Republic of Heinzenland

The Republic of Heinzenland (German: Republik Heinzenland; German pronunciation: [ʁepuˈbliːk 'haɪntsn̩lant]) was a short-lived and unrecognized nation in the region now known as the Austrian federal state of Burgenland, aimed at protecting the German-speaking population in Western Hungary. The state was a direct result of the disputes in Central Europe following the First World War on the future of Burgenland under either Austrian or Hungarian control. Its main leader was Social Democratic politician Hans Suchard. Due to its short life, it is known as the "Two-day Republic". The Republic was one of many unrecognized successor states in the region, including Lajtabánság and the Republic of Prekmurje.

Republic of Heinzenland
Republik Heinzenland
Republik Hoanznlaund (local dialect)
Hiénc Köztársaság
Burgenland in Austria.svg
StatusUnrecognized state
Historical eraWorld War I
• Established
December 5 1918
• Disestablished
December 7 1918
Preceded by
Succeeded by
First Austrian Republic
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–46)


The name "Heinzenland" is derived from the German name for Western Hungary, Heanzenland, Hianzenland, or Hoanzenland[1] (Heinzenland in Standard German).[2] The name "Heanzen" or any variation of it in local dialects referred to German settlers in Western Hungary (west of Sopron), who immigrated from Bavaria and other parts of Germany to Hungary while keeping their own dialects (hence the variation between the names).[3]

There are different theories as to why the Heinzen was used. It may have been used to mock this group of German-speakers for their deviation from the Bavarian hiaz (now), instead using hianz. It might also have been derived from the common name Heinz, or from the followers of Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, Henry I Kőszegi, or Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, under whose reigns the settlers came.[4]


The formation of the First Hungarian Republic and the Republic of German-Austria during the fall of Austria-Hungary had the governments of the two nations in a precarious situation. They suffered from an economic and social crisis that included heavy problems with food and coal supplies. Both Austrians and Hungarians found themselves in new countries that sprung out of the demise of Austria-Hungary - importantly, the Germans of Western Hungary. In November 1918, the Hungarian National Council set up branches in the region, but they quickly realized the problem that Burgenland was to become. The Austrian government, or Staatsrat, officially claimed the territories of Moson, Sopron, Vas, and Bratislava on November 12. In accordance with the Austrian idea that any German-speaking population could and should voluntarily form a union (in the form of Austria), the Austrian government formed the Westungarische Kanzlei, or West Hungary Council to accelerate the disintegration of Hungarian power in the region, push popular opinion towards a union with Austria, and prepare for an annexation of the territory.[5]: 17–20  Staatsrat member Raimund Neunteufel and the Verein zur Erhaltung des Deutschtums in Ungarn also played a role in the push for the annexation of the region by Austria.[6]: 183 

Soon after, Austrians working for the Austrian government began to distribute propaganda in the region. The first to protest against Hungarian rule were the locals of Mattersburg, who were against the teaching of Hungarian in schools. On November 17, locals from Bad Sauerbrunn and Pöttsching declared their desire for annexation by Austria. Weapons shipments started in December - On December 5, a truck carrying 300 rifles from Wiener Neustadt bound towards Burgenland was intercepted by the Hungarian police at Neufeld an der Leitha. Another shipment on the same day, also of 300 guns, successfully reached its destination of Mattersburg. Rifles were distributed among the locals, who prepared to take the town and its environs.[5]: 20–1 

The Two-Day RepublicEdit

On December 5, 1918[7] (some sources claim the Republic was actually proclaimed on December 6),[8][5]: 21  two weeks after the Staatsrat demanded the self-determination of German-speaking settlements in Western Hungary, Social Democratic politician Hans Suchard, with the help of workers and local Social Democrats in Mattersburg, proclaimed the Republic of Heinzenland. This was done, apparently, without sufficient knowledge of power relations in the region. The Republic was formed with the intention of preparing the annexation of the region by Austria.[9]

However, one day later, an armored train and a machine gun squad sent by the Hungarian military, helped by vigilantes from Sopron, put an end to the Republic, quickly occupying its territory without bloodshed. When interrogated, the rebels claimed they had been connected to the Austrian government. However, the Austrian government denied any association with the Republic - they sought to avoid any conflict with Hungary.[5]: 21 


  1. ^ Wolfram Dornik, „Das war wie im Wilden Westen“. Folgen von Grenzverschiebungen als Folge des Ersten Weltkrieges.... In: Siegfried Mattl u. a. (Hrsg.): Krieg, Erinnerung, Geschichtswissenschaft, Veröffentlichungen des Clusters Geschichtswissenschaft der Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft Bd. 1, S. 73–87, Böhlau, Wien 2009, S. 74, ISBN 978-3-205-78193-6
  2. ^ Das Heinzenland. In: Oststeirerblatt. Wochenschrift zur Wahrung der wirtschaftlichen Interessen der Oststeiermark und Deutsch-Westungarns I, Nr. 8 (2. November 1919), S. 1 nach Wolfram Dornik, „Das war wie im Wilden Westen“, S. 74
  3. ^ "Das Heanzenland. 3sat, Reihe Stadtland". Retrieved 11 November 2019.Hans Ferdinand Helmolt: Weltgeschichte. Band Südosteuropa und Osteuropa. (= Band 5 Weltgeschichte), Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1905, S. 390
  4. ^ Heanzen in Austria-Forum (in German)  (at AEIOU); Hugo Kastner: Von Aachen bis Zypern. Geografische Namen und ihre Herkunft. Anekdoten, Fakten und Vergleiche. Mehr als 3500 Namen aus aller Welt. Humboldt, Baden-Baden 2007, ISBN 978-3-89994-124-1, S. 68.
  5. ^ a b c d Székely, T. (2021). The Agony of Historic Western Hungary and the Birth of Burgenland (1914-1921). Studies on National Movements (SNM), 6, 38. Retrieved from
  6. ^ Ferenc, Szávai. "A Hiénc Köztársaság (1918. December 6–7.)." Ünnepi tanulmányok Oroszi Sándor 70. születésnapja tiszteletére.
  7. ^ Hans Suchard (21 November 1929). "Eine Republik, die 12 Stunden alt wurde".
  8. ^ Österreich in Geschichte und Literatur mit Geographie. Institut für Österreichkunde. 1982.
  9. ^ August Ernst: Geschichte des Burgenlandes, R. Oldenbourg Verlag Munich, 1991. ISBN 3702803114.

Further readingEdit

  • August Ernst: Geschichte des Burgenlandes, R. Oldenbourg Verlag München, 1991. ISBN 3702803114.
  • Gerald Schlag: Aus Trümmern geboren – Burgenland 1918–1921 (= Wissenschaftliche Arbeiten aus dem Burgenland. Band 106). Burgenländisches Landesmuseum, Eisenstadt 2001, ISBN 3-85405-144-1, Seite 136ff. (Online)