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Deutscher Leseverein - Devotionalien (18/25)
Deutschmeister Deutschösterreich

Deutschnationale Bewegung

Deutschnationale Bewegung (German-Nationalist Movement), important political force in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which made itself felt during the 1st Republic and the period of National Socialism. Several different nations in Austria had developed a national consciousness in the period between 1815 and the Revolution of 1848, among them the German-speaking population in the alpine regions and the lands of the Bohemian Crown. Participation in the Deutscher Bund after 1815 and the Frankfurter Nationalversammlung 1848/1849 made many intellectuals champions of the Pan-Germanic cause, which would have assigned leadership in Germany to the Austrian Empire. The triumph of Prussia, which caused Austria to withdraw from the Deutscher Bund (German Confederation) in 1866 and resulted in the formation of the German Empire in 1871, caused young and more determined political forces in Austria in the 1870s to look for new ideas and new forms of organisation. The powerful position of the German Empire, clearly visible at the Berlin Congress of 1878, had a strong impact, especially on the students in the German-speaking lands. They turned away from the old Pan-Germanic ideas and adopted more radical viewpoints. A first political manifestation was the Aussee Programme of the "German Autonomists" in 1867, which aimed at securing German dominance and a German-speaking majority by detaching Galicia, Bukovina and Dalmatia from the western half of the Empire. This particular form of German-Nationalist Liberalism gave birth to a movement which initially consisted of intellectuals and members of the lower middle classes in the provincial towns, led by Georg von Schönerer. Following the tradition of the Liberals, who had been in opposition since 1879, he and H. Friedjung, E. Pernerstorfer, V. Adler drew up the Linz Programme of September 1, 1882. Along with demands for social and economic reforms, it called for making German the official language and preserving the German character of the lands which had formerly belonged to the Deutscher Bund (German Confederation). Despite the fact that the Linz Programme was continued by various German-Nationalist and radical groups, it did not become the basis of a national-democratic party on a larger scale; this was partly due to the rigid ideas of Schöner, who three years later included an anti-Semitic paragraph in the Programme, and partly to the emergence of parties for the masses based on other ideas, such as the Social Democrats and the Christian Socialists.

The larger group within the Deutschnationale Bewegung recognised the Austrian State and the Habsburg dynasty and joined to form the "Deutscher Klub" ("German Club") in the lower house in 1885; together with other groups it set up the "Vereinigte Deutsche Linke" ("United German Left") and acted as opposition to the government ("Iron Ring"). The "Vereinigte Deutsche Linke" was re-organised under the names of "German National Party" in 1891 and "German People´s Party" in 1896, while Schönerer´s supporters founded the "Alldeutsche Vereinigung" ("All-German Union") in 1901. At first, these groups formed a loose alliance during the 1907 elections, but in 1910 they joined forces to set up the "Deutscher Nationalverband" ("German National Association"), which, in 1911, became the strongest party in Parliament, holding 104 seats. By 1917, however, it had split into 17 groups, from which after 1919 emerged the Großdeutsche Volkspartei.

Literature: P. Molisch, Geschichte der deutsch-nationalen Bewegung in Österreich von ihren Anfängen bis zum Zerfall der Monarchie, 1926; F. Wolfram, Die deutsch-nationale Bewegung in der Monarchie, in: Freiheitliche Argumente 1, 1974; A. Fuchs, Geistige Strömungen in Österreich, 1984 (reprint); A. G. Whiteside, G. R. v. Schönerer, Alldeutschland und sein Prophet, 1981; L. Kammerhofer (ed.), Studien zum Deutschliberalismus in Zisleithanien 1873-1879, 1992.

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