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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Republic of Austria

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"REPUBLIC OF. AUSTRIA - The republic of Austria, reconstituted after the collapse in 1918 of the old empire ( see AUS Trian Empire) is bounded on the E. by Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia, on the S. by Yugoslavia and Italy, on the W. by Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Lake of Constance, on the N. by Germany (Bavaria) and Czechoslovakia.


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Under the new regime, Austria had in Aug. 1921, including the Burgenland (which was in process of being handed over by Hungary), an area of 32,491 sq. m., somewhat less than that of Ireland. Its population is less than one-fifth that of England. It belongs almost entirely to the Danubian region and for the greater part to the Eastern Alps; a small part of it embraces the outlying spurs of this mountain system, which form a connexion with the Carpathian; and another part comprises the Austrian Granite Plateau, the most southerly portion of the Boic massif. But Austria's frontiers, especially towards the Alps, are not natural boundaries, and their long extension is a source of geographical and economic inconvenience. Czechoslovakia received three minor border territories of Lower Austria; Italy advanced as far as the Adriatic watershed, and even passed beyond it in various places in the basins of the Inn and Drau (Drava); ' Yugoslavia received South-Eastern Carinthia and Southern Styria as far as the Posruck and the Mur. Thus the closed territories of Tirol and those of the Carinthian basin and Central Styria were cut off; the two great natural triangular routes, that of German Tirol and that within Austria, and hence also the southern longitudinal railway of the Eastern Alps (Franzensfeste-Marburg) were split up between different states ( see Carinthia, Styria, Tirol).

Population.-The territories under Austrian administration in May 1920, which alone could be included in the census of Jan. 31 1920, embraced a portion of Lower Austria belonging to Czechoslovakia; on the other hand, electoral district No. I. of Carinthia and a few communes of Styria were occupied by the Southern Slays, and the disputed Burgenland (German Western Hungary) by Hungary. With these reservations the figures in the appended table hold good.


Area in

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Jan. 31


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Lower Austria. .


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Styria. .





Carinthia.. .



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345, 082*



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  • Approximate.

The returns show that, in consequence of the war and the shortage of foodstuffs in all countries from 1910-20, the populations of Upper Austria and Tirol decreased greatly during that period (the average decrease was 3.6%). In Vienna, the birth-rate had slightly increased, but in 1921 was still lower than the death-rate. In 1910, the proportion of males and females was as 1,000 to 1,024; in 1920 as I,000 to 1,089. The nationalities of the inhabitants are not shown in the census of 1920; only the Czechs in Vienna and the Slovenes in Carinthia form important minorities.

The population of the mountainous districts is sparse; only Lower Austria, thanks to Vienna, shows a dense population. Excluding Vienna it would show only 194 inhabitants per sq. m. In the area covered by the census of 1920, 39.8 i,, of the population was in 3,551 communal districts having up to 2,000 inhabitants; 14-I % in 295 such districts having 2,001 to 5,000 inhabitants; 4.8% in 43 districts of 5,001 to Io,000 inhabitants; 2.8 °, i in 13 districts of 10,001 to 20,000 inhabitants; 3. o% in seven districts of 20,001 to 50,000 inhabitants, and 2.5% in two districts of 50,001 to Ioo,000 inhabitants; 33. o% were, however, in two districts of over 100,000 inhabitants (Vienna and Graz). In 1910 94.12% of the population was Roman Catholic, 2.6 Evangelical, 2.98 Jewish, other faiths 0.3%.

Education.-At the end of 1918 there were 4,102 free public primary schools ( Volksschulen ), with 17,497 teachers and 788,891 pupils; 331 higher elementary middle-class schools (Biirgerschulen ), with 3,310 teachers and 82,739 pupils; 362 private lower elementary schools with 35,511 pupils; and 69 private higher elementary schools with 6,114 pupils; 1,875 teachers served these private schools. In 1910 the average proportion of persons over 10 years of age who could both read and write was 95.70% (in Vorarlberg 99.12 %, in Carinthia 8 5.43%); 0.80% (in Carinthia 2.28%) could only read and 3.5% could neither read nor write. At the end of 1918 there were 37 institutions for training teachers-16 for men and 21 for women. In addition to the elementary schools there are three groups of higher schools: intermediate schools, professional and technical schools, and " high " schools. There are also higher and lower schools for forestry and agriculture. In 1917-8, 46 of the intermediate schools ( Mittelschulen ) were Gymnasien (classical schools), 26 Realgymnasien, Reform Realgymnasien, etc. (in which Latin is taught); 39 Realschulen (modern, without Latin) and 26 Madchenlyzeen (girls' colleges) with, together, 3,135 teachers and 40,147 pupils. Of the girls' colleges, one ranked as a Gymnasium and two as Realgymnasien. But girls are required to attend the other intermediate schools; the number of girls' colleges is diminishing. The churches have charge of religious instruction in the elementary and intermediate schools. In 1917-8, there were 9 higher and 32 second-class commercial schools, 19 higher technical schools and 53 special technical schools; and 4 intermediate and 38 lower agricultural and forestry schools.

