The Transfer of the Sudeten Germans: A Study of Czech-German Relations, 1933-1962

By Radomír Luža | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2 Forces of German Nationalism

Partly as a result of the rapid industrialization of the Habsburg Empire of the 1880's, a more intense German nationalism voicing the resentment of the German middle classes over the growing strength of non-German nationalities in the Austrian segment, brought new and disturbing elements into Austrian politics. Industrial expansion caused increasing national and social protest. There was widespread awareness of the necessity for social reforms, with the nationalist parties concentrating on meeting workers' needs. The Linz program of 1882, setting forth a platform for a modern form of German nationalism, warmly endorsed a reform of factory legislation and expressed sympathy for the working classes. However, it challenged the venerable all-German ideology (hitherto serving the Habsburg aspirations in Germany) with a new emphasis on the all-German character of the Austrian half of the empire. The atmosphere of rising tensions hardened under the pressures of the German demand for the establishment of a separate German territory within Bohemia. Such a territorial division would have entailed the Germanization of all Czechs included within the German area, and had been repeatedly rebuffed by the Czechs.1.

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1.
In 1880, 1918, and 1938. For a discussion of German nationalism in Austria, see Historický ústav ČSAV, Přehled československých dějin, II, 616-18, 633, 664, 937. This survey presents a Communist reinterpretation of Czechoslovak history. See also an interesting account by Eberhard Wolfgramm, "'Grenzlandkämpfer.' Zur Ideologie, den historisehen Wurzeln und den Hintergründen des sudetendeutsehen Revanchismus," Jahrbuch für Geschichte der UdSSR und der volksdemokratischen Länder Europas, IV, 9-39.

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