Sid Guttridge wrote: ↑
29 Dec 2018 09:49
Yes, much of Europe was out of its time in terms of its state model. However, Austria-Hungary was exceptional in that in it alone were the dominant nationalities,(1) dual and (2) a minority of the total population even when combined. The Russians were at least the single majority population of their empire. The Germans, French, etc., were clear and overwhelmingly dominant national majorities on their own territory. I am not sure of Turkey's situation, but I inmagine it was closer to A-H.
The first language of most people in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was not German or Hungarian. They together formed only about 42% of the population in the census of 1910 - and this was after decades of Germanization and Magyarization that had seen minority languages under attack by the state.
Certainly administration in many languages would have been more complex than administration in one. However, Austria-Hungary had settled on TWO, so it had already undermined this objection itself! Even then, why would this justify preventing minorities getting higher education in their own languages?
I think my last two paragraphs are self explanatory, but I will clarify. The first contrasts the comparitive robustness of post-WWI Germany, which was already largely a modern national state, with the complete disintegration of comparitively archaic Austria-Hungary, which was not. The second points out that in continental Europe the move currently seems to be back towards a multi-national state, the "European Union", but this still discourages self determation of minorities, much like Austria-Hungary.
A-H Empire was born under very different circumstances than the modern national states of Western Europe. It was a largely feudal structure, and its territories were a patchwork of conquests and heirlooms, so the whole structure was very much Middle Age type. Such an empire could only be maintained with calm national energies, which were not the case in 1918-1920. Please note that the A-H Empire was nearly torn apart by the Hungarian revolution and freedom fight of 1848-1849, and the Hungarian part of the Empire could only be conquered with Russian help (actually, more Russian soldiers were deployed in Hungary than in the Napoleonic Wars). Austria was also interested in a policy of the so-called Großdeutche Lösung, Greater Germany Solution, which would include the German parts into the establishing German Empire. The Prussians - and Bismarck in particular - fought against it, so they defeated the Austrian Monarchy at Königgrätz in 1866. The Austrian government and the royal court understood that they cannot govern their kingdom alone, they needed allies. Hungarians were the most numerous and the most militarily capable minority of their empire, so they made peace with them. It was a strange situation: the rebellious Hungarians and the exiled Austro-Germans embraced each other in a deadly hug, all beneath the holy emperor. It was a truce of the mind, and not of the heart, therefore the Hungarians call Ferenc Deák the Wise of the Homeland.
Hungarians were mainly responsible for the cultural-ethnic oppression. Well the Hungarians made a peace with the Croats, giving them a certain degree of self-control in 1868, but that's it. The roots of this goes back to the fact that most minorities fought against the Hungarian independence in 1848-1849, especially the Romanians and Serbs. Interestingly, the Slovaks by and large supported the Hungarians, but they received more or less the same treatment. A grave mistake and a disgusting sin in every sense. But, you should also note that the ethnic composition of the Hungarian part of the A-H Empire was a bit different as you handle it. Everybody talks about nationalities now, and you do not take into account the royal, feudal perspective, which was dominant in the A-H Empire.
The Germans and Jews were also loyal subjects of the crown. Ruthenians... well, maybe.
Talking about this, the whole Hungarian part of the Empire was 54%+10,4% = 64,4% loyal subjects. In Transsylvania, Transcarpathia and Upper Hungary the ethnic composition was like 55%-45% favoring the disloyal subjects, and 50-50% in Vojvodina.
The problem was more expressed in the Austrian part of the empire, where no Hungarians lived, and therefore the loyal subjects of the crowns formed a minority. Franz Ferdinand wanted to solidify the crown's positions by approaching minorities which lived entirely INSIDE the realm already. Polaks, Romanians, Serbs and Italians were out of the question, as they had "mother" countries along the border of the empire. Czechs and Slovenes were approached delicately, and forming a trialism could have favored the crown. The Hungarians protested against this, fearing that they might lose their exceptional position, which they fought hard for at 1848-1849, and later in 1867. The Hungarians also alienated the Croats - now (1910) with the annexation of Bosnia entirely inside the Empire - from the crown.
At the beginning of the century the whole Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 should have been revised. It was crumbling already, forming governments in Hungary became more and more difficult. At least the Czechs, Slovaks and Croats should have been drawn into the power, in order to make it functional. The Hungarians screwd this badly.