Conclusions - Part II

Five years later, the tide turned under the impression of the Austrian-Polish Ausgleich. From now until 1914, the Polish were by far more privileged, reflected in the Polonisation of education and public life. The "fun age" is also characterised by the rise of mass media, which carried nationalist debates from the universities to a big share of the population - at least in Vienna. In Galicia, illiteracy rates were extremely high (as shown), which emphasises the importance of the two intellectual centres of Galicia, Krakow and Lviv, even more.

The historian Lothar Selke has documented demands for the foundation of new universities in the Habsburg Empire. In most cases, these demands were based on attempts to create intellectual cradles for a specific ethnicity. FJI was well aware of this and reluctant to found new universities which could have a patriotic undertone; his approach to the issue was the endowment of lectures and chairs in various languages.

Through that, it became fashionable for nationalists to found Studentenverbindungen and associations that would lobby for facilities to support students of a certain ethnic background: Through libraries, study groups, social groups, financial aid clubs, extra-curricular tutoring - or proper Verbindungen. This milieu was less developed in Lviv or Krakow than elsewhere in the empire; presumable because both places were on track for Polonisation after 1867 and therefore already had their nationalist demands widely met (the focus now shifted to "domestic" conflicts between Poles and Ruthenians, at least in Lviv).

The notion that Polish and Ruthenian students at Lviv and Krakow were busy fighting each other rather than other ethnicities could also be drawn from the Badeni Revolts of 1897: This primarily Czech-Austrian conflict led to riots carried by Studentenverbindungen in Vienna, Brno, Graz, Innsbruck and Leoben - but neither in Lviv nor Krakow. Compare also the few associations and Verbindungen of Lviv and Krakow to the number of "proper" Studentenverbindungen in Chernivtsi: 10 German, 6 Jewish, 4 Ruthenian, 2 Polish and 2 Romanian Verbindungen competed in the "Vienna of the East" for influence.

As I am writing these conclusions (April 2009), the federation of Chernivtsi Verbindungen is gearing up for its annual congregation next weekend in Bad Ischl, where FJI′s grandson still safeguards the Imperial Villa. The event illustrates the nostalgia which current Austria often applies today when it comes to evaluating Habsburgian traces in Eastern Europe. What is easily overseen is the route that modernism took; one should not worship Joseph Roth, Arnold Schoenberg and Gustav Klimt, when at the same time ignoring leading extremist or totalitarian thinkers who were their contemporaries and often crucially shaped by exactly the same intellectual environment.

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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)