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9: The Annexation of Bosnia

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THE energetic and aggressive policy of Baron Aerenthal in annexing Bosnia and Herzegovina (Oct. 13, 1908) was certainly expensive, but it was successful, and its very success won public opinion both in the Dual Monarchy itself and without. To soothe Turkey's susceptibilities a sum of over two millions sterling was paid to her (Feb. 26, 1909), but when Servia and Montenegro also put forward claims for compensation) it seemed for a time that war was inevitable, seeing that Baron Aerenthal would recognize no good ground for the claims. It only demonstrated the strength of the Triple Alliance that Russia, on the recommendation of Germany, withdrew her support from Servia, and when Servia abated her claim (March 30, 1909) it was no difficult task to settle matters with Montenegro (April 6, 1909). The step, pregnant with so much for Austria-Hungary, which Baron Aerenthal took in October of 1908 was an accomplished fact by the beginning of April of 1909, and the conferment upon him of the title of Count by the Emperor on the 18th of August 1909 was a fitting reward for his work.

To maintain the status quo in the Balkans was the aim of Austria-Hungary throughout the years 1910 and 1911; to maintain the status quo was the policy bequeathed by Count Aerenthal on his death in 1912 to his successor, Count Berchtold.¹ The new Foreign Minister addressed the Delegations for the first time in April 1912, but not until the 24th of September 1912 did he make a striking pronouncement. It was to the effect that as affairs in Macedonia and Albania were becoming "troubled," Austria-Hungary had "proposed to the Powers an exchange of ideas on the Balkan situation." The object in view was to encourage Turkey in the reforms it was then inaugurating to restore order in its European possessions. It was all to be done "by means of the unanimous cohesion of the Powers on the basis of maintaining peace and of the status quo in the Balkans." In short, it was intended to promote an agreement between all the Powers in order to find a via media between the sovereign rights of Turkey and the legitimate interests of the Balkan peoples. All the Governments signified their approval of the suggestion. But it came too late. By the middle of October hostilities between the allied Balkan States and Turkey had already commenced. The results on Austro-Hungarian foreign policy are dealt with elsewhere. It remains to trace the course of domestic politics in Austria and Hungary from 1909.

Austria. - Whereas in 1909 the prestige of Austria-Hungary as a Power in Europe was enhanced by the policy of Count Aerenthal, its internal condition was greatly troubled by reason of the continued racial strife and opposition. In Austria the main point at issue continued to be, as it had long been, the language question. On 3rd February 1909, two laws were introduced into the Reichsrath, regulating the language question in Bohemia and intending to improve the administration. It was proposed to divide Bohemia into numerous districts according to language; there were to be 139 Czech, 95 German and 5 mixed areas of this kind. The Bills were debated on 5th February, and the Czech deputies condemned the scheme in unmeasured terms and raised a storm in the House by their wild and unruly conduct. "You are a disgrace to Austria," flew across the floor from the German benches) and the sentiment

¹ Count Leopold Berchtold, born on the 18th of March 1863; secretary of Embassy in Paris 1895; councillor of embassy in London 1899; at Petrograd 1903; ambassador at Petrograd, 1906; foreign minister of the Dual Monarchy 19th of February 1912.

only added fuel to the fame. So impossible did the position become that the House was closed.

Baron von Bienerth (b. 1863), the Premier, sought to win some measure of support from all parties by reconstructing his cabinet so as to include representatives from every party. Baron von Härdt became minister of the interior Baron von Bilinski went to the treasury, Dr von Hochenburger obtained the portfolio for justice; Count Stürgkh became minister of education; Herr Wreba, of railways; Dr Weiskirchner, of commerce; Marshal von Georgi, of defence; Herr Ritt, of public works, and Herr Braf of agriculture. But the Czechs were obdurate and asked as the price of their support the reopening of the Bohemian diet which had been closed because of German obstruction. To this demand the Germans were deaf, and hence the Czechs in the Reichsrath had recourse to the same policy to which the Germans in the Bohemian diet had resorted. Nevertheless the government maintained itself against a vote of censure on its Bosnian land policy, which was moved by Dr Shushtershitch, one of the Slav deputies, and defeated.

