T. G. Masaryk pp 129-146 | Cite as

Arch-Critic of Austro-Hungarian Foreign Policy

  • H. Gordon Skilling
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series


Prior to 1914 Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was a persistent and severe critic of the foreign policy pursued by the Monarchy, and of the system for conducting it. He criticized the Austro-German alliance and the behaviour of Austria-Hungary in the Balkans.1 He ruthlessly condemned the handling of the South Slav question by the Foreign Minister, Count Aerenthal, and severely censured the series of trials held in this connection. His duel with Aerenthal in the Reichsrat and in the Delegations made him hated by the authorities but famous throughout Europe as a man of courage and integrity, as well as wide knowledge.2 This helped to put Bohemia on the map of Europe and to publicize the Czech question and Czech aspirations towards greater equality and autonomy. By his crusade against Vienna’s international policies Masaryk unwittingly prepared the ground for his struggle for independence during the First World War.


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Foreign Minister Domestic Policy Severe Critic 
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  1. 1.
    O. Butter, ‘Zahraniční politika T. G. Masaryka’, Zahraniční politika, 18, no. 4, 1939, pp. 124–42;Google Scholar
  2. Brief references to Masaryk’s foreign policy views were given in ‘T. G. Masaryk and Karel Kramář, Long Years of Friendship and Rivalry,’ in T. G. Masaryk (1850–1937), I, Thinker and Politician, ed. Stanley B. Winters (London and New York, 1990), chap. 7.Google Scholar
  3. On Czech foreign policy, see Zdeněk Tobolka, Politické dějiny československého národa od r. 1848 až do dnešní doby (Prague, 1936), III, no. 2, pp. 461–76, 611–34.Google Scholar
  4. For outside analysis, see Irwin Abrams, ‘The Austrian Question at the Turn of the Twentieth Century’, Journal of Central European Affairs, 2 (July 1944), pp. 186–201;Google Scholar
  5. A. J. P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809–1918 (London, 1948), chap. 17.Google Scholar
  6. For Marxist analysis, see Jiři Kořalka, ‘The Czech Question in International Relations at the Beginning of the 20th Century’, Slavonic and East European Review, 48 (1970), pp. 248–60;Google Scholar
  7. Jiři Křížek, ‘Česká buržoasní politika a “česká otázka” v letech 1900–1914’, Československý časopis historický, VI (1958), pp. 621–61;Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    Some of these were excerpted by J. Kovtun, Slovo má poslanec Masaryk (Munich, 1985);Google Scholar
  9. some were summarized by Ernst Rychnowsky, Masaryk (Prague, 1930, 2nd edn).Google Scholar
  10. Several were published by Masaryk as booklets which sometimes differed in content from the original texts: Tak zvaný velezrádný proces v zahřebě (The So-called Treason Trial in Zagreb), Prague, 1909 (henceforth Tak zvaný),Google Scholar
  11. 3.
    Masaryk, Česká otázka; Naše nynější krise (first published in 1895) (Prague, 1948, 6th edn), pp. 284–5.Google Scholar
  12. 6.
    See Adolf Černý, Masaryk a slovanstvo (Prague, 1921) for a detailed outline of Masaryk’s prewar and postwar views.Google Scholar
  13. 7.
    Masaryk, ‘O novoslavismu’, Čas, 13–15 January 1910.Google Scholar
  14. See, in particular, Paul Vyšný, Neo-Slavism and the Czechs 1898–1914 (London, 1977).Google Scholar
  15. On Slavism in general, see Winters, ‘Austroslavism, Panslavism, and Russophilism in Czech Political Thought, 1870–1900’, in Winters and Joseph Held (eds), Intellectual and Social Developments in the Habsburg Empire from Maria Theresa to World War 1 (New York and London, 1975), pp. 165–202.Google Scholar
  16. Brief references are given by Roland J. Hoffmann, Masaryk und die tschechische Frage (Munich, 1988), pp. 360–68;Google Scholar
  17. Bruce M. Garver, The Young Czech Party 1874–1901 and the Emergence of a Multi-Party System (New Haven, 1978), pp. 12, 273;Google Scholar
  18. see Karel Herman and Zdeněk Sládek, Slovanská politika Karla Kramáře (Prague, 1971)Google Scholar
  19. and more dogmatist in spirit, Vladislav Št’ástný, (ed.), Slovanství v národním životě Čechů a Slováků ((Prague, 1968), espec. chap. IV by Karel Herman, chap. VIII by Š’tastný.Google Scholar
  20. Of interest is the retrospective study by Edvard Beneš, Úvahy o slovanství, Hlavní problémy slovanské politiky (first published in 1925–6) (London, 1944)Google Scholar
  21. and Kramář’s polemical reply, Na obranu slovanské politiky (Prague, 1926).Google Scholar
  22. 8.
    Of less value is Hugo Hantsch, ‘Pan-Slavism, Austro-Slavism, Neo-Slavism: The All Slav Congresses and the Nationality Problems of Austria-Hungary’, Austrian History Yearbook, 1 (1965), pp. 23–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 9.
    But see Ctíbor Nečas, Balkán a česká politika (Brno, 1972), p. 107.Google Scholar
  24. 10.
    Milada Paulová, Tomáš G. Masaryk a jihoslované (Prague, 1938), pp. 5–34;Google Scholar
  25. also in M. Weingart, (ed.), Sborník přednášek o T. G. Masarykovi (Prague, 1931), pp. 177–200;Google Scholar
  26. 11.
    See also Hanus J. Hajek, ed., T. G Masaryk Revisited. A Critical Assessment (Boulder, 1983), pp. 133–44.Google Scholar
  27. 13.
    E.g in his speech at Strakonice in 1891, given in part in J. B. Kozák (ed.), Masaryková práce (Prague, 1930), pp. 80–5.Google Scholar
  28. 34.
    also Jan Herben, T. G. Masaryk (Prague, 1926), pp. 118–19.Google Scholar
  29. 42.
    For contemporary discussion of the trials, see Seton-Watson, The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy, first published in 1911 (New York, 1969);Google Scholar
  30. 53.
    Henry Wickham Steed, Through Thirty Years, 1892–1922, A Personal Narrative (New York, 1924), p. 313.Google Scholar
  31. 55.
    For this see well-documented Marxist accounts by Milada Paulová, Balkánské války 1912–1913 a česka lid’, Rozpravy Československé Akademie věd, no. 73, 1963 (Prague, 1963);Google Scholar
  32. 63.
    Roman Szporluk, The Political Thought of Thomas G. Masaryk (Boulder and New York, 1981), pp. 123–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© H. Gordon Skilling 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Gordon Skilling
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoCanada

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