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ANTI-SEMITISM

Socialists had joined the anti-Semites with the support of the Clerical organ, the Valerland, the Clerical party as a whole still held aloof from the Jew-baiters. The events of 1892-1895 put an end to their hesitation. The Hungarian government, in compliance with long-standing pledges to the liberal party, introduced into the diet a series of ecclesiastical reform bills providing for civil marriage, freedom of worship, and the legal recognition of Judasim on an equality with other denominations. These proposals, which synchronized with Ahlwardt's turbulent agitation in Germany, gave a great impulse to anti-Semitism and served to drive into its ranks a large number of Clericals. The agitation was taken in hand by the Roman Catholic clergy, and the pulpits resounded with denunciations of the Jews. One clergyman, Father Deckert, was prosecuted for preaching the Blood Accusation and convicted (1894). Cardinal Schlauch, bishop of Grosswardein, declared in the Hungarian House of Magnates that the Liberals were in league with "cosmopolitans" for the ruin of the country. In October 1894 the magnates adopted two of the ecclesiastical bills with amendments, but threw out the Jewish bill by a majority of six. The crown sided with the magnates, and the ministry resigned, although it had a majority in the Lower House. An effort was made to form a Clerical cabinet, but it failed. Baron Banffy was then entrusted with the construction of a fresh Liberal ministry. The announcement that he would persist with the ecclesiastical bills lashed the Clericals and anti-Semites into a fury, and the agitation broke out afresh. The pope addressed a letter to Count Zichy encouraging the magnates to resist, and once more two of the bills were amended, and the third rejected. The papal nuncio, Mgr. Agliardi, now thought proper to pay a visit to Budapest, where he allowed himself to be interviewed on the crisis. This interference in the domestic concerns of Hungary was deeply resented by the Liberals, and Baron Banffy requested Count Kalnoky, the imperial minister of foreign affairs, to protest against it at the Vatican. Count Kalnoky refused and tendered his resignation to the emperor. Clerical sympathies were predominant in Vienna, and the emperor was induced for a moment to decline the count's resignation. It soon became clear, however, that the Hungarians were resolved to see the crisis out, and that in the end Vienna would be compelled to give way. The emperor accordingly retraced his steps, Count Kalnoky's resignation was accepted, the papal nuncio was recalled, a batch of new magnates were created, and the Hungarian ecclesiastical bills passed.

Simultaneously with this crisis another startling phase of the anti-Semitic drama was being enacted in Vienna itself. Encouraged by the support of the Clericals the anti-Semites resolved to make an effort to carry the Vienna municipal elections. So far the alliance of the Clericals with the anti-Semites had been unofficial, but on the eve of the elections (January 1895) the pope, influenced partly by the Hungarian crisis and partly by an idea of Cardinal Rampolla that the best antidote to democratic socialism would be a clerically controlled fusion of the Christian Socialists and anti-Semites, sent his blessing to Prince Liechtenstein and his followers. This action alarmed the government and a considerable body of the higher episcopate, who felt assured that any permanent encouragement given to the anti-Semites would in the end strengthen the parties of sedition and disorder. Cardinal Schönborn was dispatched in haste to Rome to expostulate with the pontiff, and his representations were strongly supported by the French and Belgian bishops. The mischief was however, done, and although the pope sent a verbal message to Prince Liechtenstein excluding the anti-Semites from his blessing, the elections resulted in a great triumph for the Jewhaters. The municipal council was immediately dissolved by the government, and new elections were ordered, but these only strengthened the position of the anti-Semites, who carried 92 seats out of a total of 138. A cabinet crisis followed, and the premiership was entrusted to the Statthalter of Galicia, Count Badeni, who assumed office with a pledge of war to the knife against anti-Semitism. In October the new municipal council elected as burgomaster of Vienna Dr Karl Lueger (b. 1844), a vehement anti-Semite, who had displaced Prince Liechtenstein as leader of the party. The emperor declined to sanction the election, but the council repeated it in face of the imperial displeasure. Once more a dissolution was ordered, and for three months the city was governed by administrative commissioners. In February 1896 elections were again held, and the anti-Semites were returned with an increased majority. The emperor then capitulated, and after a temporary arrangement, by which for one year Dr Lueger acted as vice-burgomaster and handed over the burgomastership to an inoffensive nominee, permitted the municipal council to have its way. The growing anarchy in parliament at this moment served still further to strengthen the anti-Semites, and their conquest of Vienna was speedily followed by a not less striking conquest of the Landtag of Lower Austria (November 1896).

Since then a reaction of sanity has slowly but surely asserted itself. In 1908 the anti-Semites had governed Vienna twelve years, and, although they had accomplished much mischief, the millennium of which they were supposed to be the heralds had not dawned. On the contrary, the commercial interests of the city had suffered and the rates had been enormously increased (Neue Freie Presse, 29th March 1901), while the predatory hopes which secured them office had only been realized on a small and select scale. The spectacle of a Clerico-anti-Semitic tammany in Vienna had strengthened the resistance of the better elements in the country. Time had also shown that Christian Socialism is only a disguise for high Toryism, and that the German Radicals who were originally induced to join the anti-Semites had been victimized by the Clericals. The fruits of this disillusion began to show themselves in the general elections of 1900-1901, when the anti-Semites lost six seats in the Reichsrath. The elections were followed (26th January 1901) by a papal encyclical on Christian democracy, in which Christian Socialism was declared to be a term unacceptable to the Church, and the faithful were adjured to abstain from agitation of a demagogic and revolutionary character, and "to respect the rights of others." Nevertheless, in 1907 the Christian Socialists trebled their representation in the Reichsrath. This, however, was due more to their alliance with the German national parties than to any large increase of anti-Semitism in the electorate.

The last country in Europe to make use of the teachings of German anti-Semitism in its party politics was France. France.The fact that the movement should have struck root in a republican country, where the ideals of democratic freedom have been so passionately cultivated, has been regarded as one of the paradoxes of our latter-day history. As a matter of fact, it is more surprising that it was not adopted earlier. All the social and political conditions which produced anti-Semitism in Germany were present in France, but in an aggravated form due primarily to the very republican régime which at first sight seemed to be a guarantee against it. In the monarchical states the dominance of the bourgeoisie was tempered in a measure by the power of the crown and the political activity of the aristocracy, which carried with them a very real restraining influence in the matter of political honour and morality. In France these restraining influences were driven out of public life by the republic. The nobility both of the ancien régime and the empire stood aloof, and politics were abandoned for the most part to professional adventurers, while the bourgeoisie assumed the form of an omnipotent plutocracy. This naturally attracted to France all the financial adventurers in Europe, and in the train of the immigration came not a few German Jews, alienated from their own country by the agitation of Marr and Stöcker. Thus the bourgeoisie was not only more powerful in France than in other countries, but the obnoxiousness of its Jewish element was accentuated by a tinge of the national enemy. The anti-clericalism of the bourgeois republic and its unexampled series of financial scandals, culminating in the Panama "Krach," thus sufficed to give anti-Semitism a strong hold on the public mind.

Nevertheless, it was not until 1882 that the anti-Jewish movement was seriously heard of in France. Paul Bontoux (b. 1820), who had formerly been in the employ of the Rothschilds,