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August1991

Why did the Austrian-Hungarian Empire cease to exist?

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Around 1900, from Lemberg to Hermannstadt to Pressburg to Vienna, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was an example of a modern, progressive, multicultural, multilingual, civilized, even federal State. Minorities were respected; intellectuals thrived.

And then, it ceased to exist. Why?

Edited by August1991

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It didn't survive because it was an empire. Some last longer than others but empires never do. The final straw was WWI, just like it was for the Ottoman and German Empires.

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War on three major fronts was the AH's undoing. Victories were unheard of. Just, what? TWELVE (count 'em) horrible stalemates on the Isonzo as well as many bloody defeats in the East (Galacia and such)....and then the Serbs...who just wouldn't go down. It took major German intervention in all areas to prevent disaster from occurring sooner!

Edited by DogOnPorch

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On 5/16/2017 at 1:58 PM, Wilber said:

It didn't survive because it was an empire. Some last longer than others but empires never do. The final straw was WWI, just like it was for the Ottoman and German Empires.

The name? Wilbur, do you mean that if it had chosen the name "Austrian Hungarian Republic" instead, it would still exist?

As to the "final straw", you beg the question of my OP. There's no doubt that WWI was the end of the Austrian Hungarian Empire.

Which raises the final point, I suppose: Germany and even Turkey are still with us. But the Austrian-Hungarian Empire is no more.

Sorry Wilbur, I still wonder why. 

Edited by August1991

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On 5/16/2017 at 8:03 PM, DogOnPorch said:

War on three major fronts was the AH's undoing. Victories were unheard of. Just, what? TWELVE (count 'em) horrible stalemates on the Isonzo as well as many bloody defeats in the East (Galacia and such)....and then the Serbs...who just wouldn't go down. It took major German intervention in all areas to prevent disaster from occurring sooner!

DoP, do you mean that War (superior physical violence) defeated the AH (to use your term)?

Edited by August1991

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1 hour ago, August1991 said:

DoP, do you mean that War (superior physical violence) defeated the AH (your terminology)?

 

I realized the question was for DoP but I meant that empires don't last because they are composed of many different cultures and races that weren't put together voluntarily. If the countries that made up the empire had wanted to stay part of the empire, there was nothing stopping them.

 

Quote

so perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another.

General Sir Charles Napier
 
Interesting guy. He had a lot of great quotes.
 
 
Edited by Wilber
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3 hours ago, Wilber said:

I realized the question was for DoP but I meant that empires don't last because they are composed of many different cultures and races that weren't put together voluntarily...

Wilber, was Canada "put together voluntarily"?

Are you an "American progressive" like Woodrow Wilson? And as to Napier, make no mistake that his words had the threat of physical force.

=====

These legitimate points aside, I still wonder: why did the society of Austria-Hungary, middle Europe, cease to exist?

Because anyone who knows anything about Europe,1890 Austria-Hungary was a civilized, multilingual, multicultural, respectful - even progressive place.

It worked. And then, it ceased.

 

Edited by August1991

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The AH empire was a mish mash of nationalities cultures and languages and it fell apart for the reasons stated by Napier. The same reason Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia fell apart. Also parts of the AH empire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wilber said:

The AH empire was a mish mash of nationalities cultures and languages and it fell apart for the reasons stated by Napier. The same reason Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia fell apart. Also parts of the AH empire.

IOW, according to you Wilber, modern Canada will fall apart since it is a "mish mash of  nationalities cultures and languages". Heck, America/the modern world is the same - so it too will fall apart?

Sorry, call me naive, but Napier aside, I genuinely wonder why the Austrian Hungary Empire ceased to exist for reasons other than the current 21 century zeitgeist.

 

Edited by August1991
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On 5/16/2017 at 1:30 AM, August1991 said:

Around 1900, from Lemberg to Hermannstadt to Pressburg to Vienna, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was an example of a modern, progressive, multicultural, multilingual, civilized, even federal State. Minorities were respected; intellectuals thrived.

And then, it ceased to exist. Why?

1. WW1.  Once they lost this, the Americans and Brits wanted to ensure they'd never have to fight such a formidable opponent again.

2. Austrians speak German, Hungarians speak a different language.  Austrians wanted to join Germany and Hitler in the aim of a greater German Republic.  Remember Hitler was actually Austrian not German.  In otherwords, not even Austrians wanted in, they wanted to be part of Germany.

