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Catholic and Marxist Paradigms: Ignaz Seipel and Otto Bauer in the First Austrian Republic1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 February 2009

Douglas Alder
Dixie College, St. George, Utah


History becomes most fascinating when cosmic ideas clash. The lull between the two world wars in Europe was such a time. Old systems were dying and new ones struggling for birth. Life-and-death contests between cosmologies moved to front stage.

Not surprisingly, Vienna continued to be a fulcrum of change then as it was prior to the war as Carl Schorske has depicted it. Here the mass society had emerged during the fin de siécle and here those movements, Catholic and Marxist especially, wrestled for dominance. But the Vienna of the 1920s was no longer the capital of the Habsburg empire of fifty million subjects, rather it was the overlarge head of a truncated remnant counting seven million inhabitants. Nonetheless, it was the scene of the classic post-war ideological drama.

The Republics: Affairs Domestic and Foreign
Copyright © Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota 1984

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1 The author expresses gratitude to the Hoover Institute, Stanford, California, the Verein für Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, the Verwaltungsarchiv, and the National Library Vienna for archival assistance and the Fulbright Commission in Bonn as well as to Utah State University for research support. Norbert Leser, Kurt Steiner, and Jay F. Bodine were helpful critics.

2 Schorske, Carl E., Fin-de-Siècle Vienna, Politics and Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980).Google Scholar

3 The Social Democrats and the Christian Socials were the two major parties. Smaller parties existed, some allied with the Christian Socials, and one, the German Nationalists, held considerable influence initially, but gradually faded as some of its members either joined with the Christian Socials or moved into the developing National Socialist camp. A general history of the movements is Wandruszka, Adam, “Österreichs politische Struktur. Die Entwicklung der Parteien und politischen Bewegungen,” in Geschichte der Republik Österreich, Benedikt, Heinrich, ed. (Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, 1954).Google Scholar An excellent study of the Christian Social Party up to 1914 is Boyer, John W., Political Radicalism in Late Imperial Vienna (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).Google ScholarDiamant, Alfred, Austrian Catholics and the First Republic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960),Google Scholar is a standard work on the Catholics while Gulick, Charles, Austria from Habsburg to Hitler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948),Google Scholar is more favorable to the socialists. Anson Rabinbach has written a short study of the later portion of the socialist story, The Crisis of Austrian Socialism, From Red Vienna to Civil War, 1927–1934 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981).Google ScholarBerchtold, Klaus, ed., Österreichische Paneiprogramme 1918–1966 (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1967),Google Scholar is a helpful reference tool as is Rudolf Neck and Wandruszka, Adam, Die österreichische Verfassung von 1918 bis 1938 (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1980).Google Scholar Isabella Ackerl has written widely on the German nationalist tradition in Austria, including “Das Ende der christlichsozial großdeutschen Regierungskoalition,” in Jedlicka, Ludwig and Neck, Rudolf, eds. Vom Justizpalast zum Heldenplatz (Vienna: Druck und Verlag der österreichischen Staatsdruckerei,1975),Google Scholar and “Der 15. Juli 1927 und die ‘nationalen’ Mehrheitsparteien,” in Die Ereignisse des 15.Juli 1927, Neck, Rudolf and Wandruszka, Adam, eds. (Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, 1979).Google Scholar Two recent works on the rise of fascism are Pauley, Bruce F., Hitler and the Forgotten Nazis, A History of Austrian National Socialism (Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1981),CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Kitchen, Martin, The Coming of Austrian Fascism (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1980).Google Scholar For studies of the right-wing freecorps see Edmondson, C. Earl, The Heimwehr and Austrian Politics, 1918–1936 (Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1978),Google Scholar and Pauley, Bruce F., Hahnenschwanz und Hakenkreuz: Steirischer Heimatschutz und österreichischer Nationalsozialismus 1918–1934 (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1972).Google ScholarA study on the Social Democratic paramilitary organization is Christine Vleck, Der republikanische Schutzbund in Österreich—Geschichte, Aufbau und Organization (doctoral dissertation, University of Vienna, 1971).Google Scholar

