VLASOV N.A. The Austro-Prussian War 1866 as a Civil War: Contemporary Opinion

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.4.4

Nikolay A. Vlasov

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Saint Petersburg State University,

Universitetskaya Emb., 7-9, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. Main research goal of this article is to identify the key features of perception of the Austro-Prussian war 1866 as a “civil war” by its German contamporaries.

Methods and materials. The methodology of this research – first of all the approach to discourse analysis – is borrowed from the Cambridge school (Q. Skinner, J. Pocock). Main sources are official statements, letters, parliament speeches and press articles from the German states in 1866.

Analysis. The term “civil war” can be used as a label for the Austro-Prussian war only if the existence of a single German nation within the borders of the German Union is presumed. Therefore it was assumed that this term will be used mainly by the “Great German” nationalists. This hypothesis was confirmed, but the term “civil war” emerged also as a part of other discourses – conservative-legitimist and (to a lesser degree) pro-Prussian. After 1866 almost no use of this term related to the Austro-Prussian war can be discovered.

Results. The term “civil war” was widely used in 1866 within the framework of different, first of all anti-Prussian discourses. Main goal of this praxis was to condemn Bismarck’s politics. Prussian victory led to rapid disappearance of the “Great German” discourse after 1866. The term “civil war” was replaced by another terms (“German war”, “Fraternal war” etc.).

Key words: Austro-Prussian war, civil war, Cambridge school, discourse, German nationalism.

Citation. Vlasov N.A. The Austro-Prussian War 1866 as a Civil War: Contemporary Opinion. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 38-47. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.4.4.

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