Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/52

This page needs to be proofread.


24

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY [austria : languages. It was rejected on a motion of Prince Karl j a large number of Jews ; this new German party committed Scliwarzenberg without discussion, and on this all the itself to violent attacks upon the Jews, and for this reason Germans rose and left the Landtag, thereby imitating the alone any real harmony between the different branches action of the Czechs in old days when they had the would have been impossible. Notwithstanding the concessions about language the majority. These events produced a great change on the character Czechs had, however, made no advance towards their real of the German opposition. It became more and more object—the recognition of the Bohemian kingdom. Peravowedly racial • the defence of German nation- haps the leaders of the party, who were now growing old, would have been content with the influence they had New ality was put in the front of their programme. German rj^g gr0wing national animosity added bitter- already attained, but they were hard pressed at home by Pa eS ‘ ness to political life, and destroyed the possi- the Young Czechs, who were more impatient. When bility of a strong homogeneous party on which a government Count Thun was appointed governor of Bohemia their might depend. The beginning of this movement can be hopes ran high, for he was supposed to favour the coronatraced back to the year 1870. About that time a party tion of the emperor at Prague. In 1890, however of young Germans had arisen who professed to care little instead of proceeding to the coronation as was expected. for constitutionalism and other “legal mummies,” but Taaffe attempted to bring about a reconcilia- The made the preservation and extension of their own nation- tion between the opposing parties. The in- Ausgleich ality their sole object. As is so often the case in Austria, fluence by which his policy was directed is not 0 em a " the movement began in the university of Vienna, where a quite clear, but the Czechs had been of recent years less easy to deal with, and Taaffe had never really Lese- Verein of German students was formed as a point of cohesion for Germans, which had eventually to be sup- shown any wish to alter the constitution; his policy pressed. The first representative of the movement in always was to destroy the influence of parliament by parliament was Herr von Schoenerer, who did not scruple playing off one party against the other, and so to win to declare that the Germans looked forward to union with a clear field for the Government. During the month the German empire. They were strongly influenced by men of January conferences were held at Vienna, with laaffe outside Austria. Bismarck was their national hero, the in the chair, to which were invited representatives of the anniversary of Sedan their political festival, and approxima- three groups into which the Bohemian representatives tion to Germany was dearer to them than the maintenance were divided, the German party, the Czechs, and the Feudal of Austria. After 1878 a heightening of national feeling party. After a fortnight’s discussion an agreement was began among the Radicals, and in 1881 all the German made on the basis of a separation between the German and parties in opposition joined together in a club called the the Czechish districts, and a revision of the electoral law. United Left, and in their programme put in a prominent A protocol enumerating the points agreed on was. signed place the defence of the position of the Germans as the by all who had taken part in the conference, and in May condition for the existence of the state, and demanded Bills were laid before the Landtag incorporating the chief that German should be expressly recognized as the official points in the agreement. But they were not carried; the language. The younger and more ardent spirits, however, chief reason being that the Young Czechs had not been found it difficult to work in harmony with the older asked to take part in the conference, and did not conconstitutional leaders. They complained that the party sider themselves bound by its decisions ; they opposed the leaders were not sufficiently decisive in the measures for measures and had recourse to obstruction, and a ceitain self-defence. In 1885 great festivities in honour of number of the Old Czechs gradually came over to them. Bismarck’s eightieth birthday, which had been arranged Their chief ground of criticizing the proposed measures in Gratz, were forbidden by the Government, and the was that1 they would threaten the unity of the Bohemian Germans of Styria were very indignant that the party did country. At the elections in 1891 a great struggle took not take up the matter with sufficient energy. After the place between the Old and the Young Czechs. The latter elections of 1885 the Left therefore broke up again into were completely victorious ; Rieger, who had led the party two clubs, the German Austrian, which included the for thirty years, disappeared from the Reichsrath. The tiist more moderate, and the German, which wished to use result was that the proposed Ausgleich with Bohemia came sharper language. The German Club, e.cj., congratulated to an end. But the disappearance of the Old Czechs Bismarck on his measures against the Poles; the German made the parliamentary situation very insecure. The Austrians refused to take cognizance of events outside Young Czechs could not take their place; their Radical Austria with which they had nothing to do. Even the and anti-Clerical tendencies alarmed the Feudalists and German Club was not sufficiently decided for Herr von Clericalists who formed so large a part of the Right; Schoenerer and his friends, who broke off from it and they attacked the alliance with Germany; they made founded a National German Union. They spoke much of public demonstration of their French sympathies; they Germanenthum and “ Unverfalschtes 1 feutschthum, and entered into communication with other Slavonic races, they advocated a political union with the German empiie, especially the Serbs of Hungary and Bosnia; they and were strongly anti-Hungarian and wished to resign all demanded universal suffrage, and occasionally supported control over Galicia, if by a closer union with Germany the German Radicals in their opposition to the Clerical they could secure German supremacy in Bohemia and the parties, especially in educational matters; under their south Slavonian countries. They play the same part in influence disorder increased in Bohemia, a secret society Austria as does the “ pan-Germanic Union ” in Germany. called the Umlodina (in imitation of the Servian society When in 1888 the two clubs, the German Austrians and of that name) was discovered, and stringent measures had the Germans, joined once more under the name of the to be taken to preserve order. The Government therefore United German Left into a new club with eighty-seven veered round towards the German Liberals; some of the members, so as the better to guard against the common ministers most obnoxious to the Germans resigned, and danger and to defeat the educational demands of the their places were taken by Germans. For two yeais the Clericals, the National Germans remained apart with Government seemed to waver, looking now to the Left, seventeen members. They were also infected by the 1 On this see Menger, Der Ausgleich mil Bohmen, Vienna, 1891, growing spirit of anti-Semitism. The German parties had where the documents are printed. originally been the party of the capitalists, and comprised