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HIST3171 The Crisis of Austria-Hungary Part 1

Module Overview

In this module you will study how and why domestic crises struck the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria-Hungary) in the two decades before the First World War, and what the potential consequences were for the Empire’s long-term sustainability. The module particularly considers issues of stability/instability as its theoretical framework, as expressed not only by the ruling authorities towards certain suspect peoples or political groups (eg. socialists), but also by certain groups towards their respective rulers. We begin by evaluating the Habsburg dynasty as a ‘centripetal force’ and examples of civilian loyalty in the 1890s; then look at developments in the imperial city of Vienna (the rise of Christian Socialism). From there the module develops into three major crisis case studies. First, the crisis in Hungary where in the aftermath of the Millennium celebrations a new Magyar confidence resulted in a full-on clash with the Habsburg dynasty from 1905. At the same time, for the Magyar rulers themselves a different type of crisis was evident in their own back-yard: the behaviour of their Slovak and Romanian minorities. This reached a European-wide public when publicized in 1908 by the British historian R.W. Seton-Watson. The second case study is the Czech-German nationalist clash in the Bohemian lands. Here the Viennese government managed to effect some solution (in Moravia), but both Czech and German nationalists in Bohemia were still viewed as disruptive or disloyal. The module will take stock of the different tactics employed on all sides in order to explain rising national and dynastic paranoia. Third, the module turns to the infamous South Slav Question. It focuses in this part particularly on crisis in Croatia where Serb politicians after 1903 were thought to be in league with neighbouring Serbia. A prime point of study is the Zagreb Treason Trials of 1908-19 and their repercussions. Your knowledge base will slowly increase so that you can make informed comparative judgements (a) about contemporary mentalities and (b) about why these major domestic crises could not be solved by the Empire before 1914.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To explore domestic crisis in pre-war Austria-Hungary (c.1890-1914), examining social and nationalist tensions. • To introduce students to a wide range of primary evidence for this subject (including foreign language sources translated by the module co-ordinator); • To acquire a theoretical framework for testing imperial, national, and provincial allegiances, then applying this to case studies from different parts of the Monarchy (in both Austria and Hungary).

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • To explore domestic crisis in pre-war Austria-Hungary (c.1890-1914), examining social and nationalist tensions
  • To introduce students to a wide range of primary evidence for this subject (including foreign language sources translated by the module co-ordinator)
  • To acquire a theoretical framework for testing imperial, national, and provincial allegiances, then applying this to case studies from different parts of the Monarchy (in both Austria and Hungary
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse historiographical and conceptual approaches towards the Habsburg Monarchy’s stability or instability before the First World War
  • Critically assess a wide variety of primary sources, offering divergent opinions on the same case study
  • Understand the Habsburg/state authorities’ estimation of social, economic and regional stability and their solutions to any perceived ‘crisis’
  • Understand the urban vibrancy in Vienna and Budapest around the turn of the century
  • Explain the relationship between dynastic and national loyalties in the context especially of: Hungary; the Czech regions; the German lands; the South Slav lands
  • Consider how the nationalist struggle for allegiance operated in those same regions.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • utilise and develop your time-management skills
  • develop and improve your presentation skills
  • participate effectively in group discussion
  • locate and use effective textual, visual and material culture sources in the library and on-line, synthesising this material in order to develop cogent arguments
  • research historical questions and communicate your findings convincingly and concisely in written essays and reports

Syllabus

An indicative list of seminar topics would include • The Habsburg Monarchy • Concepts of ‘loyalty’ and ‘treason’ • Nationalism • The City of Vienna • The 1890s and Civilian Loyalty • The Crisis of 1905 • British responses to the Crisis in Hungary • Nationalism in Bohemia • The Treason Trials

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • short presentations by students • group discussions including feedback from the tutor • detailed reading and analysis of the module texts Learning activities include: • preparatory reading, individual research and study prior to each class • preparing and delivering short presentations relating to specific aspects of the module • studying textual and visual primary sources • participation in group and class discussion In this module learning and teaching activities focus on helping you to explore and investigate the ideas and themes outlined above. Throughout the module you will also engage in directed and self-directed study, for example through pre-seminar reading and through library research. The presentations (by you and your fellow students) and your reading will provide you with a broad overview of the secondary literature, using the bibliography provided at the start of the module. The discussion generated by these presentations will provide you with the opportunity to explore the relevant major historical debates on a weekly basis. In addition, you will study in depth a range of primary written and visual sources. These sessions will allow you to prepare for the essay and examination exercises. Feedback on your progress and development will be given via seminars and group discussions. Responses from tutor and your fellow students to your presentation will also give you formative feedback.

TypeHours
Follow-up work258
Seminar42
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Cole, L. & Unowsky, D. (2007). The Limits of Loyalty. Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy. 

Boyer, J. (1995). Culture and Political Crisis in Vienna: Christian Socialism in Power. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Exercise 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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