The Czech Republic and Austria have a long common history. For the first time united from 1253 until 1276 under the reign of Přemysl Otakar II, they later joined again and, together with Hungary, formed a major European power under the Habsburg dynasty which lasted from 1526 until 1918. Initially only a personal union, the ever more centralized monarchy that ruled mostly from Vienna (Prague was the capital only from 1583 until 1611), was increasingly seen as an obstacle of the Czech and German national interests during the uprising of nationalism in Central Europe from the second half of the 19th century. The Czechs demanded to be ruled by a government in Prague, the capital city of their kingdom, not in Vienna, and as part of their main party strategy of passive resistance did not participate for years in the political discussions and decisions of the Austrian Reichsrat, the parliament in Vienna representing all nations of the Austrian part of the Austro-Hungarían Monarchy. Ethnic Germans at the same time wanted to participate in the ongoing German unification process.
The first University in the Austrian half of the Empire (Charles University) was founded by H.R. Emperor Charles IV in Prague in 1347. The second oldest university (University of Vienna) was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365.
After the death of the absolutist King Matthias Corvinus in 1490, the Hungarian magnates, who did not want another heavy-handed king, procured the accession of Vladislaus II (reigned 1490–1516), King of Bohemia, because of his notorious weakness. He was known as King Dobře (meaning "good" or, loosely, "OK") for his habit of accepting every petition and document laid before him without question.
Battle of Mohács (1526)
King Louis II, King of Hungary and Bohemia, entered into marriage with Mary of Habsburg in 1522.
The Battle of Mohács (Hungarian: [ˈmohaːt͡ʃ]; Hungarian: Mohácsi csata, Turkish: Mohaç Muharebesi) was one of the most consequential battles in Central European history. It was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Kingdom of Hungary, between the forces of the Kingdom of Hungary, led by Louis II, and those of the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent. The Ottoman victory led to the partition of Hungary for several centuries between the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the Principality of Transylvania. Further, the death of Louis II as he fled the battle marked the end of the Jagiellon dynasty in Hungary and Bohemia, whose dynastic claims passed to the House of Habsburg.
Bohemia fell to the Habsburgs, who also dominated the northern and western parts of Hungary and the remnants of the Kingdom of Croatia, while the Ottomans held central Hungary and suzerainty over semi-independent Transylvania. This provided the Hungarians with sufficient impetus to continue to resist the Ottoman occupation, which they did for another 70 years.
The Austrian branch of Habsburg monarchs needed the economic power of Hungary for the Ottoman wars. During the Ottoman wars, the territory of the former Kingdom of Hungary shrunk by around 70%. Despite these territorial and demographic losses, the smaller, heavily war-torn Royal Hungary had remained economically more important than Austria or the Kingdom of Bohemia even at the end of the 16th century. Out of all his countries, the depleted Kingdom of Hungary was, at that time, Ferdinand’s largest source of revenue.
The Habsburg Monarchy
The Lands of the Bohemian Crown – initially consisting of the 5 lands: Kingdom of Bohemia, Margraviate of Moravia, Silesia, Upper and Lower Lusatia. Bohemian Diet (Czech: zemský sněm) elected Ferdinand, later Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, as king in 1526.
The Habsburg Monarchy or Habsburg Empire, is an unofficial appellation among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1521 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Bohemian (Czech) Lands were called "Lands of the St. Wenceslaus' Crown" (Länder der Wenzels-Krone). The Hungarian parts of the Empire were called "Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen" or "Lands of Holy (St.) Stephen's Crown".
Austria-Hungary collapsed under the weight of the various unsolved ethnic problems that came to a head with its defeat in World War I. In the peace settlement that followed, significant territories were ceded to Romania and Italy, new republics of Austria (the German-Austrian territories of the Hereditary lands) and Hungary (the Magyar core of the old kingdom) were created, and the remainder of the monarchy's territory was shared out among the new states of Poland, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), and Czechoslovakia.
