Imperial Diet (Austria)

The Austrian Reichstag ("National Diet" or "Imperial Diet" in the German language) was the first elected parliament in the Austrian Empire. It lasted for only a short time between 1848 and 1849, but had an important effect on Austrian history.

Formed after the March Revolution of 1848, the Diet consisted of 383 deputies from the German-speaking and Slavic crown lands of the Habsburg Austria, that is, without a representative of the Kingdom of Hungary. It met for the first time on 22 July 1848 and was opened by Archduke Johann. On 22 October 1848, in the wake of the Vienna Uprising, it relocated to Kremsier and was finally dissolved on 7 March 1849. Its most important work was the abolition of the feudal system.

The concept of a Reichstag as representative body of the Austrian people turned up again in the October Diploma of 1860, but this would have required ratification by the various state legislatures of the Austrian Empire, which was not forthcoming.

After the adoption of the February Patent in 1861, another attempt was made to elect a general representative body for the people, mainly from Prime Minister Anton von Schmerling. This, too, failed due to opposition from the Hungarian and Italian, and subsequently, Czech lands of the empire. A rump parliament did serve in a temporary wooden building in the Schmerling Theater in Vienna. This Parliament was named the Reichsrat ("Imperial Council" in German), because Emperor Francis Joseph I wanted it to serve in only a consultative role. Finally a formalized Reichsrat was created in 1867 and associated with the new constitution of Austria-Hungary on an institutional basis.

See alsoEdit


  • G. Kolmer: Parliament and the Constitution in Austria, Volume 1, 1920.
  • W. Braun Eder: Austrian Constitutional History, 11th Edition, 2009.
  • Andreas Gottsmann: The Diet of Kromeriz and the Government Schwarzenberg. The constitutional debate of 1848 between the poles of the national question and response. (Wien: Verl. 1995)