Nationality Question, one of the main problems within the multicultural Habsburg empire of the 19th century, which became especially apparent in the crownlands in 1848 (Revolution of 1848) and persisted until 1918. The Austrian Kremsier, Reichstag of 1848/49 discussed the possibility of subdividing the Empire into homogeneous districts according to nationalities (Austria and other German speaking ethnic groups - then collectively called "Germans" -, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovenes, Croats, Poles, Rumanians, Slovakes, Serbs, Ukrainians, Italians). The resolutions of the Reichstag were never put into practice (Neo-absolutism), nor did later attempts, such as Federalism and "Trialism", solve the problem. After the Compromise, Austro-Hungarian 1867 with Hungary (Dualism), the Slavic peoples demanded similar privileges. The Czechs offered the most determined resistance to German-directed centralism and demanded the re-establishment of the indivisibility of the Bohemian lands as a separate historical body under the Austrian crown and autonomy of the lands of the Bohemian Crown. Emperor Franz Joseph rejected a "Bohemian Compromise" in 1871 and turned down a Polish draft outlining Galicia´s autonomy. However, a major part of Poland´s demands was complied with later on. The South Slavic peoples also vainly demanded a territory of their own. From the late 1870s the desire for far-reaching autonomy waned and the basic constitutional regulations were accepted. Nevertheless, the "fight of the nations for the state" was replaced by "the fight of the nations against the state". This showed first in the legislation regarding language use, reaching a climax in the language ordinances of K. Badeni for Bohemia and Moravia, which finally led to his dismissal. National conflict escalated because it was no longer a conflict about equality of language use in the authorities, schools and in court, but increasingly about the differences in importance and positions of the various nations within the order of the Habsburg empire. The demands of national autonomy and suggestions of partial solutions (Moravian Compromise 1905) supported the isolation and separation of the nations. The manifesto of Emperor Karl I of October 1918, in which he announced his intention to turn the Monarchy into a federation of national member states, came too late to stop the disintegration process which resulted in individual nation states.
Literature: R. Springer (pseudonym of Karl Renner), Der Kampf der österreichischen Nationen um den Staat, 1902; A. Popovici, Die Vereinigten Staaten von Groß-Österreich, 1906; O. Bauer, Die Nationalitätenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie, 1907; P. Geist, Die Nationalitätenprobleme auf dem Reichstag zu Kremsier 1848/49, 1920; H. Hantsch, Die Nationalitätenfrage im alten Österreich, 1953; R. A. Kann, Das Nationalitätenproblem der Habsburgermonarchie, 2 vols., 1964; A. Wandruszka and P. Urbanitsch (eds.), Die Habsburgermonarchie 1848-1918, vol. III/1, 2: Die Völker des Reiches, 1980; G. Stourzh, Die Gleichberechtigung der Nationalitäten in der Verfassung und Verwaltung Österreichs 1848-1918, 1985.