Was Austria-Hungary doomed to fail?

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Gwynn Compton
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Was Austria-Hungary doomed to fail?

Post by Gwynn Compton » 13 Sep 2002 02:41

Your opinion? Was Austria-Hungary so beset by internal problems that it's fate was already decided as soon as war broke out in 1914?

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GLADIVM
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Post by GLADIVM » 13 Sep 2002 06:04

Austria-Hungary was a multi nationalities empire in an era of national awekinings and could have not kept Croatians/Czechs/Slovaks/Rutenians/Polish/Italians/Slavs, etc , etc togheter for much longer also the problems were compounded by the short look of Hungarian policy which only tried to enhance Hungarian goals in detriment of the Empire .
Also it seems thet in the royal family there was not a figure of such standing and strength which could have rejuvinated the state and overcome the internal differences breathing new life in the by now decrepit empire .

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 13 Sep 2002 11:59

Nationalism was a powerful force in Europe before WWI. It was used to justify maintaining huge standing armies, and in every other European nation encouraged the citizen's pride in and loyalty to the state.

But in Austria-Hungary it had the opposite effect - as Gladivm explained, nationalism was tearing that empire apart because its numerous and diverse national and racial groups did not identify with each other.

It was nothing short of amazing that the Austrian leadership managed to hold the empire and the army together for so long, right up until 1918, in the face of so many military disasters. No-one would have been surprised had Austria-Hungary fallen apart in 1916.

The only way Austria-Hungary could have survived was if both France and Britain had stayed neutral, and the Central Powers had crushed Serbia and Russia within two years. And even that would only delay the inevitable fragmentation of the empire by 20 years or so.

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Post by Gwynn Compton » 14 Sep 2002 11:23

If Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated in 1914, is it possible he could have at least saved some of the Empire? I remember being taught back in high school that he did believe in granting greater autonomy to the Empire's minorities, but this of course could have had an even greater negative effect on the Empire.

How popular was the Archduke in relation to the Emperor?

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Zachary
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Post by Zachary » 15 Sep 2002 23:42

That's a good question. I think that it was with its many nationalities. Maybe if they brought them all with a few common thigns to fight for- glory for Austria or something like that.
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johnny_bi
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Post by johnny_bi » 17 Sep 2002 13:02

GLADIVM ... don't forget about romanians ... they were few millions :D . Yes, nationalism was powerful at that time ... and I think that the WWI just finished the job ... There were no way to hold together so many nationalities ... Later Yugoslavia tried but failed ... as Austro-hungarian empire failed ...
Their thirsty desire for selfdetermination was too big ... and the empire fell apart .
But I think that the empire's greatest mistake was declaring war on Serbia. The huge casualities (5,377,283 of which 922,000 dead soldiers 8O )increased populations' resentiments over the empire ... the nationalities saw no use to fight in Galicia , Balkans or Italy for the " glory of the empire "... the peasant - soldiers of Austria-Hungary never found a war glorious ...

For Zachary : I could only talk about romanians ... A lot of romanians were mobilized as soldiers in austro-hungarian army ... It was pretty hard to fight for an empire which fought against romanians ( Romania declared war on Austro-Hungary in summer 1916) :wink:

I think it would be a good think if someone could split the casualties of Austro-Hungary using the nationality of the casualities as criteria ... :idea:

BI

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GLADIVM
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Post by GLADIVM » 18 Sep 2002 06:14

I do belive that even if Austria-Hungary would have won the war agianst Sebia (which without germa help is highly doubtful) and avoided the general conflict of WWI the empire would have not survived .
The nationalies issue , there were so many of them and many thirsting for indipendence that could have not been restrained for long , would not go away and in the end would tear apart the empire .
beside there was Hungary , the empire in fact was a dual monarchy with the Kaiser king of Austria and as a separate entity King of Hungary , there were in fact two governments , one in Vienna and one in Budapest and Hungary was mostly promoting a policy of Hungaruian enlargment without much consideration to the empire welfare , the hungarian rule in not hungarian areas like Croatia was quite stiff and it seems in general harsher than the austrian one . Also hunarian goals differed quite wifely from the empire and instead of pacifying the different nationalities hungary was actively puruing an hungarian dominance .
so the Dual monarchy/empire was doomed and in fact is already an astonishing fact that it lasted so long considering all the different streams running under the state .
No man would have been able to keep it togheter not matter how well meaning he was , and I do not think Franz Ferdinand could have been able to avoid the fall of the empire

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 18 Sep 2002 12:00

I think that Austria-Hungary would have beaten Serbia reasonably quickly if Britian, France and Italy had stayed neutral - remember the fifth Austrian army that was going to support the two in Serbia, but had to go to help the other two on the Russian Front instead?

