Austria Which Influenced Hitler and Term Paper

  • Length: 20 pages
  • Sources: 15
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #6458210

Excerpt from Term Paper :

During this period, Austria also continued industrial expansion, but at a slower pace than Germany.

With growth came further instability. Investment and founding of new organizations exploded since 1867, with over 400 new corporations being founded (Pulzer 1964) from 1867 to 1872. This was the age of the Gruender, which meant "entrepreneur," but also came to be associated with financially shaky schemes which resulted in the bursting of a speculative bubble in 1873.

The period of the Liberal government spanned from 1867 to 1879, a period during which Austria lost its power and prestige, unemployment and economic insecurity reigned, and newly-vociferous minorities were exerting their rights to equality in language and culture. In the meantime, Germany seemed to be growing from success to success, as its liberalization engendered national unity and a growth in wealth and military power.

Conservative Ascendancy in Austria

The nature of the conservatives in Austria was different than in other Germanic countries. It was backward-looking in a way that rejected the new industrializing tendencies of neighboring Germany and Switzerland. Although a democracy, the Austrian government only enfranchised wealthier working men (largely guild members) in 1882; these so-called "5-guilder men" were generally urban and in the elite. Broader enfranchisement waited until 1896, when peasants and farmers came into the voting public (Grandner 1994).

The accession of 5-guilder men and later the peasants fueled a backlash in Austrian politics. The industrial workers were under threat from immigrants, free trade and industrialization. The peasants were also under threat from cheaper labor and cheaper imported foodstuffs. Thus the political backlash against trends in Austria was exacerbated by a change in voting eligibility during the period.

Austria joined with Germany in 1879 in a Zweibund, in which both countries agreed to share in commercial and political efforts. Austria began to adopt some of the same social welfare policies as Bismarck in Germany, primarily as a response to the emerging dangers of socialism. Although Austria tried to emulate Germany as much as possible, it was a profoundly poorer and more rural country: in 1879, over 55% of Austria's citizens still lived on the farms, while only 20% were involved in industry. The comparable figures in Germany were 44% and 33% respectively (Grandner 1994). What industrialization there was in Austria took place in pockets, rather than throughout the country as in Germany.

Thus the reasoning for social legislation in Austria, and Austria's more-limited pocketbook, resulted in an incomplete "social safety net" for Austrians as compared to their German and Swiss neighbors. As a result, economic uncertainty continued to bother Austrians in the working and agricultural classes more than in Germany, and created fertile ground for xenophobia.

The Linzer Programm

The Linzer Programm was established in 1882. Its founders were Viktor Adler, Karl Lueger (later mayor of Vienna) and Georg Ritter von Schoenerer. The motto of the Linzer Programm was "nicht Liberal, nicht Klerikal, sondern National." By combining these three themes, the Linzer Programm distanced itself from the excesses of Liberal reform, which had caused so much distress to the Kleinvolk, such as peasants and industrial workers. It also distanced itself from the Roman influence on the Catholic Church in Austria, which had been the major reason that Bismarck and the Prussians had rejected Anschluss with Austria in 1866. And Nationalism -- a precursor of Hitler's National Socialism -- implied a focus on the German-Austrian as a "true" German, in opposition to all the non-German Austrians who had done so much harm to the true "Volk" of Austria.

Like many other "democracy" movements, the Linzer Programm was for greater press freedom, freedom of assembly, and freedom to speak German in the Germanic areas of Austria. To this degree, the Linzer Programm can be seen as a reaction to the other "Volks" movements in the former Austrian empire, with a push by various ethnic and cultural groups to assert their linguistic and cultural rights. Whereas Hungary had been successful in 1867 by recognizing their capital, their royal lineage and their language, the Germanic Austrians were seeking to assert their equal rights within their own lands.

The Linzer Programm was socialistic in that it supported the worker and the peasant, and railed against "Grosskapital" and major landowners. It favored a split of "rump" Austria, referred to as Cisleithanian, from the rest of the Empire, known as Transleithanian. Backed by Pernerstorfer and Friedjung, journalists and publishers, the Linzer Program united those who harkened to an earlier vision of a purer Germanic state in its former imperial glory.

