All is ephemeral, - fame and the famous as well. -Marcus Aurelius
Austria-Hungary, also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a short-lived nation in central Europe, a failed attempt to preserve the power of the Habsburg monarchs. Under the Ausgleich, Austria and Hungary divided the governance of the empire, independent in all but their monarch, their diplomacy, their army and a customs union. With liberal theories spread by the Allied armies, as well as Hungarian repression of other ethnic minorities, the state proved unstable, and with revolution looming, Emperor Franz Joseph abdicated in favor of Franz Ferdinand who began to federalize the empire, creating the United States of Greater Austria .
Since the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian Empire stood as one of the greatest powers of Europe. Despite military victories in the Danubian War , Ten Weeks' War , and the early Balkan Wars, the empire hid great internal weakness. The collapse of a ‘great power’ in a matter of weeks during World War One shocked the world. During the war, the empire was occupied by Allied forces for two years, and emperor Franz Joseph held as a prisoner in Vienna. Nonetheless, the victorious allies feared the chaos that might ensue if the empire was dissolved, so in the Treaty of Berlin , the empire only lost a few peripheral areas. Nonetheless, attempts by Franz Joseph to return to old system failed miserably. In a desperate attempt to prevent a complete collapse of the empire, he gave the Hungarians near-complete control of half the empire in the Ausgleich.
Nonetheless, the new empire faced problems from the very beginning. Within a few months, it became clear that the Hungarians were as bad, if not worse, than the imperials they replaced. Waves of protest, civil disobedience, and outright revolt followed. In many southern parts of the empire, Hungarians were massacred. In a few areas of Transylvania, government control dissolved completely. In early 1900, crowds began to gather in Vienna, made up of both liberals and German conservatives, demanding change, one way or the other. A group calling themselves the Alliance, an agglomeration of liberals and ethnic minority groups, began a concerted bombing campaign across the country. In March, tens of thousands of people marched on Vienna, demanding change. With open war about to break out both in Vienna and between the Hungarians and minorities, the military and his advisors forced Franz Joseph to abdicate in favor of the more popular Franz Ferdinand. Just a week after his ascension, Franz Ferdinand dissolved Austria-Hungary, replacing it with the United States of Greater Austria .