister was given the Emperor's approval, in response to which Hohenlohe and the entire cabinet requested their demission, which was accepted by the Emperor in a letter of May 29th.
The defeat of Hohenlohe and of the Austrian position in general, in a question symptomatic for the Ausgleich negotiations, caused great concern in the circles of Austrian deputees. They were even more upset about the fact that the session of the Austrian Chamber of Deputees, in accordance with the constitution convoked for May 29th, suddenly was cancelled. Numerous members assembled on that day in parliament, and held a "free session" without presidency, lead by Prade. Here a position against an eventual postponement of the session was taken. This had the effect, that already on May 30th the regular activity of the Chamber of Deputees was resumed, and in an urgent matter, a strong position against eventual unilateral action by Hungary in the question of the customs tariff was taken.
The general conviction, that only energetic, united action by the Austrian parliament could balance unilateral desire to act in Hungary, resulted in the idea, which had aleady earlier been discussed, to come to fruit, to form a parliamentary cabinet in Austria. The task of forming such a cabinet was given on May 29th to Baron Max Wladimir von Beck, hitherto section chief in the ministry of agriculture and confidant of heir apparent Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who after some difficulties, already on the following day, composed the cabinet as follows, which was approved by the Emperor on June 2nd : prime minister : Baron von Beck, minister of the interior : Richard Freiherr von Bienerth, hitherto minister of education, minister of education : Gustav Marchet, hitherto head of the College of Agriculture, minister of justice : Franz Klein (as before), minister of finances : Witold R. von Kocytowski, hitherto head of the financial authority of Lemberg, minister of trade : Joseph Forscht, hitherto section chief in the ministry of railroads, minister of railroads : Julius Derschatta Edler von Standhalt, minister of agriculture : Count Leopold Auersperg, hitherto minister of trade, minister of defense : Schönaich, hitherto quartermaster, minister of German affairs : Heinrich Prade, minister of Czech affairs : deputee Friedrich Pacak, minister of Polish affairs : Count Adalbert Dzieduszycki.
The new cabinet presented itself as a coalition cabinet, which combined the leaders of the Germand, Poles and Czechs, but in which also the main political directions, progress and conservatism, centralism and federalism. In his program speech in the Chamber of Deputees on June 7th the prime minister declared, that the new government represented a "concentration of powers of work", taken in part from the large parties in parlament, in part from the pool of state officials, because the situation of Austria would require "the concentration of the great national powers". In regard to relations with Hungary the prime minister emphasized, that Austria continued to hold the position, that only the entire complex of questions in relation to the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich could be negotiated, but that one had to consider the possibility of separate decrees on the Austrian side. As further important points of the program the prime minister listed the nationalization of privately-owned railroads, the electoral reform and national defense.

source in German, posted by Retro-Bibliothek






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First posted on March 5th 2009

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