Historical Social Research

Gerhard Botz: Political Violence, its Forms and Strategies in the First Austrian Republic [1982] [Abstract]

In this article, the author uses political violence, that is, the politically motivated physical damage human beings inflict on each other in any number of ways, as a lens to examine forms and patterns of extreme social conflict that emerged in the First Austrian Republic. In his analyses, the author uses quantitative and qualitative analyses of violence by different political groups to determine the impact of social and economic factors, among others, on this violence. After an introduction this contribution deals with the quantitative changes in political violence between 1918 and 1934 and the qualitative changes in the structure of political conflict. After that the forms and patterns of political violence that emerged in this connection are described and some explicit strategies of violence by individual political groupings are given. Finally, the social causes of political violence are examined and provide new explanation of the breakdown of Austrian democracy and the twofold civil war (in February and July) 1934. These events are not only a result of anti-democratic political decision making but also of the consequence of the rising waves of social conflicts and selfenforcing violence.


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