World War 1

In September 1914, the premises of the university and the hall of residence were converted to a hospital. The start of the teaching program had to be postponed to January 1915. These delays were accepted since there was the hope for a fast end to the war.

In 1916, the hospital situation in Vienna had improved to the extent that the hospital services could be shut down again and the premises were available once again for the teaching program.

In 1917, for the first time, a professional title for graduates of technical universities and therefore also the University of Natural Resources was determined. In the imperial decree of March 14, 1917, graduates were given the right to use the professional title “Ingenieur”.

One-thousand-seven-hundred-eighty-four students were registered after the end of the war in 1918. Thus, the previous record high from 1911/12 was exceled by more than the half.

The downfall of the Empire and Old Austria and the transition to a republic had little influence on the degree course schemes or the composition and direction of the professors.

The First Republic and the Corporative State

With the decree of April 7th, 1919, women were also admitted to regular technical degree programs. At the University of Natural Resources this was the case from the academic year 1919/20 onwards, although primarily only for the study program Agriculture.

The period after World War I brought serious changes in the frame conditions: Reduction of the state territory, decrease in students, triggered by the tense economic situation, and a degree of politicization at the university (both among the professors and the students) to an extent unknown until then.

The effects on the basic concept of the BOKU became highly visible.

The Rector turned to the Ministry of Education in 1924 in order to prompt a change of status. In a downsized Austria, the increasing importance of medium property size had to be accommodated to a larger extent. Also, there needed to be an allowance for the education of teaching staff for secondary agricultural schools. Furthermore, the Rector suggested an improved academic education. The political views of students and teaching staff were mainly consistent: German Nationalism and anti-Semitism dominated their thinking.

The 1920s brought a constant decrease in students. Rumors about an abolition of or fusion with the University of Veterinary Medicine came up in 1926/27 for the first time. The endowment of public funds decreased year by year. From the academic year 1932/33 onwards, the university had to be financed from tuition fees alone. The research work came to a halt.

In addition to that, there were National Socialist attacks with the result that the university lost its autonomy in April 1934. A federal commissioner who was superior to the Rector was appointed.

In August 1934, the political reliability of lecturers was checked by the Schuschnigg regime. A little less than a third of the professors, one fifth of the assistant professors, and one third of the honorary lecturers were dismissed due to their national or National Socialist dispositions.