Österreich-Ungarn (German)
Ausztria-Magyarország (Hungarian)
Civil Ensign Imperial & Royal Coat of arms
Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter
"Indivisible and Inseparable"
Gott erhalte, Gott beschütze / Unsern Kaiser, unser Land!
The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1914.
Capital Vienna and Budapest
Languages Official languages:
German and Hungarian
Government Constitutional monarchy, personal union through the dual monarchy
 •  1867–1916 Franz Joseph I
 •  1916–1921 Charles I & IV
 •  1867 Friedrich von Beust (first)
 •  1916–1921 Karl Renner (last)
 •  1918 Mihály Károlyi (last)
Legislature Imperial Council,
Diet of Hungary
 •  Upper house Herrenhaus,
House of Magnates
 •  Lower house Abgeordnetenhaus,
House of Representatives
Historical era New Imperialism/World War I
 •  1867 Compromise 1 March 1867
 •  1918 Imperial Manifesto 16 October 1918
 •  Revolution in Hungary 28 October 1918
 •  Creation of Greater Austria 24 August 1921
Currency Gulden
(from 1892)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Austrian Empire
United States of Greater Austria 20px
Today part of Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg Czechoslovakia
Flag of Germany.svg Germany
Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary
Flag of Italy.svg Italy
Flag of Poland.svg Poland
Flag of Romania.svg Romania
Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine
Flag of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svg Yugoslavia

Austria-Hungary, also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire and by other names, was a constitutional union of the Empire of Austria and the Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary that existed from 1867 to 1920, when it exstensively reformed as a result of World War I. The union was a result of the Compromise of 1867. It was ruled by the House of Habsburg. Following the 1867 reforms, the Austrian and the Hungarian states were co-equal within the Empire. The Compromise required regular renewal, as did the customs union between the two halves of the Empire. Foreign affairs and the military fell under joint control, but all other government faculties were divided between the respective states.

World War I[edit | edit source]

Reformation[edit | edit source]

By the autumn of 1918 the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was on the verge of collapse. In the capital cities of Vienna and Budapest, the leftist and liberal movements and politicians (the opposition parties) strengthened and supported the separatism of ethnic minorities. These leftist or left-liberal pro-Entente maverick parties opposed the monarchy as a form of government and considered themselves internationalist rather than patriotic. Minor revolutions in Vienna and Budapest gave political power to the left/liberal political parties, until the German offensive in France. As it appeared that the Central powers would win the World War, nationalist movements, which had started pressing for full independence, began working with their opposition who hoped for a greater degree of autonomy for various areas. The Emperor had lost much of his power to rule, as his realm splintered.

Emperor Karl I agreed to reconvene the Imperial Parliament in 1917 and allow the creation of a confederation with each national group exercising self-governance. However, the leaders of these national groups rejected the idea; they deeply distrusted Vienna but were now determined to get as much autonomy as possible since they believed Germany would continue to support the monarchy.

File:Poprava vůdců rumburské vzpoury 1918.jpg

The revolt of ethnic Czech units in Austria in May 1918 was brutally suppressed. It was considered as mutiny by the code of military justice

In an attempt to demonstrate good faith, Emperor Karl issued a proclamation ("Imperial Manifesto of 16 October 1918") which would significantly alter the structure of the Austrian half of the monarchy. Cisleithania was transformed into a federal union composed of four parts—German, Czech, South Slav and Ukrainian. Each of these were to be governed by a national council that would negotiate the future of the empire with Vienna. Trieste received a special status. No such proclamation could be issued in Hungary, where Hungarian aristocrats still believed they could subdue other nationalities and maintain the "Holy Kingdom of St. Stephen".

It was a short term solution. When Austrian prime minister Baron Max Hussarek von Heinlein arrived at Ouchy in January 1919, he and his delegation negotiated the recognition of the Treaty of Bucharest and territory from Italy. Hussarek demanded the harshest terms and won most of them in the Treaty of Lausanne in June 1919. Serbia was largely disarmed and forced to take responsibility for instigating the war. Montenegro, Serbia's ally during the World War that Austria-Hungary also occupied, proclaimed personal union with Austria-Hungary. The gains in Italy and recognition of Montenegro's union were conditional to Austria-Hungary signing the Minority Rights Treaty.

The Minority Rights Treaty allowed the national councils to act within the confines of the 1918 manifesto regardless of which portion of Austria-Hungary. On 13 December 1919, Slovak politicians peacefully took over command in Turócszentmárton and followed up in other major cities in the next few days. On 14 December, the Slavs proclaimed the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. They also declared their ultimate intention was to unite in a federation of South Slav regions, within the empire. On the same day, the Czechs and Slovaks formally proclaimed the establishment of Bohemia and Slovakia as separate states equal to Austrians and Hungarians in the monarchy .

In Hungary, the most prominent opponent of continued union with Austria, Count Mihály Károlyi, seized power in the Aster Revolution on 15 December. Charles was all but forced to appoint Károlyi as his Hungarian prime minister. One of Károlyi's first acts was to cancel the compromise agreement, officially dissolving the Austro-Hungarian state. By the end of December, the Habsburg realm appeared to be nearing revolution similar to Russia's.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

On 11 January 1920, Karl issued a carefully worded proclamation in which he recognized the people's right to determine the form of the state. He also dismissed Hussarek and his government from office and appointed Karl Renner to form a provisional government. Two days later, he issued another proclamation for calling for the election of a Constitutional Assembly. However, he did not intend to abdicate, remaining the monarch of the empires various territories. For all intents and purposes, he relinquished his imperial authority and was now a ceremonial monarch.

Karl's proclamation was ultimately irrelevant. On 16 January Károlyi proclaimed the Hungarian Democratic Republic.

The new Austrian state was, at least on paper, on shaky ground. The Hungarian Democratic Republic was short-lived and was temporarily replaced by the communist Hungarian Soviet Republic. K.u.K. troops ousted Béla Kun and his communist government in 1920. In the summer of 1920, the monarchy in Hungary was restored. Finally, in March 1921, the Hungarian government of Sándor Simonyi-Semadam reaffirmed the Pragmatic Sanction. This not only restored the Habsburgs to the throne of Hungary but ended the process of creating a new multi-ethnic confederation under the Habsburg monarchy.

See also[edit | edit source]

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