Term Paper: Georg Ritter Von Schonerer

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George Ritter Von Schnerer

Von Schnerer's Growing Hatred for the Power Structures

Jews in Austria

Von Schnerer's Hatred of the Jews

Von Schnerer's Time as Representative

Von Schnerer and the Linzer Programm

Von Schnerer's Drift into Insanity

George Heinrich Ritter von Schnerer came from a family of engineers, inherited a purchased title, and aroused the petite bourgeoisie of Vienna and the German-speaking villagers of the Lumpenproletariat. He rose to public attention during a time when Austria was particularly vulnerable to the demands of Eastern Europeans, whose new-found power increased as the Habsburg monarchy lost control over its empire.

But for von Schnerer's influence on Hitler, he might have disappeared into the clouds of history after a few short years in the Austrian House of Representatives. Von Schnerer and Luger, the mayor of Vienna, awoke a movement in Austria that moved Hitler to copy their techniques, first in Bavaria, then in the rest of Germany. According to Hitler in Mein Kampf:

Was Lueger praktisch angriff, gelang in wundervoller Weise, was er sich davon hoffte, blieb aus. Was Schnerer wollte, gelang ihm nicht, was er befurchetete, traf aber leider in furchtbarer Weise ein...So haben beide M. nner ihr weiteres Ziel nicht erreicht. Lueger konnte sterreich nicht retten und Schnerer das deutsche Volk nich vor dem Untergang bewahren (Hitler, 1931)."

This paper deals with von Schnerer's time before and during his time as a representative for Zwettl in the Austrian Abgeordnetenhaus. It will seek to explain some of the cultural and personal forces which propelled von Schnerer to express his disdain the press and capitalists. Strangely, von Schnerer influenced a number of Jewish intellectuals early in his public career, but his fast descent into virulent anti-Semitism last him many of his followers. This paper will also analyse why von Schnerer's influence did not last longer than it did, and why he was unable to regain political influence after his relatively short stay in prison.

History

Little has been written about von Schnerer's childhood and early adult life. He was the son of an engineer who had built and financed a horse-drawn railway was built in Linz in 1828.

His ancestors were small farmers ("Kleinbauer") from Dietersdorf near Graz, and his grandfather a small landlord.

It was soon surpassed by steam-powered locomotion, and his father was unable to maintain his commercial enterprise, but he was able to succeed with an engineering bureau, then in transportation. His father was a strong personality who had travelled for his studies to England and America. Although the horse-drawn railway did not succeed for long, he created a freight business which did very well. In 1860, Emperor Franz-Josef gave von Schnerer's father the noble rank of "Ritter," or "Knight," in return for his work in developing the Empress Elizabeth Railway.

A von Schnerer's Family Tree (Pammer, 2002)

He was rebellious in school, known to be irritable and reclusive. He attended the Volksschule from 1849 to 1856, then high school in Vienna. He argued with his religious teacher, where he refused to learn his catechism. He was then sent to a private tutor in Dresden, then the university in Tubingen. His father, Matthias, bought some property in Rosenau, near Zwettl, and directed his son to focus on agricultural studies. During his university time, Georg worked on the farms of Prince Johan Adolf Schrwarzenberg in Lobowitz in Bohemia. During the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, von Schnerer met several Prussian officers, during which time he developed his pro-Prussian sympathies, which extended to Bismarck and Emperor Wilhelm I. Georg completed his studies in Hohenheim and Ungarisch-Altenberg, where he graduated with a degree in agricultural studies. His father, Matthias Schnerer, gave his son 120 hectares of land to farm after his graduation in Rosenau bei Zwettl in lower Austria, an area known as Niederoesterreich, about 130 kilometres northwest of Vienna. In 1867, von Schnerer had succeeded in developing the farm into a model of efficiency.

Von Schnerer's Growing Hatred for the Power Structures

What was the background of von Schnerer's hatred of the existing power structure in Vienna, and how did it turn from a hatred of those in power to hatred of the press, and specifically of Jews?