The higher educational establishments are :-Three universities (Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck), each with four faculties-Catholic theological, law and political sciences, medicine, and philosophy; two technical colleges (Vienna and Graz); the Evangelical theological faculty in Vienna, and that of Catholic theology in Salzburg. There are also in Vienna the high schools of commerce, agriculture and veterinary science, the consular academy, the academy of plastic arts, the special school for medal and stamp engraving, the academy of music and graphic arts, and at Leoben the college of mining.

Agriculture and Forestry.-In the returns according to occupations taken in 1910, it appeared that 40-14% of the population was engaged in agriculture and forestry, 34.81% in manufacture, 17-40% in trade, and 7.65% in other occupations. Not taking Vienna into account, 56.36% was engaged in agriculture and forestry. In 1900, 10.4% of the land was unproductive (in Tirol 23.7%; in Lower Austria 3.7%).

Of the productive areas, 25-6% was arable (in Lower Austria 45.2% and in Vorarlberg 3.4%), 1.7% gardens and vineyards (in Lower Austria 3.5% and in Vorarlberg 0.2%), 12.4% meadow (in Upper Austria 20.1% and in Tirol 7.4%), 17.8% grazing-lands (Vorarlberg 51.3% and Upper Austria 2.7%), 42-5% forest (Styria 54'4% and Vorarlberg 29.4%). The high Alpine lands of Vorarlberg, Tirol and Salzburg are characterized by the smallness of their total cultivated area and their large expanse of pasturage, and the country of the Danube valley by its large area of arable and small amount of meadow-land. The territories of Styria and Carinthia have an intermediate character, being mostly thickly wooded.

The chief crops are rye, oats, barley, potatoes, maize, pulse, turnips and flax; but the supply falls far short of the demand. In 1913 3.5% of the arable land lay fallow, and in 1918 no less than 17.5%. Fruit-growing is wide-spread, but vine-culture has attained importance in Lower Austria only. The timber output, on the other hand, is very important, the forests in 1910 covering 11,912 sq. m„ of which 8.576 were covered with pine forest and 926 with deciduous trees only. Stock-raising is important in many districts, but in 1921 by no means met demands. Excellent breeds of cattle are reared in Vorarlberg (Montafon breed), Tirol (Tuxertal, Pustertal, etc., breeds), Carinthia and Styria (Noric Alpine breed). In 1918, there were 1,841,883 head of cattle (of which 901,894 were milch-cows) and 1,269,875 swine. Good breeds of horses are raised, especially in Salzburg (Pinzgau breed), but the total number scarcely reached 200,000. There were some 300,000 sheep and a slightly smaller number of goats. Poultry abounds (some six million head in 1918). Bee-culture thrives in Carinthia and Styria in combination with the cultivation of buckwheat.

1 Minerals

2 Manufactures

3 The Provisional Constitution

4 The Constituent Assembly

5 The Federal Constitution

6 Authorities


The mining output of 1915 included some 75,000 tons of coal (almost all from Lower Austria), 2.4 million tons of brown coal (1.8 from Styria), 1.8 million tons of iron ore (almost all from Styria), 17,000 tons of copper ore (almost all from Salzburg), 12,500 tons of lead ore (almost all from Carinthia), 14,000 tons of graphite (almost all from Styria), considerable quantities of magnesite (from Styria and Lower Austria), some sulphur and ores of zinc and antimony, and (from Styria) bitumen. The output of salt was 160,000 tons; of which 100,000 tons were produced in Upper Austria, the remainder in Styria, Salzburg and Tirol. Natural gas is obtained at Wels in Upper Austria.

The most important mines are: - The iron mines in the Styrian Erzberg (Eisenerz and Vordernberg) and those of Hiittenberg in Carinthia; the copper mines of Mitterberg in Salzburg; the lead mines of Bleiberg in Carinthia; and the brown-coal mines of Koflach and Voitsberg, Wies and Eibiswald, Fohnsdorf and Leoben, in Styria, Wolfsegg in Upper Austria. The salt mines have already been mentioned. The smelting industries produced 500,000 tons of pig iron (almost exclusively in Styria), some 5,000 tons of copper (in Salzburg), about 8,000 tons of lead (in Carinthia), besides copper sulphate, mineral colours, a little silver and a very little gold. The output decreased after 1915 but was recovering in 1921. With the exception of iron ore and magnesite, the minerals do not suffice to meet the needs of Austria herself; she can only supply one-seventh part of the coal she requires.


The industries of Vienna are very varied. Industrial areas of the first rank are: - Lower Austria, Vorarlberg and Upper Styria; next to them come Upper Austria and Middle Styria. The largest iron works are in Styria (Eisenberg, Vordernberg, Hieflau, Donawitz, Zeltweg, Kapfenberg, Miirzzuschlag); in Lower Austria (Waidhofen an der Ybbs); in Upper Austria (Linz, Wels). There are also machine factories in the above territories, especially in the neighbourhood of Vienna. Iron smallware, such as scythes and sickles, is chiefly made in the districts along the border between Upper and Lower Austria and Styria; Steyr is an important centre. Locomotives are made in Vienna, Wiener Neustadt, Graz and elsewhere; small arms in Steyr, Vienna and Ferlach; carriages and automobiles in Vienna and Graz; bicycles at Steyr and Graz; river boats at Linz. Lower Austria (Berndorf and elsewhere) is noted for the manufacture of base metal goods. Carinthia produces leaden articles.

