The Logics of Separatism

Jakub S. Beneš

in Workers and Nationalism

Published in print December 2016 | ISBN: 9780198789291
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191831140 | DOI:
The Logics of Separatism

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)
  • Political History


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This chapter addresses the disintegration of Austrian Social Democracy in the years 1905–14. Czech nationalist separatism was the driving force and it split the political and trade-union organizations in Bohemia, Moravia, and Lower Austria along ethnic-national lines, culminating in a 1911 formal party split. It also led to an aggressive Czech socialist campaign for Czech minority school rights in historically German areas—a flashpoint issue for middle-class nationalists in Habsburg Austria. Behind these divisive agendas was the genuine belief among Czech socialists that they were the true leaders of the Czech nation, a conviction that found reinforcement in workers’ popular literature. Yet it was also fortified by German socialists’ large-nation arrogance, which seemed to validate Czech separatism. While Czech and German workers were estranged from each other, they remained aloof from the nationalist bourgeoisie.

Keywords: disintegration of Social Democracy; 1911 party split; Czech separatism; trade unions; minority school campaign; German conceit

Chapter.  19606 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945) ; Political History

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