The German National camp was made up of different competing groups and parties that referred to themselves, depending on ideological position, as "Greater German", "Pan-German", "Smaller German", "Nationalist", "German Nationalist", "German-Austrian" etc.
The groups in the national camp followed the tradition of the German liberals. Like these, they drew their members from activist organisations and associations, and primarily espoused the causes of the higher middle-class, the civil service, the intelligentsia, university graduates and students.
The "German question", the hotly discussed issue after the 1848 Revolution of the future form of Germany and its relationship to the Habsburg Empire, met with varying answers amongst the German National groups in Austria.
The Greater German movement, whose objective was the Greater German solution, supported the continued existence of the Habsburg Monarchy with extremely close links to the German Reich. It struggled with the insoluble problem of how the inclusion of the German-speaking provinces of the Austrian Empire could be made compatible with the (continued) existence of the Habsburg Empire. The dramatist Friedrich Hebbel commented on the dilemma of the Greater Germans: "The beloved Austrians think about how they can be united with Germany without being united with Germany. It would be difficult to do, just as difficult as it for two people who are to kiss to turn their backs to each other."
Unlike the Greater German movement, the German Nationals hoped for the fall of the Habsburg Monarchy and the unification of the German-speaking provinces within a liberal Germany. Supported by the national fraternities, the German gymnastics and school associations and the liberal intelligentsia, it followed the tradition of the Viennese students of 1848 and their national, liberal and democratic principles, rejecting the dynasty and Catholicism. Their demands found fertile soil above all in the German-speaking border regions of Carinthia and Styria as well as in Lower Austria, whose inhabitants felt threatened by the Slav population.
The Smaller German movement around Georg Ritter von Schönerer was to be found on the extreme margin of the German National movement. It supported the unification of Germany under the leadership of Prussia, and, following the hoped-for break-up of the Habsburg Monarchy, the union of the German-speaking provinces with the German Reich created in 1871. Its principles were democratic, anti-conservative and anti-dynastic, but at the same time its supporters were enthralled by the 'Prussian conservatism' of Otto von Bismarck.
Translation: David Wright
Berchtold, Klaus: Österreichische Parteiprogramme 1868-1966, Wien 1967
Kriechbaumer, Robert: Die großen Erzählungen der Politik. Politische Kultur und Parteien in Österreich von der Jahrhundertwende bis 1945, Wien/Köln/Weimar 2001
Rumpler, Helmut: Österreichische Geschichte 1804-1914. Eine Chance für Mitteleuropa. Bürgerliche Emanzipation und Staatsverfall in der Habsburgermonarchie, Wien 1997
Vocelka, Karl: Karikaturen und Karikaturen zum Zeitalter Kaiser Franz Josephs, Wien 1986
Vocelka, Karl: Geschichte Österreichs. Kultur – Gesellschaft – Politik, 3. Auflage, Graz/Wien/Köln 2002
Wandruszka, Adam: Österreichs politische Struktur. Die Entwicklung der Parteien und politischen Bewegungen, in: Benedikt, Heinrich (Hrsg.): Geschichte der Republik Österreich, Wien 1977, 289-486
"The beloved Austrians ...": Friedrich Hebbel, quoted from: Kriechbaumer, Robert: Die großen Erzählungen der Politik. Politische Kultur und Parteien in Österreich von der Jahrhundertwende bis 1945, Wien/Köln/Weimar 2001, 425 (Translation)
- Preconditions and beginnings of political participation
- On the road to political participation
- Liberalism and conservatism
- The rise and fall of liberalism
- Workers unite!
- Party of the masses
- Between a truce policy and left-wing radicalism
- Karl Lueger and the "Sausage Pot Party"
- "The Colossus of Vienna"
- Rise and fall
- Commitment to the Monarchy
- "Greater German", "Smaller German" or "German National"?
- "German and loyal, outright and true"
- "Prussian plestilence" or Habsburgophilia
- The battle for the 'national electorate'