The ministry continued in office for a little over eight months (Feb. 11 to Oct. 31, 1909). It broke up over the language question, on which the pure German crown lands - Upper and Lower Austria, Salzburg and Vorarlberg - took up a firm stand. A law passed the diets of these provinces making German the only language of the schools and of the administration. The imperial cabinet recommended the bill for the sanction of the crown, despite the opposition of the two Czech ministers, who, being defeated in the cabinet, forthwith resigned (Nov. 2). The victory of the German element in Austria stirred up anew the hate of the Czechs, whose national feelings had been strengthened by the congress at Warsaw, held earlier in the year (Aug. 1909). They accordingly decided on a policy of thoroughgoing obstruction in the imperial diet, and members of the party made speeches of twelve and thirteen hours' duration (Dec. 15-19, 1909). In consequence of this policy the House sat for eighty-six consecutive hours, virtually doing nothing. To make such a course impossible in the future, new rules of procedure were adopted (Dec. 19, 1909).

The language question had occupied so much parliamentary time that little was left for the consideration of the budget. But the budget this year demanded more attention than usual. For the first time since 1888 there was a deficit, the amount being over six millions sterling. The acquisition of Bosnia and Herzegovina was responsible for this to some extent also the cost of the administration, which was steadily increasing, owing largely to national jealousies. In many cases one school would suffice where there were actually two and sometimes even more; but since it became necessary to give each nationality its own schools, the difficulty could not well be avoided. New revenues were therefore necessary and on the 23rd of December 1909 a provisional budget for six months was agreed to which included higher spirit duties, a progressive income tax and death duties.

As in the House itself, so in the country, racial antagonism was particularly marked during 1909, and it must be admitted that the Bienerth ministry showed more energy in repressing outbursts than many of its predecessors. Especially troublesome were the student riots at Prague during the first three months of the year. Not till the police charged the crowd with bayonets (March 28) was there a cessation of hostilities. The student differences were only one aspect of the racial feuds, which expressed themselves in other ways as well. For instance, in January, there was an attack on Czech postal officials at Eger; at Cracow the Czech population resolved on a boycott of German commercial houses; on the 23rd of January Baron Sternberg, a prominent Czech leader, roused German feeling by declaring that Bohemia was inhabited by Czechs and robbers. Though for a time there was a cessation of hostilities, race opposition smouldered. That it had not abated is proved by the fact that the conference of Austrian Catholics fixed for the first week in September in Vienna had to be postponed because it was feared that national ill-feeling would break it up.

The Czechs were not the only discontented element in Austria. There were also difficulties with the Italian subjects of the Empire, who had long been clamouring for an Italian university at Trieste. But the Slav nationalities had also put forward a similar request; and while the government were willing to meet the Italian demand, they were by no means disposed to listen to the Slavs. Hence they were in somewhat of a difficulty However, a bill was introduced in the Reichsrath (Jan. 20, 1909) for the establishment of an independent Italian Faculty of Law, to be attached to the Vienna University. But this did not content the Italians, chiefly because they considered the capital unsuitable and more than that, because in the proposed scheme lectures in German were optional So the scheme was shelved for the moment, and the Italian agitation continued. Several alternative proposals were put forward by the government, but none of them found acceptance, and on the 14th of May 1910, two hundred Italian students demonstrated in front of the parliament buildings in favour of a full university at Trieste. No sooner did the Italians recommence their campaign than the other nationalities again put forward similar demands. The Czechs, who already had a university of their own at Prague, clamoured for a second one at Brünn; the Ruthenians also demanded a seat of learning, though they were not agreed as to the locality; the Slavonians pressed for a university at Laibach, and the Rumanians asked that the University of Czernowitz should become a Rumanian academic centre. The government could not possibly satisfy all the demands, partly for lack of funds and partly because it was not politic to accentuate national differences still more. As it was, student riots were numerous enough; on the 1st of July 1910 a serious conflict between Poles and Ruthenians occurred at Lemberg.

