Heinrich Lammasch

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Heinrich Lammasch (May 21, 1853, Seitenstetten – January 6, 1920, Salzburg) was an Austrian jurist. He was a professor of criminal and international law, a member of the Hague Arbitration Tribunal, and served as the last Minister-President of Austria (or Cisleithania) for a few weeks in October and November 1918. He was the first and only non-noble to serve as Minister-President in the Austrian half of the Habsburg monarchy.

Biography[edit]

The son of a notary, he qualified for the teaching faculty at the University of Vienna in 1878. His pioneer pamphlet on the objective danger in the conception of attempted crime won for him in 1882 an extraordinary professorship, and in 1885 a full professorship at the University of Innsbruck. In 1889, he returned to Vienna and there became an advocate of the idea of a league of nations in the spirit of Christian philosophy. He became an international arbitrator, and arranged the Newfoundland dispute between Great Britain and the United States, and the Orinoco dispute between the latter and Venezuela. He was sent to represent Austria at St. Germain.

Not long after he was appointed Minister-President by Emperor Charles I in 1918, it became apparent that the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire had practically no ability to control events outside of Vienna. The minority state councils of the empire were acting more or less as provisional governments, and the government's authority was even being challenged by the German-Austrian state council, which represented the mostly German-speaking Alpine and Danubian provinces of the empire. Lammasch realised the situation was untenable, and advised Charles to give up his right to exercise sovereign authority. Accordingly, on 11 November, Charles issued a statement in which he acknowledged Austria's right to determine the form of the state and relinquished his right to take part in the country's politics. This statement effectively ended the Habsburgs' seven-century rule over Austria. Shortly afterward, Austria was proclaimed a republic.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Baron Max Hussarek von Heinlein
Minister-President of Austria
1918
Succeeded by
Karl Renner
as Chancellor of Austria