Austria-Hungary Was the Last Good Time for Croatia

Communists and other Leftists like to attack Austria-Hungary, and this is true in Croatia as well. Here, the myth of the Austria-Hungary as a “prison of the nations” still survives.

But the Imperial Crown was always friendly or at worst neutral to smaller nations. Germanization and Magyarization, which happened during that time, were a work of the indigenous traitors first and foremost and not an actual Habsburg policy.

Comparing Habsburg government to modern-day Croatian government is extremely embarrassing for the latter. This is made clear even just by comparing Imperial response to Trilj earthquake (6,6 deg Richter) on 2nd July 1898. and Croatian response to both 2020. Petrinja (6,2 Richter) and 2021. Zagreb (5,5 Richter) earthquakes. Adolf Faidiga, the president of the commission, presented his report on 14th November 1901., and it was printed and archived in 1903.

Franz Joseph’s government acted quickly. Faidiga was sent to the field almost immediately, with the task of estimating the damages done, ensure care for the wounded, and distribute the government-issued assistance to threatened areas. He formed two commissions, first consisting of Nicolaus Guippanović and Achilles Savo, while the second consisted of dr. Paul Freiherr and Carl Cicin. These four men, in twenty days, visited 21 affected affected settlement, house-to-house, and estimated the value of all the damages done. In Vojnić – the most affected settlement – some 38% of houses were lost, in Gardun and Košute 36%, in Čaporice 28%, in Turjaci 17%… The earthquake had damaged 9 852 buildings in 38 settlements, and estimated damage was 485 666 new guldens of austrian value. Of those, 111 737 were to agricultural farms, 150 to communal infrastructure, 312 329 to private houses, 49 550 to churches, and 11 900 to schools. The state immediately authorized the assistance of 200 402 new guldens, of which 190 826 were actually distributed.

The report also states that six persons had died (3 women and 3 children), and 63 were injured (14 men, 39 women, 10 children), while special chapter concerns the water supply. Many springs and wells had dried out, while giant sinkholes opened.

One of persistent myths about Yugoslavia is that it was the time when business was blooming, and new companies and industry were being opened. According to that myth, Yugoslavia industrialized Croatia and all major business subjects were founded between 1940s and 1960s, during industrialization. But that is far from the truth. In reality, majority of the companies – especially ones operating still today – were founded during the time of Austrio-Hungarian rule, and late 19th century industrialization. Dnevno.hr brings a list of these companies:

Belišće, Belišće (1884.); Koestlin, Bjelovar (1905.); Čakovečki mlinovi, Čakovec (1893.); Čateks, Čakovec (1874.); Međimurska trikotaža, Čakovec (1923.); MTČ, Čakovec (1923.); Vajda, Čakovec (1911.); Belje, Darda (1911.); Dalit, Daruvar (1905.); Daruvarska pivovara, Daruvar (1893.); Pamučna industrija, Duga Resa (1884.); Dalmacija, Dugi Rat (1908.); Đakovština, Đakovo (1921.); DIK, Đurđenovac (1895.); Karlovačka pivovara, Karlovac (1854.); KIO, Karlovac (1903.); Lola Ribar (osnovana pod imenom Tulić Mlin), Karlovac (1932.); Cemex, Kaštela (1904.); TOP, Kerestinec (1922.); Podravka, Koprivnica (1934.); Brodogradilište Kraljevica (1729.); Mlinar, Križevci (1903.); Cetina, Omiš (1930.); Drava tvornica žigica, Osijek (1856.); Kandit, Osijek (1920.); Karolina, Osijek (1909.); Osječka pivovara, Osijek (1856.); Saponia, Osijek (1894.); Tvornica šećera, Osijek (1905.); Gavrilović, Petrinja (1690.); IGM Ciglana, Petrinja (1920.); Sardina, Postire (1907.); Zvečevo, Požega (1921.); Brionka, Pula (1942.); Brodogradilište Uljanik, Pula (1856.); Istra cement, Pula (1925.); Brodogradilište 3. Maj (osnovano pod imenom Kvarnersko brodogradilište), Rijeka (1892.); Torpedo, Rijeka (1853.); Tvornica papira, Rijeka (1821.); Viktor Lenac, Rijeka (1896.); Mirna, Rovinj (1877.); Tvornica duhana Rovinj, Rovinj (1872.); Div tvornica vijaka, Samobor (1884.); Segestica, Sisak (1918.); Željezara Sisak, Sisak (1938.); Ciglana IGM, Sladojevci (1900.); Đuro Đaković (osnovana pod imenom Prva jugoslavenska tvornica vagona, stojeva i mostova), Slavonski Brod (1921.); Brodosplit, Split (1931.); TAL, Šibenik (1937.); TEF, Šibenik (1897.); Brodotrogir, Trogir (1922.); Metalska industrija, Varaždin (1939.); Mundus, Varaždin (1892.); Varteks, Varaždin (1918.); Jadranka, Vela Luka (1892.); Zdenka, Veliki Zdenci (1897.); Dilj, Vinkovci (1922.); OPECO, Virovitica (1896.); TVIN, Virovitica (1913.); Pik, Vrbovec (1938.); Borovo, Vukovar (1931.); Maraska, Zadar (1768.); Badel, Zagreb (1862.); Cedevita, Zagreb (1929.); Chromos, Zagreb (1920.); Croatia osiguranje, Zagreb (1884.); DTR, Zagreb (1914.); Dukat, Zagreb (1912.); Elka, Zagreb (1927.); Franck, Zagreb (1892.); Gradske pekare Klara, Zagreb (1909.); Gredelj, Zagreb (1894.); INA, Zagreb (1882.) *- zapravo nastala 1964. iz Kombinata za naftu i plin, a koji je nastao držanom krađom i spajanjem triju rafinerija: riječke (osnovana 1882.), sisačke (1927.) i zagrebačke (1927.); Jadran, Zagreb (1930.); Jamnica, Zagreb (1828.); Katran, Zagreb (1890.); Končar, Zagreb (1921.); Kraš (osnovan pod nazivom Union), Zagreb (1911.); Lipa Mill, Zagreb (1907.); Medika, Zagreb (1922.); Pastor, Zagreb (1930.); Pliva, Zagreb (1921.); Prvomajska, Zagreb (1936.); TEŽ, Zagreb (1929.); TOZ-Penkala, Zagreb (1937.); Tvornica duhana, Zagreb (1817.); Zagrebačka banka, Zagreb (1914.); Zagrebačka pivovara, Zagreb (1892.); Zvijezda ulje, Zagreb (1916.); Karbon, Zaprešić (1932.)

As it can be seen, all of the companies were created during either Austria-Hungary or Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In total, there are 90 companies listed, of which 57 were created during Austria-Hungary (59 in reality as three were later merged) and 32 during the Kingdom fo Yugoslavia. The only exception is Brionka from Pula, which was created in 1942. during NDH. This means that there were 1,8 companies per year created during Austria-Hungary (1882. – 1914), 1,5 during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and 0 during SFR Yugoslavia. But the companies created during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia were created largely thanks to the industrialization and economic development which started during the time of Austria-Hungary and continued thereafter until being forcibly ended by the Communist rule. During both Kingdom and Socialist Yugoslavias, Slovenia and Croatia were by far the most economically developed areas – and this was no accident. Despite that, not a single company or an economic factor was created during the time of Socialist Yugoslavia.

The only thing Communists made were roads and forcible relocation of people from rural into urban areas. But roads are worthless if there is no economy, and forcible relocation (or relocation at all) is never good. These however are facts which Communists have always refused to accept, and still do.

Austria-Hungary had a good army, developed infrastructure (at least in western areas) and competent administration and bureocracy. These elements are something which none of her successor states (or their successors) have managed to achieve. In fact, differences between Austo-Hungarian and Balkan areas of Yugoslavia are obvious even today, and were far more obvious before Slovenia and Croatia were turned into sources of tax revenue by the government in Belgrade between 1918. and 1945.

With entrance to Yugoslavia, Croatia lost its national political rights, which had survived from 1102. Pacta Conventa, through 1526. and onwards until the end of the Austria-Hungary. Instead of the federal kingdom Croatian politicians wanted, they received a unitary, absolutist monarchy, far more centralized and authoritharian than the Habsburg monarchy that had disappeared. One positive thing can be said about the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, however: it was far better state than the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that succeeded it.

The Communist ideology introduced political tyranny, killed any semblance of enterpreneural spirit, saddled the state with extraneous administration and political appointees whose only purpose was to sit around uselessly and receive wages. The only way for a person to achieve anything was to lick it up to selected Communist Party officials. And this is a state of things which is extant even today, 31 year after Croatia had officially left the Socialist Yugoslavia.

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