Courtesy Reuters

Hapsburg Policy in the Balkans Before the War

Selections from the Diaries of the Late Dr. Josef M. Baernreither

THE following selections from the diaries and memoirs of my great friend, Dr. Josef M. Baernreither, are taken from the volume which I have prepared for early publication in Germany. This volume will deal mainly with the Balkan problem in its relation to Austria-Hungary during the years from 1892 to the outbreak of the World War. The parts which I have chosen for publication here cover particularly the years 1912 to 1914, when the attitude of the ancient Hapsburg Monarchy towards Bosnia-Herzegovina and towards Serbia had such important consequences for all of Europe.

Josef M. Baernreither was born on April 22, 1845, of a prominent German family of Bohemia. He was educated as a lawyer and for a number of years practised both in the courts of justice and in the Ministry of Justice in Vienna. In 1885 he entered political life. From then until the collapse of the Empire he belonged to the Central Parliament of Austria, first as a member of the House of Deputies, later, from 1907 until 1918, as a life member of the Upper House. From 1890 he was one of the recognized leaders of the great German Liberal Party in the Lower Chamber, and as such he became in 1898 Minister of Commerce in the cabinet headed by Count Franz Thun. A year later he resigned, but he remained one of the leading German statesmen of Austria.

His main aim -- never fulfilled -- was to bring about a compromise between Germans and Czechs in Bohemia, for he was convinced that without such a compromise any real political progress in Austria was impossible. Austro-Hungarian foreign policy was intertwined with this problem, and he therefore gave it close study. He took particular interest, too, in the tendencies of the Southern Slav subjects of the Empire, part of whom were in Austria, part in Hungary and part in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the so-called "occupied provinces" formerly belonging to Turkey. He went almost yearly to all the South Slav lands of the Monarchy and also to the Kingdom

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