3.  I don't know if you call murdering all non-whites like jews and gypsies a place where minorities was respected, but if you were white you were respected.

 

64951-004-808919A2.jpg

This is the former Austrian Empire today.  Part of it split off and became Yugoslavia which had its own huge civil war.  Additionally, Europe was swept by a wave of nationalism after WW2.  Crotia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, etc all wanted out of Yugoslavia.  Even if it survived the German ww2, it would never have survived the invasion by russia and subsequent factionalism that swept through the region.  Ultimately, the romanian areas would want to go back to romanian, the polish speaking areas to poland, the italians areas to italy and german areas to germany and so on.

 

" As one of his Fourteen Points, President Woodrow Wilson demanded that the nationalities of Austria-Hungary have the "freest opportunity to autonomous development". In response, Emperor Karl I agreed to reconvene the Imperial Parliament in 1917 and allow the creation of a confederation with each national group exercising self-governance. However the leaders of these national groups rejected the idea; they deeply distrusted Vienna and were now determined to get independence. "

 

This is the best summation of it. Europeans dislike central government from people of different ethnic groups ruling over them, its kind oflike colonialism.  Do you want an Austrian emperor when you are polish?

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8 hours ago, August1991 said:

IOW, according to you Wilber, modern Canada will fall apart since it is a "mish mash of  nationalities cultures and languages". Heck, America/the modern world is the same - so it too will fall apart?

Sorry, call me naive, but Napier aside, I genuinely wonder why the Austrian Hungary Empire ceased to exist for reasons other than the current 21 century zeitgeist.

 

 

Europe's boundaries were continually changing over centuries.

Confederation was voluntary. People come here voluntarily. Even so, there is no guarantee that Canada or any other country will survive forever in its present form.

We aren't doing too badly though. We've made it 150 years so far, the AH Empire lasted just 51. Like the British Empire, it was an anomaly that could only have existed when it did.

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21 hours ago, August1991 said:

The name? Wilbur, do you mean that if it had chosen the name "Austrian Hungarian Republic" instead, it would still exist?

As to the "final straw", you beg the question of my OP. There's no doubt that WWI was the end of the Austrian Hungarian Empire.

Which raises the final point, I suppose: Germany and even Turkey are still with us. But the Austrian-Hungarian Empire is no more.

Sorry Wilbur, I still wonder why. 

Germany is still with us, but not the German Empire. Turkey is with us, but not the Ottoman Empire. Austria and Hungary are both still with us too, but not their empire. What's so puzzling? The age of empires is over.

Every Empire in the world fell apart in the 20th century, for many good reasons. These reasons include WWI and WWII, the rise of alternative forms of governments to monarchy (democracy, authoritarian states), nationalism, technology, education, and cultural change. 

Edited by Bonam
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In other-words, nationalism beat out monarchy 3-1 for the win.

 

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22 hours ago, August1991 said:

DoP, do you mean that War (superior physical violence) defeated the AH (to use your term)?

 

Austro-Hungaria at the start of WW1 was woefully unprepared for war...their mobilization plan was flawed and neither the Russian nor the Serb front were fully ready when offensives were ordered. Many troops were still locked in hopeless gridlock as the rail systems tried to cope with the millions on the move. Immediate disasters on both fronts resulted. The Italian Front came the next year...and I'm sure you're aware of what a bloody mess that was.

Then the language problem...perhaps a dozen major languages. Officers giving orders in German to blank stares from the rank-and-file. Can't be good...

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The same reason why another attempt at a European empire called the EU will also fail.

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On 5/19/2017 at 3:32 AM, hernanday said:

1. WW1.  Once they lost this, the Americans and Brits wanted to ensure they'd never have to fight such a formidable opponent again.

2. Austrians speak German, Hungarians speak a different language.  Austrians wanted to join Germany and Hitler in the aim of a greater German Republic.  Remember Hitler was actually Austrian not German.  In otherwords, not even Austrians wanted in, they wanted to be part of Germany.

3.  I don't know if you call murdering all non-whites like jews and gypsies a place where minorities was respected, but if you were white you were respected.

 

1. WWI? That's like saying cars cause accidents.

2. People in Quebec speak French, most Albertans speak a different language: English.

3. WTF? "White?" Before 1914, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was a civilized, multicultural society. It is a model for modern, progressive life.

-----

Yet, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire is no more. Why? 

