The "" (Türkenbefreiungsfeier) in Vienna on May 14, 1933, was filmed , the German edition of Fox Movietone News. At the end of the rally in the , the surviving recordings, with both audio and video intact, show airplanes of the Homeland Protection (Heimatschutz) flying from the Gloriette over the parterre to the palace building. The assembled Home Guard (Heimwehr) members cheer and wave while a military band plays the Austrian national anthem. In the next scenes of the newsreel, the ensuing along the Mariahilfer Strasse can be seen near the Technical Museum, where National Socialists raise their arms in a Hitler salute and sing the Deutschlandlied, evidently in protest against the marching Homeland Protectors. The melody sounds the same in both cases, but in Schönbrunn it is only instrumental, whereas during the protests the following lyrics can be heard: "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt!" (literally, "Germany, Germany above all, above all else in the world!"). How did it come to pass that at the "Turks Deliverance Celebration" in Vienna on May 14, 1933, one and the same melody was used for opposing aims, namely in support of the Austrian state's preservation and its annexation by the German Reich?
The immediate cause of this "anthem chaos" lay in political decisions made in Austria in late 1929, early 1930. In truth, however, this question dates back to late-eighteenth-century Vienna, when Joseph Haydn was commissioned to compose a song of praise for the then emperor, Francis II. His piece, Gott, erhalte den Kaiser ("God Preserve the Emperor"), evolved with alternate lyrics into the Austrian imperial anthem, but also served in 1841 as the musical foundation for the Lied der Deutschen ("Song of the Germans") by the German philologist and poet August Heinrich Hoffmann, who came from the north German village of Fallersleben, a song that would go on to be declared the national anthem of the Weimar Republic in 1922. In contrast, the Austrian chancellor, the Social Democrat Karl Renner, felt that the melody's monarchical history made it an unsuitable symbol for a republican state, which is why he himself wrote an anthem for Deutschösterreich ("German-Austria") in 1920 and had his friend Wilhelm Kienzl set it to music. Scarcely ten years later, the ruling Christian Social Party used a constitutional reform as an opportunity to officially introduce the former "Emperor's Song" (Kaiserlied), now with new lyrics by the priest and poet Ottokar Kernstock, as the Austrian national anthem. Consequently, when Haydn's traditional melody was played in Vienna in the early 1930s, it could have been praising three different political sovereigns: the Habsburg emperor, the German people, or the Austrian state.
"God Preserve the Emperor" was created at a time when the monarch certainly could have benefited from some divine assistance. Even before Francis, the heir to the Habsburg throne, was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in July 1792, revolutionary France had declared war on him in April. The military conflicts dragged on for years, with victories and defeats on both sides, until the French army under resoundingly prevailed over Austrian troops in northern Italy. These decisive battles were fought in 1796, the year when Count Franz Josef von Saurau, then the provincial president of Lower Austria, commissioned the "meritorious poet" Lorenz Leopold Haschka to write "a national song just like that of the English," which would proclaim "to the whole world the people's loyal allegiance to their good and righteous sovereign." While the song God Save the King, which had been sung in honor of British kings since the mid-eighteenth century, served as the model, the commissioned piece was probably also directed against the militant Marseillaise, which had originated with the declaration of war against Austria and had been the French national anthem since 1795.
Thematically, Haschka closely aligned his words with the English model, likewise calling on god to protect the monarch. Metrically, however, he did not abide by the three-quarter time of God Save the King with its mostly dactylic feet of one stressed and two unstressed syllables: "Send him victorious, / Happy and glorious," etc. Instead, for his lyrics, Haschka opted for the (double) ballad stanza then very common in German poetry, choosing the title Gott, erhalte den Kaiser ("God Preserve the Emperor").
From a formal perspective, every stanza of the German original comprises eight so-called trochaic tetrameters, with an abab rhyme scheme and alternately stressed and unstressed line endings. That means that in the uneven verses there are four stressed and four unstressed syllables after one another, and in the even verses the last unstressed syllable is missing. In the refrain, the song's chorus, the words "Gott/God" and "Franz/Francis" are thus not only repeated, but also emphasized. This regular emphasis corresponds to the prayer-like nature of the lyrics, which ask god to protect Francis as the victorious, well-advised, and legitimate emperor. Although Count Saurau, the initiator, speaks of a "national song," it is not in fact about a nation living together according to its own laws. Rather, several "countries" and "peoples" are united under the monarchical sovereign, whose divinely inspired will is the law for his subjects: "By thy law may he be guided, / Our laws his will creates!" ("Dein Gesetz sey stets Sein Wille; / Dieser uns Gesetzen gleich!").