Von Schoenerer's anti-Semitism came to the fore in the Linzer Programm in 1885. At that time, Adler and Lueger split from the movement, and von Schoenerer became its sole leader (Jenks 1977).

Prior to the split in 1885, the Linzer Programm was more specifically pro-Germanic rather than anti-Semitic. The Programm was deeply traditionalist in its thinking, harking back to the days of the "Zweite Reich," prior to 1806 and the heyday of the Holy Roman Empire. This pre-industrial vision of a Germanic empire was deeply supportive of guilds, workers and peasants, and against nobility and the Roman ties of the Catholic Church (although not specifically against all aspects of the Church).

Sources of Anti-Semitism

In particular, the Jews were resented for undermining the Austrian economy. This viewpoint was not home-produced, but came from Anti-Semitic authors in Germany.

Jews had been long-term residents of Austria, particularly in Vienna and Galicia. In the latter province, Jews composed 11% of the population (Rozenblitt 2001). Unlike Germany, where Jews had risen to prominent positions in business and finance, the Jews of Austria were as poor as their non-Jewish neighbors. Thus claims of a Jewish "hegemony" in Austria were misplaced (Mitten 1992). There had been an influx of Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia during the 1890's, largely in response to the Pogroms of the 1890's in those areas. Jews fled Eastern Europe for Austria as well as the United States, Palestine and Latin America. It is not clear from von Schoenerer's early writings that there was a particular concern about Jews as immigrants -- only in the later 1870's and especially the 1880's did von Schoenerer become a rabid anti-Semite.

The authors of the Linzer Programm were not as much anti-Jewish as for the displacement of the Jews to Transleithanian. Unlike the Germans, the Austrians saw "their" 1 million Jews in Galicia as economically weak and too different to blend into the new version of Austria that they had imagined.

Von Schoenerer had the responsibility to develop a constitution for the Linzer Programm, which he worked on from 1882 to 1885. The result of his deliberations was the conclusion that the "Jewish problem" could not be ignored by sending the Galician Jews to the Eastern portions of the rump empire. He was concerned that the Jews would have a negative influence on the Transleithanians. In von Schoenerer's view, a Germanic union must be Aryan, and the Jews had no part in the new national vision (Whiteside 1981).

Anti-Semitism, however, was a key component of the Pan-German movement, as proselytized by the Alldeutscher Verband of Germany and local exponents of pro-German, anti-Semitic political movements. To some degree, the causes of German Austrian nationalism were mixed with anti-Semitism in the same way that they were anti-Catholic and anti-capitalistic. The future concept of "National Socialism" protested as much against big industry and the decline of the guilds as it did the Jews and non-German influences.

The new-found anti-Semitism was voiced by a number of Austrians, most prominently the agitator and industrialist Georg Ritter von Schoenerer, the former Priest Josef Deckert and Engelbert Pernerstorfer, the Viennese high school teacher who founded "Deutschen Worter." Each of these agitators pushed for a vision in which the drawbacks of new industrialization and trade were the fault of the Jews, who personified the non-German push for change.

Schoenherr's political life began in the early 1870's, when he was elected to Parliament as a Liberal. Over time, his sentiments became more nationalistic, more centered on German-speaking Austrians, and more anti-Semitic (Pelinka 1998). Schoenherr's aristocratic background put him in curious concert with the disenfranchised and suffering lower classes of Austria, who suffered in the same way as the traditional nobility of Austria prior to the 1870's (Jenks 1977).

Austria was a more rural and less-advanced country than Germany. Its failure to accede prior to World War I to a greater Germany left German-Austrian citizens in a weak and uncertain republic with others who did not share their beliefs. Schoenherr's ideas appealed to all those who were left behind by progress and democracy: the petit bourgeoisie, the farmer, the rural resident, the exploited industrial worker and the poor German-speaker. He identified the clear enemies of these true Germans as the budding middle classes, the industrialist, the internationalist, the socialist and the Jews. Although many of his countrymen…

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