The Agram trial was another illustration of the determined policy of the government to maintain order with a firm hand. The dissatisfaction of the Slav elements in the empire expressed itself in sympathy with the Servians, and it was alleged that an extensive Slav movement was on foot to wrest Croatia, Slavonia and Bosnia from Austria-Hungary in order to join them to Servia, with the view of forming a "Greater Servia." Fifty-three persons, mostly traders and teachers, were accused of high treason: the trial lasted from the 3rd of March to the 5th of October 1909, and thirty-one of the accused were found guilty and sentenced to penal servitude. The evidence was somewhat flimsy, and an appeal was lodged against the decision, which ended (Nov. 22, 1910) in the quashing of the sentences.

An echo of this case was the Friedjung trial. The Servia conspiracy had naturally been commented upon in the press, and among others, Dr Henry Friedjung, a publicist of some note, had written an article on the subject in the Neue Freie Presse of the 25th of March 1909, in which he accused the leaders of the Serbo-Croatian party (Dr Tuskan add Messrs Viakowitsch and Supilo) of having received subsidies from the Servian government. The three persons named brought an action for libel against Dr Friedjung (September 9-22, 1909), in the course of which it was proved that the documents on which Friedjung had based his accusations had been forged. He thereupon withdrew his charge and the case was dropped.

The racial conflicts were as bitter as ever in the year 1910. Nevertheless the smooth drift of foreign affairs left the government free to become master in its own house. Moreover, the personality of the emperor did much to give it support indirectly; the celebration of his eightieth birthday (Aug. 18, 1910) only heightened the patriotic feelings of large masses of people. Hence the work of the government was facilitated somewhat and it made fair progress. It strengthened the army and navy, it made commercial treaties with the Balkan states, and it promulgated a constitution for Bosnia-Herzegovina. For defence no less a sum than twelve millions was voted, besides about £900,000 annually in addition and for social insurance some three to four millions sterling. The Reichsrat therefore passed bills for extensive loans, and on the 24th of June the budget for 1910 was agreed to.

In both Austria and Hungary the ministries appeared to be stronger than the Opposition parties, even though their majorities were very small. The smallness of the majorities however, rendered their position so uncertain that when a question arose on which the parties were not united the situation might become impossible. As a matter of fact it did in Austria; the stone of stumbling was the Canal policy of the government. As early as 1901 the Körber ministry had overcome obstruction by holding out the promise of an extensive programme of public works, more especially the construction of numerous canals, in which Czechs and Germans were alike interested. But the cost of the scheme had proved too high, and though the necessary bills had actually passed, the work was never carried out. Part of the plan had been the canalisation of Galician waterways, and the Poles now pressed for their realisation (Nov. 24, 1910). The resolution of Moraszewski was carried by 257 votes to 128, and for thirteen days longer the cabinet held out, hoping that the matter would not be insisted on. The Poles, however, were determined to make the most of their victory, and on the 12th of December the Bienerth ministry resigned. The emperor requested it to carry on the work of government until a successor should be appointed. In the meantime the House agreed to a provisional budget for three months (Dec. 16) and also extended the charter of the Austro-Hungarian bank until February 1911.

