Outbreak of the war
End of the war

Michaela Scharf


Between a truce policy and left-wing radicalism

The outbreak of war in July 1914 put the Austrian labour movement in an ambivalent position. It basically supported peace, following the model of international socialism, but at the same time it was becoming a party of the establishment.



Party of the masses

The Hainfeld party conference was held at the turn of the year 1888/89, and achieved the unification of the different ideological movements within social democracy, which was now able to present itself to the public with a single political programme.



Workers unite!

As early as 1848, the first harbingers of a labour movement appeared, a movement that played a significant role in the – if only short-term – successes of the middle-class revolution. Its political objectives corresponded over large areas with those of the liberal middle class, which likewise demanded political participation and fought against the neo-absolutist system, censorship and feudalism.




The rise and fall of liberalism

From the middle of the 1860s, the liberals made huge gains and levered liberalism into power. However, the liberal age proved to be short-lived, coming to an abrupt end with the electoral defeat of the Constitutional Party in 1879.



Liberalism and conservatism

The conflicting interests of the different social classes and of the different nationalities meant that the political and ideological movements that were developing within the Habsburg Monarchy in the second half of the 19th century were extremely heterogeneous. This was also reflected in the party landscape. However, two major lines of development can be distinguished, conservatism and liberalism.




On the road to political participation

The constitution adopted in December 1867 was the first constitution of the monarchy that was not imposed by the Emperor but adopted by the Reichsrat. It can be seen as the birth of Austrian parliamentarianism, which from then on would continue to develop without interruption.


Preconditions and beginnings of political participation

In the course of the 1848 Revolution, the liberal opposition with its critical attitude to the government and led above all by the intelligentsia, the students and the propertied and educated middle-classes, who were weary of being excluded from political participation, demanded the drafting of a constitution. This constitution was to guarantee the formation of a Parliament and the right to the freedom of opinion and freedom of assembly.