On the other hand the Germans of Bohemia, fearful of falling under the control of the Czechs, were the most ardent advocates of centralization. The Czechs were supported also by their fellow-countrymen in Moravia, and some of the nobles, headed by Count Belcredi, brother of the minister; but in Brünn there was a strong German party. In Silesia the Germans had a considerable majority, and as there was a large Polish element which did not support the Czechs, the diet refused to recognize the claims of the Bohemians.
The Poles of Galicia stood apart from the other Slav races. The German-speaking population was very small, consisting chiefly of government officials, railway servants and Jews; but there was a large minority (some 43%) of Ruthenes. The Poles wished to gain as much autonomy as they could for their own province, but they had no interest in opposing the centralization of other parts; they were satisfied if Austria would surrender the Ruthenes to them. They were little influenced by the pan-Slav agitation; it was desirable for them that Austria, which gave them freedom and power, should continue strong and united. Their real interests were outside the monarchy, and they did not cease to look forward to a restoration of the Polish kingdom. The great danger was that they might entangle Austria in a war with Russia.
The southern Slavs had neither the unity, nor the organization, nor the historical traditions of the Czechs and Poles; but the Slovenes, who formed a large majority of the population in Carniola, and a considerable minority in the adjoining territory of Carinthia and the south of Styria, demanded that their language should be used for purposes of government and education. Their political ideal was an "Illyrian" kingdom, including Croatia and all the southern Slavs in the coast district, and a not very successful movement had been started to establish a so-called Illyrian language, which should be accepted by both Croats and Slovenes. There was, however, another element in the southern districts, viz. the Serbs, who, though of the same race and language as the Croats, were separated from them by religion. Belonging to the Orthodox Church they were attracted by Russia. They were in constant communication with Servia and Montenegro; and their ultimate hope, the creation of a great Servian kingdom, was less easy to reconcile with loyalty to Austria. Of late years attempts have been made to turn the Slovenian national movement into this direction, and to attract the Slovenes also towards the Orthodox non-Austrian Slavs.
In the extreme south of Dalmatia is a small district which had South Dalmatia. not formed part of the older duchy of Dalmatia, and had not been joined to the Austrian empire till 1814; in former years part of it formed the republic of Ragusa, and the rest belonged to Albania. The inhabitants of this part, who chiefly belonged to the Greek Church, still kept up a close connexion with Albania and with Montenegro, and Austrian authority was maintained with difficulty. Disturbances had already broken out once before; and in 1869 another outbreak took place. This district had hitherto been exempted from military service; by the law of 1869, which introduced universal military service, those who had hitherto been exempted were required to serve, not in the regular army but in the militia. The inhabitants of the district round the Bocche di Cattaro (the Bocchesi, as they are commonly called) refused to obey this order, and when a military force was sent it failed to overcome their resistance; and by an agreement made at Knezlac in December 1869, Rodics, who had taken command, granted the insurgents all they asked and a complete amnesty.
After the conquest of Bosnia another attempt was made to enforce military service; once more a rebellion broke out, and spread to the contiguous districts of Herzegovina. This time, however, the government, whose position in the Balkans had been much strengthened by the occupation of the new provinces, did not fear to act with decision. A considerable force was sent under General Baron Stephan von Jovanovich (1828-1885); they were supported from sea by the navy, and eventually the rebellion was crushed. An amnesty was proclaimed, but the greater number of the insurgents sought refuge in Montenegro rather than submit to military service.
The Italians of Trieste and Istria were the only people of the empire who really desired separation from Austria; annexation to Italy was the aim of the Italianissimi, as they were called. The feeling was less strong in Tirol, where, except in the city of Trent, they seem chiefly to have wished for separate local institutions, so that they should no longer be governed from Innsbruck. The Italian-speaking population on the coast of Dalmatia only asked that the government should uphold them against the pressure of the Slav races in the interior, and for this reason were ready to support the German constitutionalists.
The party of centralization was then the Liberal German German Constitutional party. party, supported by a few Italians and the Ruthenes, and as years went by it was to become the National German party. They hoped by a common parliament to create the feeling of a common Austrian nationality, by German schools to spread the use of the German language. Every grant of self-government to the territories must diminish the influence of the Germans, and bring about a restriction in the use of the German language; moreover, in countries such as Bohemia, full self-government would almost certainly mean that the Germans would become the subject race. This was a result which they could not accept. It was intolerable to them that just at the time when the national power of the non-Austrian Germans was so greatly increased, and the Germans were becoming the first race in Europe, they themselves should resign the position as rulers which they had won during the last three hundred years. They maintained, moreover, that the ascendancy of the Germans was the only means of preserving the unity of the monarchy; German was the only language in which the different races could communicate with one another; it must be the language of the army, the civil service and the parliament.