Appendix V: the 1910 census and the 1911 election

This appendix draws on data from the official reports of the 1910 census in Austria and the election that followed it in 1911; both being the last before the Empire disintegrated. There were censuses in 1920 and 1923 but the next believable census was in 1934. It shows that the commonly-accepted ethnic distribution maps are over-simplified - for example, there are 126 permissible language-Land combinations and the only two not recorded are Romanian in Krain and Magyar in Kärntnen. This provides a background against which to consider the various plebiscites held as WWI ended.

A perennial problem in Austria was the classification of the populace: should this be by declared ethnic origin irrespective of place of domicile; or by place of domicile irrespective of preferred language, or what? A satisfactory answer - ie one that people didn't take up arms over - never really emerged.

The 1910 census

There was a census in Austria-Hungary in 1910 in which people were required to declare in column 13 which of a stated list of nine language-groups or Nationalities they belonged to. You had to choose between German, Bohemian-Moravian-Slovakian, Polish, Ruthenian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croat, Italian and Ladenish, Romanian, and Hungarian. "None of the above" doesn't seem to have been an acceptable reply.

The raw census data was in part processed by Hollerith machines, which had been introduced for the 1890 census by Elektrotechniker Theodor Heinrich Otto Schäffler. The actual results of the 1910 census for "Austria" (Cisleithiana) are on the inestimable ANNO site. Note that the page numering restarts for the tables that follow the discussions. See also the German site Wikipedia, which I haven't checked against the official version on ANNO. This table gives the data for language vs Land.

LandGermanCz&SlvkPolishRuthenianSlovenianSerb-CrItal&LadRomanianMagyarRow total
NiederÖst3,130,536122,3295,6012,3161,3804291,0841392963,264,110
OberÖst840,6041,9533569681333416843,146
Salzburg208,0091893361761113611208,562
Steiermark983,25297117880409,6841513617151,394,699
Kärntnen304,28735896782,212288220387,072
Krain27,9157508919490,97820536902520,327
Küstenland29,0772,689517179266,614170,773356,49590124827,269
Tirol&Vor651,8584,37241426760960391,55715171,049,169
Bohemia2,467,7244,241,9181,5411,06229219013633486,712,944
Mähren719,4351,868,97114,924563103767439422,604,857
Schlesien325,523180,348235,22425545341314741,456
Galizien90,1148,7184,672,5003,208,09214444217401047,980,477
Bukowina168,8511,00536,210305,10180136273,25410,391794,929
Dalmatia3,0811,412301811542610,66918,02874634,855
Col total9,950,2666,435,9834,967,9843,518,8541,252,940783,334768,422275,11510,97427,963,872

Several informative maps are appended to Volume 1 of the official census report, two of which are shown next. They give a representation of the distribution of the minority languages. Note that the originals are high resolution, being 7x8½ inches at 1250 pixels-per-inch!

For comparison, here is a "conventional" map, self-described in the right margin as "Distribution of races in Austria-Hungary"

A problem with all such ethnic-groups-distribution maps is that they suggest hard boundaries. Furthermore, the actual census data records preferred language, and it may be an unjustified assumption to equate that to "ethnic group". Defining them as identical risks circularity of argument - and how do you classify the solitary Magyar speaker living in Salzburg? Now there's a problem for fractal analysis! Or a few evenings with Austrian National Library On-line partnered with Excel. (NiederÖst includes Vienna. The hairy edges of the bars are a computer artefact!)


Cisleithania: 1:  Bohemia, 2:  Bukovina, 3:  Carinthia, 4:  Carniola, 5:  Dalmatia, 6:  Galicia, 7:  Küstenland, 8:
Lower Austria, 9:  Moravia, 10:  Salzburg, 11:  Silesia, 12:  Styria, 13:  Tyrol, 14:  Upper Austria, 15: Vorarlberg.
Transleithania: 16:  Hungary proper; 17:  Croatia-Slavonia. 18 is Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Elections

In the decades following 1868, increasingly desperate attempts were made to find a system of government that would maintain the integrity of the Austro-Hungarian Empire while placating the numerous nationalities that lived within its borders. Franz Joseph's attempts to keep the lid on the pressure cooker were frustrated by the Czechs, Poles and others busily stoking the fires underneath.

On 3 November 1905, Franz Joseph announced that he had decided to introduce general suffrage, hoping that the new voters would be less intransigent than the existing. The constituencies were carefully crafted in favour of the Gemans and the Poles, and an election was held in May 1906. The results were a strong swing to the left, not exactly what the Emperor had hoped for! Nevertheless, a nominally parliamentary government spluttered on.

A new election was called in May 1911, in the forlorn hope of a better result. Increasingly the business of government had to be achieved by administrative decree ("paragraph 14"), and in March 1914 the Reichsrat was adjourned, remaining so when the war began.

The 1911 election

The election was called by law 1911 RGB062, which gave details of when each part of the Austrian Empire should vote but not of who was entitled to vote. The first paragraph carefully calls the election separately for each of the parts of the Empire: The Kingdom of Bohemia; The Archduchy of Lower Austria; The Archduchy of Upper Austria; The Duchy of Salzburg; and so on until The City of Trieste and its surroundings.

The detailed regulations for voting, and the penalties if you didn't, were issued by the local government of each separate Land and are to be found in their Land Gesetz und Verordnung Blatt, not the Reichsgesetzblatt. See for example the decree of 11 April 1907 for Upper Austria. Citizenship in the Austrian Empire came later than the right-of-residence, and for the lower classes that was preceded by the compulsion-to-reside: until 1781 a peasant could not leave his Lord's domain without permission. See "Katherina Graber", which is a document recording the official court permission to Katherina Graber of Kizbühel to emigrate to and marry in the separate country of Salzburg in 1787.