The reason for the government's defeat on the Canal issue was the impossibility of uniting the Germans and Czechs, both of whom would, in normal circumstances, have voted for the government on this question. But they were as far as ever from any agreement on the language question. An attempt on the part of the premier to unite them by a personal appeal to the leaders of the opposing "clubs" proved fruitless. Keen as the Opposition was in Vienna, it was keener still in Prague, where, as a result of the obstructionist policy of the Germans, the Bohemian diet had to be adjourned after sitting four days (Feb, 8, 1910), because it could do no business. From the 8th of February to the 30th of September the diet was not in session, and as a result, since the local budget could not be got through the House, the Executive had to decide on a policy of economy, which included deleting items of expenditure for humanitarian and educational purposes. No less a sum than three-quarters of a million sterling was thus eliminated, and one consequence was that 280 lunatics had to be released from the State asylums. Nevertheless, the language struggle continued. On the 20th of September 1910 a conference took place at Cracow between Germans and Czechs with a view to some settlement, the Germans intimating their readiness to meet the other side half way. Thereupon the diet was summoned for the 30th of September. On the 20th of October the conference was renewed, and a temporary agreement was arrived at. According to this all self-governing communities should choose their official language as they wished. In Prague, however, all notices should be issued in both languages, but the seal of the city and the names of the streets were to remain Czech. It seemed as though some settlement was in view. But on the 17th of November 1910 the Germans declared their inability to accept the compromise, and once more the diet had to be closed (Dec. 14) without any provision having been made for the financial needs of the year. The result was that Bohemia had to face a deficit of over two millions sterling.

The struggle in Bohemia was embittered by an agitation to throw off the authority of the Catholic Church (Los von Rom Bewegung). On the 20th of April a mass meeting was held in Johannesberg, which resolved on a policy of leaving the church, and fixed the 15th of May as the day appointed for the purpose On the 6th of May there was a demonstration in front of the Parliament Buildings by several hundred divorced men and women who demanded that the Civil Code should be so amended as to allow of divorced persons remarrying, and threatened to leave the church otherwise. From the 9th to the 13th of September the Congress of Austrian Catholics met at Innsbruck, and on the 11th a counter demonstration of over a thousand persons was held, demanding the separation of the state from the church, and freedom of the schools from clerical influence.

The racial conflict in Bohemia found its counterpart in Galicia and Moravia, where hatred of the German element increased in strength, more especially after the 500th celebration (July 15) of the Battle of Tannenberg,¹ which recalled ancient hatred and showed itself in persecution. In one community, Themenau, in Lower Austria, the elected corporation was removed (July 28) because of its anti-German excesses, and was replaced by a government commissary.

The promulgation of a constitution for Bosnia-Herzegovina was in striking contrast to this last fact. The two provinces had been annexed in 1908, and the constitution was proclaimed on the 22nd of February 1910. The diet, chosen by universal suffrage, is competent to deal with provincial finances, taxes, railways, police public works, civil and criminal laws, always subject to Austrian or Hungarian veto. There are three divisions of the electorate, and in all three the number of representatives in the diet is fixed according to the number of inhabitants professing each religion, the Jews have one seat, the Roman Catholics sixteen, the Mussulmans twenty-four, and the Orthodox thirty-one. The government appoints also twenty members, including the spiritual heads of the four religious communities. The president and vice-presidents of the assembly are appointed by the emperor every session, each religion being represented, and holding the presidency in turn. On the 14th of June the new diet was opened by the emperor in person, the occasion being marked by an attempt on the life of the governor, General Vareschanin; and one of the first acts of the diet was to pass a unanimous resolution declaring the constitution too narrow and not in accordance with the wishes of the people.

But the Austrian cabinet crisis of December 1910 required immediate attention, and little regard was likely to be had to the demands of the new diet, though it did receive a good deal of sympathy. On the 9th of January 1911 the cabinet was reconstructed. Baron Bienerth remained, and portfolios were given to members of the German, Czech and Polish parties. But the Slav element was strong in the cabinet; the Germans, therefore, disliked it, and already on its first appearance opposition was threatened. Its immediate work was to renew the charter of the Austro-Hungarian bank. This passed smoothly enough, but further effective work was impossible owing to the opposition of the Czechs and the Social Democrats. The ministry accordingly appealed to the country, and in June the general election brought about a somewhat different rearrangement of parties in the House. The German Nationalists obtained 100 seats; the Christian Socialists (Germans) 73; the Social Democrats (German Club) 49; the United Bohemian Club 84; the Social Democrats (Bohemian Club) 25; the Poles 70; the Social Democrats (Polish Club) 9, the Ukraine Union 28; the Croatio-Slavonian Coalition 27; the Dalmatian Club 7 the Unio latina 21; and Independents 23. The result was that the Social Democrats became the most influential party. Moreover, Baron Bienerth, having been defeated at the polls, was succeeded by Baron Gautsch² was premier. He did not hold office long; the task of attempting to unite Germans and Czechs was utterly hopeless, and on the 31st of October 1911 Baron Gautsch was succeeded by Dr Stürgkh.³ The change of personnel did not denote any change in policy. Parliamentary business showed the same characteristics this year as it did in previous years - obstruction and no progress - and when the end of the year approached no budget had been passed.

