If Austria wins the Austro-Prussian War, does the Ausgleich still occur?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,672
SoCal
#1
If Austria wins the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, does the Ausgleich (Austro-Hungarian deal which transformed Austria into a dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy) still occur? Or would Austria have continued to be run as a unitary state in such a scenario? If so, how long would this arrangement have lasted and what, if anything, would have eventually replaced this arrangement?
 
May 2015
1,030
The Netherlands
#2
The Ausgleich was a direct result of Austria's crushing defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, which allowed the Hungarians to reassert themselves in the monarchy. It was a short-term solution and draconic measure taken in the heat of military defeat and domestic crisis. No sensible Austrian statesman would have agreed to it under normal circumstances. No Ausgleich would have taken place or even been needed had Austria had won the war. A victory over Prussia would have secured Austria's position in Germany - possibly leading to a German unification under a Habsburg emperor - and strengthened the position of the Austrians in their empire. In the long-term there might have been some devolution of power, but certainly nothing as draconic as the Ausgleich of 1866, which allowed the Hungarians to hold the Austrians in a chokehold for the next five decades.
 
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Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,454
Eastern PA
#3
The Ausgleich was a direct result of Austria's crushing defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, which allowed the Hungarians to reassert themselves in the monarchy. It was a short-term solution and draconic measure taken in the heat of military defeat and domestic crisis. No sensible Austrian statesman would have agreed to it under normal circumstances. No Ausgleich would have taken place or even been needed had Austria had won the war. A victory over Prussia would have secured Austria's position in Germany - possibly leading to a German unification under a Habsburg emperor - and strengthened the position of the Austrians in their empire. In the long-term there might have been some devolution of power, but certainly nothing as draconic as the Ausgleich of 1866, which allowed the Hungarians to hold the Austrians in a chokehold for the next five decades.

Excellent analysis and nothing could be more accurate than your statement "No sensible Austrian statesman would have agreed to it under normal circumstances."

On the other hand, the Hapsburgs were an inept dynasty, totally lacking in vision and foresight. The dynasty had three centuries to integrate Hungary into their realm, yet never accomplished anything of notable significance. I do not even know if they tried. The Magyars were ruled as a separate kingdom and thought of themselves as separate people from the Germanic Austrians, as evidenced by the revolution in 1848.

The Austrians needed Russian military assistance to prevail in the Hungarian revolution. After successfully ending the revolution, the Hapsburgs implemented harsh measures in an attempt to finally turn Hungary into a Germanic territory.

The crushing defeat at the hands of the Prussians two decades later was stark proof of the ineptitude of the Hapsburg administration at the time. The Ausgleich that followed the war was a strong indication that the steps taken to transform Hungary into a Germanic province were less than effective.

An entirely different Hapsburg monarchy and administration would have been a requirement for the Empire to defeat, or even force a draw, against the Prussians in 1866. This more capable dynasty probably would have dealt with the ethnic divisions much better than the actual events. But that scenario wasn't on the table in 1866. That leads me to take the position that the Austrian Empire was doomed, unless different bodies sat on the throne, starting somewhere around the time of the French Revolution.
 
May 2015
1,030
The Netherlands
#4
You're absolutely right about the lack of foresight of the Habsburgs. The Ausgleich of 1866, with all of its future implications, was supposedly rushed through because the Austrians wanted a rematch against the Prussians. More sensible of course would have been a trialist solution in which the more loyal Poles or South Slavs would off-set the Hungarians, or an even more radical devolution of power involving the lesser nationalities. I do think the monarchy could have been saved through reform between 1848 and 1866, but it faced too much opposition at once (in Germany, Italy and at home) to implement them.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
16,672
SoCal
#5
The Ausgleich was a direct result of Austria's crushing defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, which allowed the Hungarians to reassert themselves in the monarchy. It was a short-term solution and draconic measure taken in the heat of military defeat and domestic crisis. No sensible Austrian statesman would have agreed to it under normal circumstances. No Ausgleich would have taken place or even been needed had Austria had won the war. A victory over Prussia would have secured Austria's position in Germany - possibly leading to a German unification under a Habsburg emperor - and strengthened the position of the Austrians in their empire. In the long-term there might have been some devolution of power, but certainly nothing as draconic as the Ausgleich of 1866, which allowed the Hungarians to hold the Austrians in a chokehold for the next five decades.
When you're thinking of an Austrian-led German unification, are you thinking of Austria unifying all of Germany or only the southern German states? After all, I don't think that Prussia would have agreed to Catholic Austrian domination even after losing a war to Austria.

You're absolutely right about the lack of foresight of the Habsburgs. The Ausgleich of 1866, with all of its future implications, was supposedly rushed through because the Austrians wanted a rematch against the Prussians. More sensible of course would have been a trialist solution in which the more loyal Poles or South Slavs would off-set the Hungarians, or an even more radical devolution of power involving the lesser nationalities. I do think the monarchy could have been saved through reform between 1848 and 1866, but it faced too much opposition at once (in Germany, Italy and at home) to implement them.
Do you think that the monarchy could have been saved through reform after 1866 as well?

Also, if Austria wanted a rematch against Prussia, 1870 was the time to do it.

In addition, IMHO, the most balanced solution for Austria would have been to create a separate North Slav federal unit consisting of Bukovina, Galicia, Czechia (perhaps minus the Sudetenland), and Slovakia. Before the annexation of Bosnia in 1878, there were probably too few southern Slavs in the empire to create a viable South Slav federal unit inside of the empire.