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Aristocratic Redoubt

The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office on the Eve of the First World War

by William Godsey

Publication Year: 1999

Aristocratic Redoubt: The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office on the Eve of the First World War is a study of the nobility who served in the foreign office prior to World War I. Following the lead of historians who are reexamining pre-industrial elites in England and Germany, Godsey deals with such facets of aristocratic life as education, wealth, religion, and ethnicity.

Published by: Purdue University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-vii


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pp. viii-ix


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pp. x-x

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pp. xi-xii

One of the distinguishing features of central European history is the prevalence and resilience of the nobility. Like so many other aspects of the region’s past, the endurance of the aristocracy was rooted in immutable geographical structures. Low population densities and limited access to the...

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pp. 1-15

In the last decade historians have once again turned to the study of the aristocracy in modern Europe. Long banished by Marxist dialectic to the losing side in history’s struggles, the pre-industrial elites were said to have suffered their inevitable defeat at the hands of the triumphant bourgeoisie...

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1. Social Origins

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pp. 16-32

Despite the pivotal role played by the Austro-Hungarian foreign office in 1914, we know surprisingly little about the social origins of the functionaries who formulated and carried out policy. Opinions have differed markedly about this question, both at the time and more recently...

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2. Admission Standards and Education

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pp. 33-58

Whatever their advantages, noble birth and upbringing often provided acceptable substitutes for educational and professional preparation in the view of the Ballhausplatz. The majority of diplomats on the eve of the war had entered the foreign office during the long tenures of Foreign Ministers...

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3. Wealth and Outside Career Experience

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pp. 59-84

At the same time that social and educational homogeneity distinguished candidates for admission to the foreign office, so too did economic circumstance and previous employment experience. Nearly all of the functionaries in both the diplomatic corps and the central office climbed through the...

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4. Religion and Marriage

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pp. 85-123

In making an application to the Ballhausplatz, potential displomats had neither to reveal their religious confession, though many did so, nor to worry about the acceptability of their wives. The decrees of 1880, 1909, and 1914 that regulated requirements for admission made no mention of...

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6. Ethnicity and the Ausgleich: The Foreign Office in the Multinational Monarchy

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pp. 124-164

Historians have traditionally maintained that little interface existed between the foreign office and the multinational character of the monarchy. Two important factors have conditioned such thinking. First, the diplomats and central-office functionaries have always been portrayed as...

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7. Careers

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pp. 165-202

Once a candidate had satisfied the various entrance requirements and performed acceptably on the diplomatic examination, he received, within a few days, his appointment as a new attaché. Shortly thereafter, the personnel department notified him of his first posting. In such a way, a diplomat...

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pp. 203-206

A study like this one naturally raises the important issue of the relationship between the internal workings and life of a bureaucracy and the problems it was created to address, as well as the solutions that it formulates and implements. In the case of the Austro-Hungarian foreign office...


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pp. 207-212


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pp. 213-278


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pp. 279-292


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pp. 293-303

Image Plates

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Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781612490687
E-ISBN-10: 1612490689
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557531407
Print-ISBN-10: 1557531404

Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 1999

OCLC Number: 84691440
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Aristocratic Redoubt

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Elite (Social sciences) -- Austria.
  • Austria -- Foreign relations -- 1867-1918.
  • Aristocracy (Social class) -- Austria.
  • Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Auswärtiger Dienst.
  • Diplomats -- Austria.
  • Diplomatic and consular service, Austrian.
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