Therefore, Haschka delivered what had been expected of him, namely a hymn to the emperor, realized in a lyrically familiar form that had been used, for example, by Friedrich Schiller in his Ode to Joy, published in 1786. Between October 1796 and January 1797, Haschka's text was set to music by Joseph Haydn, who had heard God Save the King in England and had himself suggested the creation of a similar national song in Austria. He was very fond of the result, his "Emperor's Song" (Kaiserlied), and not only did he vary the melody immediately in the "Kaiserquartett" ("Emperor's Quartet," op. 76, no. 3), but toward the end of his life he supposedly played it daily on the piano. "God Preserve the Emperor" was first performed on the occasion of the twenty-ninth birthday of Francis II on February 12, 1797, at the in Vienna. The lyrics were distributed among the audience on handbills and sung to Haydn's score in the first interval of the opera performance. As the ministerial Wiener Zeitung reported ten days later, the "national song" had been written by the "most famous composer of our age" and was received with enthusiasm by both the "dear sovereign" and his "loyal subjects."
Gott erhalte was created as an ode to the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. However, the song only became the official imperial anthem after Francis II had proclaimed the Austrian Empire in 1804, in light of Napoleon's designation as Emperor of the French, and had abdicated as German emperor in 1806, in light of the founding of the Confederation of the Rhine by Napoleon. He dissolved the Holy Roman Empire and now reigned as Francis I, Emperor of Austria, the Habsburg crown lands. It was predominantly in 1809 that the Gott erhalte anthem was used officially, , and then in 1814/15 at numerous events in the context of the Congress of Vienna, where Europe's national borders were redrawn after the abdication of Napoleon. That the hymn was only adopted by the army in 1826, three decades after its creation, might be related to Haydn's solemn melody, which was not well suited as a battle cry. However, another reason is the lacking nationality of this multilingual army, which was "Austrian" in name only.
After Francis I died in 1835, two new sets of lyrics were written for his son Ferdinand, but they both remained unpopular. Then, under Emperor Francis Joseph I, the demand made by the writer Adalbert Stifter and others for the creation of generally applicable, permanent lyrics was finally met. The poet suggested by Stifter, namely Franz Grillparzer, reluctantly attempted the task, but even he was dissatisfied with the result. Ultimately, a draft by Johann Gabriel Seidl was chosen, at the time the curator of the imperial royal coin and antiquities collection, whose new "People's Hymn" (Volkshymne) was published in the Wiener Zeitung on April 9, 1854. Aside from a variable additional stanza, Seidl's text no longer honors the individual ruler but begins with the lines: "Gott erhalte, Gott beschütze / Unsern Kaiser, unser Land!" (literally, "God preserve, God protect / Our emperor, our country!"). At the end of the first stanza, the name of this country is uttered, though "Austria's destiny" ("Österreichs Geschick") remains closely tied to "the Habsburg throne" ("Habsburgs Throne"). The "Emperor's Song" had thus evolved into a kind of family hymn, which quotes two Habsburg mottoes in the fourth stanza:
Despite the title "People's Hymn," once again the emperor is at the center of both the lyrics and the country over which he rules by the grace of god. In keeping with Francis Joseph's motto, Viribus unitis, Austria's heterogeneous forces should be united in the sovereign monarch. "Austria," though, is the name of a territory whose borders changed from century to century. Yet the House of Habsburg would last "forevermore," at least in the common interpretation of the symbolic device AEIOU as Austria erit in orbe ultima, which Frederick III had inscribed on his property in the fifteenth century. Seidl's hymn text proved as enduring as Habsburg rule: it remained the official lyrics until the end of the monarchy in the fall of 1918.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, yet another text was sung to Haydn's melody, though this version pertained less to a "father of the land" (Landesvater) and more to the German "fatherland" (Vaterland). These lyrics had originated on the then British island of Helgoland in the North Sea in 1841, where the German philologist and poet August Heinrich Hoffmann was spending his summer vacation. Hoffmann, who called himself "von Fallersleben" after the village where he was born, had been a professor of German language and literature at the University of Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) since 1830 and had just published his Unpolitische Lieder ("Unpolitical Songs"). In the first volume, published in 1840, there is a poem called "The German Customs Union" (Der deutsche Zollverein), which begins with a list of duty-free wares:
The second stanza thanks the listed merchandise for tying a stronger bond around the "German fatherland" than the sovereign princes of the German Confederation. The poem mocks this association of states forged in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, but does so not merely thematically, but also through its metric structure, which corresponds to that of the hymn for the Austrian emperor, who held the nominal presiding power (Präsidialmacht) of the German Confederation. Although Hoffmann von Fallersleben lost his professorship due to his Unpolitische Lieder, he soon gained fame as a poet and singer. Another commercial success was Das Lied der Deutschen ("The Song of the Germans"), written in late August 1841 on Helgoland, which he immediately published with Hoffmann und Campe in Hamburg. The title page of this first edition expressly notes: "Melody after Joseph Haydn's: 'God preserve our Emp'ror Francis, / Sov'reign ever good and great!'" Austria, where Ferdinand I had reigned since 1835, does not exist in the Deutschlandlied ("Song of Germany"), which reworks the hymn of the last Roman-German emperor into an anthem for a future German nation.
