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

  • R. John Rath (a1)


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.



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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.

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.

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. 221238. See also Schroeder, Paul W.'s excellent surveys of “American Books on Austria-Hungary,”ibid., 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).

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.

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); The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy (London: Constable & Co., 1911); German, Slav, and Magyar: A Study in the Origins of the Great War (London: Williams and Norgate, 1916); Slovakia Then and Now: A Political Survey (London: Allen & Unwin, 1931); and A History of the Roumanians (Cambridge: The University Press, 1934).

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).

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

17 du Coudray, Helene, Metternich (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1936). 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.

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

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. 513527. For Schuschnigg, 's opinions, see, inter alia, his Dreimal Österreich (2nd ed., Baden: Rohrer, 1937), especially chapter I. An American edition with a foreword by Dorothy Thompson, entitled My Austria, was published by Knopf, Alfred in New York in 1938.

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); Clark, Chester W.'s Francis Joseph and Bismarck: The Diplomacy of Austria before the War of 1866 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1934); Wedel, Oswald H.'s Austro-German Diplomatic Relations 1908–1914 (Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 1927); Schmitt, 's The Annexation of Bosnia; and Ball, Mary Margaret's Post-War German-Austrian Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1936).

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.

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).

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

27 For more details about Thomson's career, see , R. J. R., “S. Harrison Thomson,”ibid., 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. 3254. 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 Affairs, 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); Bernard, Paul P., The Origins of Josephinism: Two Studies (Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College Press, 1964); Bernard, , Joseph II (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1968); Bernard, , Jesuits and Jacobins, Enlightenment and Despotism in Austria (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1971); Bernard, , Joseph II and Bavaria: Two Eighteenth Century Attempts at German Unification (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1965); Bernard, , The Limits of Enlightenment: Joseph II and the Law (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1979); Pech, Stanley Z., The Czech Revolution of 1848 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1969); and Wright, William E., Serf, Seigneur, and Sovereign: Agrarian Reform in Eighteenth-Century Bohemia (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1966).

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.

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

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. 324326; 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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,”ibid., Vol. XVII–XVIII (1981–1982), pp. 3–24; and Stourzh, Gerald, “Robert A. Kann—a Memoir from Austria,”ibid., 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).

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

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

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

45 See Wagner, Hans, “Alphons Lhotsky,”ibid., 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,”ibid., 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.

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

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).

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. 23. The above list was published in the Austrian History Yearbook, Vol. I (1965), pp. 179225.

54 For the organizational structure of the symposium, see Jelavich, Charles and , R. J. R., “The Conference,”ibid., 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.

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

  • R. John Rath (a1)


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