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Austria-Hungary (Twilight of a New Era)

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Federal State of Austria-Hungary
Bundestaat Österreich-Ungarn
Timeline: Twilight of a New Era

OTL equivalent: Austria-Hungary
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy Imperial Coat of Arms of the Empire of Austria (1815)
Flag Coat of Arms
Location USGA 1919
Location of Austria-Hungary

Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter (Latin)
("Indivisible and Inseparable")

Anthem "Kaiserhymne (Emperor's Hymn)"
(and largest city)
Other cities Budapest, Prague, Lviv, Trieste, Graz, Krakow, Brno, Linz, Debrecen and Chernivtsi
German, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian (includes Russyn), Romanian, Croatian-Serbian-Bosniak, Slovak, Slovene and Italian.
  others Romani and Yiddish
Secular state
  others Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Church, Greek Catholic, Protestant (mainly Calvinism), Sunni Islam and Judaism.
Government Federal parliamentary and constitutional monarchy
Emperor-King Franz Ferdinand
  : Habsburg-Lorraine
Federal Chancellor
Population 52,800,000 
Established 1920
Currency Krone
Organizations League of Nations

Federal State of Austria-Hungary is the federation of the territories and lands of the Habsburg House in Central Europe, created after the Hungarian Civil War and World War I in 1920. The multinational federal state is a constitutional monarchy and is the historical successor of the Dual Monarchy of 1861.

Austria-Hungary is in Central Europe, bordered by Germany and Poland to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east; Serbia to the south; and Italy and Germany, to the west.


The old Austrian-Hungarian Dual Monarchy had become ungovernable due to dissent of the diverse nationalities and the block of the delegations by the Hungarians. Also the Slavs nationalities complained the lack of participation and political power of their communities asking for a Tri-Monarchy solution. Upon the ascension to the Imperial throne of Franz Ferdinand on his first Speech from the Throne to the Austrian and Hungarian Diets called on a grand reform of the Dual Monarchy to a federation of states. After the end of the Hungarian Civil War and World War I the Federal Solution (Föderale Lösung/Szövetségi megoldás) of 1917 was negotiated creating the Federal State of Austria-Hungary.


Federal State of Austria-Hungary is a federation of 14 states, based on linguistic communities. Each state has great degrees of internal autonomy except on common affairs that are delegated on the federal institutions. The political system has a tendency to delegate decisions of the state, though important political changes or agendas are resolved or decided in informal channels by a series of conferences or meetings of the states. Political consensus can be obtained only after a long cycle of consultations or extraordinary political or popular base. In the first years the Emperor had considerable reserved powers to make political decisions until mutually agreed constitutional reforms gave its present symbolic role. In foreign and military affairs the Federal Solution established a system where the Federal Government has exclusive attribution that is not open to consultation except with the Federal Parliament and not the States.

The co-operation between states is done outside the principal constitutional bodies. The system of consensus, voting and actions between the states, Imperial government and other organization is extremely fluid, since there is no constitutional prohibition on the issue. The exception being the exclusive powers of the Empire that are discussed and voted in the Imperial Government. Some legislation like public broadcasting was first discussed between states, later the Imperial government was invited, and the general legislation and licensing discussed and voted on the Federal Parliament. A process of about 5 years to complete. This piece of legislation created the concept of cooperation contracts.

The federal organization is the following one;

  • Emperor-King, the Head of State and is hereditary on the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. The Emperor-King is the symbol of the state and represents the national unity of the Federal State and the people who integrated it. All federal laws must have his signature to be promulgated. He appoints and dismisses the Federal Government on advice of the Federal Chancellor or the Federal Parliament. Justice in all courts is given in his name and has the power of royal pardon. Is the Commander-in-Chief of all land, sea and air force, exercised with the advice of the Federal Minister of Defense. The Emperor-King confers titles of nobility and orders of chivalry, controls and gives out the medals and decorations of the honors system. Names and dismisses the state governors on advice of the federal or state government. In case the Emperor-King is incapacitated to fulfill his tasks or his successor (heir apparent) is a minor, the Federal Parliament will appoint a Regency has specified by the law.
  • Federal Council of Ministers is formed by the Federal Chancellor and Ministers. Both are elected and approved by the Federal Parliament. the Federal Council of Ministers remains in office has long as it has the support or approval of the Parliament. The Federal Chancellor has the power to dissolve and call for elections of the Parliament.
  • Federal Parliament is the supreme legislative and constituent body of the Federation. All federal laws must be approved by the Parliament. The Parliament is a bicameral legislative body made of the Reichrat and the House of Representatives. The Reichrat is integrated by the delegates of the state governments and vote upon their orders. Each state has a given number of votes according to its populations and votes in block. The House of Representatives is integrated by the directly elected deputies has specified by the law, representing the linguistic areas and the people of the states.
  • Judicial System represented by the three supreme courts (Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional Court) at federal and state level. Matters that deal with constitutional laws or citizens rights of federal or state origin are heard by the Federal and State Constitutional Courts. All citizens have access to the judicial system.
  • and the States.

