The United States of Greater Austria (German: Vereinigte Staaten von Groß-Österreich) is a confederation of states located in Central Europe and ruled as a constitutional monarchy under the House of Habsburg. The state was created after the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy at the end of the Third Balkan War.
Following the assassination attempt on Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, the Austrian-Hungarian government investigated the attempt. One of the attempted assassins, Gavrilo Princip, was captured and interrogated. Apparently the organization he was a part of, Black Hand, had connections with the Serbian government. Serbia denied any connections with the terrorist organization, but Austria-Hungary refused to believe them. In July they issued several demands including the prevention of publication of propaganda advocating the violent destruction of Austria-Hungary, removing the people behind this propaganda from the Serbian Military, arresting the people on Serbian soil who were involved in the assassination plot and preventing the clandestine shipment of arms and explosives from Serbia to Austria-Hungary. Serbia refused to agree to any of the demands, but Austria-Hungary did not go to war after it became apparent that Germany would not back them up. The July Crisis went down as another close-call for war between the Great Powers.
Third Balkan War
The death of Franz Joseph I in 1916 led to the ascension of Franz Ferdinand as Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary. Franz Ferdinand immediately made it known that he was against the Dual Monarchy and planned to reform the system. Emperor Franz Ferdinand planned to radically redraw the map of Austria-Hungary, creating a number of ethnically and linguistically dominated semi-autonomous "states" which would all be part of a larger confederation renamed the United States of Greater Austria. Under his plan, language and cultural identification was encouraged, and the disproportionate balance of power would be corrected.
The idea was met with heavy opposition from the Hungarians, since reform would mean a significant territorial and power loss for Hungary (though the other ethnic groups of Austria-Hungary were supportive of the idea). By 1917, it became clear that Emperor Franz Ferdinand was not going to back down from implementing the USGA, Hungary declared independence and kicked off the Third Balkan War. Thanks to the diplomatic efforts of Sir Edward Grey, the other Great Powers remained neutral in the conflict, though it did not stop them from sending clandestine support to their side. Serbia and Romania, however, went to war on the side of Hungary.
In 1918, the Hungarian communists took over the leadership of the various Hungarian factions seeking independence. Bela Kun declared the creation of the Soviet Republic of Hungary. Kun was also able to encourage communist volunteers from other nations, such as the Spartacus Brigade from Germany. Not all communists supporters were successful in reaching the Hungarian lines. Vladimir Lenin was arrested after attempting to enter Austria from Switzerland.
In 1919, Greece joined the war on the side of Austria and invaded Serbian controlled Macedonia. On May 3, 1919, Budapest fell to Austrian forces, though it would not be until November when the Third Balkan War was ended after Serbia and Romania agreed to peace. According to the Treaty of Sofia, the newly created United States of Greater Austria were able to get Serbia (and Romania) to agree to similar terms that they tried to get them to agree to during the the 1914 July Crisis. Serbia also ceded Macedonia to Greece.
Death of an Emperor
Emperor Franz Ferdinand, founder of the United States of Greater Austria, died of pneumonia in 1924. Thanks to his leadership the USGA was officially formed and the Hungarians were brought in as members of the USGA after occupation ended in 1921. Meanwhile, Franz Ferdinand oversaw the creation of an elected parliament made up of representatives of the 16 states. His economic policies also helped increase the industrialization of the country. Despite these successes, terrorist activities by Serbian separatists continued in the USGA, and today remains a major security issue. He was succeeded by Otto I who has ruled as Emperor of the USGA to this day.
Reign of Otto I
Otto was only 12 years old when he became Emperor of Austria. While a regency was put in place to reign in his stead until he came of age, young Otto continued with his studies, eventually going to the University of Vienna where he studied social and political science. By the time he took over the full duties as Emperor of Austria he soon found that the Parliament that Franz Ferdinand I had created had managed to strip the Emperor of most of his power making the position a largely ceremonial role.
