Dual Statehood in Modern Europe: The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 in comparative perspective

Dual Statehood in Modern Europe: The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 in comparative perspective

Fachbereich Geschichte, Universität Salzburg & Kommission für Neuere Geschichte Österreichs
FB Geschichte, Rudolfskai 42 und FB Kommunikationswissenschaften, Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 18
Vom - Bis
13.09.2017 - 15.09.2017
Matthias Egger

Among all the recent attention to major commemorative milestones in modern Central European history, such as the 200th anniversary of the Congress of Vienna of 1814/15 or the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, the 150th anniversary of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 seems likely to pass by with comparatively little notice. Aside from the coincidence of the upcoming anniversary date in 2017, however, there are a number of important scholarly reasons for organising a conference on the question of dual statehood in modern Europe, as a means of placing the Compromise of 1867 in comparative international perspective.

In the first place, ever since Louis Eisenmann’s influential 1904 work on the 1867 agreement, historians of the Habsburg Monarchy have tended to assume that it was a unique form of constitutional settlement. In short, the Compromise seemed to confirm the exceptional nature of the Habsburg Monarchy and this sense of its distinctiveness still pervades much historical scholarship (for example, Paula Fichtner has recently described the Habsburg Monarchy as ‘one of a kind in its polity’). Nevertheless, few studies have closely examined such assumptions from a comparative perspective, even though numerous contemporary parallels existed. Austria-Hungary’s period of formal dualism from 1867 to 1918 coincided with similar situations in northern Europe, in the shape of Sweden-Norway (1814-1905) and Finland-Russia (1809-1917). In addition, on a smaller scale, personal unions and dual statehood situations of one kind or another existed in Denmark (with Schleswig-Holstein until 1864) and the Netherlands (with Belgium from 1815 to 1830, and with Luxemburg from 1815 to 1890). Clearly the permutations and significance of dual statehood varied in each case, but the existence of such examples certainly makes it clear that Austria-Hungary’s dynastic and constitutional arrangements were not entirely unique. Moreover, if – as many historians suggest – the notion of an informal or implicit dualism had already emerged in the Habsburg Monarchy in the eighteenth century, the comparison could be extended to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until its final destruction in 1795, and to eighteenth-century Great Britain, too.

From the above, it is clear that a closer exploration of potential similarities and dissimilarities between Austria-Hungary and other dual or multiple forms of statehood is necessary. At the same time, this raises questions for the broader debate about the nature of statehood in modern Europe. Renewed interest in the comparative analysis of empires in modern Europe has focused attention on issues of definition and categorisation, as well as questioning older assumptions about the distinctions between the ‘nation-state model’ and multinational empires. Recent work has suggested, on the one hand, that ‘empire’ was more the norm for Europe before 1918 than the nation-state, because states bearing a designation as ‘empire’ encompassed large parts of the European continent. On the other hand, many ‘nation-states’ were themselves colonial empires, aside from containing ethnic minorities within their core territories. In this sense the boundaries and dividing lines between how ‘nation-states’ and ‘empires’ were constituted, functioned and behaved have become increasingly blurred. For example, the Habsburg Monarchy embarked on state-building projects in ways similar to nation-states, while a country like Great Britain actually contained elements of multiple statehood or – to bring in a phrase usually associated with the early modern period – long retained elements of ‘composite monarchy’ (John Elliott).

Hence, this conference will seek to provide new perspectives on the history of Austria-Hungary as a dualist state by looking at it in comparative perspective as part of the wider phenomenon of ‘dual statehood’ in modern Europe.

The conference will take place at the University of Salzburg, in cooperation with the Commission for Modern Austrian History and with the main funding coming from an association established by the late Prof. Fritz Fellner.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017 (Rudolfskai 42, HS 380)

16.15 Arrival and welcome coffee

17.00 General Introduction:
Laurence Cole (Salzburg)
Brigitte Mazohl (Innsbruck/Vienna)

17.30 Keynote lecture:
Ulrike von Hirschhausen (Rostock) Permutations of Statehood in Modern Europe

Thursday, September 14, 2017 (Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 18, HS 331)

09.00–10.30 Session 1:
Structural and Historical Dimensions of Dual and Multiple Statehood

Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski (Warsaw and London) Ambiguities of Union: Singular, Dual and Triune Statehood in Poland-Lithuania, 1569–1795
William D. Godsey (Vienna) The Habsburg monarchy as a ‘composite monarchy’
Alvin Jackson (Edinburgh) The Two Unions: Ireland, Scotland and the survival of the United Kingdom (1707–1921)

10.30–11.00 Coffee Break

11.00–12.00 Session 2:
Dual and Multiple Statehood in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Johannes Koll (Vienna) An amalgamating state: The Kingdom of the United Netherlands 1815–1830
Pia Einonen (Jyvaskyla) The Autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland as a part of the Russian Empire (1809–1917)

12.00–14.00 Lunch Break

14.00–15.30 Session 3:
Legal and Constitutional Aspects of Dual Statehood: Comparing Scandinavia and Central Europe

András Cieger (Budapest) Constitutional Myths and Codification Practice: The Hungarian Case
Anatol Schmied-Kowarzik (Vienna) The Influence of Hungary on the Inner Policy of Cisleithania
Torbjörn Nilsson (Stockholm) Sweden – Norway 1814–1905: A Soft Union of Limited Monarchies

15.30–16.00 Coffee Break

16.00–18.00 Session 4:
Foreign Political and Military Aspects of Dual Statehood: Comparing Scandinavia and Central Europe

Günther Kronenbitter (Augsburg) A Double-Edged Sword: Habsburg Dualism and the Armed Forces
Alma Hannig (Bonn) Stability or competing institutions? Actors and Instruments of Austro-Hungarian foreign policy
Morten Nordhagen Ottosen (Odense) Conflict and Cooperation: The Impact of Dual Statehood on Military Affairs in Sweden and Norway, 1814–1905
Roald Berg (Stavanger) Second fiddle or conductor? Norway in the foreign politics of the Scandinavian dual state, 1814–1905

Friday, September 15, 2017 (Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 18, HS 331)

09.00–10.30 Session 5:
Representing Dualism: Symbolic Dimensions of Dual Monarchies

Bálint Varga (Budapest) Fragmented representations: The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
Ruth Hemstad (Oslo) Mapping Scandinavia – transnational symbolic and conceptual struggles
Kristina Widestedt (Stockholm) Emotional ties in a time of crisis. Oscar II and his subjects in Swedish journalism 1905

10.30–11.00 Coffee Break

11.00–12.30 Session 6:
Ending Dualism: Norway-Sweden and Austria-Hungary compared

Peter Haslinger (Marburg) Doomed to failure? Austro-Hungarian Dualism 1895-1918
Dag Michalsen (Oslo) The dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian union in 1905: Law and politics intertwined
Tatiana Khripachenko (St. Petersburg) At Aurora’s Gunpoint: The unconcluded Russian-Finnish Compromise of 1917

12.30–13.15 Lunch Break

13.15–14.00 Conclusion:
Roundtable Discussion

Ulrike von Hirschhausen (Rostock)
Jana Osterkamp (Munich)
Arno Strohmeyer (Salzburg)


Matthias Egger
Universitätsassistent für Österreichische Geschichte
FB Geschichte
Universität Salzburg
Rudolfskai 42
5020 Salzburg
Telefon: +43 (0)662 8044 4736
Email: matthias.egger@sbg.ac.at

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