The cotton and woollen industries are important, especially in the Vienna district, Vorarlberg and near Linz and Graz. Important, also, are the jute industry of Lower Austria and the manufactures of machine-made knitted goods in Vorarlberg. The coarser kinds of woollen cloth are made in Tirol and Vorarlberg; clothing, silk goods and articles of luxury of all kinds are made in Vienna, hats in Vienna and Graz. Vienna is also noted for the manufacture of furniture. The wood, cellulose, pasteboard and paper, and papergoods industries of Lower Austria, Styria and Upper Austria are very important. Leather and leather goods are chiefly produced in Lower Austria; shoes and gloves in Vienna. The Vienna district and the foot-hills of the Alps are flour-milling centres, while distilling and malting are chiefly carried out in Vienna. The chemical industry is notably active in Vienna and its neighbourhood; also the manufacture of colours and varnishes. The manufacture of explosives is centred in Middle Styria (Deutsch-Landsberg), and there are chemical works in the Alps, when water-power is available. The pottery and glass-making industries are also noteworthy. Vienna is the chief centre of printing and the graphic arts, and of artistic trades generally.

The manufacture of tobacco is a State monopoly (there are factories in Vienna, Hamburg, Fiirstenfeld and other places). (R. SI.) Constitution And Administration The collapse of the Austrian Empire in the autumn of 1918 was an event which all nationalities living within its frontiers anticipated. They were thus prepared, sooner or later, to set themselves up as independent states. Serious resistance was not to be expected, as the military debacle had been so complete as to prevent any possibility of stopping the process of disintegration. A premonitory symptom had been the Imperial Manifesto of Oct. 16 1918, in which the Emperor Charles announced his resolve, in accordance with the wish of his peoples, to transform Austria into a Federal State in which every nationality was to form a separate state-entity within its own ethnographical limits. Not many years previously such a manifesto might have initiated a happy development by which the World War. would have been avoided and Austria perhaps been consolidated. But now it was too late, and the manifesto was thus no more than a signal given in the highest quarters of the approaching general dissolution.

Independently of the Imperial Manifesto, and by a procedure purely revolutionary, the German members of the former Austrian Reichsrat, on Oct. 21 1918, established themselves as the Provisional National Assembly of German-Austria, and as such established the new state of " German-Austria," for which a provisional constitution was adopted on Oct. 30. The new constitution, which was republican, was carried at once, and without the least resistance being encountered, though it was not till Nov. 11 that the. Emperor Charles issued a proclamation, countersigned by his last prime minister, Lammasch, in which he declared himself ready to acknowledge beforehand whatever decision German-Austria might come to concerning her future constitution, and renounced all share in affairs of State. The revolution out of which the new German-Austria emerged was thus not only bloodless, but was carried through without any open struggle. It was, none the less, a revolution; for the constitution of German-Austria was not evolved by any legal process out of the constitution of old Austria. Between the two lies the break in the continuity of constitutional practice, and it is for this reason that German-Austria cannot, any more than Czechoslovakia, be looked upon as identical with the old Austria.

The Provisional Constitution

The first provisional constitution of German-Austria, created by the resolution of Oct. 30 1918 and supplemented by several later laws (above all, that of Nov. 14 1918 on the taking-over of State authority in the Territories, and that of Nov. 19 1918), exhibits an extreme type of democratic parliamentary government. The supreme power in the State, executive as well as legislative, was conferred upon the Provisional National Assembly. This exercised its legislative power directly through its enactments. Its executive power, however, was exercised through a Council of State (Staatsrat ) elected from among its members, the three parliamentary parties - Christian Socialists, Social Democrats and German Nationalists - being proportionally represented. The Council of State thus formed a parliamentary committee which functioned as a sort of head of the State.

In contradistinction to the old Austrian Reichsrat, with its Upper and Lower House, the first legislative body of GermanAustria was organized on the single-chamber system. Each of the three parties elected a president to act as speaker of the parliament. These three presidents were coequal and occupied the chair week by week in an agreed rotation.

The legislative power of the Provisional National Assembly was restricted, in that legislation on certain matters, which under the old system appertained to the autonomy of the socalled Crown Territories (Kronlander ) of i he Austrian Empire, was reserved for the Provisional Territorial Assemblies, which had taken the place of the former Territorial Diets (Landtage) in which the functions of self-government had been vested. For these, under the style of "Territories " ( Lander ), remained within their old frontiers - though, of course, only to the extent in which they formed part of the new State: viz. Lower and Upper Austria, Salzburg and Vorarlberg, in their entirety; Styria and Carinthia, with the exception of areas inhabited by Yugosla y s; Tirol, without its southern part mainly inhabited by Italians. Out of the former " crown lands, " Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, which were inhabited by about 31 million Germans, two new Territories were carved: German-Bohemia and Sudetenland, each with a Provisional Territorial Assembly. In actual practice, however, the executive power of GermanAustria could not extend to these Territories, as they were held by the Czechoslovak State, to which they were eventually assigned. As. the revolutionary constitution of the Territorial Assemblies and of the Territories themselves took place at the same time as that of the National Assembly and of the State, but independently, the limits between Territorial legislation and State legislation were not clearly defined from the very outset. The Territories became the centres of a movement in favour of an extreme form of federalism, and this led to the constitution of Austria being ultimately that of a Federal State.

