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Austrian Nobles, Unity and the Kleindeutsch Solution

Austrian Nobles, Unity and the Kleindeutsch Solution

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Published by: Scott William Linger on Jun 03, 2012
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74682071Austrian Nobles, Unity and the
kleindeutsch
SolutionThis paper will examine the reaction of the Austrian nobility to their exclusion from aunified Germany in order to show that too much emphasis can be placed upon the ethno-linguistic and historical commonalities between the Austrian lands of the Habsburg Empireand the German states. Much research has already been carried out on the reasons for, and theresults of, the exclusion, yet they do not deal with the reaction of the Austrian nobility, orwhere the interests of this stratum of society were likely to lie. The existing literature treatsthe
„German‟ character of the Austrian nobility
with too much importance, assuming that the
kleindeutsch
solution wrongly excluded Austria from a unified Germany, an assumption thatwas to bear rotten fruit in the twentieth century with the
 Anschluss
of Austria and therealisation of the pan-German ideal.
1
 A brief look at the existing literature yields a few consistent themes. Austensendescribes the Metternichian position on the German problem and discusses Austrian foreignpolicy between 1848 and 1864, showing how the Habsburg Monarchy attempted to react todevelopments within and between the German states.
23
Murray highlights the interpretationof Robert Morier to unification, a British diplomat to various German states between 1853and 1876, highlighting the interest of foreign powers and individuals in the GermanQuestion.
4
Sondhaus, Schmitt, Elrod, Austensen and Schroeder have written extensively onthe roles of the individual Austrian foreign ministers.
56789
The assertion of ethnic identities
1
 
Robert A. Kann, „The Case of Austria‟,
 Journal of Contemporary History
15 (1980), pp. 37-52 (p. 43).
2
 
Roy A. Austensen, „”
 Einheit oder Einigkeit 
?” Another Look at Metternich‟s View of theGerman Dilemma‟,
German Studies Review
6 (1983), pp. 41-57.
3
 
Roy A. Austensen, „Austria and the “Struggle for Supremacy in Germany,” 1848
-
1864‟,
 Journal of Modern History
52 (1980), pp. 195-225.
4
 
Scott W. Murray, „In Pursuit of a Mirage: Robert Morier‟s Views of Liberal
Nationalismand German Unification, 1853-
1876‟,
 International History Review
20 (1998), pp. 33-67.
5
 
Lawrence Sondhaus, „Schwarzenberg, Austria, and the German Question, 1848
-
1851‟,
 International History Review
13 (1991), pp. 1-20.
 
74682072and the rise of nationalism within Central Europe, and Europe in general, is well documented;
Silesia‟s inclusion within the Prussian
kleindeutsch
unification project;
10
the assertion of aCzech national identity;
11
Galician attempts to gain autonomy;
12
the assertion of Hungariannationalism, to the detriment of the other nationalities in Hungary, resulting in the
 Ausgleich;
 13
 
and the loss of the Habsburg‟s Italian possessions.
1415
There has also been much debate onthe economic rise, or failure, and integration of the Empire, with Hertz, Whiteside andKolossa hailing the success
of the Empire‟s economy, its free trade area and commercial
success, and Jaszi, Macesich and Gross contending that this is largely a fallacy, thatgeographic obstacles prevented true integration and that trade would have been more naturalwith certain areas outside of the Empire.
1617
 Much of the literature as outlined treats the German unification under the
kleindeutsch
 
solution as a matter of high politics, the result of the policies of a few „great men‟
 manipulating liberal and nationalist sentiments. The unification of Germany did not happen
6
 
Hans A. Schmitt, „Coun
t Beust and Germany, 1866-1870: Reconquest, Realignment, or
Resignation?‟,
Central European History
1 (1968), pp. 20-34.
7
 
Richard B. Elrod, „Bernhard von Rechberg and the Metternichian Tradition: The Dilemmaof Conservative Statecraft‟,
 Journal of Modern History
56 (1984), pp. 430-455.
8
 
Austensen, „”
 Einheit oder Einigkeit 
?”‟ pp. 41
-57.
9
 
Paul W. Schroeder, „Bruck versus Buol: The Dispute Over Austrian Eastern Policy, 1853
-
1855,‟
 Journal of Modern History
40 (1968), pp. 193-217.
10
 
Tomasz Kamusella, „Nation
s and their Borders: Changing Identities in Upper Silesia in the
Modern Age‟,
German History
19 (2001), 400-407 (p. 401).
11
 
Gary B. Cohen, „Recent Research on Czech Nation
-
Building‟, in
 Journal of Modern History
51 (1979), pp. 760-772 (p. 760).
12
Piotr S.
Wandycz, „The Poles in the Habsburg Monarchy‟,
 Austrian History Yearbook 
3(1967), pp. 261-286.
13
 
Peter F. Sugar, „Nationalism as a Disintegrating Force‟,
 Austrian History Yearbook 
3(1967), pp. 91-120 (p. 116).
14
 
Kent Roberts Greenfield, „The Italian Na
tionality Problem of the Austrian Empire: The
Early Period of Austrian Rule‟,
 Austrian History Yearbook 
3 (1967), pp. 491-526.
15
 
Geoffrey Wawr, „The Habsburg
Flucht nach vorne
in 1866: Domestic Political Origins of the Austro-
Prussian War‟, pp. 221
-248 (p. 223).
16
Alexander Gerschenkron,
 An Economic Spurt that Failed 
(Surrey, 1977), p. 46.
17
David F. Good,
The Economic Rise of the Habsburg Empire, 1750-1914
(London, 1984),
 
pp. 96-97.
 
74682073in a
kleindeutsch
fashion solely because of the machinations of Bismarck, nor was Austriaexcluded from Germany purely as a result of the Battle of Sadowa. Likewise, the exclusion of Austria from Germany did not just impinge upon a few political elites, it impacted upon allstratums of Austrian and German society and therefore it is of great importance to understandthe reactions of those who had a vested interest in the outcome of German unification,especially given the eventual use of the opposing
grossdeutsch
solution to justify annexationof Austria by the German government of 1938.
18
Taken on their own, each of these studies orthemes
is unable to account for the reaction of a whole stratum of society to Austria‟s
exclusion from German unification, but when examined in concert, provides a facet indetermining how the Austrian nobility would have reacted, and therefore an examination of the justice in this exclusion. Therefore this paper will focus on three key areas; the identity of the Austrian nobility; the economic interests of the Austrian nobility;
and Austria‟s foreign
policy, as expressed through certain members of the nobility.The first section will examine the identity of the nobility with regard to religion,ethnicity/race and language, highlighting the weight placed upon national identity in theexisting literature.
There is a vast literature on Austria‟s p
articipation in German history, withthe Habsburgs h
aving been the titular head‟s of the Holy Roman Empire of the German
Nation from 1440 to 1806, with but one exception, the Bavarian Emperor, Charles VII.Following the dissolution of the Confederation of the Rhine and the Congress of Vienna,Austria once more stepped into a leading position in the German Confederation, this timesharing the privilege with Prussia.
19
This raises the issue of whether or not the Austrianobility can be considered German, or if their participation in the Habsburg Empire
18
 
Rüdiger Wischenbart, „National Identity and Immigration in Austria
- HistoricalFramework and
Political Dispute‟,
West European Politics
17 (1994), pp. 72-90 (p. 82).
19
 
Enno E. Kraehe, „Austria and the Problem of Reform in the German Confederation, 1851
-
1863‟,
 American Historical Review
56 (1951), pp. 276-294 (p. 276).

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