Johann Schober

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Johann Schober
3rd Chancellor of Austria
In office
21 June 1921 – 26 January 1922
President Michael Hainisch
Deputy Walter Breisky
Preceded by Michael Mayr
Succeeded by Walter Breisky (acting)
In office
27 January 1922 – 31 May 1922
President Michael Hainisch
Deputy Walter Breisky
Preceded by Walter Breisky (acting)
Succeeded by Ignaz Seipel
In office
26 September 1929 – 30 September 1930
President Wilhelm Miklas
Deputy Carl Vaugoin
Preceded by Ernst Streeruwitz
Succeeded by Carl Vaugoin
Personal details
Born (1874-11-14)14 November 1874
Perg, Austria-Hungary
Died 19 August 1932(1932-08-19) (aged 57)
Baden bei Wien, Austria
Political party Non-partisan
Alma mater University of Vienna
Profession Public official

Johann Schober (14 November 1874 – 19 August 1932) was an Austrian police official and politician who served as the 3rd Chancellor of Austria as well as Foreign Minister from 1921 to 1922 and again from 1929 to 1930 (his initial term being interrupted for two days in office by his deputy Walter Breisky).


Schober was born in the Upper Austrian town of Perg, the 10th child of an usher at the local district administration. From 1894 he studied law at the University of Vienna, and entered service with the Austrian police in 1898. As Assistant Commissioner in Vienna, he largely contributed to the clarification of espionage affaire around Alfred Redl, head of the Evidenzbureau intelligence agency, in May 1913.

In the late days of World War I, Schober was appointed Vienna Chief of Police by Emperor Charles I of Austria on the suggestion of the Cisleithanian minister-president Ernst Seidler von Feuchtenegg, and became Austrian Police President in 1918, immediately prior to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Schober maintained loyalty to the German Austrian government of Chancellor Karl Renner after the breakup of the Habsburg empire, but also ensured safe passage for the royal family out of the country, winning praise for his moderation and his role in a smooth transfer of power into the bargain.[1]


Chancellor Schober with Dutch Foreign Minister van Karnebeek, Geneva, 1922

When Chancellor Michael Mayr resigned due to an intended referendum in Styria on the affiliation with Germany, the non-partisan Schober, largely considered a safe pair of hands by the Allies, was chosen by the Austrian National Council parliament to head a coalition government on 21 June 1921, with the support of the right-wing Christian Social Party (CS) and the Greater German People's Party.[1] His cabinet mainly consisted of government officials, while Schober himself combined his head of government role with that of Foreign Minister of Austria.

In October 1921, Schober after local unrest in Sopron (Ödenburg) by the Venice Protocol[2] agreed to decide the city's status by a local plebiscite, with a controversial outcome of 65% voting for Hungary. In December 1921, he concluded a declaration of neutrality with the Czechoslovak Republic at Lány, with the consent of both the Austrian president Michael Hainisch and the Czechoslovak head of state Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. However, this treaty sparked a cabinet crisis and ultimatively brought about the downfall of Schober's government, as his Pan-Germans coalition partners saw agreements with Czechoslovakia as a betrayal of the right of the Sudeten Germans to self-determination and a bar to a future union with Germany.[1]

The Schober cabinet had to resign on 26 January 1922, while Vice-Chancellor Walter Breisky assumed responsibility of government affairs. The very next day, however, the 2nd Schober cabinet succeeded with support of the Christian Social Party, officiating until 31 May 1922, when CS chairman Ignaz Seipel formed another right-wing coalition government with the German nationalists.

Interpol and July Revolt[edit]

Back in the police service, Schober returned to his role as President of police in Vienna. He gained international recognition for his work, becoming known as the "Father of Interpol" in 1923, when he convened the International Criminal Police Congress in his home city, attracting representatives from nineteen different countries to the event. At the meeting it was agreed to establish the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) and draw up a ten article constitution for the body. Austria had offered to both host and finance the event and so Vienna was chosen as the congress site, whilst Austria's police enjoyed a strong reputation for their work on keeping records on international criminals at that time. Schober was chosen as the President of the Executive Committee whilst his countryman Oskar Dressler, a noted lawyer and at the time the Austrian Federal Police chief, became Secretary. [3]

Nevertheless, Schober's reputation for moderation was hit hard in July 1927 when his orders resulted in the deaths of almost 100 labour protestors in Vienna.[1] The noted satirist, Karl Kraus, was so incensed by the police actions that he started a poster campaign calling for Schober's resignation.[4]

2nd term[edit]

Chancellor Schober in The Hague, January 1930

On 26 September 1929, Schober returned as Chancellor and Foreign Minister. During his term the Federal Constitution underwent a revision significantly broadening the prerogatives of the President. In January 1930, he achieved the end of World War I reparations to ease the impact of the Great Depression. He also signed agreements with both the German Weimar Republic and the fascist Kingdom of Italy. Nonetheless, he failed to convert the paramilitary Heimwehr forces under Waldemar Pabst into a force for pro-government moderation,[5] and in June 1930 ordered Pabst's deportation to Germany. Schober's 2nd term in office ended, after his CS deputy Carl Vaugoin resigned on 25 September 1930.

In the Austrian legislative election held on 9 November 1930, Schober led an electoral alliance of the Greater German People's Party and the agrarian Landbund. From 4 December he served Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister in the cabinets of Otto Ender and Karl Buresch. In March 1931 he agreed a customs union project with German Foreign Minister julius Curtius, although after indiscreet information to the press, protests from France, Italy and Czechoslovakia saw the plan vetoed.[1] Schober left Buresch's government on 29 January 1932. When in May President Wilhelm Miklas entrusted Engelbert Dollfuss the formation of a government, Schober refused to join a coalition.

On 19 August 1932, a few days upon the death of his rival Ignaz Seipel, Schober suddenly died aged 57. He was buried in his hometown Perg.


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile on Rulers
  2. ^ Beigbeder, Yves (1994), International Monitoring of Plebiscites, Referenda and National Elections, Springer Publishing, p. 81 
  3. ^ Brief History of Interpol
  4. ^ Edward Timms, Karl Kraus, Apocalyptic Satirist: The Postwar Crisis and the Rise of the Swastika, 2005
  5. ^ Lauridsen, Nazism and the Radical Right in Austria, p. 196

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Mayr
Chancellor of Austria
Foreign Minister of Austria

Succeeded by
Walter Breisky (acting)
Preceded by
Walter Breisky (acting)
Chancellor of Austria
Succeeded by
Ignaz Seipel
Preceded by
Ernst Streeruwitz
Chancellor of Austria
Foreign Minister of Austria

Succeeded by
Carl Vaugoin
Preceded by
President of Interpol
Succeeded by
Franz Brandl