Pomp and Politics of Patriotism: Imperial Celebrations in Habsburg Austria, 1848-1916


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Purdue University Press
Professional & Scholarly


The Pomp and Politics of Patriotism concentrates on the official presentation of the imperial cult, using the image of Franz Joseph (Habsburg emperor from 1848-1916) as a symbol of common identity in the Austrian half of the Habsburg Monarchy (Cisleithania), including the use of or rejection of this imagery by regional social and nationalist factions. During this period, the compelling notion was to use the imperial cult to define Habsburg patriotism. The story of the successes and setbacks in this endeavor, which illuminates the tension between national and supra-national identity in an age of expanding political participation, is the exploration of The Pomp and Politics of Patriotism.In the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, usually characterized as a period of national conflict and political paralysis, the promotion of the cult of the emperor reinforced and deepened a Cisleithania-wide culture of imperial celebration. Organizers of official imperial festivities adapted traditional Habsburg symbols and ceremonial forms to present the emperor as a binding force in this multi-national state. Catholic rituals, court ceremonies, imperial inspection tours of the provinces, and spectacular imperial celebrations did not seek to efface national identity; instead, official festivities defined national identity as a constituent element of a broader identification with the emperor-father and, through him, with "Austria."