Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Gooner,
Unfortunately, theory and practice were apparently rather different:
"The Hungarian Nationalities Law (1868) guaranteed that all citizens of the Kingdom of Hungary (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), whatever their nationality, constituted politically "a single nation, the indivisible, unitary Hungarian nation", and there could be no differentiation between them except in respect of the official usage of the current languages and then only insofar as necessitated by practical considerations. In spite of the law, the use of minority languages was banished almost entirely from administration and even justice. Defiance of, or appeals to, the Nationalities Law met with derision or abuse. The Hungarian language was over represented in the primary schools and almost all secondary education was in Hungarian."
Yes, that was in the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen, they took a different approach than the Imperial lands.
Playing devils advocate a bit, but weren't the Hungarians just doing what every other nation was attempting at the time - standardising on one official language? In France there were only French schools, in Italy, Italian schools in Germany, German schools etc.
Austria was the odd-one out, and wasn't that a mistake? Wouldn't it have been better if Austria had imposed German as the standard language across the Empire, opening up the great wealth of that language to the peoples rather than them being stuck sharing a language with at most a few millions of fellow speakers?
You post regarding the fact that the only way to get on in the professions or state service was to speak either German or Hungarian, "Should jolly well hope so as well!"
So, you consider it right that any monoglot Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Pole, Croat, Slovene, Bosnian or Romanian should effectively be debarred from entering the professions or state service in Austria-Hungary?
Of course it's fair enough. Since when has it been an entitlement to join the professions or state service? In such a polyglot empire it is not unreasonable to require that candidates should know at least one of the lingua francas. Not being multilingual would for the Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Pole, Croat, Slovene, Bosnian or Romanian also prove a handicap in business, in academia, in the arts. Even a humble job on the railways would consign you to second choice.