A State law required essentially only a resolution of the National Assembly, which had to be registered and attested by the Council of State and published in the Government law gazette.

The Council of State had a suspensive veto on legislation, but this was overridden by the simple passage of a measure a second time through the National Assembly, a bill then passed at once becoming law. According to the constitution a Territorial law to be valid required not only to be passed by the Territorial Diet but to receive the assent of the Council of State, which, in this as in other respects, had taken the place occupied by the Emperor under the old Austrian constitution. In view of the actual power of the Territories, however, the Council of State was unable to assert its right of veto.

Apart from the 20 delegates, and an equal number of substitutes, elected as already described, the Council of State included the three presidents of the National Assembly, who presided over it in rotation. Though the Council, thus constituted, was the supreme organ of parliamentary Government, it did not itself carry on the administration directly, but through a Cabinet, nominated by it, consisting of so-called secretaries of State, who acted as heads of departments. The Cabinet was also to be presided over by the presidents of the National Assembly in rotation, and it was only in the absence of these that the State Chancellor, whose functions were in fact those of minister-president, took the chair. The Cabinet was subject to the principle of ministerial responsibility, which could be enforced in the special court for dealing with infringements of the laws and constitution (Staatsgerichtshof ), the functions of which had originally been transferred to a parliamentary committee of twenty.

The whole machinery of administration was taken over from the old Austria almost without a change. Only in the case of the offices forming an intermediate link between the administrations of the Territories and the State was there any drastic reform. Each one of the so-called " Crown Territories " (Kronldnder ), of which the Austrian monarchy was composed, constituted the area of an intermediate administration, at the head of which was a governor or lieutenant (Statthalter ) nominated by the Emperor and subordinate to the central Government. Side by side with this, however, the Territories existed as autonomous bodies politic, with an administrative system of their own in all matters not falling within the province of the central administration. This autonomous administration was exercised by the Territorial Diet (Landtag ) through a Territorial Committee (Landesausschuss ) elected from among its members and presided over by the president of the Diet, who was nominated by the Emperor.

This parallelism of the autonomous and State administrations in the Territories, with the rivalry between them, had been one of the worst evils of the old monarchy; it was done away with under the provisional constitution of German-Austria by the simultaneous democratization of the intermediate administrative system. The whole administration in the Territories was declared to be a State concern; the autonomous and State administrative organizations were amalgamated and subordinated to a Territorial Government, consisting of the head of the Territory (Landeshauptmann ) and several substitutes elected by the Territorial Assembly from among its own members. This Territorial Government was subordinated to the central State Government in all matters of Territorial administration, but there were no legal provisions for making this subordination effective. The central State Government could not depose a Territorial Government, nor could it in any way call it to account for disobedience; it was, in short, wholly dependent on the goodwill of the Territorial Government, which, since it was elected by the Territorial Diet, felt itself politically responsible to this alone. This led to a very serious loosening, almost indeed to the complete dissolution, of the administrative: system of the State, and was one of the factors which ultimately led to the adoption of the Federal constitution.

As regards the organization of justice and the relations of the citizen to the State, the new provisional constitution confined itself to adopting, more or less unaltered, the respective rules of the old Austrian constitution. In the same way all the remaining private and public law of the monarchy, in so far as it was not inconsistent with the new constitution, was expressly taken over under an article of the provisional constitution, and thus, formally at least, given a fresh validity.

The main task of the Provisional National Assembly, in addition to the creation of a provisional constitution, was to prepare the way for the Constituent Assembly, for which the framing of a definitive constitution was reserved. According to the electoral law passed by the Provisional Assembly, the Constituent Assembly was to consist of 225 members, who were to be elected in 38 constituencies on the basis of equal, secret and personal suffrage for all citizens at least 20 years of age, without distinction of sex, and on the system of proportional representation. Actually, however, only i 70 members were returned, as no elections could be held in the territories occupied by Czechoslovakia, Italy and Yugoslavia. Of the 170 deputies, 72 were Social Democrats, 69 Christian Socialists, 26 German Nationalists, the three remaining being a Bourgeois-Democrat, a Czechoslovak, and a Jewish Nationalist (the two latter having supporters in Vienna only).

The Constituent Assembly

The Constituent National Assembly met at Vienna on March 4 1919. Before settling the definitive constitution it made one or two not unimportant modifications in the provisional constitution (laws of March 4 on Popular Representation and the State Government). Above all, the relation between State and Territorial legislation was regulated. In. the first place it was decided that all legislative acts of the Territorial Diets were to be submitted to the central State Government, to which was assigned the power of suspensive veto and, in the event of such acts being contrary to the constitution, the right to challenge them before the court established to try constitutional cases (Verfassungsgerichtshof). Acts of the Territorial Diet needing the cooperation of the central Government for their execution were made subject to the endorsement of the latter. Drastic alterations were made in the. organization of the executive power. The Council of State, with its directory, was abolished, and its governmental and executive powers transferred to the Cabinet, which was henceforth to be directly elected by the National Assembly. The election of the Cabinet was entrusted to the Principal Committee ( Hauptausschuss ), itself elected from the body of the Parliament, the three chief parties being proportionally represented. This Committee, through which Parliament exercised a decisive influence over the executive and without whose consent no important act of Government could be undertaken, to a certain extent took the place of the Council of State, but, unlike this, without any public appearance of functioning as the head of the State. These functions - representation of the State in its relation with foreign Powers, more especially the ratification of treaties, the nomination of officials, the right of pardon, etc. - were entrusted to the president of the National Assembly; so that in this way, too, the character of parliamentary Government found outward expression.

