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Old October 28th, 2008, 02:51 AM   #1
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The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


I wonder if the Allies ever regretted not trying to preserve the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. If the Emperor had been stripped of authority but retained as a figurehead, with real power devolved to the nationalities in federal cantons, perhaps both Hitler and Stalin would have been stymied in their territorial ambitions, and twentieth-century history could have been radically different.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 03:29 AM   #2

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


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Originally Posted by Paul_Culloty View Post
I wonder if the Allies ever regretted not trying to preserve the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. If the Emperor had been stripped of authority but retained as a figurehead, with real power devolved to the nationalities in federal cantons, perhaps both Hitler and Stalin would have been stymied in their territorial ambitions, and twentieth-century history could have been radically different.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was collapsing by itself. Without a strong Monarch which, it could perhaps be said, Gavrilo Princip deprived the Empire of, it was going to crumble anyway. There were just too many different groups inside of Austro-Hungary and after WW1 there wern't the numbers to preserve order
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Old October 28th, 2008, 03:44 AM   #3

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


Absolutely right Son of Cathal. You can't force an empire to remain intact without some powerful means of coercion, which didn't exist after the war. If real power was given to the various national groups they would have split into separate states, whether the Allies liked it or not.

Besides, I don't see how an intact Austro-Hungarian Empire would have affected Hitler or Stalin. The Austrian army never was much good for anything other than looking good in their uniforms; even the Russians destroyed them before geting a dose of reality from the Germans.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 04:00 AM   #4
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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


All empires require some powerful central authority to hold it's legitimacy and to survive.

I mean look what happened to the Soviet Union, once Gorbachev decided to loosen the constraints just a teeny weeny bit, by introducing perestroika and glasnost, resulted in more individual and economic freedom. 5 years after they were introduced, the USSR had became 16 independent states.

The principle of what you are saying is a great idea, but in practice, it would'nt have work, multi-ethnic empires don't work like that, if they did, we'd have world peace.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 05:52 AM   #5

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


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The principle of what you are saying is a great idea, but in practice, it would'nt have work, multi-ethnic empires don't work like that, if they did, we'd have world peace.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 07:48 AM   #6

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


It was mistake for Austria, the industry wasn't on the territory of the state Austria.
On the other hand split up of Austria-Hungary was important for the nations which had't the main part.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 08:26 AM   #7
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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


I believe it was the Kaiser who said "we are shackled to a corpse" referring of course to Germany's relationship to Austria-Hungary before the outbreak of WWI. The collapse of Austria-Hungary was an inevitability after the turn of the century.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #8

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


I think by 1918 it was too late for even the mighty(read, exhausted) Allies to preserve the Dual Monarchy.

If the lands on which the south Slavic-language speaking peoples lived somehow had been transferred peaceably to the Kingdom of Serbia before the war happened, then the Austro-Hungarian Empire might have survived. Why not? Franz Ferdinand was a good guy.

But that wasn't going to happen any more than the Allies preserving the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 in the real event.

In the real event, the House of Hapsburg would have done better early on to have tried to convene yet another Congress of Europe with one item on the agenda - terrorism. They would have to arrange the seating so that Serbia was on one side of the table and everybody else on the other side. Russia would sit at the head of the table(the House of Romanov had been the victim of several terrorist outrages).
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Old October 28th, 2008, 11:25 AM   #9

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


But on the other side Austro-hungarian compromise of 1867 had changed thinking of the west - Slavic language speaking people. They helped Austria in war and Franz Josef signed dualism with Hungary.
Franz Ferdinand d'Este had some ideas about trialism, but court in Vienna didn't agree, he had trables with his marriage too and he wasn't very popular there.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #10

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Re: The break-up of Austria-Hungary: a big mistake?


Madria,

You are right. I think the thing people today forget is that the reason Francis Joseph I could command the loyalty of so many people of different nationalities was that he was a Catholic and so were they. If they didn't all speak the same language, they all heard Mass in the same language. Once they started getting into the Orthodox areas, not so much loyalty.
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