That fifth army would have gone to Serbia, because 80% of the German army would have been in East Prussia to attack the Russians instead of only 20%. The Russians would have had to transfer troops north and would not have been able to attack Austria-Hungary in 1914.

With 50% more troops available, the Austrians would have overwhelmed the Serbians before the end of 1914.

But the rest of your points are absolutely right - even the glory of a victorious war would only have held the diverse peoples of the empire together for a limited time - 20 years at the very most, probably a lot less without a strong Emperor at the helm.

There would have been another Balkan War when the break-up did occur, with the Czechs and Serbs fighting for independence while Austria, Hungary, Rumania and Italy squabbled over their respective borders. It would have been a bloody nightmare.

Something similar might have happened in the Middle East had the Ottoman Empire survived into the early 1930's.




GLADIVM wrote:I do belive that even if Austria-Hungary would have won the war agianst Sebia (which without germa help is highly doubtful) and avoided the general conflict of WWI the empire would have not survived .
The nationalies issue , there were so many of them and many thirsting for indipendence that could have not been restrained for long , would not go away and in the end would tear apart the empire .
beside there was Hungary , the empire in fact was a dual monarchy with the Kaiser king of Austria and as a separate entity King of Hungary , there were in fact two governments , one in Vienna and one in Budapest and Hungary was mostly promoting a policy of Hungaruian enlargment without much consideration to the empire welfare , the hungarian rule in not hungarian areas like Croatia was quite stiff and it seems in general harsher than the austrian one . Also hunarian goals differed quite wifely from the empire and instead of pacifying the different nationalities hungary was actively puruing an hungarian dominance .
so the Dual monarchy/empire was doomed and in fact is already an astonishing fact that it lasted so long considering all the different streams running under the state .
No man would have been able to keep it togheter not matter how well meaning he was , and I do not think Franz Ferdinand could have been able to avoid the fall of the empire

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Post by johnny_bi » 18 Sep 2002 12:14

As a continuation to what I've already said ... Many romanians from within austro-hungarian army deserted to enrol themselves within the romanian army ... even romanians from Transylvania fled to reach romanian to fight against the empire ... Some of them were caught and shot ... :(

BI

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johnny_bi
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Post by johnny_bi » 18 Sep 2002 12:17

As a continuation to what I've already said ... Many romanians from within austro-hungarian army deserted to enrol themselves within the romanian army ... even romanians from Transylvania fled to reach romanian to fight against the empire ... Some of them were caught and shot ... :(

BI

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Glenn2438
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Romanians

Post by Glenn2438 » 18 Sep 2002 16:30

And indeed many ethnic Romanians fought loyally and extremely bravely for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The 35th Infantry Division, predominantly Romanian particularly distinguished itself during the fighting on the Carso sector at the Isonzo.

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Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 19 Sep 2002 04:59

The Austro-Hungarian Army suffered problems with all of it's minority forces. Conversely, many minority soldiers fought valantly for Austria-Hungary.

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GLADIVM
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Post by GLADIVM » 19 Sep 2002 05:50

in a way Italy entry in the war compacted the Empire and was a godsend for Austria-Hungary , most of the Slavs soldiers had no love for Italians and were happy to have a chance to fight and due to natural obstacles the carsic front was very difficukt to break in and highlighted the defende.
So the Croats , Slovens and other Slavs groups fought loyally for the Empire while for example the Czech units on the italian front suffered of acute desertions , so much that Italy formed a brigade of Czech with italian uniforms and armament and often got valuable infos from deserters .

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Post by johnny_bi » 19 Sep 2002 06:32

For Glenn2438 :

Imagine those romanians fighting for romanian army during the german and austro-hungarian offensive in Moldavia ... in the summer of 1917 ... An other gran-grandfather of mine fought in Italy in Austro-hungarian army ... 8)

BI

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Post by SerbTiger » 19 Sep 2002 12:51

GLADVIM,

Interesting that you mention the desertion of the Czechs since many Czechs deserted from A-H forces on the Serbian Front. At the Battle of Cer which is the site of the battle in which the A-H forces were repulsed by Serbian forces the first time but not the last :lol: , thousands of Czechs deserted.

It seems they were the least loyal to the A-H empire or conversely the most loyal to freedom.

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