Back to the Monarchy’s Glorifed Past? Military Discourses on Male Citizenship and Universal Conscription in the Austrian Empire, 1868–1914

TitleBack to the Monarchy’s Glorifed Past? Military Discourses on Male Citizenship and Universal Conscription in the Austrian Empire, 1868–1914
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHämmerle, Christa
EditorDudink, Stefan, Karen Hagemann, and Anna Clark
Book TitleRepresenting Masculinity: Male Citizenship in Modern Western Culture
Pagination151 - 168
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK ; New York
Abstract

This book chapter  discusses the conflict-laden development of masculine citizenship in the Austrian part of the Habsburg Monarchy. The year 1867 here marks the actual beginning of the constitutional state, and was followed by the introduction of universal conscription at the end of 1868. Albeit, general and equal suffrage for all men aged 24 was not implemented before 1907, for several reasons. Like nationalist representatives of parliament, also influential members of the k. (u.) k. Joint Army did oppose former attempts to broaden the male right to vote, which was based on the census (and therefore until the end of the ninteenth century even included some propertied tax-paying women). But their motifs to combat against modern political culture were different: They followed to the – at that time of European nationalism singular – concept of a multinational peoples army loyal to the ´fatherland´ and the Habsburg dynasty, and experienced the tendencies towards democratisation as highly anti-militaristic – what in their view was shown by the yearly conflicts in parliament concerning the military budgets and the contingent of recruited soldiers. This explains the emergence of a military discourse again coquetting with the ideal of a professional, but nonetheless very martial soldier dedicated to fight against “his Majesty, the people” in order to save the real Majesty respectively the glorious multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

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