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  • United States of Greater Austria

    Or: Vereinigte Staaten von Groß-Österreich



    In 1906, a number of scholars (with the support of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand) created the idea of finding a way to help give the minorities in Austro-Hungary a bigger share of control in the country, to both reduce unrest and help the Arch Duke (a reformer who somewhat resisted the establishment) secure his throne: he recognized that the people would look elsewhere for support if they didn't have a stake in the government.

    However, Ferdinand's efforts were stopped on the streets of Sarajevo with an assassins bullet.

    However, what if things had gone differently. What if, between 1906 and 1914, Emperor/King Franz Joseph had died peacefully, and power was given to Ferdinand? Would a reformer such as he be able to save the ailing Austro-Hungarian empire?

    Could he have established the United States of Greater Austria? And if so, would some form of democracy have united a very angry and resentful peoples?

    Might WW1 have been averted, or merely delayed?

    Here is some information on the history/demographics of the Empire:

    The Germans/Hungarians (44% of the population), wielded almost complete control, while the other nine groupings (Czechs, Poles, Ruthenians, Romanians, Croats, Slovaks, Serbs, Slovenians and Italians) hardly wielded any power at all.

    Under this plan language and cultural identification was encouraged, and the disproportionate balance of power would theoretically be righted somewhat. The idea was set to encounter heavy opposition from the Hungarian part of the Dual Monarchy, since a direct result of the reform would have been a significant loss of power for the Hungarian nobility.
    Map/Quotes from wikipedia.com

  • #2
    I think that:

    1. ww1 was sort of inevitable for every power wanted it. especially Braitain, France and Germany. AH and Russia were fools to participate in it.

    2. yes, that would work indeed. the Dual Monarchy, while stupidly rigid and backwards in some ways was a much better system than what came out of it and with some early reforms, it could become a great central-european power and promote peace, that is, if some of the wild smaller powers like Serbia and Italy didn't stop harassing it - of course they can be crushed or bullied into inaction.
    "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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    • #3
      Federalisation would have been the first step towards dissolution. It would have probably postponed the crisis in the Balkans, but not removed it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Imperial View Post
        Federalisation would have been the first step towards dissolution. It would have probably postponed the crisis in the Balkans, but not removed it.
        That was my first impression: too much bad-blood in the region to allow peaceful co-existence.

        However, I was wondering about a Federal Austro-Hungary in the context of WW1, and imagined that if it existed, then a few things might have gone differently.

        So imagine this turn of events (critics and other interpretations/ideas welcome):

        In 1909, Franz Josef passes away peacefully. Ferdinand is declared King/Emperor of Austro-Hungary. He immedietly begins implimenting his plans for Greater Austria, and by 1912 the nation is subdivided into more independent 'states'.

        The people are very pleased with this (well, the German/Hungarian portions of the population and the old establishment are a bit peeved), and Ferdinand is celebrated by previously oppressed minorities. President Woodrow Wilson of the USA pays a visit to Ferdinand, and supports Ferdinand hole-heartidly and believes that his ideals of Democracy and progressivness are slowly beging to shape the heart of old Europe.

        By 1914, the USGA was working out some of the kinks in the system: elections were held for lower offices and representatives, and although the system was now a Federal one, Ferdinand was still the ruler of his country. He gave some of his power to a Legislative body, but retained control over most aspects of the USGA.

        Unrest begins to die down, terrorism and assasination begin to disapear except in a few of the border territories contested by others. A few of the older nations like Imperial Russia and Imperial Germany eye the changes in the USGA with a wary eye. The establishment does not wish to relinquish their power, even a small amount of it, to the peasant rabble.

        Serbia, long time foe of Austro-Hungary, sees a chance to help 'free' the Southern Slavs from the USGA; despite greater political freedoms and sweeping social/economic reforms (the economy of the USGA has expanded under the new liberal economic reforms) many of the Slavs within the USGA still feel like oppressed minorities, and plenty support Serbia.

        1914-15 has a few setback for the USGA: two assassination attempts on Ferdinand and a failed coup by the military cause Ferdinand to become wary and suspicious, and the reforms begin to slow. Ferdinand also cracks down on the German/Magyar nobilities power, to prevent further attempts on his life.

        By the end of 1915, the USGA is economically prosperous, and is more stable across the nation, except in the lands bordering Serbia where Serbian agents continue to poke the sleeping bear. Because of the coup, Ferdinand was quick to restructure the army, quietly removing or retiring generals he felt were a threat to the nations (and his thrones) survival. However, the downside of this is the army is in a flux and will take some time to organize itself.

        Despite this, Ferdinand's earlier economic expansion policies begin to pay off. More lands become industrialized (with some help from the very friendly US) and, to help focus the pride of the new nation, Ferdinand orders the construction of two new Dreadnaughts with suitably patriotic names.

        Russia and Serbia are alarmed by this, and know full well that a number of USGA military officers were supportive of war with Serbia. Russia and France are also wary that an expansion of the USGA fleet is to threaten the mediterranean, and Russia issues a few letters of protest.

        The UK is also alarmed by this: they are already worried about the growing German Navy, and the USGA is still her ally.

        So by 1916, the USGA stands as a revitalized nation. Still behind the industrial might of Germany, France, the UK, or Russia, the USGA is attempting to close the gap somewhat. The military has been reformed, and while still trying to organize itself it is now more effecient and less likely
        to attempt to seize power for itself. Stability prevails across the country, except on the border of Serbia, where tensions between the two nations stand at high alert.

        (Now, most people agree that WW1 was inevitable. The question is, where and how? Would Russia and Serbia declare war on the USGA, under the pretense of freeing the Slavs? Would the old Imperial Nations attempt to place a different King on the throne? Or could another 'incident' in the Balkans spark the War to End All Wars?)

        Wow. Thats. . . . alotta text. I'll just go buy the spark notes.

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        • #5
          I think you need to go back further.

          The Bosnian crisis of 1908 when Austro-Hungary formally annexed Bosnia was one of key turning points in the run-up to WWI. IF AH was on a different path in 1908 and this crisis was avoided, then AH might have had a longer future.

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          • #6
            and you still have to take into accounts the countries like Italy who were constantly disrupting in the region.
            Also Bulgaria and Greece and the wars of 1912 and 1913 would be influenced ba a more federal AH - either as more bold or more cautious, hard to say.
            "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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            • #7
              Multinational states are very vulnerable. In such states the ultimate decider is demographics.

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              • #8
                C'mon guys, give DoD some credit. He does have a flair for writing alternative histories. I've read some other ones he's written and they are very well done.

                Interesting take DoD. But I do think the others are right. Italy, Serbia and others had no interest in a revitalized Austrian Empire or Federation.
                Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by revans View Post
                  C'mon guys, give DoD some credit. He does have a flair for writing alternative histories. I've read some other ones he's written and they are very well done.
                  Thanks!

                  *Blush*

                  Interesting take DoD. But I do think the others are right. Italy, Serbia and others had no interest in a revitalized Austrian Empire or Federation.
                  I do know that Italy was part of the central powers before WW1, but I could see how Serbia (and therefore Russia) and Italy would definetly be a little wary of the USGA; however, I don't Italy alone could do much about it, not with Germany still allied with the USGA.

                  But I still see WW1 starting in the Balkans, most likely along the Serbian-USGA border.

                  Something like the skirmish that started the Mexican-American war, perhaps?

                  Comment

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