4 Kuhn, Thomas F., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), p. 175.Google Scholar

5 Rennhofer, Friedrich has published a documentary biography, Ignaz Seipel, Mensch und Staatsmann (Vienna: Böhlau, 1978)Google Scholar which excerpts Seipel's diary, newspaper articles, correspondence, and speeches. It is not as useful as Bauer's Werkausgabe, but scholars can also turn to Seipel's other published materials: Nation und Staat (Vienna: W. Braumüller, 1916),Google ScholarDer Kampf urn die österreichische Verfassung (Vienna: W. Braumüller, 1930),Google ScholarDer christliche Staatsmann (Augsburg: Haas & Grabherr, 1931),Google ScholarBluml, Rudolf, ed., Ignaz Seipel, Mensch, Christ, Priester in seinem Tagebuch (Vienna: Hilfswerk für Schulsiedlungen, 1933),Google ScholarÖsterreich wie es wirklich ist (Vienna: Braumüller, 1953),Google Scholar and Gessl, Josef, Seipels Reden (Vienna: “Heros,” 1926).Google Scholar

6 Bauer's articles in Der Kampf and the Arbeiter Zeitung, his many books and many pamphlets, are conveniently reproduced in his recently published works: Pepper, Hugo, ed., Otto Bauer Werkausgabe, 9 vols. (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 19751980).Google Scholar

7 Heingartner, Robert W., Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of Austria-Hungary and Austria, 1910–1929, U.S. Department of State, reel 13, 11 12 1920.Google Scholar

8 Thomas S. Kuhn, “Reflections on My Critics,” in Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave, eds., Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, p. 275.

9 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, pp. 203, 502, 703.

10 Gessl, Seipels Reden, pp. 10, 130.

11 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 526.

12 Seipel, Ignaz, “Kirchliche Authorität und persönliche Freiheit,” Katholische Kirchenzeilung, LIII, (1913), 2528,Google Scholar as cited in Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 41. This was an address to the Leo Gesellschaft of Salzburg.

13 Winter, Ernst Karl, Ignaz Seipel als dialektisches Problem (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1966), p. 110.Google Scholar

14 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 62.

15 Ignaz Seipel, “Kritik am Parteiwesen” as cited in Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 706.

16 Ignaz Seipel,“Die grosse Linie der geistigen Entwicklung unserer Zeit,” in Gessl, Seipels Reden, p. 88.

17 Ignaz Seipel, “Das Führerproblem in der Demokratie,” ibid., (1925), p. 246 f.

18 Bluml, Ignaz Seipel, pp. 141–150. See also Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 9.

19 Bluml, Ignaz Seipel, p. 237. This entry in the diary is just one example; here he consults the Cardinal before forming a government.

20 Ibid., p. 121.

21 Pepper, Werkausgabe, II, 67.

22 Ibid., I, 17; II, 124, 174, 182.

23 Ibid., II, 226.

24 ”Die russische Revolution und das europäische Proletariat,” Pepper, Werkausgabe, II, 133–155; “Weltrevolution,” ibid., II, 157–184; “Bolschewismus oder Sozialdemokratie,” ibid., II, 223–357; “Der ‘neue Kurs’ in SowjetruBland,” ibid., II 427–457; “Die Bolschewiki und Wir,” ibid., VIII, 919; “ Karl Kautsky und der Bolschewismus,” ibid., IX, 702; “Aus der Sowjetunion,” ibid., IX, 901–1022.

