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Kasimir Felix Graf von Badeni
Kasimir Felix Graf von (count of) Badeni (October 14, 1846 - July 9, 1909) (Polish:Kazimierz Feliks, Hrabia (count) Badeni ) was the Prime Minister of the Austrian half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1895 until 1897. Many people in Austria, especially Emperor Franz Joseph had placed a lot of hope in Badeni's ability to solve some of the Empire's constitutional problems, but he disappointed them.
Badeni was born in Surochˇw , Galicia, a Polish area of the Empire. He was a Polish aristocrat and had been the Governor of Galicia. He was devoted to the Empire and the Emperor, but had some liberal and anti-clerical ideas.
He came to power in Austria after the failure of a democratic coalition ministry. He succeeded in implementing a form of the idea of universal suffrage (for men) but made it palatable to the ruling interests of the Empire.
However, his "ordinance of April 5, 1897" would prove to be an astonishing failure. The ordinance declared "that Czech and German should be the languages of the 'inner service' throughout Bohemia." This meant that civil servants in the province of Bohemia would have to know both Czech and German, since government business would be conducted in both languages for internal Bohemian affairs. Germans in Bohemia were outraged since this effectively excluded them from government jobs; Czechs learned German in school, but Germans had been forbidden from learning "provincial languages" in school by the Diet.
Late 19th century Germans in Austria-Hungary, as a general rule, wanted the Empire to maintain its essentially German character, so they resisted the demands of the other nationalities for recognition of their languages. The oridinance was seen as the "last straw" in a series of concessions by Germans. Badeni was not prepared for the level of animosity the Germans of Bohemia and the rest of the Empire directed at him as a result of the ordinance.
The fringe German Nationalist Party, headed by Sch÷nerer, hoping to destabilize the Empire and join the German lands of Austria to the new German Empire disrupted parliamentary proceedings and instigated violent protests. Although most Germans of Austria had no sympathy for the Nationalist Party's cause, they participated in street protests across the Austro-Hungarian Empire, hoping to have the ordinance repealed.
Franz Joseph, frightened by the mass agitation of some of the most imporant segments of society dismissed Badeni in November 1897.
Some authors feel that Badeni was not used to the political dynamics of the more industrialized western portion of the Empire; he was used to the largely illiterate peasants of Galicia. That is one possible explanation for his extraordinary political blunder.
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