The conclusion of the Treaty of St. Germain compelled a further alteration of the constitution of German-Austria. By the law of Oct. I 1919 (on the form of the State) the frontiers of the State were legally defined in accordance with the provisions of the treaty, i.e. the Territories assigned to the other " succession states " were cut off. In these Territories there lived, in a solid group, nearly half as many Germans as the treaty had left to

German-Austria, now sadly diminished. The name of the State, which had hitherto been German-Austria (Deutschosterreich ), was legally altered to " the Republic of Austria " (Republik Oesterreich ), for it was only under this name that German-Austria could obtain international recognition. The sentence " German-Austria is a constituent part of the German Reich," which had hitherto been embodied in the constitution but had represented an aspiration rather than a fact, was now excised, in accordance with Art. 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain, which decreed the " independence " of German-Austria.

Of the remaining provisions of the treaty affecting the constitution of German-Austria, attention need only be called to those dealing with the protection of minorities, which did not, however, add anything essential to the safeguards for nationality and creed secured by the old Austrian fundamental law of Dec. 21 1867 on the general rights of citizens of the State, which had been adopted in the German-Austrian constitution.

The Federal Constitution

It was only under the greatest possible political difficulties that the Constituent Assembly could be brought to fulfil its proper function, that of framing a definitive constitution. From the very first the Federal character of this constitution was above all determined by the fact that this was the only possible way of overcoming the ever-increasing tension between the Territories and the State as a whole. Moreover, the provisional constitution had already contained certain Federal elements, and these had now to be developed in order to give the Territories, constitutionally as well as in fact, the position which they claimed.

From the point of view of technical organization a Federal State may exhibit one of two types of character. In one the legislative and executive power may be divided between a central legislature and executive, whose activity constitutionally covers the whole State, and a number of local legislatures and executives, with jurisdiction over territorial subdivisions of the State, which are known as subordinate states. In the other, the legislatures and executives of the subordinate states may share the legislative and executive powers of the organs of the central State. The first of these types was already exhibited in the provisional constitution of German-Austria. To make the constitution of the Federal State complete, the Austrian Republic really only needed to give the subordinate states, i.e. the socalled Territories ( Lander ), a share in the legislative and executive powers of the central organs of the federation or superstate. The federal constitution created by the law of Oct. 1920, however, was not confined to completing the provisional constitution by adding provisions to this effect; it was an effort at a complete reconstruction of the State, in which an attempt was made to balance the strengthening of the federalistic elements by an equivalent elaboration of a centralized legal jurisdiction over legislative and executive acts.

The division of legislative and executive functions between the super-state, known as the Federation (Bund ), and the subordinate states, known as Territories (Lander ), resulted in the classification of affairs into four groups. With regard to the first group, which embraced the most important functions of the State - e.g. civil and criminal law, jurisdiction, foreign relations, etc. - legislative and executive powers are reserved wholly to the Federation, the Territories being completely excluded. In the case of the second group, the Federation alone has the power to make laws, but their execution is the affair of the Territories. In the case of the third group, the Federation has the power of legislation in so far as it may lay down general principles, but it is for the Territories to give these principles practical effect in laws and to see to their execution. All matters which do not fall under one or other of these groups constitute the fourth group, which is wholly within the legislative and executive province of the Territories.

The legislative organ of the Federation is the National Council (Nationalrat ), of which the composition is the same as that of the National Assembly under the provisional constitution, and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). In the Federal Council the individual Territories are represented in proportion to the number of citizens customarily domiciled in them, arinciple differing from that of Switzerland and the United Stater, where, in the Staatenhaus and Senate respectively, the subordinate states have an equal voice whatever their size, but approximating to the constitution of the German Reich, under which the subordinate states were from the first represented in the Bundesrat, as later in the Reichsrat, according to their size. According to the Austrian constitution, however, the representation of the Territories in the Bundesrat is by no means strictly proportional. The largest Territory sends 12 representatives, the rest in proportion to the number of their citizens; but no Territory sends less than three representatives, although the three smallest Territories - Tirol, Salzburg and Carinthia - would not be entitled to so many were the principle of proportional representation strictly carried out. In order to correct the disproportion between Lower Austria, with its population of some 3,000,000, and the smaller Territories, whose population does not exceed 140,000 and 400,000, the Territory of Lower Austria was divided into two parts - the Federal capital, Vienna, and the Territory of Lower Austria. Vienna, with its 1,800,000 inhabitants, is the largest subordinate state.

As the Federal Council is fundamentally concerned only with legislation, and only in very exceptional cases with executive affairs, its members are deputed not by the Governments of the Territories but by the legislative bodies, which are again styled Landtage (Territorial Diets), and they are elected on the system of proportional representation. As a legislative organ the Federal Council is in no way placed on an equality with the National Council; it has a suspensive veto, but if the National Council again passes a bill thus vetoed, it becomes law ipso facto. A further alteration of the legislative machinery established by the provisional constitution was the introduction of the constitutional referendum and of the right of popular initiative.