Austria-Hungary distinguishes three areas of powers and attributions:

  • Exclusive powers, that refers to matters that affect more then one state. By this powers the central government controls the foreign policy, national defense (Imperial and Royal Army, Navy and Air Force) and military service, foreign and interstate trade, post and telegraphs, railroads, air transport and waterways, common currency and finance of the empire, common law codes (commerce, criminal and civil) and the organization of the Imperial courts of justice
  • Devolved powers, all matters than a state can administer and control by itself. This include education, economic policy and development, cultural, ethnic and linguistic affairs, and police.
  • Collaboration contracts, all matters that two or more states agree that are common problems or affairs and jointly administer or establish a condominium between the states and Imperial Government.

More details in Government Austria-Hungary, Parliament of Austria-Hungary and Judiciary of Austria-Hungary

The States

Each state has the power and autonomy to manage its own affairs. The states, previous imperial sanction, can organize themselves in the manner they chose has long has there is an elected assembly and measures to guarantee the rights of the ethnic and linguistic minorities within their boundaries. The devolved powers of the states include organization of the educational system and cultural affairs, regulation of linguistic and ethnic affairs, the organization of local governments and judicial system, control and organization of the state and local police services, public works and utilities and health services within the state.

The basic political entity are the states that have a dynastic relation with the Emperor-King. The basic organization is the following one:

  • State Governor (called Landeshauptmann, Kormányzó or Ban in some states) is the representative of the Emperor-King and provides the link with dynastic legacy. The Governor is named and dismisses by the Emperor-King on advice of the federal or state government. All state laws and decrees require his approval and signature to be promulgated or have legal effects. He appoints and dismisses the state government upon proposal of the state assembly. Represents the imperial and regal authority within the state and the functions the state constitution assign.
  • Minister-President (Prime Minister or Chancellor in some states) and the ministers collectively form the State Council. The State Council usually has 3 to 9 ministers. It remains in office has long as it has the support or approval of the State Assembly. The State Council has the power to dissolve and call for new elections of state assembly.
  • The State Assembly is the supreme legislative and constituent body of the State. It is elected by universal suffrage in manner prescribed by the state laws. The States of German Austria, Bohemia, Hungary (until 1945), Transylvania and Yugoslavia have a bicameral conformation.
  • Judicial system
  • Local government
Austria-Hungary TwilightOfANewAge 1920

Map of States of Austria-Hungary (1920)

The states are:

  1. German Austria (Capital: Vienna)
  2. German Bohemia (Reichenberg)
  3. Silesia (Troppau)
  4. Bohemia (Prague)
  5. Slovakia (Bratislava)
  6. West Galicia (Krakow)
  7. Ruthenia (former East Galicia) (Lviv)
  8. Hungary (Budapest)
  9. Szeklerland (Marosvásárhely)
  10. Transylvania (Cluj)
  11. Trentino (Trento)
  12. Istria (Trieste)
  13. Slovenia, formerly known as Carniola (Ljubljana)
  14. Illyria (Zagreb)


The main cities, over 100 thousand habitats are Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Lviv, Trieste, Graz, Krakow, Brno, Linz, Debrecen and Chernivtsi.


The main languages spoken in Federation due to its multinational characteristics are: German, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian (includes Russyn), Romanian, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Slovak, Slovene and Italian (includes dialects of the states of Trentino and Istria and the coast of Dalmatia of Yugoslavia). There is an important number of Romani and Yiddish speakers. In the armed forces the language of command is the German, although for training and administrative purposes the units are grouped and served by the native language of the troops and officers.


Technological change has accelerated industrialization and urbanization. The capitalist way of production spread throughout the Empire during its fifty-year existence replacing medieval institutions. Economic growth centered around Vienna, the Austrian lands (areas of modern Austria), the Alpine region, and the Bohemian lands. In the later years of the nineteenth century, rapid economic growth spread to the central Hungarian plain and to the Carpathian lands. As a result, wide disparities of development existed within the Empire. In general, the western areas became more developed than the eastern

However, by the end of the 19th century, economic differences gradually began to even out as economic growth in the eastern parts of the Empire consistently surpassed that in the western. The strong agriculture and food industry of the Kingdom of Hungary with the center of Budapest became predominant within the Empire and made up a large proportion of the export to the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, western areas, concentrated mainly around Prague and Vienna, excelled in various manufacturing industries. This division of labor between the east and west, besides the existing economic and monetary union, led to rapid economic growth throughout Austria–Hungary by the early 20th century. The GNP per capita grew roughly 1.76% per year from 1870 to 1913. That level of growth, in 1910, compared very favorably to that of other European nations such as Britain (1.00%), France (1.06%), and Germany (1.51%). However, the economy as a whole still lagged considerably behind the economies of other powers, as sustained modernization had begun much later. Britain had a GNP per capita almost 100% larger, while Germany's stood almost 70% higher.