 

Edited by August1991

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On 5/16/2017 at 1:30 AM, August1991 said:

Around 1900, from Lemberg to Hermannstadt to Pressburg to Vienna, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was an example of a modern, progressive, multicultural, multilingual, civilized, even federal State. Minorities were respected; intellectuals thrived.

And then, it ceased to exist. Why?

I cannot agree with you that it was modern, progressive, civilized or federal; or that minorities were respected.  Historical facts prove otherwise.

Take the Crown Prince for example.  Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is sometimes portrayed as a progressive by some historians who aren't looking at the whole picture.  He was no such thing.  What he really was, was a reactionary who wanted German Austria to dominate the empire again.  In 1867, the Hungarians won their piece of the pie.  But did they share their power with the other repressed minorities or promote their causes? Hell no.  They guarded their newly-won rights just as jealously as the Germans guarded theirs.  F.F. was sick of the Hungarian element in the rule of the empire so he wanted to screw them over somehow.  How do you do that? Simple: promote the rights of the other minorities of the empire--Serbs, Croats, Bohemians, Slovaks for instance.  Give them a tiny piece of the pie each and it takes a crap-ton of power away from the Hungarian aristocracy.  If the crown prince had become emperor, and had had his way, the Hungarian element in the empire's governance would have been squashed and the Germans back in sole control of the empire.

In fact, he had a map drawn up to show how the empire could be a federal state, calling the scheme The United States of Great Austria.  Again, it was all a ruse to screw the Hungarians and reassert Germanic control of the empire.  Some progressivism!

The empire might have been multi-ethnic, but as far as Vienna and Budapest were concerned, only two of those ethnicities had a manifest destiny to rule the rest of them.

As for why it is no more, well, when you lose a war, all bets are off.  Losing a war is disastrous to any body politic, especially a multiethnic powderkeg that was, essentially, an accident waiting to happen.

The empire wasn't even really a single empire, and not just because of its multi-ethnic composition.  It was divided into Transleithania (the Hungarian zone) and Cisleithania (the Austrian zone).  The minorities of the empire had been divvied up between the two groups of elites (Germans and Magyars) without respect to those minorities' interests.  In fact, to demonstrate how inefficiently governed it was, no Hapsburg subject ever carried such a thing as an "Austro-Hungarian" passport: those living in the Hungarian zone carried a Kingdom of Hungary passport; those in the Austrian, an Austrian imperial passport.  There were two different treasury ministers.  Two different prime ministers, two different cabinets.  There were several "joint" ministers, but only for foreign affairs, war, and the part of the treasury that controlled the expenditure of the House of Hapsburg.  As far as internal trade, a customs union between Austria and Hungary had to be renegotiated by the two parliaments every ten years.  A state that is that disorganized won't survive the strains and stresses of global war.  (Which I think answers your question...)

A famous historian called the Holy Roman Empire "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."  The Austro-Hungarian empire was neither entirely Austrian, nor entirely Hungarian, nor an empire; at least not like its Russian or German neighbors. All it took to collapse the house of cards was a slight gust of wind...

Edited by JamesHackerMP
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On 5/24/2017 at 7:03 PM, JamesHackerMP said:

....

A famous historian called the Holy Roman Empire "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."  The Austro-Hungarian empire was neither entirely Austrian, nor entirely Hungarian, nor an empire; at least not like its Russian or German neighbors. All it took to collapse the house of cards was a slight gust of wind...

... and is the new European Union, or even Canada's Charter of Rights guarantee of a "Multicultural Heritage" any different?

=======

James Hacker, I think that you misunderstand much of what made the Austrian-Hungarian Empire/society good/civilized.

I am more certain that, like many so-called modern progressives, you misunderstand why it no longer exists.

Edited by August1991

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On 5/24/2017 at 0:10 AM, August1991 said:

 

1. WWI? That's like saying cars cause accidents.

2. People in Quebec speak French, most Albertans speak a different language: English.

3. WTF? "White?" Before 1914, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was a civilized, multicultural society. It is a model for modern, progressive life.

-----

Yet, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire is no more. Why? 