The executive power of the Federation is exercised by the Federal Government, whose members are called Federal ministers and meet under the presidency of the Federal chancellor or vicechancellor; they are assisted in their several departments by secretaries of State. The Cabinet is composed in the same way as under the provisional constitution - election by the National Council on the recommendation of the Principal Committee. An important alteration in the provisional constitution was that the executive functions hitherto assigned to the president of the National Assembly were transferred to a special head of the State, the Federal president, elected for one year by the National Council and Federal Council meeting in joint session under the name of Federal Assembly. To this Federal Assembly the president is responsible.

The executive powers of the Federation are exercised in the Territories by Federal organs subordinated to the Federal Government, or, as a general rule, by the organs of the Territorial Government in the sphere of activity devolved upon them. In the latter case the Territories function as organs of the Federation and are subordinate to it. For this reason the Federation is interested in the constitutions of the Territories, and the Federal constitution therefore contains far-reaching provisions as to the organization of the Territories, and it is only within the limits of these provisions that the Territories are free to settle their own constitutions. So far as their legislatures are concerned, the Federal constitution prescribes the singlechamber system for the Diets, as now established, and their election on the same franchise basis as the National Council. The Territorial Government is to be elected by the Diet, and is to consist of the Landeshauptmann and a number of other members. In respect of the spheres of Federal activity assigned to the Territories by devolution from the Federal Government - that is to say, those in which the Territories act as the organs of this Government - it is the Landeshauptmann and his subordinates who are alone concerned. In such cases the ultimate administrative authority is held to lie with the Federal Government, to which the Landeshauptmann is responsible. The Federal Government is now in a position to enforce this responsibility by prosecution in the court established to try constitutional offences.-( Verfassungsgerichtshof). The Federal Government also has an influence on legislation in the Territories. It is true that it can only exercise a suspensive veto over enactments of the Territorial Diets, which have all to be submitted to it; but in cases where Federal cooperation is needed in the execution of such enactments, these may not be made public without its consent. In the case of enactments, already published, which are contrary to the constitution the Federal Government has in reserve the possibility of challenging them in the Constitutional Court.

The weightiest influence of the Federal constitution is exercised through the special courts of law established under it to decide cases of alleged violation of the constitution in matters of administration or legislation. Anyone whose rights have been violated by an illegal decision or act of the Federal or Territorial authorities, and who has failed to obtain redress through the ordinary administrative channels, can appeal to the court for the trial of administrative cases (Verwalungsgerichtshof). This court has power to pronounce on the legality of such decisions or acts, and in certain circumstances to. amend them. The members of the court, like all the Federal organs, are nominated by the president on the recommendation of the Federal Government, but this recommendation needs, in respect of half the members, the consent of the Principal Committee of the National Council and, in respect of the other half, that of the Federal Council.

The second court administering public law is the Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof). Of this the president and vicepresident, as well as half the members, are elected by the National Council, the other half by the Federal Council. Its primary function is to decide disputes between authorities as to their competence. As the State Court it furthermore hears charges brought by the National Council against Federal ministers, by the Federal Assembly against the Federal] president, by the Diets against members of the Territorial Governments. As a court of ordinance ( Verordnungsgerich,tshof ) it judges cases of illegal decrees appealed at the instance of the Federal courts or of those of the Territories. Lastly, as a constitutional court in the narrowest sense, it decides, at the instance of the Federal or the Territorial Governments, whether Federal or Territorial laws are or are not constitutional. It has the right to quash an illegal decree or an unconstitutional law. The Constitutional Court also acts as the central court for hearing petitions against elections to all bodies elected by the general vote. It also judges in cases of violation of international law.

The law of the Federal constitution of Oct. i 1920 did not complete the new structure of the Austrian constitution. Several special laws were still needed, aiming more especially at the reform of the administration both in the Federation and in the Territories. It was hoped that, in the spirit of democratic selfgovernment, this administrative reform would follow the lines of local government in England.


See Kelsen, Die Verfassungsgesetze der Republik Oesterreich (1919), and Die Verfassung Deutschoesterreichs (Jahrbuch des offentlichen Rechts, vol. 9, 1920); Merkl, Die Verfassung der Republik Deutschoesterreich (Zeitschrift fiir Offentliches Recht, vols. 1 and 2, 1920). (H. K.) Finance and Banking. - When in the last days of Oct. 1918 the various parts of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy constituted themselves on one side independent states (the Austrian Republic, the Czechoslovakian Republic, Hungary, and the republic of West-Ukraine), and for the other part decided on joining already established nations (Italy, Rumania, Yugoslavia), or joined territories detached from other states and forming new states (Poland), there existed in all these territories one uniform paper currency in circulation, i.e. the notes of the Austro-Hungarian Bank, enjoying a fixed rate. It was clear that such conditions could not be maintained for any length of time, and that, in view of the connexion between paper money of fixed rate and State finance, it was impossible to continue this unity of currency. All the states concerned, which succeeded the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, were in such financial straits that they considered the continued recourse to the issue of notes a necessity. The note-printing press, however, was in Vienna, and the Austro-Hungarian Bank was actually under the deciding influence of the new German-Austrian Government. It was urgently necessary for the new states to obtain an independent currency, i.e. to make themselves independent, so far as the printing of notes was concerned, of the Vienna noteprinting press. This was comparatively easy for those who had joined already existing states, but more difficult for the newly formed states which were obliged in the first instance to create a new currency. In these conditions the money problem, at the moment of the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, was merely a technical problem of printing, and the question how to obtain printing-plates, banknote-paper and printing-ink appeared for the moment the most important points of currency policy. After the Italian Government as early as Nov. 1918 and the Rumanian Government in Feb. 1919 had made the necessary preparations to substitute respectively the lira and the lei for the Austro-Hungarian " krone," in the territories occupied by them, the Government of the SerboCroatian-Slovenian State proceeded in Jan. 1919 to mark the Austro-Hungarian notes circulating within their territory by stamping them. On Feb. 25 1919 the Czechoslovakian Government followed suit by stamping the kronen notes circulating in their country. Then the Austrian Government could not remain idle. It could not wait until all the other states had passed from the Austro-Hungarian krone to a national krone. It had to get rid of the Austro-Hungarian krone, in order to avoid the danger of such notes as for one reason or another had not been stamped by the other states returning to GermanAustria and there increasing the inflation. The kronen notes circulating in German-Austria were therefore also specially marked, and, by a regulation of March 25 1919 having the force of law, it was decreed that all notes not so marked would not be legal tender within the German-Austrian State.

