ABSTRACT

Although Austria had set itself from the first to provide a haven for all kinds and colours of political refugees from Hungary and other countries, its own transition to normality after the collapse of the Empire had been more gradual and less cataclysmic than that of its eastern neighbour. For one thing, there were very few large estates, and hence no “land problem” in rural areas; for another, there was a very strong and well-led Social Democratic party, many of whose leaders had had considerable political experience. The Austrian SDP was a definitely Marxist party, standing to the left of its counterpart in Germany, but it sounded more revolutionary than it actually was, and was therefore able to contain much of the extreme left without encouraging real revolution. Its chief rival was the Christian Social Party (CSP), mostly Catholic, petit bourgeois and rural, embracing a wide spectrum of rightist positions, from moderate or centralist conservatives to monarchists and embryo Fascists. There were also the liberal and bourgeois “Nationalist” parties, the “Grossdeutschen” and the less influential Landbund, whose importance in the Republic stemmed from the fact that one or both of them was usually needed to make up a governing coalition.