Badeni Language Ordinances
- Although the Ausgleich of 1867 granted the kingdom of Hungary considerable autonomy in its internal affairs, this privilege did not extend to Slavic national groups in the Habsburg Empire. Perhaps the most resentful were the Czechs in the kingdom of Bohemia, who had long asked for similar recognition. Among their most vocal and consistent demands was for permission to use their own tongue in administrative and legal affairs within Bohemia. This brought them into regular conflict with a large German minority, which also had a historic presence in the kingdom. The issue spilled over to the parliament of the Austrian half of the monarchy where, by 1897, there was an assertive Czech representation. Although they could be outvoted by delegates of German-speaking constituencies, the latter were not gathered into a single political party.Needing Czech support for other measures he was promoting, the minister-president, Count Casimir Badeni (1846–1909), a Pole, offered proposals that required all civil servants in the kingdom of Bohemia to be functionally bilingual in written and spoken German and Czech by 1901. Whereas most educated Czechs could use both languages with some fluency, the same thing was not true of the Germans in the kingdom. German rioting over the measures broke out in Prague as well as in smaller urban centers in Bohemia and in the Austrian lands. In the face of this opposition, Badeni resigned his position, and his proposals did not take effect. The antagonism between Germans and Czechs in Bohemia deepened, making local parliamentary life often a bitter affair. This was also true in the Austrian Imperial Assembly where, from the beginning of the 20th century through most of World War I, business had to be conducted by emergency decree.
Historical dictionary of Austria. Paula Sutter Fichtner. 2014.
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