Birth and assertion of Czech nationalism
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A proverb of the fifteenth century says that "he who rules Bohemia is the master of Europe." However, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Austrian Empire witnessed a decline, although on the eve of 1914, Austria-Hungary was still considered a major economic and military power. However, in the period of interest, the Habsburg Empire faced serious challenges in the form of national demands. In fact, historical nations coexisted in the Austrian Empire (Czechs, Hungarians, Poles in Galicia) as well as "ethno-linguistic groups" (J. Berenger) as Ruthenians or Slovenes, i.e., non-historic nations, who have no right to state.
The census of 1910 distinguished 12 groups. Among this group, one in five is German and one Hungarian. "Minorities" were in fact the majority, 60%. The Czechs accounted for 12.6% of the total population of the Empire, the third group in order of importance, and they lived mainly in Bohemia and Moravia where they were by far the majority of the Germans . Since the thirteenth century, German settlers settled in Bohemia, and the eighteenth century heralded the Germanization of the ruling classes.
This posed the problem of rivalry between the Czechs and Germans. Throughout their history, Czechs have tried more or less to revolt, as in the Battle of White Mountain in 1620 where Protestants rose up against the Habsburgs. In 1848, Prague was affected by the national movements and called for equality with the Germans, but the situation was premature and the Czechs were not yet sufficiently "enlightened" and organized. Yet Czech nationalism woke up in the second half of the nineteenth century to weaken the Habsburgs.
The beginnings of nationalism at the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century were comparable in its demands, objectives and means, to the nationalism that characterized the Czech region on the eve of the First World War. How did the policy of the Habsburg influence the Czech nationalism, and how did it shape the First World War? To answer this question, we study the original Czech nationalism, which does not question the power of the Habsburgs, and was diffused culturally, and we emphasize that the inability to resolve the "Czech question", led to a growth in the nationalist movement.
To better understand the birth of Czech nationalism, we must first understand the political context.
The centralized and neo-absolutist government introduced by Schwarzenberg, with Interior Minister Alexander von Bach and K. F. von Kübeck (president of the new Reichsrat since 1850) was based on the army and bureaucracy monitoring. They brought calm to the country after the the revolutions of 1848. Schwarzenberg wanted to build an empire of 70 million in unifying Germany under the patronage of Austria. After the death of Schwarzenberg in 1852, Francis Joseph, still quite inexperienced, was persuaded to return to a welfare state. Thus in August 1851, the constitution of March 1849 was deleted and the unitary state absolutist restored. The new system introduced by Alexander von Bach, which saw German being reinstated as the administrative language.
Tags: Alexander von Bach, Reichsrat, Czech question