Pan Germanism 1871-1914 Term Paper

Pages: 20 (5425 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Drama - World

¶ … Austria which influenced Hitler and presaged the rise of Nazism in Germany. As an Austrian born on the Bavarian border, Hitler's ideas and political techniques were forged in the cauldron of decline, nationalist feeling and industrial difficulties encountered in Austria.

The primary movements covered in this paper include Pan-Germanism, the Linzer Programm, the Deutsche Verband and the beliefs of nationalists and the fringe philosophers of post-Empire Vienna. It will also discuss the specific cultural differences in Austria, including the post-feudal attitudes towards workers from the nobility, the close connection of the Church to the political hierarchy, and the specific attitudes of the Austrian peasant and industrial worker. The parties that were hurt by Liberalism and the impending industrialization of Austria are mirrored by those in Germany, but Germany industrialized much more quickly and thoroughly than Austria. Thus, Austria's inherently more rural and deferential culture played a role in the creation of their approach towards Germanization and later combination with the emerging German empire.

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The Pan-Germanism movement was substantially different in Austria than in Germany for a series of historical reasons, which will be covered in this paper. Hitler and his fellow Austrians carried a sense of inferiority compared to the Germans, which colored their view of the Catholic Church, their imperial government, and the presence of non-Germanic immigrants and Austrians. The philosophical, cultural and historical underpinnings of the Austrian Pan-Germanist movement are important to understand as important precedents to the subsequent rise of Nazism, the Anschluss and the Holocaust.

Historical Underpinnings in Austria

Term Paper on Pan Germanism 1871-1914 Assignment

Austria's empire had been under substantial pressure for several decades prior the decision to split Austria and Hungary into a dual monarchy in 1867 (Burant 1989).

The Austrians lost significant land and sovereignty to the French in 1806, which represents the time when the decline of the Habsburg Empire would begin. The period from 1806 to 1859 was marked by a gradual reduction in power and influence by the Habsburgs over the remnants of the Holy Roman Empire. During this same period, the German principalities and kingdoms were combining in ways that would assure their future industrial success, most notably with the German Customs Union of the 1840's, and the eventual combination of German regions to form the modern nation in 1861.

During this time of German rise and unification, the Austrians were losing ground. The Austrians lost in battle to the French at the Battle of Solferino in 1859 and to the Prussians in 1866. Both defeats demonstrated the weakness of the Habsburg monarchy, and led to subsequent division of the empire and the greater independence of Hungary, the Czech regions and parts of what became Yugoslavia. The subsequent split of the empire into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867 represented a recognition that the German-speaking parts of Austria could no longer exercise complete hegemony from Bohemia to the shores of the Adriatic at Trieste.

The German-speakers in Austria, particularly in the West, realized that their interests lay closer to those of the rest of Germany rather than with the mixed races and cultures of the rump Austrian empire. Germany had come under the uniting influence of the Prussians and Otto von Bismarck, uniting the key principalities and city-states under the influence of the Prussian monarch, including Wuerttemburg, Bavaria and Hessen. Bismarck chose not to bring in the western Austrians because their Catholicism threatened to unbalance the mix between the Protestant (mostly Lutheran) north and the Catholic South (Bavaria being mostly Catholic, Wuerttemburg being half Catholic and half Protestant).

This decision on the part of newly-emerged Germany not to include the German-speaking Austrians, despite their overwhelming wish to join, resulted in a search within the German Austrian community to separate themselves from non-Germanic and, in some cases, non-Catholic influences. This created a sense of inferiority in the German-speaking Austrians which formed later pan-German movements, and influenced Hitler in his belief that he was 'more German than the Germans.'

Austria's weaknesses as an independent rump empire were both cultural and economic. Austria no longer had a seaport (Trieste had been the traditional port for Vienna and the surrounding area), nor no access to other key trading routes. The German Customs Union, which had been formed in the 1840's, was a precursor to industrial strength and unity; it imposed a penalty on Austrian exporters and importers, who relied on the Danube into Germany as a major trading route.

