Highlights of Austrian/German Cultural/Historic Events:
Mid 19th Century to Early 20th Century

If you have any questions, E-Mail the author,
Yutaka Yamada tamayu@aol.com

The mid to late 19th century in which late "romantic" composers such as JOSEPH ANTON BRUCKNER(1824-1896), the Austrian composer lived, was characterized by dynamism and conservatism. During this period, Austria was a vast empire of colonies such as Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Italy. Germanic as well as Slavic and other ethnic groups that comprised Austria created cosmopolitan diversity, dynamic social, cultural, political and scientific developments. The new Austrian constitution established in the 1860's established a "modern" form of government such as the parliament, bicameral system, freedom of press, speech and assembly, protection of the rights of various ethnic groups and some voting rights. Improved transportation systems (e.g. building of railroads), rapid urbanization (e.g. Vienna) and numerous scientific revolutions were examples of its dynamic social change and achievements. However, traditional authoritarianism as seen in the absolute power of the emperor and bureaucracy, legal authority of Catholic church over civilian and educational matters were an example of socio-cultural and political control by a nation and organizations which exemplified rigid conservatism.

This period was also a time of turbulence, conflict and warfare. Austria experienced revolution (March Revolution of 1848), had wars with colonies of Austria such as Italy (wars with Kingdom of Sardonia in 1848 and 1859-1860), Hungary (1848) as well as wars with Prussia (1860). These various conflicts ultimately lead Austria into the World War I (conflict with Serbia in 1914 and other nations)

Following are summaries of some of the social, political and cultural events of this period.

Late1840's to Early 1860's

After the defeat of the March Revolution (1848), a new government under Franz Joseph (Emperor of Austria 1838-1916) was established. Extreme oppressive measures such as abolishing freedom of the press, jury and public trials were taken. Corporal punishment by police was reestablished and internal surveillance increased. The Catholic church had legal authority over marriage, education (e.g. curriculum of elementary and secondary schools) and had some power to conduct censorship.

Certain crucial legal reforms of this period included the drafting of a new Austrian constitution in 1860 (October Diploma) and February Patent (1861). The constitution included unified customs territory, new codes for trades and crafts and serf emancipation (emancipation of peasantry).

Late1840's to Early 1860's
March to October1848
Revolution. Students and liberal protested for freedom and liberalization. But in October 31, Austrian army recaptured Vienna and executed the revolutionary leaders.

Hungarian Diet demanded reforms(e.g. civil liberties and greater autonomy of Hungarian government). New Hungarian constitution created.

1848-54 The construction of the Semmering Railway, the world's first mountain railroad.

1860 October Diploma. Drafting of the new Constitution. 100 member parliament controlled finance, commerce and industry.

1861 February Patent. Revision of the October Diploma. Establishment of a bicameral system.

Mid 1860's to Early 1870's

In December of 1867, the "December Constitution" was established which included: a)giving freedom of press, speech, and assembly; b)protecting the rights of various ethnic groups and c)recognizing the Parliament as legal body. However, the true power existed in the emperor and the bureaucracy.

Mid 1860's to Early 1870's
1865 Opening of Ringstrasse.

1866 The father of the modern genetics, Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) publishes "Experiments with Plant Hybrids"

1867 The Dual Monarchy was created after discussions with Hungary ("Ausgleich" or"Compromise"). Austria's official name was now AUSTRIA-HUNGARY. Franz Joseph became the king of Hungary and the Emperor of Austria.

December, 1867

Establishment of the December Constitution.

Execution of Maximilan (younger brother of Franz Joseph), the emperor of Mexico.
1869 Completion of the Vienna State Opera building.

1873 Vienna International Exhibition held demonstrating Austria's economic and cultural achievements.
However, in May of 1873, the stock market crashed and the Depression followed. Anti-Semitic sentiment arose and Jews were scapegoated as responsible for the Depression.

In the late 1860's, after the sanctioning of the December Constitution, civil marriage was rinstituted and compulsory education established.

In 1870s, Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (1844-1906) published papers on the second law of thermodynamics (energy exchange).

1880 Language Ordinance issued: Czech and German bilingual system in Bohemia and Moravian public services.

1881 Theodor Billroth (1829-1894), a pioneer in modern stomach surgery, surgically removed a cancerous organ.

1882 University of Prague became the first Czechoslovakian national University.

1884 Law: maximum working hours are 11 hours per day, made child labor under 12 illegal, Sunday became the legal day for rest and insurance for sickness and accidents became compulsory.

1885 Patenting of the gas mantle by Carl Auer Welsbach (1858-1929)

1887 Ernst Mach (1838-1916) established the principles of supersonics and the Mach number.


*Victor Adler formed Social Democratic Party composed of multiple Marxist groups.

*The Hapsburg crown prince, Archduke Rudolf and his mistress Mary Vetsera committed suicide in Mayerling.

Extreme right--Pan German movement accompanied by anti-Semitism began to emerge.

*Suffrage Bill: Voting rights for all males (traditional class based system of voting called curiae was still active)

*"Anatol" written by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931).

1894 The publication of "The Philosophy of Freedom" and "The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity" by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)

1894-1897 Design of the City Railway of Vienna by Otto Wagner(1841-1918).


*Language ordinance: Czech German bilingual system in Bohemian and Moravian public services.

*Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) founded the Vienna Sezession.

1898 Assassination of Empress Elizabeth (1837-1898) in Geneva.

Vienna population increases to approx.1.8mil.

1906 First universal suffrage bill introduced.

1907 Gave voting rights to every male over 24. Curiae abolished.

1910 Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)"The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis".


*June 28, Archduke FRANCIS FERDINAND, future heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne assassinated at Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist.

*July: Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The beginning of World War 1.
1916 Death of Franz Joseph.

1918 End of the World War I.

For information on Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), the 19th century Austrian composer,
Cultural Anthropology and Symbolic Anthropology by Yutaka Yamada Ph.D., Click Below

Yutaka Yamada Index Anton Bruckner

For Anthja (Anthropology of Japan)
founder Yutaka Yamada Ph.D. Background and Publication, Click Below

Yutaka Yamada Index Yutaka's Background Yutaka's Publications Yutaka's Company ANTHJA (Anthropology of Japan)

E-Mail Yutaka Yamada tamayu@aol.com

Updated 04/08/07