25 “Among his predictions (written 1917–1919) were: The Kerensky government will not succeed as constituted, Pepper, Werkausgabe, II, 70; Russian democracy will not be imperialistic, ibid., II, 57; a Soviet dictatorship will not work because the workers are a minority and the bourgeoisie would be able to carry off a counter-revolution, ibid., II, 63–71; a separate peace for Russia will not work because Russia depends on the Allies economically, ibid., II, 78; the Russian Revolution is a herald for democracy elsewhere, ibid., II, 81; the Soviets in Russia will fall because they rest only on force and can dismantle but not build, ibid., II, 178; if the war continues, the revolution will be lost, ibid., II, 75; there will be no revolution in England and America, ibid., II, 165; the Americans and British will dominate postwar economy as capitalism revives in Western and Central Europe, but democracy in Central Europe is weak and will only survive if economic recovery is achieved, ibid., II, 170; the Soviet model will not be admired, and peace will not last, ibid., II, 181; British imperialism is in danger, ibid., II, 182.

26 Norbert Leser examines Austro-Marxism throughout his book Zwischen Reformismus und Bolschewismus (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1968).Google Scholar

27 Pepper, Werkausgabe, II, 137.

28 Ibid., II, 136, 182.

29 See Bauer's speeches at party congresses, for example the 1917 Parteitag, ibid., V, 128, and the 1927 Parteitag, ibid., V, 488.

30 Ibid., II, 129.

31 Ibid., II, 175.

32 Ibid., II, 121,145.

33 Ibid., II, 161.

34 Ibid., II, 314.

35 Ibid., II,96.

36 Ibid., II, 125–126.

37 Ibid., II, 205.

38 Ignaz Seipel, Der Kampf um die österreichische Verfassung, p. 58 ff.

39 Pepper, Werkausgabe, II, 150.

40 Winter, Ignaz Seipel, pp. 116–119.

41 Seipel, lgnaz, “Das Recht des Volkes,” Reichspost, 19 11 1918.Google Scholar This was the first article of a series.

42 Stephan Verosta, “Ignaz Seipel, Weg von der Monarchie zur Republik (1917–1919),” in Rudolf Neck and Adam Wandruszka, eds., Die österreichische Verfassung von 1918 bis 1938.

43 Ignaz Seipel, Nation und Staat, p. 57. Also Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 79.

44 Otto Bauer, “Ein Nationalitätenprogramm der ‘Linken’,” in Pepper, Werkausgabe, VIII, 947.

45 Hautmann, Hans, Die verlorene Räterepublik (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1971),Google Scholar deals with workers' and soldiers' councils and the rise of the Austrian Communist Party, 1917–1919.

46 Pepper, Werkausgabe, II, 150.

47 Ibid., II, 149.

48 Ibid., II, 341.

49 Ibid., II, 136–145.

50 Ibid., II, 293.

51 Ibid., II, 319.

52 Seipel, Ignaz,“Die demokratische Verfassung,” Reichspost, 20 11 1918.Google Scholar See also Seipel, Kampf, pp. 54–58.

53 Seipel, Kampf, pp. 133, 181, 185. Also Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 671.

54 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, pp. 642–646.

55 “Seipel, Kampf, p. 155. Also Gessl, Seipels Reden, p. 93.

56 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 659.

57 Ibid., pp. 522–524.

58 Seipel, Kampf, pp. 61, 167.

59 Gessl, Seipels Reden, p. 71. Also Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, pp. 660–662.

60 Seipel, Kampf, p. 60.

61 Heingartner, Robert W. interview with Karl Seitz, Records, reel 11,11 12 1928.Google Scholar

62 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 664.

63 Ibid., p. 188

64 Ibid., p. 640.

65 Ibid., p. 565.

66 Seipel, Kampf, p. 58.

67 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 388.

