File No. 763.72/8669

The Chargé in Denmark ( Grant-Smith) to the Secretary of State


1859. The general strike in Austria which constitutes the most interesting event in the Central Empires during the past ten days received little comment in the German press. The official Austrian telegrams regarding the workmen’s movement and the pressure exerted on the Government which appeared in the Danish press were evidently suppressed by the German censor. Their contents however were evidently known to the editorial staffs of the papers. The Tageblatt published an account four days old from its Vienna correspondent sketching the events in Austria, which may have been the grounds for its threatened suspension which was however raised [Page 46] at the last moment. The Vorwärts was suppressed for publishing Adler’s speech to the Austrian Socialists. But the full effects of the strong stand adopted by the Austrian Social Democracy will probably not show themselves for some time.

It may be of the greatest significance that such full reports concerning the strikes and the negotiations of the Socialists with the Austrian Government were sent out by the Imperial Telegraph Bureau in Vienna and that no attempt has been made officially to minimize their importance. It almost seems as if the Vienna Government instead of endeavoring to conceal and nullify the effects of the movement were anxious to use it as a means of exercising further pressure on Berlin. The refusal of the Germans to allow their ally’s official announcements to appear in the German press lends support to this theory.

Furthermore the Vienna Frermden-blatt’s attack on Billow, which called forth such particular expressions of indignation from the Pan-Germans that no doubt can exist at whom it was directed, has apparently not been followed by any official or other rectification or denial of its semiofficial nature. As the Austrian Government undoubtedly fears the rumored Pan-German ascendency in Berlin they might in desperation exploit the popular demand for peace to show the German leaders that Austria was in no condition to follow where they realize such leadership would lead them. With the Austrian Government and people so evidently supporting them the German Moderate forces may be enabled to maintain their position and even to gain some ground, although the recent dismissal of Valentini as chief of the Emperor’s civil Cabinet is generally regarded as favorable to the militarists.

In general, the tone of the Socialist press during the last few weeks has been increasingly determined, but whether this is the result of the growing fear of complete militarist domination and a feeling that a strong stand is necessary or from a consciousness of power, it is impossible to say with certainty. In purely internal affairs Prussian electoral reform remains the center of interest. The decision to consider the reactionary “reform” of the Herrenhaus before the universal suffrage bill for the Lower House is a further sign that the Junkers are determined to oppose the Government measure to the utmost. The bitterness of this opposition indicates how greatly they fear the introduction of a popularly elected Lower House. Even though its powers are curtailed in the universal suffrage bill, [it] is evidently doomed to failure. The extent and manner in which the covert Socialist threats of extreme pressure are carried out will serve as an indication of the Socialists’ willingness and ability to employ their potential powers of coercion.

[ Grant-Smith]