With rich mineral resources, fertile soils, numerous industries, favorable traffic routes, seaports and a territory which comprised the largest part of the Danube area with the Eastern Alps, Sudetenland, Carpathian Mountains and the Adriatic area, it represents an ideal economic area: The alpine regions provided wood, cattle, iron and salt, industrial regions are in particular Vienna, Lower Austria and Styria, agriculture is predominant in the northern lands of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia, which also has textile, iron and food industries, as well as mineral coal and brown coal deposits, agriculture and forestry is dominant in Hungary and Yugoslavia. Since the individual economic areas complemented each other exports are low in the Federal State.

The Federal State of Austria-Hungary has a common currency, the Krone (K or kr), one krone is divided into 100 Hellet (Austria) or Fillér (Hungary). All banknotes carry the name in German and Hungarian in large print followed in small print in Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, Italian, Slovene, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian and Romanian. The Austrian-Hungarian Bank (OUB/OMB), chartered in 1878, is the central bank of the Federal State and issues the Krone. The mint of coin and print of banknotes is made by the Mint House on specifications of the OHB/OMB. Its joint central offices are in Vienna and Budapest. The federalization of the OUB/OMB 1924 called on the establishment of auxiliary branches in the other 12 state capitals. There is an ongoing debate of establishing a third joint office in Prague, due to the industrial development of Bohemia. The OUB/OMB its not affiliated to the state owned banks, although it trades stocks and bonus issued by those institutions and serves has guarantee of their deposits and exchange of payments between all banks (private and public). The state public banks and financial institutions inherited the banking, savings, loan and lending services of the OHB/OMB to the public and state. In the banking sector there is a strong public sector that is specially important in the least develop and rural zones of the Federal State. Mayor private banks are Lloyds Bank of Austria and Hungary, Industrial Bank of Boheme, Magyar Credit, Banco Austriaco-Italiano, Transylvanian Savings and Investment Bank and the South Slavic Industrial and Commerce Bank. Along them exists the Postal Savings Banks run by the Imperial and Royal Postal Administration. The public market for the trading of company stock and derivatives its done by the Wiener Börse (Vienna, 1771), Budapesti Értéktőzsde Részvénytársaság (BÉT, Budapest 1864) and Burza cenných papírů Praha (BCPP, Prague 1861). The stock market indexes of these are considered the fundamental indicators of the economy.

Each state was given the power to formulate and pursuit its own economic policies, since interstate and world trade was assumed by the federal government. However, this came in time has a disaster. The World Economic Crisis of 1922 showed the problems of co-ordination in economic policy. In the crisis each state follow its own interest and in some cases being in the verge of bankruptcy due to its policies or the ones of his neighbors. That same year the first finance and economic of the imperial and state ministries was called, only has an emergency and temporary measure. But given the success of the agreements and actions it became an annual meeting. It first meet to deal with problems of credit, monetary control, unemployment and measures to active the economy. It agreed to federalize the OUB/OMB based on the recommendations of the Young Committee. Allow each state to have an industrial and agriculture credit bank coordinate with its equivalents in the Federal State. Establishment of a Joint Commerce Board to arbitrate on differences. Establish joint public works projects. In the second meeting of 1926 it was agreed to hold them biannually and set the format. This format consisted on a report of each state of its situations, recommendations and vote on joint recommendations. Later on it was added an informal system of consensus on mandatory actions. This was the first of a series of meeting of the states to workout differences and commons problems, with or without the presence of the Imperial Government.


The main task the Federal State have agreed has been the alphabetization and improvement of the basic education of its population. This was done by a reform of the primary education that created the common general elementary school of 6 years for all children. The language of instruction is on the official and co-official languages of the state. The results have been mixed due to the difference in development and resources of the state. For example Transylvania, Yugoslavia, West and East Galicia still have troubles to implement the new structure. On the secondary level the system has been maintained that is similar to the two track system of Germany. At higher level the federal and state Universities and Superior Technical Schools have enlarge their enrollment of students to new levels. However the requirement of facilities for students that don't speak or write the official state language has been slow so it's more common the immigration to the states that have educational establishments. More details in Education in Austria-Hungary

The main scholar and scientific societies are the ones that form part of the network of Kaiserliche Akademie (1847), that groups Academy of Science of Austria (1847), Royal Czech Society of Sciences (1784), Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1830), Slovak Academy of Sciences, Scientific and Literary Society of Transylvania, Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The high level scientific research institutes are the ones founded and part of the network of the Society for the Advancement of Science, Central European Medical Research Institute, Languages Studies Institute and the Advanced Research Communities.

