Cultural crossings in Prague, 1900: Scenes from late imperial Austria

Gary B. Cohen

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Scenes of deep national division, competition, and conflict dominate standard historical narratives about the Austro-Hungarian monarchy during the late nineteenth century and most of its successor states in the 1920s and 1930s. Nationalist political movements flourished in this multicultural environment as capitalist agricultural and industrial development encouraged popular social ambitions and resentments over inequalities, while the advance of modern civil society and constitutional government provided public space for political movements. After the 1860s, political parties committed to nationalist interests increasingly dominated middle-class politics, and by 1900 national loyalties created growing fissures even in the ostensibly international Social Democratic movement. Some of the most intense nationalist social and political competition developed in the Crownlands of Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia between Czech and German national interests. The Bohemian capital, Prague, became the stage for repeated mass nationalist demonstrations and rioting in the 1890s and after 1900 (see Figure 1).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalAustrian History Yearbook
StatePublished - 2014


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