Infobox Former Country
native_name = "Österreich-Ungarn" (de) "Osztrák–Magyar Monarchia" (hu)
conventional_long_name =Austro-Hungarian Empire Full names
common_name = Austria–Hungary
region = Central Europe
country = Austria
era=New Imperialism
year_start =1867
year_end =1918
date_start = May 29
date_end = October 31
p1 = Austrian Empire
flag_p1 = Flag_of_the_Habsburg_Monarchy.svg
s1 = German Austria
s2 = Hungarian Democratic Republic
s3 = First Republic of Czechoslovakia
s4 = Second Polish Republic
s5 = Lemko-Rusyn Republic
s6 = Ukrainian People's Republic
s7 = West Ukrainian National Republic
s8 = Komancza Republic
s9 = State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs
s10 = Banat Republic
s11 = Italian Regency of Carnaro
s12 = Kingdom of Romania
flag_s1 = Flag of Austria.svg
flag_s2 = Civil Ensign of Hungary.svg‎
flag_s3 = Flag of Bohemia.svg
flag_s4 = Flag of Poland.svg
flag_s5 = Flag of the Lemko-Rusyn Republic.svg
flag_s6 = Flag of Ukraine.svg
flag_s7 = Flag of Ukraine.svg
flag_s8 = Flag of Ukraine.svg
flag_s9 = State shs.svg
flag_s10 = Sin bandera.svg
flag_s11 = Ric.jpg
flag_s12 = Flag of Romania.svg

flag_type = Civil Ensign

symbol_type= Coat of arms

image_map_caption = Location of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1913
national_anthem = Volkshymne (People's Anthem)
common_languages = various: German Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Slovene, Serbian, Polish, Ukrainian, Rusyn, Romanian, Italian, Banat Bulgarian
religion = Roman Catholic (predominant), Eastern Orthodoxy
capital = Vienna, Budapest
largest_city = Vienna= 1 623 538 people Budapest= 1 612 902 people
government_type = Monarchy
title_leader = Emperor-king
leader1 = Franz Josef I
year_leader1 = 1848–1916
leader2 = Karl I
year_leader2 = 1916–1918
stat_area1 = 676615
stat_pop1 = 52800000
stat_year1 = 1914
event_start =1867 Compromise
event_end =Dissolution
event_post = Dissolution treaties¹
date_post= in 1919 & in 1920
event1 = Czecho-Slovak indep.
date_event1 = 28 October 1918
event2 = South Slavs indep.
date_event2 = 29 October 1918
currency = Gulden
Krone (from 1892)
footnotes= 1) Treaty of Saint-Germain signed September 10, 1919 and the Treaty of Trianon signed June 4, 1920.
Note that some languages are considered dialects of more widely-spoken languages. For example, Rusyn was counted as "Ukrainian" in the census, and Rhaeto-Romance languages were counted as "Italian".


The Austro-Hungarian economy changed dramatically during the existence of the Dual Monarchy. Technological change accelerated industrialization and urbanization. The capitalist way of production spread throughout the empire during its fifty-year existence replacing medieval institutions. Economic growth centred 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. By the early 20th century, most of the empire had started to experience rapid economic growth. The GNP per capita grew roughly 1.45% per year from 1870 to 1913. That level of growth compared very favourably to that of other European nations such as Britain (1.00%), France (1.06%), and Germany (1.51%). [Good, David. "The Economic Rise of the Habsburg Empire"] 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 70% larger, while Germany's stood almost 100% higher. Nonetheless, these large discrepancies hid different levels of development within the empire.

Rail transport expanded rapidly in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its predecessor state, the Habsburg Empire, had built a substantial core of railways in the west, originating from Vienna, by 1841. At that point, the government realized the military possibilities of rail and began to invest heavily in construction. Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Kraków, Graz, Laibach (Ljubljana), and Venice became linked to the main network. By 1854, the empire had almost 2000 kilometres of track, about 60 to 70% of it in state hands. The government then began to sell off large portions of track to private investors to recoup some of its investments and because of the financial strains of the 1848 Revolution and of the Crimean War.