Von Schnerer's personal history can be seen from two perspectives: the rise of a new German nation, with the continued political and economic successes of the Germans on the battlefield and in a headlong rush to industrialisation. The second and contrasting view was that of a disintegrating Austria, which had failed to retain its empire, and had not kept pace with Germany and other countries in their rush to industrialise.

Von Schnerer worked as a Landsherr in a region which was wracked by vast immigration of people from the Czech, Polish and Eastern European countries. In 1860, the Vienna government issued an October Diploma, which decreed a federal structure to the empire; the subsequent February Patent of 1861 removed some aspects of this federalization, but the main concepts remained. As a result, several former Austrian vassal states created their own parliaments and restored their local cultures and language in what had previously been dominated by the German-speaking minority representatives of Vienna.

After the defeat of Austria in the Seven-Week's War of 1866, Emperor Franz-Josef negotiated a compromise with the restive Magyars, and split the Empire into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Poles and the Czechs also tried to split their portions of the empire; they failed at that time in their attempts, but they were able to wrest additional cultural and linguistic freedoms away from the central government.

It was during the period after the Ausgleich (Compromise) of 1867 that Germanisation was stopped in many outlying areas. Von Schnerer's district lay near the current border of the Czech Republic, where ethnic Czechs attempted to assert their cultural heritage. The House of Representatives in Vienna, controlled by Liberals from 1867 to 1879, attempted to retain the Germanic nature of Austria itself while granting increasing powers to non-Germanic regions. Czech leaders at the time, called the Old Czechs, attempted to restore the old Kingdom of Bohemia, which would be partially independent in the same way as the Hungarian Kingdom had achieved in the 1867 compromise. They were partially successful in that in 1871 in they were able to convince the Emperor to agree to the Fundamental Articles; violent demonstrations from the German liberals ensured that the Articles were never promulgated.

1873 saw a market crash, which started in Vienna and spread to a number of other countries, including Germany, the UK and the United States (the "Panic of 1873"). The crash was reputed to have started due to speculation on land for the Vienna World Exposition. The speculation, which had started in 1867 and reached a fever pitch, resulted in the "Schwarzer Freitag" of May 9, 1873. At that time, most of the banks disappeared, as well as half the licensed companies (Maier, 1973). Although the economic harm did not last for more than four years, the psychological trauma affected the entire nation for much longer. Economic progress was affected in many countries, but in Austria the effects fell especially hard on the Liberals managed to hang on to power through 1879, but the faith in their capability to govern was shattered.

Jews in Austria

Emperor Joseph II created a "Toleranzpatent" for Jews which evolved into a full recognition of citizenship for Jews in Austria in 1867. This first issuance was part of more general reforms put in place by Joseph II, but it heralded a time of "Entmachung," or reduction in power, of the Catholic Church as a political pillar for what had been the Holy Roman Empire. Those who were not Catholic could for the first time engage in an aspect of religious freedom.

This Patent resulted in a mass immigration of Jews from Galicia, the Ukraine and points further East of Jews who had suffered from political and religious persecution for hundreds of years. Jews could, for the first time, attend high schools and universities, open businesses and pursue crafts. Because the Jews did not have to observe Christian/Catholic rules, they could open their stores on Sundays and religious holidays, and leave their houses before noon on Sundays.

More specific to Niederoesterreich, Jews were encouraged to come and create businesses and trades, but were not allowed to farm the land except in certain regions, like Galicia:

Auf dem offenen Lande in Niedersterreich zu wohnen, bleibt den Juden wie vorhin noch ferner untersagt; es sey denn, dass sie irgend auf einem Dorfe, in einem Markt, einer Landstadt oder allenfalls auf einem bis hieher noch unbekannten (den) Grunde eine Fabrik errichten oder sonst ein nutzliches Gewerb einfuhren wollten. In welchen F. llen sie immer um Erlaubnis bey Regierung anzusuchen haben; ihnen aber, nachdem sie so erhalten, auf dem Lande eben die Rechte und Freyheiten, wie ihre Religionsgenossen in der Residenz zukommen (Jeiteles, 1873)

The Staatsgrundgestz of December 21, 1867 gave Jews the rights of full citizens. They were referred to as a "tribe," and were3 given all… [END OF PREVIEW]

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