From a rhetorical perspective, Hoffmann's text begins with an ellipsis and hyperbole. In other words, the formulation of the first two lines is incomplete and exaggerated. It is not clear whether Germany is loved or placed above everything. Are these lines intended to express longing for a German nation state or claim its supremacy? The following lines do not provide any more clarity, because both patriotism and national superiority can depend on the people uniting fraternally to defend their country. Regarding the exaggeration, the word "everything" denotes either that which is important to a person or, quite differently, the other nations of the world. According to how the two lines are interpreted, they introduce either a patriotic or a nationalistic poem.
The biography of the liberally minded author rather substantiates the patriotic reading. However, that the opening lines presumably allude to the following dictum, speaks for the nationalist interpretation: "Austria above everything, if she only will!" ("Österreich über alles, wenn es nur will!"). It dates back to a book by the cameralist Philipp Wilhelm von Hörnigk that was published in 1684 with the full title: "Austria Above Everything, If She Only Will. That Is: Well-Meaning Suggestion How, with the Aid of a Thriving National Economy, the Imperial Hereditary Land Might before Long Rise above All Other States in Europe / and More Than Some / Become Independent of Them." In the year after Vienna's liberation from the Ottoman siege, the text recommends that Leopold I, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, make his hereditary lands economically independent. The aim of this autarky was Austria's political assertion over absolutist France under Louis XIV. For Heinrich Gerstenberg, who edited Hoffmann's works and in 1933 published a study on the Deutschlandlied, Hörnigk's book comprised the "cradle of our German national anthem." However, the book's title was also claimed by Austrian Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, who at the end of his speech at the "Turks Deliverance Celebration" on May 14, 1933, quoted "a simple, old German word": "Austria above everything, if she only will!" The line became the catchphrase of the Fatherland Front, the Austrian state party under Dollfuss' authoritarian leadership, which was announced in the Wiener Zeitung one week after the mass rally in Schönbrunn.
So Hoffmann's text loves or places Germany—instead of Austria—"above everything." But what is meant by "Germany"? The territory of the yearned-for nation state is defined in the first stanza with reference to four rivers or waters: "From the Maas right to the Memel, / Adige up to the Belt" ("Von der Maas bis an die Memel, / Von der Etsch bis an den Belt"). According to the anthem, therefore, this "Germany" ranged roughly from the Prussian-Netherlandish (Maas) to the Prussian-Lithuanian (Memel) border and from the Baltic Sea (Belt) to South Tirol (Adige). Especially in the east, the territory of the Deutschlandlied extends far beyond that of the German Confederation in 1841. What Hoffmann had in mind was clearly not the existing political boundaries, but rather the border regions of the German language. Influenced by Romantic literature and the work of the Brothers Grimm, his philological studies were supposed to help document Germanity. Hoffmann's research into German folksong had a formative influence on his poems. From this German philological perspective, Austria, whose German-speaking territories were included in the "Song of the Germans," was not able to form its own nation state.
The National Socialists, who protested against the Home Guard parade in Vienna on May 14, 1933, sang the first stanza of the Deutschlandlied quite in the sense of a Greater German nation, which had been called for as long ago as the Revolution of 1848. However, whereas national liberalism had been advocating "unity and right and freedom," as it says in Hoffmann's text, the supporters of the Nazi regime could hardly appeal to the rule of law and civil liberties. When in 1922 the president of the German Reich, the Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert, declared the "Song of the Germans" the national anthem of the Weimar Republic, he referred explicitly to the third stanza, which has also been sung as the national anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1952. In contrast, the Nazi regime combined the first stanzas of the Deutschlandlied and the Horst-Wessel-Lied, the NSDAP's martial party anthem. It was in this order that the songs were sung at the National Socialist "Turks Deliverance Celebration" on May 13, 1933, at Vienna's , an event that was directed against the rally held by the Austrian Homeland Protection the following day.
At the "Turks Deliverance Celebration" in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, the band also played Haydn's melody. Which lyrics the assembled Home Guard members sang to it, however, is unclear. Whether by force of habit or out of conviction, many Homeland Protectors might still have sung Seidl's verses from 1854, which had honored the Habsburg emperor until the end of World War I. It is quite probable that only a minority would have known the new lyrics by Ottokar Kernstock, which were declared the national anthem in 1929, by heart. Besides, it was not the words that were important, but the fact that it was Haydn's song that was now able to ring out again, rather than the unofficial anthem Deutschösterreich ("German-Austria") from 1920, which had been composed by Wilhelm Kienzl. This almost ten-year interlude harked back to Karl Renner's decision not to use the melody of the "Emperor's Song" for the newly founded republic. However, as the federal army needed an anthem to swear in the troops, the Social Democratic state chancellor himself wrote a text, which extolled "German-Austria" as a "glorious country" and "hardworking people." Kienzl set his friend's not especially poetic verses to music, though by his own account he did so unwillingly because his composition had to replace "Haydn's immortal melody." His doubts were justified, since Renner and Kienzl's anthem proved neither generally known nor popular.