The coming of the financial panic in 1873 exacerbated the Austrian economic situation, much as Germany was hobbled during the period of the Weimar Republic in the 1920's. The following prolonged period of economic problems caused a massive influx of new residents to Austria from Eastern Europe, and the city of Vienna tripled in size from 1870 to 1914 (Nitsch 1999). Amongst those immigrants were Jews, Czechs, Slavs and others. Their new presence on Austrian soil, coupled with massive unemployment, economic and political uncertainty, led to an underlying resentment of all "non-Germanic" Austrians.

Rise of Nationalistic and Linguistic Minorities

The accord creating the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867 stimulated other ethnic and linguistic minorities in Austria. The Czechs and Slavs (of what is now Slovakia, Slovenia and parts of the former Yugoslavia) were particularly insistent on achieving parity of their language and culture. Both groups insisted that their children be taught in their language, and that culturally-important traditions for those minorities be upheld.

The German-speaking majority in Austria felt put-upon by these demands. One consequence to the nationalistic fervor of their neighbors was to develop a sense of "German-ness," separating them from the culturally diverse former empire. Deeply hurt by Bismarck's and Prussia's rejection of their accession to greater Germany, German-speaking Austrians tried to divest themselves of any elements which would make them unwelcome in Greater Germany.

Austria's Catholicism was always a differentiator from the rest of the Germanic nation, with the exception of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The Habsburgs maintained their power through collusion with the Catholic Church, whose leaders exerted strong political control in the country. For this reason, the "Weg von Rom" movement, started in the 1880's by Georg Ritter von Schoenerer, attempted to sever ties with the Church in the same way that the French and British had done in previous revolutions, and which the Italians, Spaniards and French were continuing in the 1860's and 1870's (Pulzer 1964). Austria was the last holdout, with a powerful Church in league with the Liberals in power. While the nationalistic Germanic Austrians were not anti-Church, they were against what they saw as the liberalizing and weakening influence of the Church in politics. Hitler's later dealings with the Catholic Church were cordial, but he made it clear that the Church's role was not in the political sphere.

Liberalism's Flower and the Conservative Backlash

The main tenets of nineteenth-century European Liberalism may be summarized as parliamentary government, the rule of law, the absence of legally established class privileges, a laissez-faire economy, and freedom of speech and association (Pulzer 1964).

Thus the newly-democratic governments of Germany and Austria put in place the elements that led both to economic growth and conservative backlash. Those who were of the liberal persuasion were the new industrialists, the financiers, the free-thinkers and those who supported progress. Those of the conservative persuasion represented nationalism, a nearly feudal care for the downtrodden and the peasant, a separation from Rome but a belief in the Catholic Church, and a reimposition of the laws favoring the Guilds and excluding those of non-Austrian and non-Germanic extraction.

The Liberals stood for the new Austrian republic, including the forces of integration, immigration and internationalism. Led by for the last 8 years of the Liberals' reign, Prince Adolf Auersperg, the government liberalized trade with other European nations and favored industrial expansion. The result was a more difficult competitive situation for Austrian industry unused to foreign competition. The textile mills of France and England, the grain from the Ukraine and Russia, and steel from Great Britain flooded Austria and Germany, helping to depress the economy and hurting industrial and agricultural workers.

Liberalism had a specific meaning, much as democracy did after the first flowering of new governments in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. And like that later event, more liberal governments were later replaced by backward-looking, paternalistic governments with a predilection for ethnic purity. Thus the inclusion of xenophobic, anti-Semitic parties in coalition governments in Eastern Europe in the 1990's had an echo in earlier history in Austria, for many of the same reasons.

Liberalism stood for everything that the "native" German Austrians despised, from national weakness (the Liberals had ushered in the twin capitals of Budapest and Vienna, oversaw the dissolution of the empire, helped to decrease the power of the Guilds and disadvantaged the peasants and the industrial workers) to collusion with the Church of Rome, to separation from the German homelands.

Those in the German-speaking working classes, particularly the guilds, had lost power due to new, liberal legislation introduced in 1860.

Germany's economic expansion after 1866… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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