A decree of Feb. 27 1919 had ordered the stamping over of all notes of the Austro-Hungarian Bank circulating within the territory of the German-Austrian Republic, with the exception of the notes for one and two kronen (which also subsequently were ordered to be stamped). With the execution of this regulation the German-Austrian currency was separated from that of the other " succession states," and there was only one special kronen note, which was stamped as recognized legal tender for Austria.

The German-Austrian Republic also used the note-printing press as its chief expedient for covering the national expenses. At the time of the carrying-out of the stamping process, at the end of June 1919, the stamped German-Austrian notes in circulation amounted to 7.6 milliards of kronen; at the end of 1920 the circulation had risen to 30 milliards. In consequence there was a further depreciation in the exchange. On Dec. 31 1920 the dollar was quoted in Vienna at 668 kronen, as compared to 5 kronen in pre-war times.

The republic of Austria at first not only maintained the system of restricting exchange operations, introduced under the Empire during the war, but even made it more severe. Only in the summer of 1920 was any relaxation permitted, in so far as the forced release of foreign currencies obtained for goods exported was generally cancelled. In Nov. 1920 further modifications were made, so that by the end of 1920 the only restriction of money transactions with foreign countries remaining in force was the prohibition to import or export kronen notes. The regular exchange operations on the Vienna Bourse were, however, not revived. They were replaced by a system of restricted exchange business under the special supervision of the still existing Devisenzentrale. The general political conditions and the depreciation of money had led to such an impasse that up to 1921 the whole financial system of the republic was in a state of uncertainty. On the one hand, the Austrian State, by the peace treaty of St. Germain, was made liable toward foreign countries for an amount not specifically determined. On the other, it was found necessary for political reasons to introduce a system of providing the population with cheap victuals. As these had to be obtained almost exclusively against payment in foreign currency abroad, and it was desired to sell at home at the lowest possible prices, there resulted a considerable discrepancy between the expenses necessitated by this part of the State budget and the income derived. At the beginning of 1921 the deficit of the Austrian budget was estimated at hardly less than 50 milliards of kronen per annum. To cover this deficit the Austrian State, with the help of the Allied Powers, contracted loans abroad, and for the rest relied on the note-printing press. Only a small part of the expenses of the State could be covered by taxation, notwithstanding that all direct taxes were greatly increased and a new direct tax, an extraordinary property tax, was specially introduced in 1920. Of this property tax, the fixing of which required enormous preparation, it was permitted to make prepayments in Feb. 1920 under specially favourable conditions. Such prepayments brought in over 7 milliards of kronen, but more than half of these prepayments were made in war loan. The situation of the Austrian State budget was therefore in 1921 a most unfavourable one. An improvement could only be expected on the one hand by doing away with the system, which could not be permanently maintained, of providing necessaries for the population below cost price at the expense of the State, and on the other by a radical reform of the many State and municipal enterprises (post, telegraph, telephone, State railways, saltmines, tobacco manufactories, town railways, illumination and power works). (L. v. M.) History When in Oct. 1918 the break-up of Austria-Hungary became a matter of common knowledge ( see Austrian Empire), the Germans of Austria also announced their right to self-determination. The impulse towards this movement came from the left wing of the Social Democrats who occupied the same standpoint as the Independent Socialists of the German Reich. They had long opposed the view that the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy, which was not highly industrialized, and the annexation to a strongly socialistic Germany of the Austrian territories with a German population (the Alpine territories, German Bohemia, and the Sudetic territories), which would thereby be rendered possible, must necessarily involve a proletarian policy; and their views now completely gained the upper hand over the Great Austrian tendencies within the party. The " provisional National Assembly " of German-Austria at its first session (Oct. 21 1918) did indeed regard its connexion with the other national states of the old empire as not yet fully dissolved. But only nine days later (Oct. 30 1Q18) the new State was constituted in the fullest independence of the dynasty and of its former companion states speaking other languages. The last impulse towards this radical procedure had been given by Andrassy's overtures for a separate peace, which were regarded in wide circles in German-Austria as a betrayal by the Emperor of the German people, and gave rise to revolutionary demonstrations in Vienna. Under the influence of subsequent events in Germany the Emperor Charles was compelled to renounce, on Nov. II 1918, the exercise of governmental functions, and henceforward to recognize whatever form of government the people might choose. The day after, under pressure from the Social Democrats, the republic was proclaimed.

