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From Empire to Republic

Peter Berger
Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser

I. End of Empire/Early Republic: Political (Domestic and Foreign) Legacies

Utopian Perspectives and Political Restraint: The Austrian Revolution in the Context of Central European Conflicts

Wolfgang Maderthaner

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It seems like an irony that the Republic of German-Austria (Deutsch-Österreich) was born precisely on the day of the seventieth anniversary of field marshal Prince Windischgraetz’s victory over the Viennese revolution of 1848.1 By the end of October 1918 the Habsburg Empire, a first-rate European power for more than four centuries, had ceased. The events unfolding against the backdrop of its demise — until 12 November 1918 — are known by the name of “Austrian Revolution.” Primarily of a political nature, this revolution sparked a process of de-feudalization and social upheaval. At the same time it marked the spectacular arrival on the historical scene of the proletarian masses.

An article in a Vienna daily of 3 November 1918 written by Paul Busson gives a vividly emotional description of the capital city besieged both by social unrest and a particularly vicious epidemic of Spanish flu:

Burning fever has befallen many of its [Vienna’s, W. M.] inhabitants, raging through their bodies, i...

© innsbruck university press, 2010

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