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Three Score and Fifteen Years of Habsburg and Austrian Historiography and a Quarter-Century of Editing the Austrian History Yearbook

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2009

R. John Rath
Professor Emeritus, Rice University, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Center for Austrian Studies, 712 Social Sciences Building, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.


Certain events sometimes exert a decisive influence on the future direction of a person's life. In my case one of the more determinative occurred during a brief week spent in Vienna in early February 1957 For one thing, I discovered in the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv highly significant documents in some cartons that had just been returned to Austria from Italy, by mistake as it turned out. The director of the Austrian archives, Gebhard Rath, put these records at my disposal. These papers, together with material of lesser import in the Archivio di Stato in Milan, provided the documentation for an article showing how Austrian officials had thwarted the efforts of an Italian scoundrel to extort money from them. More important than this discovery were my conversations with Professor Hugo Hantsch, of the University of Vienna, during the course of which I promised to supply as complete a list as possible of United States and Canadian writings on the history of the Habsburg monarchy, take the initiative in founding some kind of association for American scholars interested in Habsburg and Austrian history, and endeavor to help the Austrian professor obtain a grant from the Ford Foundation for a large international project on the history of the Habsburg monarchy from 1848 to 1918.

Articles: Special Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Essay
Copyright © Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota 1991

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1 “La costituzione guelfa e i servizi segreti austriaci,” Rassegna Storica del Risorgimento, Vol. L, Fase. 3 (0709 1963), pp. 343376.Google Scholar

2 He died on August 6, 1972.

3 Revised list, prepared in January 1960, entitled “Publications and Research Projects Dealing with Austrian History in the United States”; , R. J. R., “Obiter Dictum,” Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. I (1965), p. 1.Google Scholar

4 The volumes written by Lawrence D. Steefel, Chester Clark, Oswald H. Wedel, Mary Margaret Ball, and Robert J. Kerner mentioned in note 22 of this article should also have been listed, for they all originated as doctoral dissertations. For a first-rate study of American doctoral dissertations before 1970, see Epstein, Fritz T., “The History of Austria in United States and Canadian Dissertations,” Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. VI–VII (19701971), pp. 221238CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Schroeder, Paul W.'s excellent surveys of “American Books on Austria-Hungary,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. II (1966), pp. 172–197; and “The Status of Habsburg Studies in the United States,” ibid., Vol. III (1967), Pt. 3, pp. 267–295.

5 See especially Léger, Louis Paul, A History of Austria-Hungary from the Earliest Times to the Year 1889, translated by MrsHall, Birkbeck (London: n.p., 1889).Google Scholar

6 As quoted in May, Arthur J., “R. W. Seton-Watson and British Anti-Habsburg Sentiment,” The American Slavic and East European Review, Vol. XX, No. 1 (02 1961), p. 45.Google Scholar

7 Ibid., pp. 46–52. Among Seton-Watson's numerous writings, see especially Racial Problems in Hungary, written under the pseudonym of Viator, Scotus (London: Constable & Co., 1908)Google Scholar; The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy (London: Constable & Co., 1911)Google Scholar; German, Slav, and Magyar: A Study in the Origins of the Great War (London: Williams and Norgate, 1916)Google Scholar; Slovakia Then and Now: A Political Survey (London: Allen & Unwin, 1931)Google Scholar; and A History of the Roumanians (Cambridge: The University Press, 1934).Google Scholar

8 For a detailed account of the work of the latter group, see especially Gelfand, Lawrence E., The Inquiry: American Preparations for the Peace, 1917–1919 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1963).Google Scholar

9 See my article on “Das amerikanische Schrifttum über den Untergang der Monarchie,” in Plaschka, Richard G. and Mack, Karlheinz (eds.), Die Auflösung des Habsburgerreiches. Zusammenbruch und Neuorientierung im Donauraum (Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, 1970), pp. 236248.Google Scholar

10 In a paper read at the American Historical Association convention in 12 1920Google Scholar, as reprinted in Coolidge, Archibald Cary, Ten Years of War and Peace (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1927), p. 242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

11 Jászi, , The Dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy, p. 33.Google Scholar

12 Ibid., p. 129.

13 Ibid., p. 453. See also Seton-Watson's review of Jászi, 's book in The Journal of Modern History, Vol. II, No. 4 (12 1930), pp. 697701.Google Scholar

14 von Srbik, Heinrich Ritter, Metternich, der Staatsmann und der Mensch (2 vols., Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1925).Google Scholar

15 Herman, Arthur, Metternich (New York: Century, 1932).Google Scholar

16 See Srbik's review of Herman, 's volume in The Journal of Modern History, Vol. V, No. 1 (03 1933), p. 100.Google Scholar

17 du Coudray, Helene, Metternich (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1936)Google Scholar. For a good evaluation of the key writings about Metternich and the Metternichian era published between 1925 and 1960, see Schroeder, Paul W., “Metternich Studies since 1925,” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. XXXIII, No. 3 (09 1961), pp. 237260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

