Austro-Hungarian MonarchyTimeline: No Great War
OTL equivalent: Austria-Hungary, Lombardy-Venetia
Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter
"Indivisible and Inseparable"
Gott erhalte, Gott beschütze, Unsern Kaiser, unser Land!
"God preserve, God protect, Our Emperor, our country!"
|Capital||Vienna (Main), Budapest|
|Official languages||German, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian, Italian|
|Regional Languages||Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Bosnian, Rusyn, Yiddish|
|Ethnic groups||German, Hungarian|
|-||Emperor (Austria), King (Hungary)||Franze Ferdinand I|
|-||1867 Compromise||March 1, 1867|
|-||Establishment of USGA||July 4, 1919|
The Austro-Hungarian Empire, more commonly know as Austria-Hungary, was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1867 to 1919.
Austria-Hungary was created out of the 1867 Compromise, were the Austrian Empire agreed to share the rule of the Empire between the ethnic Germans, and ethnic Hungarians. Both were allotted almost half of the territory to govern themselves, with Bosnia under a joint rule.
Following the compromise, two separate parliaments were established, one in Vienna for the Germans, and one in Budapest for the Hungarians. Despite this, the Austrian emperor remained the head-of-state, who came from the House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
Despite the reduced power the ethnic Germans held, them and the Hungarians comprised of less than half of the population (44%). This resulted in increased ethnic tensions throughout the realm. Nationalism continued to rise, and peaked around the turn of the century.
War with Italy
To the southwest, Italy had begun looking outward following its unification. Irredentism held a firm grasp on the population, Corsica, Nice, Trentino, Trieste, Dalmatia, Ticino and Malta were all set in their sights. With the ethnic trouble in Austria-Hungary, Italy saw its chance.
Beginning in December of 1914, Italy began demanding the "return" of Italian speaking regions of Austria-Hungary (Trentino and Trieste). Initially, these demands were brushed off, but again they were sent, then again.
Italy finally set a deadline for the surrender of the territories, February 1, 1915. Several countries, including their mutual all Germany, attempted to defuse the situation, but both stood their ground.
As the deadline drew near, both mobilized their militaries. The Austro-Hungarian government decided to use the Italian threats to their advantage. Italy was portrayed as an aggressive foreign threat to them, and called for a unified reaction to it. It largely had the effect they intended, the individual ethnic groups mostly put aside their own nationalism to meet the Italians.
Despite last ditch attempts by neutral sides, the deadline was reached without an agreement. Italy declared war less than twelve hours later.
Italy invaded expecting an easy victory. Instead the found a prepared and well defended army. Austria-Hungary had established an elaborate series of defensive trenches in order to repel the Italian invaders, and it was found difficult to break. Several concentrated assaults at Caporetto and along the Isonzo River ended in either failure or minimal gains.
After months of stalemate, Austria-Hungary launched a series of offensives along the northern border. The Italians, who had most of their forces redeployed south, were overrun, stopping several times to slow down the Austro-Hungarian army. But south and west they fled.
By October, the entire Italian line had collapsed and Austria-Hungary was advancing on Venice. In the largest battle of the war, the once-beautiful city was reduced to rubble, but in the end, the Italian defenders surrendered.
The loss forced Italian King Emanuel III to the negotiating table. In the ensuing treaty, Italy ceded not only Venice, but Milan as well. The post-war borders were set on those of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, conquered during the Austro-Prussian war. Italy also agreed to military reductions and limits, as well as accepting blame for the war and paying reparations.
The war would set the stage for the rest of the early twentieth century.
Following their victory, Austria-Hungary fell back into its old problems. Poles, Ukrainians, Serbs, etc all took to the streets, denouncing their lack of representation. These protests turned violent several occasions, resulting in the deaths of up to 40 people.
When Emperor Franz Joseph I died on November 21, 1916, many minorities ethnic groups celebrated instead of mourn. Archduke Franz Ferdinand succeeded him to the throne. Many saw his liberal ideals as a hope for more rights, he did not disappoint.
Beginning in secret, only publicly announcing when it was well under way, he began reforming Austria-Hungary's political structure. His designs were based on a proposal by an advisor of his, Aurel Popovici, in 1906. Intra-Empire boundaries were drawn according to the individual ethnic groups within the Empire: groups like the Croats and Serbs, Germans, and Italians were to control up to three states, others got few. But none did not have a state of their own.
The proposal received resistance from the Hungarians, who had the most to lose in this reform as they had to fight the Germans for the 1867 Compromise. They were the only major opposition to Franz Ferdinand's plan, all other ethnicities found it favorable.
Franz Ferdinand spent three years building up to the transition, painstakingly finding his allies and fighting back against critics. He finally announced the end of Austria-Hungary on July 4, 1919, and what he called "a new era for Austria and her people" in the establishment of the United States of Greater Austria.