"Heimatrecht", introduced in 1859, gave the right of residence in a town or district; your name would be entered on a register. This gave you citizenship of the Land where the town/district was; in 1867 this became citizenship of Cisleithiana (allgemeines österreichisches Staatsbürgerrecht). The "universal suffrage" of 1906 actually applied only to all adult males with Heimatrecht - which you couldn't hold in both Cis- and Transleithiana (so if you had the right to vote in Austria you could not also vote in Hungary; and conversely).

The table-of-results below uses the layout and party names from the Wikipedia article on the Cisleithanian legislative election in 1911 but takes its data from the Official Report which is slightly different, as discussed below the table. The electorate was divided into "Nations" which were named as Croatian; Czech; German; Italian; Polish; Ruthenian (ie Ukrainian); Serb; Slovenian; Romanian; and None. That's nine Nations plus None; however they differ from the nine language-groups of the 1910 census in that the Serbo-Croat Group has been split into two Nations, and there is no Hungarian Nation. The 1910 census lists only 10,974 Hungarian speakers in the whole of Cisleithania - perhaps there weren't enough Hungarian voters with Cisleithianian Heimatrecht, or no candidates stood from a Hungarian party?

NationPartyVotesActual subtotal% of votes cast
Croatian Croatian Party33,56582,9180.75%
Pure Justice Party28,2540.63%
Croatian nationals20,7700.46%
Social Democratic Party3290.01%
Czech Social Democratic Party Autonomists357,2341,094,0217.99%
Agrarian257,717 5.77%
Catholic nationals128,056 2.86%
Czech National Social Party95,901 2.15%
Christian Social Party83,124 1.86%
Young Czech Party56,673 1.27%
Progressive People's Party34,443 0.77%
Progressive Constitutionalists20,881 0.47%
Old Czech Party9,872 0.22%
Social Democratic Party Centralists19,374 0.43%
Czech nationals1,893 0.04%
Czech Realist Party4,984 0.11%
Independents10,832 0.24%
Traders Party3,201 0.07%
Zählkandidaten9,836 0.22%
German Christian Social Party608,3461,673,18913.61%
Social Democrats542,549 12.14%
Agrarians106,548 2.38%
German Radicals (Free All Germans)90,523 2.02%
German People's Party71,882 1.61%
German Progress Party71,114 1.59%
German-National Party28,689 0.64%
German Workers' Party26,670 0.60%
Upper Austria Farmers' Club22,009 0.49%
All Germans20,527 0.46%
German Miner and Farmers' Association15,301 0.34%
Independents14,934 0.33%
Conservatives14,597 0.33%
Independent Christian Socials10,299 0.23%
Zählkandidaten7,569 0.17%
Central Industrial Committee6,422 0.14%
Free Socialists4,074 0.09%
German Conservative Farmers' Party3,623 0.08%
Economic Political Realm Party2,885 0.06%
Social Politicians2,735 0.06%
German Economy Party1,893 0.04%
Italian National-Liberals41,928115,9060.94%
Popular Political Union of Trentino40,543 0.91%
Social Democratic Party23,068 0.52%
Democrats321 0.01%
Independents436 0.01%
Italian nationals5,925 0.13%
Liberal Farmers' Association3,685 0.08%
Polish People's Party185,674672,8844.15%
Conservatives137,199 3.07%
National Democrats98,460 2.20%
Democrats84,181 1.88%
Social Democratic Party64,569 1.44%
Independents38,028 0.85%
Centre23,139 0.52%
Christian Social Party21,982 0.49%
Agrarian0 0.00%
Independent Socialists6,515 0.15%
National Party0 0.00%
Non-party Democrats4,302 0.10%
Pro-German Poland5,902 0.13%
Progressive Democrats2,933 0.07%
Ruthenian Ukrainian Party326,955531,4347.31%
Russian National Party128,160 2.87%
Ukrainian Radical Party54,701 1.22%
Social Democratic Party21,618 0.48%
Serb Serbs11,46011,4600.26%
Slovenian People's Party54,089170,3561.21%
Clerical43,203 0.97%
Liberals33,170 0.74%
Independents3,408 0.08%
National Progressives0 0.00%
Pro-German Slovenians5,260 0.12%
Slovenian nationals16,858 0.38%
Social Democratic Party14,368 0.32%
Romanian Romanian national Party38,40855,9460.86%
Independents5,728 0.13%
Romanian national Democratic Party11,810 0.26%
NoneZionists31,78131,7810.71%
Unknown (Unbekannt oder zersplittert)30,45330,4530.68%
 Total of column4,470,3484,470,348100.00%

The parties who had enough votes to obtain one or more seats combined together into Associations or Clubs, with total seats of:

Grouping Seats Grouping Seats
Bohemian Social Democrats  25 Independents  23
Christian Social Union  73 Latin Union  21
Croatian-Slovenian Club  27 Poland Club  70
Dalmatian Club   7 Polish Social Democrats   9
German National Association 100 Ukrainian Association  28
German Social Democrats  49 Uniform Bohemian Club  84
  Total 516

Errors?

The Wikipedia article has two transcription errors, and more seriously the sum of the tabulated votes does not equal the total stated at the end, nor are the percentages correct. Even worse, the official record also contains errors and inconsistencies. Using the distribution table on its Heft 1 pages 6 & 7, the arithmetically-correct subtotal for the "German" votes is 1,673,189 (as in my table above) while the printed subtotal is 1,739,927 which is 66,738 more. This increases the grand total of votes to the 4,537,086 printed in their table. However, their previous page gives the votes split by Land, and the total of votes cast as 4,625,082 from an electorate of 5,767,065.

©APS. Last updated 30 March 2023