 

Try reading the entire comment

" " As one of his Fourteen Points, President Woodrow Wilson demanded that the nationalities of Austria-Hungary have the "freest opportunity to autonomous development". In response, Emperor Karl I agreed to reconvene the Imperial Parliament in 1917 and allow the creation of a confederation with each national group exercising self-governance. However the leaders of these national groups rejected the idea; they deeply distrusted Vienna and were now determined to get independence. " "

 

1. The Americans demanded as a condition of their victory that Austria-Hungary be broken up.  They saw it as a threat for there to basically be a 2nd large inland German satellite state

2.  People in Quebec want to separate.  Now imagine if Quebec was physically adjoined to France.  Alberta and Quebec shared a border, the government was more centralized with no withstanding clause for the provinces.  The urge to separate would be even stronger.  Especially if Alberta was all one ethnic group attached to a homeland.  Basically, the different multi-cultural groups didn't want to be minorities in a large multi-ethnic state, they prefered to be majorities in a majority ethnic state.  Ie. Poles in austria-hungary wanted to rejoin poland.  Romanians and Ukranians in the empire wanted out too to rejoin their own ethnic group.  Lots of the Austrians wanted to be united with other Germans.  Imagine if Quebec and every other major region of Canada which could form an ethnic plurality was given "Self governance" it basically is a step to independence for a bunch of different regions.

 

3.  Nope, jews and gypsies were widely disliked in this region of the world, and they still are.  Multi-cultural for many white cultures, but many of the whites didn't like how they were being treated.  the German groups had basically dominated over the slavs in the empire.

 

The empire failed because they lost WW1, there were multiple independence movements within the empire and the Americans demanded they get self governance which was the end of centralized government.

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I think the breakup of the empire has little to do with Woodrow Wilson's demands.  He wouldn't have made those demands if the empire could have continued to survive as before.  I think you're looking at a causation fallacy.

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On 5/29/2017 at 1:41 AM, hernanday said:

...

1. The Americans demanded as a condition of their victory that Austria-Hungary be broken up.  They saw it as a threat for there to basically be a 2nd large inland German satellite state

2.  People in Quebec want to separate. ....

....

3.  Nope, jews and gypsies were widely disliked in this region of the world, and they still are.  Multi-cultural for many white cultures, but many of the whites didn't like how they were being treated.  the German groups had basically dominated over the slavs in the empire.

.....

The empire failed because they lost WW1, there were multiple independence movements within the empire and the Americans demanded they get self governance which was the end of centralized government.

I strongly disagree with several of your points - and others, I tend to agree with.

1. The Americans ended the Austrian-Hungary Empire?  WTF?  Sorry, deus ex machina, you're wrong to blame America.

2. Whatever, maybe. But you make a good point: did "nationalism" end the Austrian-Hungarian Empire?

Except: the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was a multicultural State - so, how is Canada or the EU any different? Will we end too the same way?

[Note to American Readers: if the Austrian-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist because of nationalism, you should not sleep peacefully. Modern "nationalism" is based on Facebook.] 

3. In Central Europe, many people, for many reasons, were/are disliked/prejudged: Jews, gypsies, left-handed, farmers.  Why?

 Why did "German groups had basically dominated over the slavs in the empire"?

====

4. Agreed. The Empire failed because it lost WWI.

Edited by August1991

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Recently, I asked this question abroad and I liked the answer of an older guy from Bratislava (once part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire). He said, more or less, "Hungarians have always been rebellious, contrary to order - like Genghis Khan. Austrians prefer organization. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire was impossible."

You may say, "He was a Slav, of course he would say that."  - But he was no nationalist Slovak, and his German was good.

======

Here's what bugs me:

In 1918 or so, progressives/modern thinkers then/smart people (Woodrow Wilson) said that a lack of respect for specific nationalities caused the war. They gave us the Treaty of Versailles (country borders based on nationalities, ethnic lines, language, "autonomous development") to avoid future wars.

Quote

X. The people of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development.

Fourteen Points

But nowadays, some 100 years later, progressives/modern thinkers/smart people (Obama, Justin Trudeau) say that we should live together, respecting language and culture. We should live in a multicultural state - just like the original Austrian-Hungarian Empire!

 

Edited by August1991

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I just finished World Order by Kissinger.  You should read that.  Peace Treaties, when well designed, assume that countries will generally pursue peace but will pursue war on an opportunistic basis.  Part of the problem with WW1 was that, like today, there had been a lasting peace and war was thought unlikely.

Your last part mixes up foreign policy and immigration policy.  If you are implying that 'progressives' (whatever that means) are incorrect then please have the courage to be specific.

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4 hours ago, Michael Hardner said:

I just finished World Order by Kissinger.

Do you often read and quote all the vicious, savage amoral war criminals of the world?

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