"Golden Age" of Verbindungen & Nationalism
Burschenschaften in Austria & Germany, 1859 - 1914

Over the course of the years between the 1848 revolution and WWI, the gap between the two Studentenverbindungs-wings increased and was formalised in open hostility: One camp was pro-Habsburg, Catholic (later joined by Verbindungen for other Christian denominations and Jews), "nichtschlagend". The other camp was anti-Habsburg and pan-German, strictly secular (only in the late 19th century, many excluded Jews from membership) and "schlagend" or "fakultativ schlagend".

Needless to say, the official Austria endorsed the former camp and was more than cautious about the latter. In Prussia and later Germany (especially during the Kulturkampf), this was the other way round. After 1871, even German royalty openly endorsed Studentenverbindungen of the nationalist sort: Kaiser Wilhelm II was a known member of a Corps, just like his chancellor and most of his generals. After the German unification, the nationalist Studentenverbindungen followed their non-duelling counter-parts in turning from a progressive force into the conservative backbone of a state and society.

Studentenverbindungen today

Alongside with the expansion of academic institutions (especially technical universities were founded for agricultural sciences, mining, civil and military engineering) all over Europe, new Studentenverbindungen developed. This applies in particular to the Habsburg lands, where the religious component excluded Jews from membership and multi-nationalism created a need for ethnically specific Verbindungen. With the Ausgleich of 1867, various ethnicities and religions gained equal rights and obligations.

Combined with the rise and radicalisation of nationalism, this led to the foundation of many new Studentenverbindungen in the Habsburg lands not only for ethnic Germans, but all the various peoples of the Empire striving for national self-determination. Today, more than 100 active Studentenverbindungen make Vienna the German-speaking city with by far the most fraternities.

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Further Reading

Wikipedia on Studentenverbindungen

Wikipedia on Burschenschaft

Federation of Austrian secondary school Studentenverbindungen

Federation of Austrian university Studentenverbindungen