It was not very different in 1912, when the great bone of contention was the Army Bill, which nearly upset the Stürgkh administration. The catastrophe was averted only by the personal appeal of the emperor. The difficulties of the situation were accentuated by the serious misfortune that befell Count Stürgkh, who was threatened with blindness

¹ Battle of Tannenberg on 15th of July 1510, where a Polish-Lithuanian army defeated 80,000 German knights under the leadership of Ulrich von Jungingen.

² Paul Gautsch von Frankenthurn, born on the 26th of February 1851; in the ministry of education 1885-1893 and 1895-1897; made a peer 1890; premier and minister of the interior 1897-1898; premier 1904-1906.

³ Kalf Stürgkh, born on the 30th of October 1859; entered ministry of education 1880; minister of education 1909.

(May 15, 1912), and it was therefore necessary to appoint an acting premier in Baron von Reinhold, the minister of the interior, After much negotiation the Army Bill was passed, and the crisis averted. The outbreak of the war in the Balkans in October 1912 turned attention to matters of foreign policy, and the internal strife of factions flagged in consequence.

Economically the year 1911 was one of fair prosperity, chiefly because of the two successive good harvests (1910-11). The total volume of trade was large, though manufacturers and traders complained that the margin of profits was inadequate, owing to the continued high prices of food, and the remarkable rise in rents in most of the large towns. In consequence of these burdens on the working classes the Socialists organised a demonstration in the summer. The crowd became so threatening that it was necessary to order a cavalry charge. When the House met the incident was discussed, and during the sitting a man in the gallery fired at Dr Hochenburger, the minister of justice.

Commerce was favourably affected by the various commercial treaties passed in 1909 and 1910. The treaty with Servia came into force on the 24th of January 1911, and put an end to the long tariff war. Austria stood to gain chiefly by the importation of slaughtered cattle from Servia. These would be supplemented by the exportation of cattle from Bulgaria, by the treaty which came into force on the 22nd of April 1912. With Montenegro likewise a commercial treaty was ratified on the 4th of March 1912.

As regards social legislation, the only enactment of importance was the law (June 3 1910) forbidding night work for women, according to the terms of the international agreement of Berne. It came into force on the 1st of August 1911 (in the case of the raw sugar industry it will take effect in 1914).

Hungary. - In Hungary the prolonged political crisis of 1909 came to an end on the 17th-18th of January 1910, with the succession by Count Khuen-Héderváry¹ to the premiership. His cabinet was one of moderate views, yet when the House met (January 24, 1910) it passed a vote of lack of confidence in the new ministry by an overwhelming majority. The premier replied by adjourning the House for eight weeks. The time was utilized by the establishment of the "National Party of Work," under the leadership of Count Tisza. It appealed to the nation for support, pointing out that it was impossible to realize the demands of the Independent and Kossuth parties, seeing that the crown would never agree to the Hungarian word of command, and that an independent Hungarian bank had not sufficient credit. It was necessary to form a party which should bring about harmony between the crown and the people, and make possible a constructive policy. On the 21st of March the House was recalled to be dissolved, and the violent conduct of the members of the Kossuth and Justh parties, followed by street rioting by the Social Democrats, disgusted moderate men still more.