In the new free State all three parties - the Christian Socialists, German National party, and Social Democrats - formally assumed a share of the responsibility of government. Thus from the outset power had passed almost entirely into the hands of the Social Democrats. The bourgeois parties acquiesced all the more willingly in this, since they were of opinion that only the Labour party would be able to conjure away the dangers which threatened from the break-up of the old army and of the old authorities. The Social Democrats piloted the State skilfully through the first great vicissitude, though naturally in accordance with their own point of view. Above all, in order to check any reactionary tendencies, they disbanded all bodies of troops belonging to the old army on their return from the front, and placed the newly formed militia (Volkswehr ), manned by the proletarian classes, under the leadership of councils of soldiers who were faithfully devoted to them.

But the very first two months cost the young republic serious losses of the territorial possessions which they had claimed on the basis of the " right of self-determination." The Czechs occupied not only all the Sudetic territories populated by Germans, but also a few strips of land on the borders of Lower Austria. The Yugosla y s, going beyond the Slovene territories of Southern Styria, stretched out their hands towards the purely German towns of Marburg and Radkersburg. The repeated attempts which they made early in 1919 to gain a footing also in German portions of Carinthia were repulsed by the inhabitants, accustomed as they were to war. From the beginning of the Armistice German Southern Tirol - with Botzen and Meranfound itself in Italian hands.

The " Constituent Assembly " was elected under the influence of the terrible economic consequences of the war and of the break-up of the monarchy. The Social Democrats won a " relative " majority, with 72 seats out of 170. They formed a coalition for purposes of government with the second strongest party, the Christian Socialists, who represented the peasant and lower middle-class elements. At the head of the Cabinet was the State Chancellor, Dr. Karl Renner, who had already directed the Government since the revolution. The secretaryships of State, which were of more political importance, were likewise occupied by Social Democrats, who also set the pace in other departments. Otto Bauer, who was followed in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs as early as 1918 by Victor Adler, strove with all his strength for a union of German-Austria with the German Reich, in which endeavours he was supported by all but a section of the Christian Socialists. The preliminary negotiations conducted with Berlin early in 1919 met with a favourable result. Bauer counted very much in his plans upon the support of the Italians, to whom the Austrian policy of union might be welcome for a variety of reasons. As to internal policy, the object was to make the republican form of government lastingly secure. The National Assembly set aside the dynasty of Habsburg-Lorraine, banished its members from the country if they did not submit entirely to the laws of the republic, confiscated a great part of its family domains, and abolished the nobility. The leading party was particularly zealous in introducing numerous laws of a socialist nature, of which the early part of 1919 was especially productive.

The alarming conditions of Austria came daily more darkly into view. Famine and misery forced the State straight into the abyss of serious social shocks. Soldiers and civilians, professionals and amateurs, seized at the means of self-protection. The several Territories (Lander ), in all of whose Diets - with the exception of Lower Austria - Christian Socialist majorities had been sitting since the elections in the summer of 1919, put up political and economic barriers against each other, and sealed themselves off even more hermetically from Vienna. Both in town and country party organizations of every sort interfered in administration - generally with the best intentions - and this resulted not infrequently in attacks on the freedom and property of their fellow citizens. The State Government was meanwhile powerless. The events in Budapest and Munich, where, in March and April 1919 respectively, Soviet republics had been set up, prompted to action the small Austrian Communist party, which had seceded from the Socialists of the Radical Left during the days of the revolution. In Vienna, on Easter Thursday and on June 6 1919, excesses were committed in consequence of the plots of native and foreign Communists, which led on both occasions to loss of life. If more serious consequences were avoided, this was as much due to the admirable police of Vienna as to the quiet and reasonable attitude of the Socialist leaders, who were conscious of their responsibility, and the good temper of the German-Austrian populace. When it became clear that the Communist disturbances were to no small extent fomented by the Hungarian Mission in Austria, dissensions arose between Vienna and Budapest, which were not settled till the Hungarian Soviets replaced their envoy, who had been involved in the affair, by a persona grata. On May 12 1919 the State Chancellor, Dr. Renner, had gone with a delegation to St. Germain-en-Laye to receive the terms of the dictated peace. With the exception of the Magyars, all the countries formerly under the same Government as the German-Austrians had " associated " themselves with their enemies in the World War. It was in no small degree due to their counsels that the Treaty of Peace turned out to be even more severe than that with Germany. In comparison with the loss of former German territory and of 3,000,000 GermanAustrian subjects, combined with unprecedentedly heavy economic burdens and restrictions, the acquisition of the Burgenland (German Western Hungary) and the promise of the Entente to assist in the reconstruction of Austria seemed but poor advantages, the value of which remained to be proved.

Otto Bauer recognized in the provisions of Article 88, which specifically forbade Austria's union with Germany, and in the fact that Italy, in spite of the Italophil attitude of the

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Republic of Austria'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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