18 See especially von Srbik, Heinrich Ritter, Deutsche Einheit. Idee und Wirklichkeit vom Heiligen Reich bis Königgrätz (4 vols., Munich: F. Bruckmann, 19351942).Google Scholar

19 See especially Kohn, Hans, “AEIOU: Some Reflections on the Meaning and Mission of Austria,” The Journal of Modern History, Vol. XI, No. 4 (12 1939), pp. 513527CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For Schuschnigg, 's opinions, see, inter alia, his Dreimal Österreich (2nd ed., Baden: Rohrer, 1937), especially chapter IGoogle Scholar. An American edition with a foreword by Dorothy Thompson, entitled My Austria, was published by Knopf, Alfred in New York in 1938.Google Scholar

20 Published in 1936 in Vienna by the Österreichischer Bundesverlag für Unterricht, Wissenschaft und Kunst.

21 Published in New York by Macmillan in 1929.

22 Among them were Steefel, Lawrence D.'s The Schleswig-Holstein Question (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1938)Google Scholar; Clark, Chester W.'s Francis Joseph and Bismarck: The Diplomacy of Austria before the War of 1866 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934)Google Scholar; Wedel, Oswald H.'s Austro-German Diplomatic Relations 1908–1914 (Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 1927)Google Scholar; Schmitt, 's The Annexation of BosniaGoogle Scholar; and Ball, Mary Margaret's Post-War German-Austrian Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1936).Google Scholar

23 This article, entitled “The Habsburgs and the Great Depression in Lombardy-Venetia, 1814–18,” was published in The Journal of Modern History, Vol. XIII, No. 3 (09 1941), pp. 305320.Google Scholar

24 The other key expert, Paul W. Schroeder, of the University of Illinois, pursued his doctoral studies at the University of Texas.

25 See especially his Czechoslovakia (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1945).Google Scholar

26 See, for instance, his article “The Italian Nationality Problem of the Austrian Empire,” Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. III (1967), Pt. 2, pp. 491526.Google Scholar

27 For more details about Thomson's career, see , R. J. R., “S. Harrison Thomson,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. XI (1975), pp. 382–383.

28 The first two editors of the Austrian History Yearbook learned about the intricacies involved in editing a journal devoted to multinational central Europe while serving as associate editors of this publication.

29 For an analysis of the articles published in the Journal of Central European Affairs, see Adams, Meredith Lentz, “The Habsburg Monarchy, Austria and Hungary as Treated in the Journal of Central European Affairs,” Austrian History News Letter, No. 3 (1962), pp. 3254Google Scholar. For a similar analysis of the articles in other journals, see Hoover, Arlie, “The Habsburg Monarchy, Austria and Hungary as Treated in Other U.S. Journals than the Journal of Central European AffairsGoogle Scholar, ibid., No. 4 (1963), pp. 51–72.

30 Among these publications, see Barány, George, Stephen Széchenyi and the Awakening of Hungarian Nationalism, 1791–1841 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968)Google Scholar; Bernard, Paul P., The Origins of Josephinism: Two Studies (Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College Press, 1964)Google Scholar; Bernard, , Joseph II (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1968)Google Scholar; Bernard, , Jesuits and Jacobins, Enlightenment and Despotism in Austria (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1971)Google Scholar; Bernard, , Joseph II and Bavaria: Two Eighteenth Century Attempts at German Unification (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1965)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bernard, , The Limits of Enlightenment: Joseph II and the Law (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1979)Google Scholar; Pech, Stanley Z., The Czech Revolution of 1848 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1969)Google Scholar; and Wright, William E., Serf, Seigneur, and Sovereign: Agrarian Reform in Eighteenth-Century Bohemia (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1966).Google Scholar

31 For an insightful, sympathetic evaluation of Hans Kohn's writings and work by a friend who knew him well, see Kann, Robert A.'s necrology in the Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. VI–VII (19701971), pp. 523526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

32 His most important writings on nationalism are The Idea of Nationalism: A Study in Its Origins and Background (New York: Macmillan, 1944)Google Scholar; and Prophets and Peoples: Studies in Nineteenth Century Nationalism (New York: Macmillan, 1947).Google Scholar

33 For an evaluation of his work and influence, see Kann, Robert A.'s “Arthur J. May, 1899–1968,” Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. III (1967), Pt. 3, pp. 324326CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and the comments by R. J. R. in his brief note entitled “Two Distinguished Pioneer Scholars,” in ibid., pp. 327–328.

34 See his “American Books on Austria-Hungary,” p. 182.Google Scholar

35 For an account of Engel-Janosi's career, see his autobiography, … aber ein stolzer Bettler. Erinnerungen (Graz: Verlag Styria, 1974).Google Scholar

36 Graf Rechberg. Vier Kapitel zu seiner und Österreichs Geschichte (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1927)Google Scholar; Der Freiherr von Hübner (18111892) (Innsbruck: Universitäts-Verlag Wagner, 1933)Google Scholar; and Die Jugendzeit des Grafen Prokesch von Osten (Innsbruck: Universitäts-Verlag Wagner, 1938).Google Scholar

37 Engel-Janosi, , … aber ein stolzer Bettler, p. 217.Google Scholar

38 The Growth of German Historicism (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1944)Google Scholar; and Four Studies in French Romantic Historical Writing (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1955).Google Scholar

39 See Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. I (1965), pp. 189 and 201.Google Scholar

40 For an evaluation of Robert A. Kann's work as a historian, see Winters, Stanley B., “The Forging of a Historian: Robert A. Kann in America, 1939–1976,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. XVII–XVIII (1981–1982), pp. 3–24; and Stourzh, Gerald, “Robert A. Kann—a Memoir from Austria,”Google Scholaribid., pp. 24–25.