On the 22nd of March the House was dissolved, and when in June the new elections were held, the government received a large majority - 246 seats out of a total of 413 whereas the Independent party in its two sections received only 85. Consequently the Hungarian parliament was able after a long interval to get legislative work done. The House was opened on the 25th of June 1910, and the speech from the throne referred to "the most urgent and immediate task of regulating the suffrage question anew." The government promised to introduce a bill "on the basis of universal suffrage, which while being in full consonance with the unity of the national character of the Hungarian State will yet be in accord with the demands of the development of democracy." Other measures that were passed included a bill sanctioning foreign loans and the Census Bill.

The Independent party, however, still maintained their old programme and resorted to obstructionist methods in order to make themselves heard. In November 1911 things came to such a pass that it was resolved to adopt new rules of procedure to make obstruction impossible. The Opposition was unyielding, and the House witnessed disgraceful scenes the upshot of which was that the Cabinet came to an arrangement with the Kossuthists with regard to the Army Bill. But the basis of this agreement the crown was unable to recognize; whereupon Count Khuen-Héderváry tendered his resignation (March 6, 1912). At the request of the crown, however, the premier agreed to go on acting as first minister especially as the emperor threatened to abdicate if he would not (March 31, 1912). It was intended that he should try to smooth over the difficulties of the situation. But difficult as the state of affairs was, it was intensified by the policy of the government in Croatia. In December 1911 the general elections for the diet had been held, and the government were defeated, obtaining only 21 seats, whereas the Serbo-Croatian coalition obtained 24 and the Allied Croatian Right 27. Hence the diet was dissolved at the end of January 1912, without meeting. Preparations for a new election were at once commenced, but the government, fearing a recurrence of the results, stopped the electioneering and suspended Croatian autonomy. A new Ban, M. Cuvaj, was appointed as royal commissioner (April 3, 1912), and virtually a despotism was established. A movement of protest at once grew up. By the middle of April 1912 it was beginning to take practical measures, such as the proclamation of a boycott of all goods coming from Hungary.

¹ Count Caroly Khuen-Bélási-Héderváry, born on the 23rd of June 1849; entered parliament 1875; ban of Croatia 1883-1903; premier 1903 and again in 1910.

The Khuen-Héderváry cabinet was unable to maintain itself, and on the 17th of April 1912, it resigned. Three days later the emperor-king entrusted Dr de Lukacs, minister of finance, with the formation of a new cabinet. The ministers of the late cabinet joined the new ministry, and Dr Lukacs attempted to find means of coming to some understanding with the Kossuth party with a view to introducing the army reform measure (April 21, 1912). The negotiations failed, and the only method of overcoming obstruction in the House seemed to be by an abusive interpretation of the standing orders. Count Tisza, who favoured such a course, was elected president of the chamber (May 22, 1912), and before long he carried through his policy with great success. On the 4th of June 1912, he secured the adoption of the Army Bill, and - after 36 Opposition deputies had been removed by the police and the rest had left the chamber - of a bill to increase the annual contingent of Honvéd recruits. His action was approved by the monarch (June 12, 1912), but the Opposition were by no means cowed. When parliament met after the recess (Sept. 17 1912) the same tactics were resorted to by the dissatisfied party and similarly met by the president. For two days the chamber presented a scene of disorder, and on the 18th of September the majority of the deputies adjourned sine die.

Despite these proceedings the Hungarian minister of finance was able to declare (September 23, 1912) that the fiscal year ended with a surplus of over 2½ millions sterling. That was accountable by the fact that the year was on the whole a prosperous one for Hungary. One way in which the improved conditions showed themselves was an enormous development in the building trade. In Budapest alone no less than 600 new houses were completed, many of them very large ones. But prices of the necessaries of life, particularly of meat, continued to rule very high in the towns, and in all probability the ugh price of food contributed to the prosperity of farmers. That agriculture was a profitable business was evidenced by the immense increase in the value of land and the rise in rents.

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