Conclusions - Part I

The objective of this article was to investigate the marks that rising nationalism had left on university records of Habsburg-Austrian Galicia between 1846 and 1914. From the records that I have documented above, I think one can draw the clear conclusion that national interests played indeed an important role on many levels: The universities as intellectual centre reflecting on (or fabricating) national culture (note for example the Lyzeum that predated Lviv University, which served as the first and for a long time the only theological university for Greek-Ruthenian Catholics); politically, as a seed for revolutionary movements against Vienna (most importantly in 1846); and ethnically in domestic terms when the Polish-Ruthenian conflict became particularly fierce after 1900, in a way anticipating ethnic conflicts and cleansings to come.

For this article, I have looked at various indicators for nationalist developments: The use of specific languages; open conflicts and riots; the number and objectives of Studentenverbindungen; records for reforms or legal progress towards national self-determination. All these indicators appear to confirm the rise of nationalism that occurred in all of Europe during the reign of Franz Joseph I (aka FJI). They also reveal Franz Joseph′s big-picture-strategy of being as conservative as possible; civil rights or new academic privileges were often reluctantly granted just after major military defeats: In 1848 (Märzrevolution); in 1859 (Battle of Solferino); in 1867 (Battle of Königsgrätz).

After the Ausgleich, this correlation is gone and it appears more like the new reforms illustrated the ever fading power of the Emperor: 1873; 1879; 1890; 1900; 1914 ("Partieller Ausgleich" between Poles and Ruthenians). These reforms do not match with major military defeats, but they fall into a period of ever growing instability in the Habsburg Empire.

What surprised me was the seeming indifference that the central government showed when dealing with technical universities: Academic freedom for teaching was granted to "normal" universities in 1867; for technical ones, it came only with the reforms of 1873. Funding was cut and reforms were delayed. Note that this was done in a highly innovative period and in strong contrast to the progressive policy of Franz I, who founded a series of these institutions all over the Habsburg Empire in the first half of the 19th century.

I think it can be explained through the strategic importance of technology for the military; students and staff of the TU in Vienna had joined the revolutionary hordes in 1848. After that, the chair of the university had to be an officer of the Imperial Army for decades. Civil and military engineering often went hand in hand and was particularly important in an underdeveloped area such as Galicia.

Another notion with respect to central politics: JFI had clear ethnic preferences reflected in academic policies. After the revolt of the Polish nobility in 1846, Ruthenians enjoyed several privileges and the tensions between the two major ethnicities in Galicia were used in a "divide et impera" manner. This is reflected by the endowment of Ruthenian chairs just after the revolution, the right to teach in Ruthenian at Galician schools (also 1848) and the endowment of Ruthenian law chairs in 1862.

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Further Reading

Studentenverbindung: Fraternities and Burschenschaft

Wikipedia on the Habsburg Empire (Habsburg Monarchy)

Wikipedia on Nationalism

Sources for 19th century History (key to nationalism)