Austrian-Czech equalization

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The Austrian-Czech equalization , also German-Czech equalization or German-Bohemian equalization , is the political equalization striven for within the Austrian half of Austria-Hungary between the Czech majority and the German-speaking minority in the countries of the Bohemian crown , which did not materialize is.

Demands of the Old Czechs

The political party of the Old Czechs emerged from the Czech Slavophiles after the Slav Congress of 1848 . Its most important representative was initially František Palacký , who sought the unity of all Slavs on Austrian and Hungarian soil and the transformation of the empire into a Slav-dominated federation allied with Russia . Palacký's son-in-law František Ladislav Rieger presented the Bohemian Declaration to the Bohemian Parliament on August 22, 1868 . For the time being, the old Czechs limited themselves to working towards a cultural rebirth of the Czechs ( national theater ) and to demanding a compensation, as the Hungarians had just achieved.

Hungary as a model

In the Austro-Hungarian settlement of 1867 ("dualism"), Czech politicians saw a model for the status to be striven for between the Bohemian and Austrian crown lands of Cisleithania: They wanted, like the Magyars in Budapest, to achieve a politically autonomous government and a state parliament in Prague , which should act as independently as possible from the Imperial and Royal Government in Vienna and the Imperial and Royal Reichsrat .

The first imperial and royal government established in Vienna after the compromise of 1867, the so-called Citizens' Ministry , soon fell out over the question of how far one should meet the Czechs in the sense of federalism . The new royal Hungarian government in Budapest turned against any compromise with the Czechs, because they feared the role model effect on the predominantly Slovak Upper Hungary and on the Kingdom of Croatia, which is one of the countries of the Hungarian crown .

Fundamental Articles and Reichsrat elections

In 1871 the Bohemian Landtag decided to create an autonomous constitution (“Fundamental Article”) and negotiated with Vienna about the settlement, which was prevented by the German-Liberal Constitutional Party . (Until 1918 the Germans in Bohemia and Moravia preferred to remain part of the relative German majority in the kingdoms and countries represented in the Reichsrat as a minority in their own crown land.)

The state parliaments of the Bohemian countries refused to send representatives to the Reichsrat. Therefore, by order of the Imperial and Royal Government in Vienna, these had to be directly elected by male voters earlier than in other crown lands. Emperor Franz Joseph I avoided consistently taking sides in this conflict. He declined z. B. in 1870 the application of his kk government to dissolve uncooperative state parliaments, provoking the resignation of Prime Minister Eduard Taaffe and two ministers.

First successes of the Czechs

Ten years later, again with Taaffe as Prime Minister, in 1880 Czech again became the official language in Bohemia alongside German. However, only municipalities with a significant Czech population were administered bilingually. In 1882 a Czech university ("kk Bohemian Karl Ferdinand University") was split off from the then largely German Karl Ferdinand University in Prague. Also in 1882 the right to vote for the Reichsrat was made somewhat more democratic by the latter, an advantage for the male Czechs, who are on average somewhat poorer. Since 1883 they had a majority in the Bohemian state parliament. Since it was still a census suffrage , the city of Budweis had a Czech majority since the 1880s, but a majority German city council until 1918.

Before 1890 the old Czechs made another attempt at a Czech-Austrian unification. With the electoral victory of the Pan-Slavic Young Czechs over the Old Czechs in 1890, however, the language and power struggle between Czechs and Germans in Bohemia and in the Imperial Council of Vienna escalated further.

Exacerbation of the conflict

In 1897 the Austrian Prime Minister Count Badeni issued a nationality ordinance for Bohemia and Moravia, according to which all political communities there were to be administered in two languages ( Baden Language Ordinance ) . With this, Czech advanced from a minority language to a national language in both crown lands . German MPs then paralyzed the Austrian Reichsrat . Due to the boycotts in parliament in Vienna and Bohemia and the aggressive demonstrations in Vienna and Prague, which went down in history as the Badeni riots , the government finally had to resign, and in 1899 the nationality ordinance was repealed. Since the Catholic Church had partly supported the Baden language ordinances, the German Nationals under Georg von Schönerer declared the Los-von-Rom movement in response .

Since then, the Czech MPs have blocked parliamentary work in Vienna and the Germans those in Prague. The leader of the Young Czechs, Karel Kramář , demanded the federalization of the empire in favor of the Czech majority in Bohemia and Moravia and their unification with Hungarian Slovakia. The desired German-Czech compromise, which the more conservative Old Czechs had sought with the help of the exemplary Moravian compromise of 1905, probably finally failed with the elections to the Reichsrat in 1911, which ultimately led to the dissolution of the Bohemian state parliament through the imperial patent of July 26, 1913 led.

Preparation of Czechoslovakia

During the First World War , young Czech politicians like Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk went into exile in order to achieve the establishment of an autonomous Czech-Slovak state. Charles I's attempt to save the Austrian half of the empire with his Imperial Manifesto of October 16, 1918 and to convert it into a federal state with extensive autonomy for the individual nations came too late. His invitation to the nationalities of Cisleithania to form national councils was accepted; however, these new popular representations founded states that were independent of one another and of old Austria. On October 28, 1918, the Czechoslovak Republic was founded in Prague, long since prepared by politicians in exile , and on October 30 in Vienna the state of German-Austria , which laid claim to the predominantly German-speaking areas of the former crown lands of Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia .

See also


  • Robert A. Kann : The nationality problem of the Habsburg monarchy. History and ideas of national endeavors from the Vormärz to the dissolution of the Reich in 1918 . Volume 1: The Empire and the Peoples . Böhlau, Graz / Cologne 1964.
  • Eugenie Trützschler von Falkenstein : The battle of the Czechs for the historical rights of the Bohemian crown in the mirror of the press 1861–1879 . Verlag Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1982, ISBN 3-447-02255-8 (dissertation at the University of Munich).
  • Ernst Rutkowski: Letters and documents on the history of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy . Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-486-51831-3 .
  • Roland J. Hoffmann: TG Masaryk and the Czech question: National ideology and political activity until the failure of the German-Czech attempt at reconciliation of February 1909 . Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-486-53961-2 .
  • Helmut Soriat: Chop up the language's wisdom! Medieval reception and language struggle of the pan-German movement in Austria. Kümmerle, Göppingen 2004, ISBN 3-87452-972-X (= Göppingen work on German studies , volume 721, also dissertation at the University of Salzburg , 2004).
  • Michael Wladika : Hitler's generation of fathers - the origins of National Socialism in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Böhlau, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-205-77337-3 (with a long chapter on the subject of "1897").