As a result of the discussion of state symbols in the context of the constitutional reform of 1929, in mid-December the cabinet approved a motion by the Christian Social Party to adopt Haydn's melody with lyrics by Ottokar Kernstock as the Austrian national anthem. Renner's song had never officially been decreed, which is why the ministers responsible could simply give according instructions to their departments. Nonetheless, the corresponding decree by the ministry of education from January 31, 1930, was thwarted by the president of Vienna's education authority, the Social Democrat Otto Glöckel, with his directive to the schools of Vienna to sing the first and third stanzas of the Deutschlandlied. Glöckel's attempt "to promote the national and republican education of the young" in this way was in conformity with the Social Democratic party line since the fall of 1918, . Another decree by the minister of education then specified that while there were generally no objections to be made to the Deutschlandlied, at official events exclusively Kernstock's lyrics were to be used.
The new verses for the old hymn had been created immediately after the end of the world war. Inspired by "patriotic fellow countrymen," the German Nationalist poet Ottokar Kernstock, who lived as a Catholic priest in Styria, wrote a poem to the tune of Haydn's "Emperor's Song," which was distributed on a handbill in Graz in 1919. In the original version, each of the stanzas ends in the line: "God with thee, German-Austria!" ("Gott mit dir, Deutschösterreich!"). For the version printed in his last volume of poetry Der redende Born in 1922, Kernstock changed not only "German-Austria" to "my Austria" in keeping with the political circumstances, but also cut the third stanza, which started with the lines: "Eastern land you have been called and / From the East there comes the light" ("Osterland bis du geheißen, / Und vom Osten kommt das Licht"). As the conservative government of the Austrian state did not want to be associated with the "Bolshevist" East, the cabinet expressly declared only the "first, second, and fourth stanzas" the lyrics of the national anthem.
Kernstock's verses read like a "mixture of 'Gott erhalte' and the Deutschlandlied." No longer is the emperor blessed, but the "native soil" ("Heimaterde"), which was called "German homeland" ("Deutsche Heimat") in the first version of the poem. "German" is a descriptor also applied to the "labor" and "love" of the people who live in this "fatherland." It is given the name "Austria" but is described as part of a German national community. That it could not be called "German-Austria," was set out under international law in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1919, which also laid down the borders of the newly created state. "Austria" was now no longer a monarchy, but a democratic republic, whose merits are highlighted by the anthem's second stanza. Although the third stanza reminds the reader or singer of the country's history, with its exemplary forefathers, it calls on its youth to recognize and work together to establish "our Austria constructed in the retort of the dictated peace, no, our crippled Austria," as the phrased it.
After Haydn's melody had been created as an emperor's hymn, Hoffmann von Fallersleben reworked the song as a national anthem. By contrast, Kernstock wrote the lyrics for a state anthem, whose historical and cultural references raise awareness of the mutable nature of the word "Austria." Does it denote the property of a ruling dynasty, the sub-territory of an ethnic community, or an area bounded by international law? That the musical foundation of the anthem enabled all these interpretations became apparent not only at the "Turks Deliverance Celebration" on May 14, 1933, but also five years later, when the official validity period of Kernstock's verses ended. Under pressure from the Nazi regime, Federal Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg announced his resignation on the evening of March 11, 1938, and closed his public address on the radio "with a German word and a heartfelt wish: God save Austria!" His supporters bolstered his speech by shouting "Austria!," whereupon the National Socialists present in the Federal Chancellery struck up the Deutschlandlied. In order to interrupt their singing, Schuschnigg's brother Arthur, who was in charge of the concerts of phonograph recordings at , played an instrumental version of the German-Austrian anthem, namely the second movement of Haydn's "Emperor's Quartet." Whether they witnessed a passing or an awakening was left to the listeners themselves to decide.
Corner of Mariahilfer and Linzer Strasse
Singing the Song of Germany
N 48.190367° | E 16.322840°
1933 a 133 d 11 h 30 min p. Chr.
How to Use Reason:
How to Capture Life:
How to Speak Up:
Campus Medius does not run anymore on Internet Explorer. Please use the website in one of the following web browsers: Google Chrome (recommended), Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge.
Campus Medius läuft nicht mehr im Internet Explorer. Bitte nutzen Sie die Website in einem der folgenden Webbrowser: Google Chrome (empfohlen), Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge.