Michael Hainisch

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Michael Hainisch
Michael Hainisch.jpg
Michael Hainisch, July 1928, Vienna
2nd President of Austria
In office
9 December 1920 – 10 December 1928
ChancellorMichael Mayr
Johann Schober
Walter Breisky
Ignaz Seipel
Rudolf Ramek
Vice-ChancellorWalter Breisky
Felix Frank
Leopold Waber
Franz Dinghofer
Karl Hartleb
Preceded byKarl Seitz
as President of the Constituent National Assembly
Succeeded byWilhelm Miklas
Personal details
Born(1858-08-15)15 August 1858
Aue bei Schottwien, Lower Austria, Austrian Empire
Died26 February 1940(1940-02-26) (aged 81)
Vienna, Nazi Germany
Political partyindependent

Michael Arthur Josef Jakob Hainisch (German: [ˈhaɪnɪʃ] (About this soundlisten); 15 August 1858 – 26 February 1940) was an Austrian politician who served as the second President of Austria from 1920 to 1929, after the fall of the monarchy at the end of World War I.


He started out as a lawyer and an official of the Treasury and of the Education Department, but then retired to his estates in Lower Austria and Styria, where he carried on model farming, became a leader of the Austrian branch of the Fabian movement, and one of the founders of the Central People's Library. In later years he moved away from radical socialism to become a conservative agrarian.[1]


Bronze medal of Michael Hainisch, President of Austria, 1920 (ND). Artist Grete Hartmann, née Chrobak, 1869–1946

Hainisch held aloof from political parties. He was chosen president because of his personal authority, although he was not a member of the parliament. He was an independent candidate. He was elected and assumed office in 1920, and stayed for two periods until 1928. He was married to Emilia Figdor, the descendant of a prominent Viennese assimilated Jewish family. Emilia's father, Gustav, was a town councillor of the city of Vienna.

As a president, he worked hard to improve the dire situation Austria found itself after the war. He did a lot to develop the agricultural sector, encouraged the electrification of the railway, tried to develop more tourism especially in the Alps. Trade with neighbouring countries such as Germany was encouraged. He also became a protector of local traditions and culture and initiated the creation of the law of protected monuments.

He became also an honorary member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften (Academy of Sciences).

In 1928, main parties proposed to amend the constitution in order to reelect Hainisch for a third term. Federal Chancellor Ignaz Seipel proposed a one-year term for Hainisch, but Hainisch declined a third term.[2] He subsequently served as Commerce Minister from 1929 to 1930.

Controversially, he supported Pan-German ideas and later supported the Anschluss of Austria to Nazi-Germany in 1938, as did many of his compatriots. He died in February 1940, just nearly two years after the Anschluss and a few months after World War II started.


He was a fertile author of works on sociology and politics:

  • Zukunft der Oesterreicher ("The future of the Austrians," 1892)
  • Zur Wahlreform ("Towards electoral reform," 1895)
  • Kampf ums Dasein und Sozialpolitik ("The fight for existence and social politics," 1899)
  • Heimarbeit (1906)
  • Fleischnot und Alpine Landwirtschaft



  1. ^ Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Hainisch, Michael". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York.
  2. ^ "Austria: Three-Room President". Time. December 17, 1928.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Karl Seitz
State President of Austria
Succeeded by
Wilhelm Miklas