The Austrian Empire (1804–1867)
Lands of the Bohemian Crown:
- Kingdom of Bohemia (Königreich Böhmen)
- Margraviate of Moravia (Markgrafschaft Mähren)
- Duchy of Silesia (Herzogtum Schlesien)
Prague was the 3rd largest city by population in the dual empire.
The Austrian Empire (Austrian German: Kaiserthum Oesterreich, modern spelling Kaisertum Österreich) was a Central European multinational great power in 1804 to 1867 created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. It was the third most populous empire after Russia and France, as well as the largest and strongest country in the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the second largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire (621,538 square kilometers [239,977 sq mi]). Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806. The Ausgleich of 1867 elevated Hungary's status. It became a separate entity from the Empire entirely, joining with it in the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary.
Changes shaping the nature of the Holy Roman Empire took place during conferences in Rastatt (1797–1799) and Regensburg (1801–1803). On March 24, 1803, the Imperial Recess (German: Reichsdeputationshauptschluss) was declared, which reduced the number of ecclesiastical states from 81 to only 3, and reduced the free imperial cities from 51 to 6. This measure was aimed at replacing the old constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, but the actual consequence of the Imperial Recess was the end of the empire. Taking this significant change into consideration, the German Emperor Francis II created the title Emperor of Austria, for himself and his successors.
In 1804 the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, who was also ruler of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, founded the Empire of Austria, in which all his lands were included. In doing so he created a formal overarching structure for the Habsburg Monarchy, which had functioned as a composite monarchy for about 300 years. He did so because he foresaw either the end of the Holy Roman Empire, or the eventual accession as Holy Roman Emperor of Napoleon, who had earlier that year adopted the title of an Emperor of the French; Francis II eventually abandoned the title of German-Roman Emperor later in 1806. To safeguard his dynasty's imperial status he adopted the additional hereditary title of Emperor of Austria. Apart from now being included in a new "Kaiserthum", the workings of the overarching structure and the status of its component lands at first stayed much the same as they had been under the composite monarchy that existed before 1804. This was especially demonstrated by the status of the Kingdom of Hungary, a country that had never been a part of the Holy Roman Empire and which had always been considered a separate realm (a status that was affirmed by Article X), which was added to Hungary's constitution in 1790 during the phase of the composite monarchy and described the state as a Regnum Independens. Hungary's affairs remained administered by its own institutions (King and Diet) as they had been beforehand. Thus under the new arrangements no Imperial institutions were involved in its internal government.
The old Habsburg possessions of Further Austria (in today's France, Germany, and Switzerland) had already been lost in the 1805 Peace of Pressburg.
The Napoleonic Wars dominated Austrian foreign policy from 1804 to 1815. The Austrian army was one of the most formidable forces the French had to face. After Prussia signed a peace treaty with France on April 5, 1795, Austria was forced to carry the main burden of war with Napoleonic France for almost 10 years. This severely overburdened the Austrian economy, making the war greatly unpopular. Emperor Francis II therefore refused to join any further war against Napoleon for a long time. On the other hand, Francis II continued to intrigue for the possibility of revenge against France, entering into a secret military agreement with the Russian Empire in November 1804. This convention was to assure mutual cooperation in the case of a new war against France.
In 1847, the first telegraph connection (Vienna – Brno – Prague) started operation. The first telegraph station on Hungarian territory was opened in December 1847 in Pressburg/ Pozsony /Bratislava/. In 1848, – during the Hungarian Revolution – another telegraph centre was built in Buda to connect the most important governmental centres. The first telegraph connection between Vienna and Pest – Buda (later Budapest) was constructed in 1850, and Vienna – Zagreb (capital of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia...) in 1850. Austria joined a telegraph union with German states.
From March 1848 through November 1849, the Empire was threatened by revolutionary movements, most of which were of a nationalist character. Besides that, liberal and even socialist currents resisted the empire's longstanding conservatism. Ultimately, the revolutions failed, in part because the various revolutionaries had conflicting goals.
A set of revolutions took place in the Austrian Empire from March 1848 to November 1849. Much of the revolutionary activity had a nationalist character: the Empire, ruled from Vienna, included ethnic Germans, Hungarians, Slovenes, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Ruthenians (Ukrainians), Romanians, Croats, Venetians (Italians) and Serbs; all of whom attempted in the course of the revolution to either achieve autonomy, independence, or even hegemony over other nationalities. The nationalist picture was further complicated by the simultaneous events in the German states, which moved toward greater German national unity.
The Czechs held a Pan-Slavic congress in Prague, primarily composed of Austroslavs who wanted greater freedom within the Empire, but their status as peasants and proletarians surrounded by a German middle class doomed their autonomy. They also disliked the prospect of annexation of Bohemia to a German Empire.
Hungary and Galicia were clearly not German; German nationalists (who dominated the Bohemian Diet) felt the old crown lands rightfully belonged to a united German state, despite the fact that the majority of the people of Bohemia and Moravia spoke Czech (a Slavic language). Czech nationalists viewed the language as far more significant, calling for a boycott of the Frankfurt Parliament elections in Bohemia, Moravia, and neighboring Austrian Silesia (also partly Czech-speaking). Tensions in Prague between German and Czech nationalists grew quickly between April and May.
In Bohemia, the leaders of both the German and Czech nationalist movements were both constitutional monarchists, loyal to the Habsburg Emperor. Only a few days after the Emperor reconquered northern Italy, Alfred I, Prince of Windisch-Grätz took provocative measures in Prague to prompt street fighting. Once the barricades went up, he led Habsburg troops to crush the insurgents. After having taken back the city, he imposed martial law, ordered the Prague National Committee dissolved, and sent delegates to the "Pan-Slavic" Congress home. These events were applauded by German nationalists, who failed to understand that the Habsburg military would crush their own national movement as well. Both the Czech and Italian revolutions were defeated by the Habsburgs. Prague was the first victory of counter-revolution in the Austrian Empire.
After the death of Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg in 1852, the Minister of the Interior Baron Alexander von Bach largely dictated policy in Austria and Hungary. Bach centralized administrative authority for the Austrian Empire, but he also endorsed reactionary policies that reduced freedom of the press and abandoned public trials. He later represented the Absolutist (or Klerikalabsolutist) direction, which culminated in the concordat of August 1855 that gave the Roman Catholic Church control over education and family life. This period in the history of the Austrian Empire would become known as the era of neo-absolutism, or Bach's absolutism.
The pillars of the so-called Bach system (Bachsches System) were, in the words of Adolf Fischhof, 4 "armies": a standing army of soldiers, a sitting army of office holders, a kneeling army of priests, and a fawning army of sneaks. Prisons were full of political prisoners: for example during his administration, Czech nationalist journalist and writer Karel Havlíček Borovský was forcibly expatriated (1851–1855) to Brixen. This exile undermined Borovský's health and he died soon afterwards. This affair earned Bach a very bad reputation amongst Czechs and subsequently led to the strengthening of the Czech national movement.
The Constitution of 1861 created a House of Lords (Herrenhaus) and a House of Deputies (Abgeordnetenhaus). But most nationalities of the monarchy remained dissatisfied. After the second war with Denmark in 1864, Holstein came under Austrian, Schleswig and Lauenburg under Prussian administration. But the internal difficulties continued. Diets replaced the parliament in 17 provinces, the Hungarians pressed for autonomy, and Venetia was attracted by the now unified Italy.
After Austria was defeated in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the German Confederation was dissolved, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 was adopted. By this act, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Empire of Austria as 2 separate entities joined together on an equal basis to form the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.
Peace of Prague (1866)
The Peace of Prague was a peace treaty signed between the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire at Prague on August 23, 1866, ending the Austro-Prussian War.
The treaty was lenient toward the Austrian Empire because Otto von Bismarck had persuaded Wilhelm I that maintaining Austria's place in Europe would be better in the future for Prussia than harsh terms, as Bismarck realized that without Austria, Prussia would be weakened in a relatively hostile Europe. At first, Wilhelm I had wanted to push on to Vienna and annex Austria but Bismarck stopped him, even threatening to resign, and, more drastically, to hurl himself out of the fourth story window of Nikolsburg Castle. Indeed, it was this relative cordiality with Austria that caused the clamouring factions of Europe in 1914 that led to the Great War.
Austria only lost Venetia, ceded to Napoleon III of France, who in turn ceded it to Italy. Austria refused to give Venetia directly to Italy because the Austrians had crushed the Italians during the war. The Habsburgs were permanently excluded from German affairs (Kleindeutschland). The Kingdom of Prussia thus established itself as the only major power among the German states. The German Confederation was abolished. The North German Confederation had been formed as a military alliance five days prior to the Peace of Prague, with the north German states joining together; the Southern German states outside of the Confederation were required to pay large indemnities to Prussia.
Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867–1918)
Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire in English-language sources, was a constitutional union of the Austrian Empire (the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council, or Cisleithania) and the Kingdom of Hungary (Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen or Transleithania) that existed from 1867 to 1918, when it collapsed as a result of defeat in World War I. The union was a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and came into existence on March 30, 1867. Austria-Hungary consisted of two monarchies (Austria and Hungary), and one autonomous region: the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia under the Hungarian crown, which negotiated the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement (Nagodba) in 1868. It was ruled by the House of Habsburg, and constituted the last phase in the constitutional evolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Following the 1867 reforms, the Austrian and the Hungarian states were co-equal. Foreign affairs and the military came under joint oversight, but all other governmental faculties were divided between respective states.
The Empire relied increasingly on a cosmopolitan bureaucracy (in which Czechs played an important role) backed by loyal elements, including a large part of the German, Hungarian, Polish, and Croat aristocracy.
The language disputes were most fiercely fought in Bohemia, where the Czech speakers formed a majority of 13% and sought equal status for their language to German. The Czechs had lived primarily in Bohemia since the 6th century and German immigrants had begun settling the Bohemian periphery since the 13th century. The constitution of 1627 made the German language a second official language and equal to Czech. German speakers lost their majority in the Bohemian Diet in 1880 and became a minority to Czech speakers in the cities of Prague and Pilsen (while retaining a slight numerical majority in the city of Brno (Brünn)). The old Charles University in Prague, hitherto dominated by German speakers, was divided into German and Czech-speaking faculties in 1882. The nationalism of German-speakers prevalent in the Empire of Austria created tension between ethnic Germans and ethnic Czechs.
The influence of liberals in Austria, most of them ethnic Germans, weakened under the leadership of Count Edouard von Taaffe, the Austrian prime minister from 1879 to 1893. Taaffe used a coalition of clergy, conservatives and Slavic parties to weaken the liberals. In Bohemia, for example, he authorized Czech as an official language of the bureaucracy and school system, thus breaking the German speakers' monopoly on holding office.
Austria-Hungary was a multinational state and one of the world's great powers at the time. Austria-Hungary was geographically the second-largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire, at 621,538 km2 (239,977 sq mi), and the third-most populous (after Russia and the German Empire). The Empire built up the fourth-largest machine building industry of the world, after the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Austria-Hungary also became the world's third largest manufacturer and exporter of electric home appliances, electric industrial appliances and power generation apparatus for power plants, after the United States and the German Empire.
After 1878, Bosnia and Herzegovina was under Austro-Hungarian military and civilian rule until it was fully annexed in 1908, provoking the Bosnian crisis among the other powers. Sandžak/Raška, de jure northern part of the Ottoman Sanjak of Novi Pazar (in modern-day Montenegro and Serbia), was also under de facto joint occupation during that period but the Austro-Hungarian army withdrew as part of their annexation of Bosnia. The annexation of Bosnia also led to Islam being recognized as an official state religion due to Bosnia's Muslim population.
Horse-drawn tramways appeared in the first half of the 19th century. Between the 1850s and 1880s many were built. Vienna (1865), Budapest (1866), Brno (1869). Steam trams appeared in the late 1860s. The electrification of tramways started from the late 1880s. The first electrified tramway in Austria-Hungary was built in Budapest in 1887. Electric tramway lines began in Bohemia: Prague (1891); Teplice (1895); Liberec (1897); Ústí nad Labem, Plzeň, Olomouc (1899); Moravia, Brno, Jablonec nad Nisou (1900); Ostrava (1901); Mariánské Lázně (1902); Opava (1905); Budějovice, České Budějovice, Jihlava (1909); Český Těšín / Cieszyn (1911).
The Battle of Zborov (1917) was the first significant action of the Czechoslovak Legions, who fought for the independence of Czechoslovakia against the Austro-Hungarian army. However the huge losses in men and material inflicted on the Russians during the offensive contributed greatly to the revolutions of 1917, and it caused an economic crash in the Russian Empire.
In 1917, the Eastern front of the Entente Powers completely collapsed. The Austro-Hungarian Empire then withdrew from all defeated countries. By 1918, the economic situation had deteriorated. Leftist and pacifist political movements organized strikes in factories, and uprisings in the army had become commonplace. During the Italian battles, the Czechoslovaks and Southern Slavs declared their independence. On October 31, Hungary ended the personal union officially dissolving the Austro-Hungarian state. At the last Italian offensive, the Austro-Hungarian Army took to the field without any food and munition supply, and fought without any political supports for a de facto non-existent empire. On the end of the decisive joint Italian, British and French offensive at Vittorio Veneto, the disintegrated Austria-Hungary signed the Armistice of Villa Giusti on November 3, 1918.
On October 18, United States Secretary of State Robert Lansing replied that the Allies were now committed to the causes of the Czechs, Slovaks and South Slavs. Therefore, Lansing said, autonomy for the nationalities (#10 of the Fourteen Points) was no longer enough and Washington could not deal on the basis of the Fourteen Points any more. In fact, a Czechoslovak provisional government had joined the Allies on October 14. The South Slavs in both halves of the monarchy had already declared in favor of uniting with Serbia in a large South Slav state by way of the 1917 Corfu Declaration signed by members of the Yugoslav Committee, and the Croatians had begun disregarding orders from Budapest earlier in October.
The Lansing note was, in effect, the death certificate of Austria-Hungary. The national councils had already begun acting more or less as provisional governments of independent countries. With defeat in the war imminent after the Italian offensive in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto on 24 October, Czech politicians peacefully took over command in Prague on 28 October (later declared the birthday of Czechoslovakia) and followed up in other major cities in the next few days. On October 30, the Slovaks followed in Martin. On October 29, the Slavs in both portions of what remained of Austria-Hungary proclaimed the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. They also declared their ultimate intention was to unite with Serbia and Montenegro in a large South Slav state. On the same day, the Czechs and Slovaks formally proclaimed the establishment of Czechoslovakia as an independent state. Karl's last Hungarian prime minister, Mihály Károlyi, terminated the personal union with Austria on October 31, officially dissolving the Austro-Hungarian state. By the end of October, there was nothing left of the Habsburg realm but its majority-German Danubian and Alpine provinces, and Karl's authority was being challenged even there by the German-Austrian state council.
In the autumn of 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy collapsed. In the capital cities of Vienna and Budapest, the leftist and liberal movements and politicians (the opposition parties) strengthened and supported the separatism of ethnic minorities. These leftist or left-liberal pro-Entente maverick parties opposed the monarchy as a form of government and considered themselves internationalist rather than patriotic. Eventually, the German defeat and the minor revolutions in Vienna and Budapest gave political power to the left/liberal political parties. As it became apparent that the Allied powers would win World War I, nationalist movements, which had previously been calling for a greater degree of autonomy for various areas, started pressing for full independence. The Emperor had lost much of his power to rule, as his realm disintegrated.
Austria-Hungary was one of the Central Powers in World War I. It was already effectively dissolved by the time the military authorities signed the armistice of Villa Giusti on November 3, 1918. The Kingdom of Hungary and the First Austrian Republic were treated as its successors de jure, whereas the independence of the West Slavs and South Slavs of the Empire as the First Czechoslovak Republic, the Second Polish Republic, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and most of the territorial demands of the Kingdom of Romania were also recognized by the victorious powers in 1920.
Karl's last Austrian prime minister, Heinrich Lammasch, concluded that Karl was in an impossible situation, and persuaded Karl that the best course was to relinquish, at least temporarily, his right to exercise sovereign authority. On November 11, Karl issued a proclamation in which he recognized Austria's right to determine the form of the state and renounced the right to participate in Austrian affairs of state. He also released the officials in Austria from their oath of loyalty to him. 2 days later, he issued a similar proclamation for Hungary. However, he did not abdicate, remaining available in the event the people of either state should recall him. For all intents and purposes, this was the end of Habsburg rule.
Manifesto of Czech Writers
The Manifesto of Czech writers (Czech, Manifest českých spisovatelů) was the first public declaration in favor of the self-determination of the Czech nation during the First World War. It was published in May 1917. The declaration was directed at the Czech deputies at the Imperial Council in Vienna, the Parliament of the Austrian parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The principal author was Jaroslav Kvapil (1868–1950), director of the Czech National Theater in Prague, and the manifesto was signed by over 200 Czech writers, journalists and scientists. It proposed that Czech members of the Imperial Council should either declare their support for the concept of Czech autonomy or else should resign their seats.
The Manifesto was signed by Jindřich Šimon Baar, Otokar Březina, Josef Čapek, Karel Čapek, Karel Matěj Čapek-Chod, Jakub Deml, Viktor Dyk, Vladimír Helfert, Jan Herben, Adolf Heyduk, Alois Jirásek, Jan Kapras, Jan Klecanda, Karel Klostermann, Eliška Krásnohorská, Kamil Krofta, Petr Křička, Jaroslav Kvapil, Jiří Mahen, Josef Svatopluk Machar, Marie Majerová, Helena Malířová, Alois Mrštík, Zdeněk Nejedlý, Arne Novák, Ivan Olbracht, Emanuel Rádl, Karel Václav Rais, Antonín Sova, Antal Stašek, František Xaver Svoboda, Růžena Svobodová, František Xaver Šalda, Anna Marie Tilschová, and others.
Czech Republic & Austrian Relations
South Moravia was the birthplace of two federal presidents of Austria: Karl Renner, who decisively took part in the creation of the First Austrian Republik in 1918 as State Chancellor and was president from 1945 to 1950, in 1870 was born at Untertannowitz / Dolni Dunajovice in the so-called Dyje arc (Thayabogen). Adolf Schärf, vice chancellor from 1945 to 1957 and president from 1957 to 1965, was born in 1873 in the city of Nikolsburg / Mikulov near the Austrian border. Many aristocratic and bourgeois families of great influence in Austrian politics, economy and the arts had their roots in what is now the Czech Republic.
During the First World War, while nearly 1.5 million Czechs fought in the Austro-Hungarian army, exiled Czech politicians backed by the military legions worked on the regaining of the independence of Bohemia in the form of Czech-Slovak union. The Entente powers supported their plans, which did not provide any autonomy or other special treatment for the Germans in the new country.
After the end of the empire in October and November, 1918, German Austria and Czechoslovakia shortly quarreled on the issue of the German districts in Bohemia and Moravia, where more than 3 million German inhabitants wanted to join the State of German Austria (and within this state, the German republic). The Czechs immediately occupied these districts to keep the "integrity of the Bohemian lands", and the Treaty of St. Germain of 1919 acknowledged their rights to keep them.
Both countries established diplomatic relations on January 20, 1920. When Austria entered dictatorial rule in 1934, Austrian Social Democrats like Otto Bauer and Julius Deutsch found refuge in the Czechoslovak Republic and founded the ALÖS (Auslandsbüro der österreichischen Sozialdemokraten), the foreign bureau of Austrian Social Democrats, in Brno. There until 1938 they published the Arbeiter-Zeitung (literally the workers' newspaper), which had been the daily organ of the Social Democratic Party of Austria and been prohibited by the Austrofascists, to be "illegally" exported to Austria. In March of 1938, when Austria was annexed to Germany, again some politicians flew to the neighboring country, at this time together with Switzerland the only free republic in Central Europe.