From the start of the new Republic, the Social Democrats felt themselves to be conducting a struggle on two fronts, both on the Right and on the Left. At the moment of crisis, the ‘bourgeois parties — the Christian Socials and German Nationalists — seemed happy to lay the chief responsibility on the Social Democrats. For one thing, the Social Democrats seemed to stand the best chance of controlling the revolutionary upsurge and checking excesses. (This calculation proved correct.) For another, through their early recognition of the right of self-determination of the other nations of the Empire, they seemed best fitted to undertake any future negotiations with them. (This hope proved vain.) For the same reason, they seemed best fitted to win the sympathies of the victorious allies and ward off vengeance against a defeated enemy: the touching faith of many Austrians in Wilson’s peace programme — his Fourteen Points — strengthened this belief.
KeywordsParty Leader Social Democratic Social Democratic Party Future Negotiation Republican Constitution
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