Can the reservation only be terminated after the monarchy
100 years of the republic
While the workers' movement became more and more established in Austria in the 19th century, it was split into many different factions. Not only ideological issues made the unification process more difficult, but personal sensitivities and regional fragmentation as a result of the legal framework and persecution by the imperial government should not go unmentioned.
In spite of all adversities, on New Year's Eve 1888/1889 at the Hainfeld party congress, the organized workers reached an agreement through the resolution of the Hainfeld program and the founding of the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP). This was in charge of the struggle for a republican Austria.
Fight for the right to vote
Efforts to obtain the right to vote as one of the most important demands of the SDAP forced the Kaiser to make a concession in 1905: the introduction of universal male suffrage. In the subsequent elections, the Social Democrats were able to multiply their number of MPs, but women's suffrage was no longer implemented in the monarchy.
The First World War began in 1914 with the shots in Sarajevo. A wave of nationalism overcame all of Europe, and the leadership of the SDAP was also affected. In 1917 the inner-party opposition was able to prevail with its demand for peace, the decisive factors were the turning point in the course of the war and increasing supply problems. Strikes and the military defeat ended the war in 1918.
The Republic of German Austria
In the autumn of 1918, Emperor Karl presented a manifesto in which he promised the peoples of Austria more autonomy within the framework of a federal state. In doing so, he reacted directly to the promise made by US President Wilson to the individual peoples of the monarchy to provide "the freest opportunity for autonomous development" after the end of the war. The US did not consider Karl's manifesto to be extensive enough to enter into peace negotiations. One after the other, Czechoslovakia, the SHS state (Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes), German Austria and Hungary declared their independence, whereby Austria-Hungary disintegrated.
On November 11th, 1918, Emperor Karl renounced his “share in state affairs”, which meant the final end of the monarchy. The next day the Republic of German Austria was proclaimed, the first state chancellor was the social democrat Karl Renner.
Initially, the "connection" to Germany was planned because Austria was not seen as economically viable. With the proclamation of the republic Austria was also declared a part of Germany, but this declaration had no consequences. Because with the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, the efforts of the victorious powers ended.
Most of the Austrian Social Democrats were also in favor of joining Germany. From a strategic point of view, they wanted to fight for socialism together with the German social democrats in a "united Germany". It was not until 1933, when the NSDAP seized power in Germany, that social democracy distanced itself from the desire for a common state.
Dominance of Social Democracy 1918-1920
Social democracy as a republican movement was able to act with great self-confidence in the constitutional phase of the republic, also because the bourgeoisie was afraid of the revolutionary masses. Leading the way in founding the republic, the SDAP emerged as the strongest force in the election for the constituent national assembly (women were also eligible to vote for the first time) in 1919 with 40.75 percent. In the following coalition with the Christian Socials, countless reforms were implemented at the endeavors of the SDAP.
Laws to support the unemployed, employment policy measures, the establishment of the Chamber of Labor (AK), the introduction of the eight-hour day or the works council law were some of the most important achievements at the federal political level.
The SDAP in the opposition
In 1920 the coalition between SDAP and CS broke up, but the SDAP remained the determining force in Vienna. The tax sovereignty gained through the status as a separate federal state enabled many measures in the next few years that are still noticeable today; red Vienna became an internationally recognized example of socialist local politics.
The situation worked and there were violent clashes with several dead. When fascist “front fighters” held a meeting in the social democratic Schattendorf on January 30, 1927, the Schutzbund responded to this provocation with a counter-event. Two people were killed by right-wing shots at moving social democrats.
The perpetrators were acquired in July of the same year, whereupon spontaneous demonstrations and strikes with thousands of participants quickly formed. The angry crowd stormed the Palace of Justice, which was a symbol of class justice, and set fire to files, which soon burned the whole building. According to the orders of the Vienna Police President, the crowd was shot and at least 94 people died. This marked the beginning of the end of the first republic, and the repression against social democracy increased.
Fascism on the rise
On May 18, 1930, the leaders of the Austrian Heimwehr movement (including the later State Treaty Chancellor Julius Raab) gathered in Korneuburg to swear an oath against Western parliamentarism for a “corporate state”. The rising fascism had an ideological ally in the bourgeois camp; political Catholicism, which is to be understood as a backlash against the Marxist socialist movements.
During the constant uncertainty, both Austrofascists and National Socialists were able to expand their influence on society. The social democracy was self-imposed on the defensive and could not bring itself to an offensive against the anti-republic forces until the last moment.
The end of the first republic
The situation escalated in March 1933 with the elimination of parliament. There was a crisis of rules of procedure as one ballot too many was cast in a vote on the amnesty by railroad workers after a strike. One after the other, the three Presidents of the National Council resigned in order to be entitled to vote for their own parliamentary group. So the National Council stood there without a president, the members of parliament left at a loss.
Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, in close relationship with Mussolini, seized the opportunity and had the police prevent the National Council from meeting. Austria's first democratic phase ended in a flash.
From March 1933 the country was turned into a dictatorship. The right to demonstrate and assemble was massively restricted, press censorship and the first party bans were issued (KPÖ, NSDAP). The reprisals against social democracy increased.
On February 12, 1934, the police wanted to search the Hotel Schiff in Linz, the headquarters of the local SDAP. Parts of the Linzer Schutzbund saw this as the final crossing of the border and offered armed resistance. The fighting quickly spread to Vienna and the other urban and industrial centers
Central and Eastern Austria.
The resistance was chaotic, the general strike, which was actually planned to support, did not take place, the distribution of weapons was not centrally controlled, there was no call for a fight by the party leadership. By February 15, the resistance collapsed completely, the police, supported by the armed forces and home guards, shot down the Schutzbund. All means were used to remove the last remnants of a democratic Austria.
On May 1, 1934, Dollfuss proclaimed the new Austria, an alleged corporate state with a unity party as a bulwark against Nazism and Marxism. The end of the first republic was sealed.
Paul Patscheider and Benjamin Enzmann
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