41 But not the best one ever appearing in English. In my opinion, the best is French historian Tapié, Victor L.'s The Rise and Fall of the Habsburg Monarchy, translated by Hardman, Stephen (New York: Praeger, 1971).Google Scholar

42 For a complete list, see the sections entitled “United States Publications on Austrian History,” in Vols. I, II, and IV–VGoogle Scholar to and including XIX–XX of the Austrian History Yearbook.

43 See Stourzh, Gerald, “Hugo Hantsch,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. IX–X (1973–1974), pp. 507–513.

44 See Stourzh, Gerald, “Heinrich Benedikt (1886–1981),”Google Scholaribid., Vol. XVII–XVIII (1981–1982), pp. 579–580.

45 See Wagner, Hans, “Alphons Lhotsky,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. VI–VII (1970–1971), pp. 515–520.

46 For European studies on Austrian history before 1966, see Fellner, Fritz and Gottas, Friedrich, “Habsburg Studies in Europe,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. III (1967), Pt. 3, pp. 296–307.

47 “Recent French Publications on the Habsburg Empire and the Succession States (1952–1962),” ibid., Vol. I (1965), pp. 164–178.

48 Fellner, and Gottas, , “Habsburg Studies in Europe,” pp. 298303.Google Scholar

49 Die Nationalitäten in “Cisleithanien” und das Wahlrecht der Märzrevolution 1848–49 (Graz: Böhlau, 1962).Google Scholar

50 Die Sozialdemokratie und die Nationalitätenfrage im habsburgischen Vielvölkerstaat, Vol. I: Das Ringen um die supranationale Integration der Zisleithanischen Arbeiterbewegung (1867–1907) (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1963).Google Scholar

51 A11 four issues were subsequently reprinted in their original mimeographed form by Johnson Reprint Corporation of New York.

52 The name of the man so dedicated to furthering the cause of scholarship should be revealed, even though it is now 28 years after the deed was performed. He is Myron J. Low, now a member of the history department faculty at Austin College, in Sherman, Texas.

53 , R. J. R., “Obiter Dictum,” pp. 23Google Scholar. The above list was published in the Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. I (1965), pp. 179225.Google Scholar

54 For the organizational structure of the symposium, see Jelavich, Charles and , R. J. R., “The Conference,”Google Scholaribid., Vol. III (1967), Pt. 1, pp. 1–7.

55 Although I feel that very rigid limits need to be set and strictly adhered to in regard to exactly what fields should be included and excluded, within such limits the list must be as complete as possible if it is to be of any real value to the profession as a whole.

56 This frequently necessitated making considerable changes in sentence structure in German manuscripts. Just one example: A dozen years ago when I sent my five-page translation of a book review to its Austrian author for careful checking, the latter gave the translation his approval but at the same time sent a personal translation that he believed might possibly convey his ideas more exactly. His translation had a total of only four sentences, each of which had at least a score of misplaced modifiers. Needless to say, my version was published.

57 It is extremely difficult to make more than a rough estimate for the years 1983–1985, since numerous books and articles in much wider areas were now included in the Yearbook lists. Moreover, while I had strictly excluded all non-American authors from the United States and Canadian lists, since 1982 a substantial number of publications by foreign authors were listed.

58 In all the issues, including Vol. XXI (1985).

59 For the reasons given in note 57, the figure cited for 1985 is only a rough estimate.

60 Carl Schorske, who received a Harvard Ph.D. in 1950, is not included since his thesis was in German history.

61 Chicago, Michigan, Duke, Wisconsin, American, St. John's, U.C.L.A., Rice, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Boston, Washington, Marquette, Western Reserve, Catholic University, Vanderbilt, and Boston College.

62 Brown, Bryn Mawr, Catholic University, Duke, Kent State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Texas Christian, and Virginia.

63 University of Arizona, Boston College, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of California at Riverside, Carnegie-Mellon, Case Western Reserve, Chicago Theological Seminary, the College of the City of New York, the University of Denver, Dropsie College, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Florida State, Fordham, George Washington, Georgia, the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Johns Hopkins, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Loyola, Marquette, Michigan State, State University of New York at Albany, State University of New York at Binghamton, State University of New York at Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Pennsylvania State, Pittsburgh, St. John's, St. Louis University, South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas, Tufts, Tulane, and Vanderbilt.

64 Twenty-seven if István Déak is included. He was not listed among the Columbia students with publications in the field because his dissertation was in German history.