Georg, Ritter von Schönerer

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Georg, Ritter von Schönerer (Schoenerer) (1842-1921) was a right-wing Austrian politician active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He favored authoritarian government based on ideas of pan-German nationalism, as well as hatred of Catholics, Slavs and Jews; he also opposed liberalism, socialism, and the House of Hapsburg. While he never interacted directly with him, his ideas influenced Adolf Hitler.

Political activity

First elected to Austria’s Reichsrat (Parliament) in 1873, and initially a liberal, he was more at home in the government process and among elites than as a leader of a mass movement. In 1879, he formed the Pan-German Party. [1]

In 1882, working with Viktor Adler, the future head of the the Austrian Socialists — and a Jew — he developed the Linz Program (1882), a pan-German platform that drew away from the Hungarian Hapsburgs and recommended the Germanization of Austria. By 1883, however, overt antisemitism was part of his philosophy. He changed the Linz Program in 1885, to add a requirement to reduce Jewish influence.

His antisemitism became violent, although not lethal, by 1888. He was tried and convicted, and lost his seat in Parliament, his noble title, four months in prison, and a five year ban on political activity. He had to rebuild power.[2]

Reelected to the Reichsrat in 1897, he orchestrated mass protest to a ruling by Prime Minister Kasimir Felix Graf Badeni, which required all civil servants in Bohemia to be literate in the Czech language. This excluded many ethnic Germans, and the intensity of protest led Emperor Franz Joseph to dismiss Badeni.

While Schoenerer was able to elect 21 members of his party to the parliament, his personal style began causing defections in 1901, and he had lost most power by 1907, when Hitler arrived in Vienna. [1]

Influence on Hitler

Hitler had already absorbed ideas from him while at home in Linz, including the "Heil" greeting and the term "Fuehrer", applied to von Schoenerer. [3] von Schoenerer was also sexually puritanical, preaching celibacy until the age of 25, keeping the race pure by avoiding infection from prostitutes. [4]

By the time Hitler arrived in Vienna, his parliamentary influence was in decline. Even though Hitler became more of a disciple of Karl Lueger, the "tribune of the people". Lueger was also strongly antisemitic, but less ideologically than von Schoenerer: he would say "I say who a Jew is". [5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Georg von Schönerer, The Original Nazis — Austria's DAP
  2. J. Sydney Jones, (1983), Hitler in Vienna, 1907-1913, Stein and Day, ISBN 0812828550, pp. 159-162
  3. Ian Kershaw (1998), Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, W.W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-04671-0, pp. 33-34
  4. Kershaw, Hubris, p. 44
  5. Kershaw, Hubris, pp. 34-35