Otto, however, still could wield a vast amount of influence on his nation. Speaking in favor of many liberal policies, he was able to encourage the growth of various left-leaning parties that had not been able to exert power since the the Third Balkan War. With a loyal base in Parliament, Otto was able to push through several reforms he thought were necessary for Austrian continued growth and, more importantly, independence. With tensions increasing with the expansionist Russia, Otto helped negotiate Austria's membership in the Anti-Russian coalition led by Great Britain, giving the USGA access to British weapons and training. Meanwhile Otto became adamant that Austria must have access to their own nuclear bomb, and thanks to the work of scientist Edward Teller in 1949, Austria became the next nation to have access to the weapon.
By the 1980s, Otto began to shy away from foreign affairs and focus on new controversial causes. Fearing that Europe would destroy itself in nuclear fire, he began preaching the idea of unifying Europe into one state. What was most controversial about this idea was that he also felt that Russia should be allowed into this proposed "European Union", a reversal of his anti-Russian policy established decades ago. Furthermore, Otto vehemently spoke out against the discrimination and violence being directed toward Jews and Muslims in the USGA. He often entertained Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders in Vienna in hopes of bringing toleration between the three religions. This policy was controversial with some fundamental Catholics, including the current Pope.
In 2007, Otto surprised the USGA by announcing that he was abdicating the throne of Austria to his son Karl. While some analysts felt the strain of defending his policies, Otto insisted it was so he could focus more on his goal of establishing European unity and religious peace.
Emperor Karl I has vowed to continue his father's policy on promoting European unity. Many have also begun to call Karl I the "TV Emperor" for his numerous guest appearances on popular Austrian television shows.
A major issue in Parliament is whether Bosnia and Herzegovina should be split into three separate states based on the Serbian, Croatian and Bosniak ethnic groups that dominate the troubled state.
Organization of the United States of Greater Austria
The main institutions of the USGA are:
- The Emperor has the head of state. The Imperial crown is hereditary on the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Emperor represents the national unity of the United States of Greater Austria. Appoints and dismisses the Imperial Government upon advice of the Prime Minister or the Imperial Parliament. All laws must have his signature to be promulgated. Grants titles of nobility and controls the honors system. Justice in all the courts is given in his name and has the power of royal pardon. Is the commander-in-chief of all imperial land, naval and air forces, exercised with the advice of the Imperial Defense Ministry. In case the Emperor is incapacitated to fulfill his tasks or his successor is a minor the Imperial Parliament will appoint a Regency has specified by the law;
- The Imperial Government, that is formed by the Imperial Prime Minister and the Imperial Council of Ministers. Both are elected and approved by the Imperial Parliament. The Imperial government remains in office has long as it has the support of the Parliament;
- The Imperial Parliament. It is the bicameral legislative body. The Reichsrat, integrated by the representatives of the states elected by their assemblies. The House of Representatives, integrated by deputies elected by electoral districts that represent the linguist and ethnic areas of the Empire;
- the judicial system. It is integrated by the Higher Imperial courts of justice and the courts of justice of the states; and
- The States.
The United States of Greater Austria 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 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 USGA, common law codes (commerce, criminal and civil) and the organization of the Higher Imperial courts of justice
- Devolved powers, all matters than a state can administer and control by itself. This include education, 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.
The official language of the imperial institutions and Imperial Army is the German, with limited facilities for the other linguistic groups.
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. In the majority of the states the elected state assembly (Landtag, in German) elects a Minister-President and State Council (3 to 7 ministers) to act has the executive power. Exceptions are German-Austria, Hungary, Bohemia and Slovakia and Transylvania. These states have a bicameral legislative assembly and a Prime Minister and Cabinet, along a system of local government and justice courts particular to them.
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.
|Number||State||State Capital||State Languages|
|2||Deutsch-Böhmen (German-Bohemia)||Reichenberg (Liberec)||German|
|3||Deutsch-Mähren (German-Moravia)||Troppau (Opava)||German|
|6||West-Galizien (West Galicia)||Krakow||Polish|
|7||Ost-Galizien (East Galicia)||Lviv||Ukrainian and Rusyn|
|9||Seklerland (Szeklerland)||Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureş)||Hungarian|
|10||Siebenbürgen (Transylvania)||Cluj||Romanian and German|
|12||Triest (Trieste and Gorizia)||Trieste||Italian|
|15||Woiwodina (Vojvodina)||Novi Sad||Serbian|
|16||Bosnien-Herzegowina (Bosnia and Herzegovina)||Sarajevo||Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian|