Author Topic: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans  (Read 57102 times)

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Offline Превед

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #75 on: November 08, 2013, 06:11:14 PM »
Really complicated issue, and hard to know which sources to believe!

True! A general tendency seems to be that the Czech-speaking population was more politically centrist and moderate, with a broad basis of farmers or smallholders (Agrarians) (This was the background of both Masaryk and Beneš). There seems to be something of the good common sense of Good Soldier Švejk in the Czech body politic, a mixed legacy of benign Habsburg paternalism and sceptical Hussitism? The Sudeten Germans, living either in industrialized areas or poor wooded regions were more prone to typically German extremes: nationalism, bigotted Catholicism, Socialism (the Nazis were after all National Socialists), this of course reinforced when they felt like a threatened minority.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 06:18:09 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #76 on: November 08, 2013, 06:20:40 PM »
What I don't understand is that as far back as 1919, Edvard Beneš suggested a "transfer" (I think that was the term he used) of the non-ethnic population of the first Republic....he mainly had Germans and Hungarians in mind....which was rejected by Masaryk (Naš taticku Masaryku), thus it seems extremely odd that he allowed his own wife and daughter to act in such a manner, especially as his wife was from a comfortable background and must have had her own furs.


I agree that it seems very odd. This new info comes of course from Sophie Hohenberg, FF's great-grand-daughter.

I worked out a timeline of events.

October 1918: - declaration of Czechoslovak Republic.

March 1919: - demonstrations in favour of joining Austria in German-speaking areas; riots in the countryside for land rights.

April 1919: - lots of noble estates confiscated, as an emergency measure to stabilise the situation, including Konopiste. Masaryk says this is a temporary measure until the legal situation can be clarified. Some parts of estates are subsequently returned, the rest being partitioned out in the name of economic equalisation. They are a major bone of contention in the 1930s, with the Nazis alleging bad faith by the Czech government.

June 1919 (I think): - Habsburg properties officially declared state property.

 September 1920: St Germain ratified, bringing the new republic officially into being.

1921: -  Benes moves a motion before the Czechoslovak Parliament, declaring Konopiste to be Habsburg property and therefore not liable to have any part returned. Uses St Germain as justification.

So there's that, which allows for the possibility of wrangling and evolving situations, with the Hohenbergs regarded first as nobles an then as Habsburgs - but not as Germans specifically - and there's now family memories of them coming personally to the estate to steal from the children.

I mean, maybe he did have it for them as Habsburgs rather than Germans ( I can imagine that they were not welcome in unsettled 1919, as sons of a man who was popular in Bohemia and would have been Emperor), but who can now say what really happened unless someone can produce some first-hand account written at the time. I have no clue myself, human memory being human memory.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 06:37:31 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #77 on: November 08, 2013, 06:21:46 PM »
Quote
But sure it can't be illegal to confiscate the property of militant terrorists like Lee, who led an armed insurrection against a democratic government?

You know, there are some places in the South of the U.S. where you'd get your teeth punched out for making such a comment.  General Lee is still regarded as a hero to many in the South.

Robert E. Lee was no terrorist, nor was he leading an insurrection against the U.S. Government.  What happened in that the Southern states had broken away to form their own nation, the Confederate States Of America.  They had their own Congress and President (Jefferson Davies).  the reason the war started was that Fort Sumter refused to surrender to the South and the South fired on it.

The reason Lee ended up fighting for the South was simple, Virginia, his home state, joined the Confederacy.  He thought long and hard about it, before making his decision.  The U.S. Military had been good to him, but he loved his home state first.  Had Virginia gone the other way, Lee would have been fighting for the Union.

Lee may have fought for the losing side, but he certainly wasn't a terrorist.

It wasn't even his, it was his wife--the step-great-granddaughter of George Washington (through his wife Martha's first marriage). It was known as the Custis-Lee Mansion. The United States has designated the mansion as a National Memorial to Lee, a mark of widespread respect for him in both the North (who wanted him to command the Union Army) and South. The grounds of Arlington themselves are, of course, amongst the most sacred in the country.

 Lee's father-in-law died in 1857 and the house and Arlington estate was left to Mary Custis Lee for her lifetime and thence to the Lees' eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee. In May 1861, the Union soldiers took over Arlington, making it the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. In 1864, the federal government confiscated the house and property because the property's owner, Mary Anna Custis Lee, had not paid her property tax in person and purchased it for less than $27,000. As the nearby cemeteries were overflowing with war dead, Arlington's spacious grounds, so close to DC, were selected as the next mass cemetery.

Robert E. Lee and his wife chose not to contest the federal government's seizure of their home. In 1870, after his father's death, the Lee's eldest son, George Washington Custis Lee, who had been the rightful inheritor according to his grandfather's will, filed a lawsuit against the United States government to regain his property. In 1882, the Supreme Court finally ruled on the case in a 5-4 decision and found that the estate had been "illegally confiscated" in 1864 and ordered it returned, along with 1,100 acres of surrounding property. In 1883, Custis Lee sold the mansion and property to the U.S. government for $150,000 (roughly equal to $3.5 million today) at a signing ceremony with Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln.

Anyway, an article about Sophie's fight to get the property back:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/19/world/europe/19castle.html?pagewanted=all

The last 2 paragraphs: "The Ministry of Culture spends more than $800,000 a year to maintain the castle, about the same as the property earns from ticket sales and rental fees for occasional functions. The castle's chapel is popular for weddings.

It is classed as a national cultural historic monument, which means that were von Hohenberg to recover the castle, she would not even be able to move the furniture without approval from the state landmark authorities."
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 06:28:50 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #78 on: November 08, 2013, 06:24:13 PM »
Konopischt

They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #79 on: November 08, 2013, 06:32:04 PM »
Really complicated issue, and hard to know which sources to believe!

True! A general tendency seems to be that the Czech-speaking population was more politically centrist and moderate, with a broad basis of farmers or smallholders (Agrarians) (This was the background of both Masaryk and Beneš). There seems to be something of the good common sense of Good Soldier Švejk in the Czech body politic, a mixed legacy of benign Habsburg paternalism and sceptical Hussitism? The Sudeten Germans, living either in industrialized areas or poor wooded regions were more prone to typically German extremes: nationalism, bigotted Catholicism, Socialism (the Nazis were after all National Socialists), this of course reinforced when they felt like a threatened minority.

There are lots of deliberately manufactured national stereotypes as well! :-)

Franz Ferdinand railed in one of his few surviving drafts of letters to the Kaiser against Prague, "which used to be German speaking town" and was now Czech - kind of forgetting that it turned Czech through industrialisation, which was encouraged by the Habsburgs and drew peasants in from the Czech-speaking villages of Central Bohemia around.
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Offline TimM

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #80 on: November 08, 2013, 07:07:53 PM »
Even if they can't get the property back, they should be compensated for it.  The Czechs stole it, and their personal property, from them. 

I wonder how Benes felt later, he lived just long enough to see the Communists steal his country right out from under him.   He knew then how it feels to have something you value taken away from you.
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #81 on: November 09, 2013, 12:09:17 AM »
Just woke up worrying that most of what I'd posted is off-topic. I can get carried away when things interest me, but don't want to come across as too opinionated when threads here tend to be quite succinct these days, expect in the Discussion area, so Mods, please feel free to delete anything!!!
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Offline Greenowl

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #82 on: November 09, 2013, 04:50:25 AM »
I am really enjoying this discussion so please don't delete!! I was absent from the Forum for a year or two and then had problems logging in and had to re-register, but finally returned in January. However, I complained in June that everything was very quiet and that there were no longer any real discussions. FA and Tim both assured me that there would be more, so thankfully they were correct!

I was interested to hear about Leopold Grünwald as the name is not familiar to me. The only Sudeten German social democrat that I was aware of was Wenzel Jaksch. In that regard, the book by Peter Glotz "Die Vertreibung - Boehmen als Lehrstück" is an excellent read. Another point is that most of the Sudeten Germans received compensation (the so-called "Lastenausgleich") from West Germany, which led to a great deal of envy from their new neighbours, at least here in Baden-Württemberg. Whether this compensation extended to the aristocracy I cannot say. At present I am reading "The Journey" by Cecilia Sternberg, whose daughter Diana actually got their castle (Castolovice) back from the Czech state in 1992.

Cheers
GREENOWL (Monika)

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #83 on: November 09, 2013, 01:01:47 PM »
A little off-topic is fine (I've added to it myself!). The mods usually step in when it gets either too off-topic or the off-topic goes on for too long. :)
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #84 on: November 09, 2013, 03:10:03 PM »
Another point is that most of the Sudeten Germans received compensation (the so-called "Lastenausgleich") from West Germany, which led to a great deal of envy from their new neighbours, at least here in Baden-Württemberg. Whether this compensation extended to the aristocracy I cannot say. At present I am reading "The Journey" by Cecilia Sternberg, whose daughter Diana actually got their castle (Castolovice) back from the Czech state in 1992.

Cheers
GREENOWL (Monika)

That's a really interesting point about the compensation from Germany, and it highlights some of the many ironies. Germany had to pay the compensation to displaced people from the Sudetenland on the grounds that Germany caused the problem - but those who went to Austria (and Switzerland, I think?) were eventually compensated by the *Czech* state which displaced them - I guess the infamous "myth of Austrian victimhood" is the issue here, so Austria was not asked to act as a guilty party.

Another irony many have noted is that those deportees who reached (West) Germany alive enjoyed better lives than the Czechs did after World war Two - and that many German Bohemians who were active collaborators thus escaped justice while Czech collaborators left behind were tried and presumably shot. I think this prompted a lot of jealousy and bitterness in the Czech Republic as well.

People seem to have a far greater chance of getting castles back if they had them taken by the Communists (as Castolovice was), who are deemed beyond the pale. Anything earlier, they don't seem to be able to make a case.

To go back to the strict topic, I wonder what the fate of the Hohenberg brothers might have been if they'd been able to stay in Bohemia? I don't see that they would have got away without the lands being seriously depleted, and in the 30s they'd have had to make a choice about which nationality to identify with. If one or both had joined the SdP and then the Nazis, as so many of their contemporaries there did (and this includes their cousin Franz Thun und Hohenstein, who was a very enthusiastic Nazi, as well as  their brother-in-law Alois Nostitz-Rieneck, who joined the Nazis "to protect his family" [not sure what that really means]) history might not remember them so well. Ironically, their displacement led to their being able to follow a less controversial course and through the terrible fact of being in concentration camps, to become admirable men. The loss of Konopiste and the other Czech estates might have been the salvation of their historical reputation.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 03:14:59 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #85 on: November 09, 2013, 05:38:52 PM »
I should say here, just to be clear, that I don't rush to condemn the many ordinary people who joined the SdP in the 30s, or even welcomed the Nazis. Sadly, most saw simply that Germans were getting a better life than they were in the depression, and most knew nothing of the crimes going on.

On the other hand, some people did aggressively sign up to the whole agenda. One person whose life is interesting is Alfons Clary-Aldringen, who wrote a fairly dully set of memoirs in the 1980s, leading reviewers to speak of him as an old buffer, a harmless Austro-Hungarian aristocrat sentimentally remembering his pre-war world.  Eagle Glassheim's "Noble Nationalists: the transformation of the Bohemian aristocracy" casts a rather different light.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 05:40:46 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline Greenowl

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #86 on: November 09, 2013, 06:17:10 PM »
Another interesting book that I have not yet read is "Beneš als Österreicher" (Beneš as an Austrian...my translation. Wieser Verlag, Klagenfurt 2012 ISBN 9783990290088) by the late Jiří Gruša, who served as Czech ambassador to Germany and was much respected by Václav Havel, who by sad coincidence died less than two months after Gruša. I must try to order it as from what I have heard, Gruša takes a very critical look at Beneš, who he described as "a garden gnome" and a failure as he was unable to avert the infamous Munich agreement or the communist take-over.

I quite agree that those deportees who reached West Germany alive enjoyed far better lives than the Czechs did after the Second World War and in some cases that also applies to those who reached Austria. The "myth of Austrian victimhood" is yet another irony.

I doubt that the fate of the Hohenberg brothers would have been any different had they been allowed to stay in Bohemia. They were staunch supporters of Archduke Otto, who was totally anti-Nazi, which would have led to problems for them as it did in Austria.

    

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #87 on: November 09, 2013, 06:29:57 PM »


I doubt that the fate of the Hohenberg brothers would have been any different had they been allowed to stay in Bohemia. They were staunch supporters of Archduke Otto, who was totally anti-Nazi, which would have led to problems for them as it did in Austria.

    


Exactly - and I think the monarchist stance was a major part of the problem, even before they became active. They could not have remained there with those ideas, even if they were only suspected, in 1919, when the boys were only teenagers and neighbouring Hungary was wanting to have Karl back - and the aristocracy generally in Bohemia were apparently supporting this idea. If they'd have stayed, they'd have had to moderate their stance in some way. Would they genuinely have been happy to live quietly as Czechoslovak citizens with smaller estates? Would any financial compensation ever have counted for anything to them?

Thank you for the book suggestion on Benes. I simply don't like him, he always seems aggressive and extreme and it's tempting to me to blame him for all problems, but I think this isn't the best way to approach history! ;-)  
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 06:32:02 PM by Janet Ashton »
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Offline TimM

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #88 on: November 12, 2013, 11:31:52 AM »
The new Czech leaders really didn't set a good example, did they.  They boot three orphaned children out into the cold, steal their most treasured possessions, and let the wife and daughter of the Czech leader help themselves to whatever they want to take. 

They were like thieves in the night, breaking into someone's home and stealing everything.  A crime is a crime.
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Offline Превед

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Re: Assassination/Archduke by King and Woolmans
« Reply #89 on: November 12, 2013, 11:52:09 AM »
The new Czech leaders really didn't set a good example, did they.  They boot three orphaned children out into the cold
Oh yes, horror of horrors, they had only one castle (Artstetten) left to retreat to!

Quote
steal their most treasured possessions, and let the wife and daughter of the Czech leader help themselves to whatever they want to take.
If they could take eveything they wanted and only took some furs and a saddle, I must say they showed restraint!

Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)