68 Austria, , Nationalrat. Stenographische Protokolle des Nationalrats, 7th session, 26 07 1927, p. 129 ff.Google Scholar

69 Pepper, Werkausgabe, VII, 332.

70 Ibid., VII, 325.

71 Ibid., VII,439.

72 Ibid., VII,433,477.

73 Ibid., VII,394.

74 Ibid., VII, 123.

75 Ibid., V, 805.

76 Staatsgesetzblatt für den Staat Deutschösterreich, 12 November 1919, Gesetz 5, Artikel 2. See also Schausberger, Robert, Der Griff nach Österreich: Der Anschluβ (Vienna: Jugend und Volk, 1978).Google Scholar

77 Haus- Hof-und-Staatsarchiv, Fasz. 262, Otto Bauer, Auβenminister, Fasz. 465, Anschluβ.

78 Halsted, Albert, United States Consul in Vienna, reported that Bauer's Anschluβ policy had become detrimental to Renner at the St. Germain peace negotiations. Clemenceau let Renner know of his distaste for Bauer. Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of Austria-Hungary and Austria, 1910–1929, reel 13, 27 07 1919.Google Scholar

79 Consul Washbum, United States Consul in Vienna, reported that Bauer opposed Anschluβ “under present conditions,” ibid., reel 13, 11 July 1927. Despite this situation, the Social Democrats did not purge the Anschluβ plank from their platform until 1933. See Klaus Berchtold, Österreichische Parteiprogramme 1868–1966, p. 264.

80 Ignaz Seipel, Österreich wie es wirklich ist, pp. 9, 18–21, 35–45.

81 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 94.

82 Ibid., pp. 162,567–568.

83 Seipel, Kampf, pp. 135–145. See also Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 185. Also Klemperer, Klemens von, Ignaz Seipel, Christian Statesman in Time of Crisis (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972), pp. 301306.Google Scholar

84 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 192.

85 Seipel, Kampf, pp. 85, 157 ff.

86 Pepper, Werkausgabe, I, 17; II, 174,195, “I am not a Bolshevik.”

87 Ibid., II, 185.

88 Martin Kitchen, The Coming of Austrian Fascism, p. 127.

89 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 650.

90 Reichspost, 19 December 1928, 2.

91 Seipel, Kampf, p. 188.

92 Gedye, G.E.R., Fallen Bastions: The Central European Tragedy (London: Victor Gollancz, 1939), p. 41 f.Google Scholar

93 Vleck, “Der republikanische Schutzbund in Österreich,” p. 161.

94 Arbeiter Zeitung, 2 November 1918,3. See also Bauer to Jean Lonquet, Pepper, Werkausgabe, IX, 1047.

95 Seipel, Ignaz, “Die christlichsoziale Politik im alten und neuen Jahr” (Dreikönigsrede), 6 01 1920,Google Scholar in Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 193.

96 Austria, Constitutent Assembly. Stenographisches Protokoll der konstituirenden Nationalversammlung der Republik Österreich, 5th session, 102.

97 Bauer to Kautsky, 26 January 1920, Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

98 Bauer, Otto, “Die alte Linke,” Arbeiter Zeitung, 12 and 13 07 1920.Google Scholar Also found in Der Kampf, July 1920.

99 Rennhofer, Ignaz Seipel, p. 213.

100 Ignaz Seipel, “DieZukunft Europas,” Kampf, p. 189 f. This was a speech on 30 July 1929 delivered at Krems.

101 Pepper, Werkausgabe, V, 524 (Parteitag 1921).

102 ”Genossen und Genossinnen,” Arfceirer Zeimng, 24 August 1922, 1–2.

103 Arbeiter Zeitung, 28 August 1922, 1.

104 Pepper, Werkausgabe, V, 587 (Parteitag 1931).

105 Thomas S. Kuhn, “Reflections on my Critics,” p. 276.

106 This owes much to Jay F. Bodine for his insights into paradigms, particularly in Vienna. See his Paradigms of Truthful Literary and Artistic Expressivity: Karl Kraus and Vienna at the Turn of the Century,” The Germanic Review, LVI (1981), 4150.Google Scholar

107 A good introduction to the study of language is Sapir, Edward, Culture, Language and Personality (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949).Google Scholar

108 Bouwsma, William J., “The Renaissance and the Drama of Western History,” American Historical Review, LXXXIV (1979), 10.Google Scholar This was his presidential address to the American Historical Association.

109 Imre Lakatos, “Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes,” in Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave, eds., Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, p. 92.

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