Since long times the Federal State its know has popular an important center for classical music in venues like Hungarian Royal Opera House (1884), Vienna Court Opera (Wiener Hofoper), Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Hungarian Theatre of Cluj



Naval flag and merchant ensign

The Imperial and Royal Armed Forces (k. u. k.) are made of the following services, all dependent of the Federal Defense Ministry.

  • Imperial and Royal Army (k. u. k. Landwehr / Honvédseg)
  • Imperial and Royal Navy (k. u. k. Kriegsmarine / Haditengerészet) Its ports on the Adriatic Sea, are Trieste, Pola (Home Port, also site of the central church of the navy "Stella Maris" - k. u. k. Marinekirche "Stella Maris"-, of the Austro-Hungarian Naval Observatory and the naval military cemetery - k. u. k. Marinefriedhof), Fiume and Dubrovnik (Ragusa). Cattaro (now Kotor) was lost during World War I, with its installations destroyed.
  • Imperial and Royal Air Force (k. u. k. Luftstreitkräfte / Légierő)

The language of command is the German, although regiments were organized along linguistic lines. By law ethnic factors did not prevent recruitment of non-German speakers to the officer corps or their regular promotion. The training and administration of the troops is made on the recognized languages of the Federal State. The personnel of the armed forces recruited by Obligatory National conscription service (12 months of duration) for all adults and the Military Career (for all adults that voluntary enlist after the conscription period).

Law enforcement

Law enforcement and policing are divided between the federal and state governments. At federal level the Gendarmerie (Csendőrség) is responsible for the control of frontiers, waterways, ports, railroads, and alpine patrol and rescue. It also is responsible of policing the cities of Vienna, Budapest and Prague. The Gendarmerie is subordinated to civil jurisdiction since 1920 and under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Interior and Common Affairs. A Federal Detective Corps (Bundes Kriminalbeamtenkorps, BKrK) is in charge of federal criminal investigations. Each state as a Landespolizei (State Police) and Landeskriminalbeamtenkorps (LKrK).

Communications and transport

Austria-Hungary has an extensive railroad system both for cargo and passenger in its territory. The majority of the services are run by four state companies: the Imperial Royal State Railways (k. k. Staatsbahnen or kkStB), the Hungarian State Railways (MÁV), Czech Railways (ČD) and Yugoslav State Railways (JDŽ). There are also several private companies being the most important the Austrian Southern Railway (Österreichische Südbahn or just Südbahn) that provides services in the states of Slovenia, Istria (the historical Austrian Littoral), and southern Austria.

There is a federal system of highways (Bundesstrassen and Autobahn) that connect the main capitals, industrial production centers and access points to other countries. Despite being almost landlocked the major ports are Trieste (the main seaport, shipbuilding, Navy facilities), Pola (shipbuilding, Navy facilities), Split (shipbuilding, Navy facilities), Fiume/Rijeka (shipbuilding, Navy facilities), Zadar (fishing) and Dubrovnik (tourism). The area around Trieste is know has the Austrian Riviera and is an import tourist zone.

Air transports are serviced by various private and state owned companies, the major ones are Austrian Airlines (Österreichische Luftverkehrs AG), Malert (Magyar Legiforgalmi), Czechoslovak State Airlines (Československé státní aerolinie, CSA), Transporturi Aeriene Transilvaniei (TAT), and Yugoslavia's Aeroput.

Fluvial transport, on the Danube, was once important but now displaced by the advancement of the railroad, airway and road networks. Its mainly used for the transport of persons and agricultural goods. Austria-Hungary, along Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Germany integrates the International Danube Commission (IDC).

Transport of passengers, cargo and mail on the Danube is mainly served by the Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft (DDSG), the Royal Hungarian River and Sea shipping Company (MFTR) and the Slovak Danube shipping, all public companies. Of the three the DDSG is the largest one with its fleet consisted of more than 200 steam ships and 1000 freight barges. The DDSG as its own shipyards and a coal mine near Pécs (Pécs) and several ports in the Danube.

Österreichischer Lloyd (Austrian Lloyd) is the largest ocean shipping company, founded in 1833.

The Imperial and Royal Postal Administration has the monopoly of the telegraphic services and until 1950s of telephone lines. The telephone service is provided by the Imperial Royal Telekom.

All mayor cities have a public transport systems. The cities of Budapest, Vienna and Prague are also served by a U-Bahn or metro.

The radio and television services are mainly provided by public corporations that have agreements of service with each state or group of states if they have the same official language. The services are broadcast in German, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian-Serbian-Bosniak, Slovak, Slovene and Italian.

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