Old Austria

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Old Austria , especially in Austria, is a name for Cisleithanien , the kingdoms and countries represented in the Imperial Council (not officially called Austria until 1915) from the middle of the 19th century and serves to distinguish it from republican Austria from 1918. imprecise) also denotes the whole of Austria-Hungary . The term is not a 19th century creation; before 1806 it was used to differentiate the Austrian coats of arms from the 15th century .

The Imperial and Royal Monarchy

In the historical context, the expression describes the continuity of the Austrian lands in the Habsburg Monarchy through the changing state, from the original 'Old' Austria to the Habsburg hereditary lands , which until 1806 as the Austrian Empire were also part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation , and that Austrian Empire 1804–1867 up to the western half of the double monarchy 1867–1918, when the two monarchy collapsed, historically and culturally coined but politically sovereign successor states emerged.

The Austro-Hungarian monarchy

In addition, the term Old Austria - sometimes romanticizing - is also used for the imperial and royal monarchy Austria-Hungary as a whole, especially when describing social and cultural issues between around 1860 and 1918. In this epoch (which goes back to the Biedermeier and the March Revolution in 1848 This includes the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, through which the previously existing unitary state was divided into two largely independent parts under constitutional law, and from around 1880 the founding period up to the fin de siècle (end of the century) and the Belle Époque up to and including the pre-war years of the First World War, the ' great catastrophe of the 20th century '.

This use of the term implicitly assumes that the climate of cooperation and competition, sympathy and aversion between the nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy - in contrast to the Magyarization policy in Old Hungary - ultimately went back to the multinational politics of Cisleithania, which reflects the diverse influences of the peoples living here and ethnic groups and their cultures. The name can only be found in Austrian history books - other states with historical reference to the Habsburg multi-ethnic empire do not use this expression.

Politically, the term Old Austria is used when referring to the crown lands of the Austrian Empire from Galicia to the Adriatic Sea , but not the countries of the Hungarian Crown ( Transleithanien , today also known as ' Old Hungary ' since 1918 to distinguish it from Hungary - also a heraldry term - designated).

Use of the term "Old Austrians"

German-speaking residents of the successor states of the monarchy and their descendants

Recently, in the diction of some political groups and in the media in Austria, German-speaking or German-born people from former crown lands and their descendants living in other countries have been referred to as old Austrians, such as German-speaking citizens of Slovenia after 1945. The Slovenian President Milan turned against this Kučan : We are all old Austrians!

As the Austro- Hungarian monarchy was a multiethnic state whose citizens had the unified Austrian citizenship as defined by the constitution in 1867, regardless of their mother tongue, the old Austrian population cannot be restricted to people of one nationality . Therefore, the use of the term "Altösterreicher" for German-speaking citizens in the successor states of the old monarchy may in many cases be a consequence of the fact that there is no alternative, summarizing term for these population groups, which are often more related to the culture of the earlier Danube monarchy than to the ( Identify the federal) German cultural area. The return to terms such as German Bohemia and German Moravians in contrast to the primarily political connotation Sudeten Germans , which culturally excludes long-resident German-speaking population groups (see Sudetenland and Sudetenland ), is an example: until the end of the Danube Monarchy, German Bohemia and German Moravians were members of the German-speaking population group of Old Austria perceived.

See also: Volksdeutsche , Central Europe , Reichsdeutsche , Bundesbürger

Followers of certain principles and characteristics of the previous monarchy

However, the interpretation is also possible that old Austrians are people who affirm certain principles or models of the Imperial and Royal Monarchy or people who identify with this state. In the Republic of Austria , people occasionally refer to themselves as old Austrians who see the Imperial and Royal Monarchy positively or see it as a forerunner of European unification ( monetary union , principle of subsidiarity ) or who regard the national diversity of this state as a positive cultural heritage.

See also


  • Ernst Bruckmüller: The development of Austrian consciousness . 1998 ( Demokratiezentrum.org [PDF]).
  • Hans Petschar: Old Austria. People, countries and peoples in the Habsburg Monarchy. Brandstätter, Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-85033-473-0 ( online ).
  • Friedrich Heer: The struggle for the Austrian identity. Böhlau, Vienna / Cologne / Graz 1981.
  • Manfred Scheuch : Austria - Province, Empire, Republic. A historical atlas. Brandstätter, Vienna 1994.

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Kotulla , German Constitutional History: From the Old Empire to Weimar (1495–1934) , Springer, 2008, ISBN 978-3-540-48705-0 , Rn 1901 .
  2. ^ Scheuch: The lot of the old Austrians , p. 194 f. and Crown Lands and Nationalities , p. 134 f.
  3. ^ Antonín Měšťan: Bohemian national consciousness in Czech literature. In: Ferdinand Seibt (Ed.): The chance of understanding. Intentions and approaches to supranational cooperation in the Bohemian countries 1848–1918 . Oldenbourg, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-486-53971-X , pp. 31-38, here p. 35.