From 1854 to 1879, private interests conducted almost all rail construction. What would become Cisleithania gained 7,952 track kilometres, and Hungary built 5,839 track kilometres. During this time, many new areas joined the railway system and the existing rail networks gained connections and interconnections. This period marked the beginning of widespread rail transportation in Austria–Hungary, and also the integration of transportation systems in the area. Railways allowed the empire to integrate its economy far more than previously possible, when transportation depended on rivers.

After 1879, the Austro-Hungarian government slowly began to re-nationalize the rail network, largely because of the sluggish pace of development during the worldwide depression of the 1870s. Between 1879 and 1900, more than 25,000 km of railways were built in Cisleithania and Hungary. Most of this constituted "filling in" of the existing network, although some areas, primarily in the far east, gained rail connections for the first time. The railroad reduced transportation costs throughout the empire, opening new markets for products from other lands of the Dual Monarchy. See Imperial Austrian State Railways for details.


Foreign policy

The "Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867", in creating a semi-independent Hungary, entailed the rise of an assertive Magyar identity within the Empire. The Slav minorities found themselves at the mercy of Magyar nationalism, far less liberal in many ways than the policy previously followed by Vienna. After the agreement of 1867 the Imperial foreign minister was obliged to take account of the views on the minister-president of Hungary; besides Germanisation the Hungarians were most concerned about the threat of Pan Slavism. Here Russia was perceived as the immediate threat, with Serbia as its "Trojan Horse" in the Balkans. No individual represented this view more clearly than Count Gyula Andrássy Jr., son of first minister-president of Hungary and then himself the Imperial foreign minister.

It is also important to remember that, by the late 1860s, Austrian ambitions in both Italy and Germany had been choked off by the rise of new national powers. Only the Balkans were left as a field for potential expansion. The whole Empire was thus drawn into a new style of diplomatic brinkmanship, first conceived of by Andrássy, centering on the province of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a predominantly Slav area still under the control of the Ottoman Empire. It was a dangerous game to play in a dangerous place. A road was thus mapped out, with a terminus at Sarajevo in 1914.

On the heels of the Great Balkan Crisis, Austro-Hungarian forces occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina in August 1878; this was sanctioned by the Treaty of Berlin. In order to counter Russia's interests in the Balkans, an alliance was concluded with Germany in October 1879. The empire eventually annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 1908 as a common holding under the control of the finance ministry, rather than attaching it to either territorial government. This led some in Vienna to contemplate combining Bosnia and Herzegovina (originally "Bosnien und Hercegowina") with Croatia to form a third component of the Empire, uniting its southern Slav regions under the domination of Croatians.

The Great War

The deaths of Franz Joseph's brother, Maximilian (1867), and only son, Rudolf, made the Emperor's nephew, Franz Ferdinand, heir to the crown. On June 28 1914, he visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, where Bosnian Serb militants of the nationalist group Mlada Bosna, supplied by the Serbian militant group Black Hand, ambushed Franz Ferdinand's convoy and assassinated him. There were a few members of the Black Hand in Sarajevo that day. Before Franz was shot, somebody had already tried killing him and his wife. The member of the Black Hand threw a grenade into the vehicle but Franz managed to push it away. It injured some people nearby and Franz made sure they were seen to before the convoy could carry on. Gavrilo Princip was the man who shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The convoy took a wrong turning into a street where Gavrilo Princip was. He took out a pistol from his pocket and shot Franz and his wife.

The empire's military spending had not even doubled since the 1878 Congress of Berlin, while German spending had risen fivefold, and British, Russian and French threefold. The empire had previously lost ethnically-Italian areas to Piedmont due to nationalist movements sweeping through Italy, and many Austro-Hungarians perceived the threat of losing the southern territories inhabited by Slavs to Serbia as imminent. Serbia had recently gained a significant amount of territory in the Second Balkan War of 1913, causing much distress in government circles in Vienna and Budapest. Some members of the government, such as Conrad von Hötzendorf, had wanted to confront the resurgent Serbian nation for some years. The leadership of Austria–Hungary, especially Count Leopold von Berchtold, backed by its ally Germany, decided to confront Serbia militarily before it could incite a revolt; using the assassination as an excuse, they presented a list of ten demands called the July Ultimatum, [ [ Primary Documents: Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia, 23 July 1914] Updated on 24 May 2003] expecting Serbia would never accept. When Serbia accepted nine of the ten demands but only partially accepted the remaining one, Austria–Hungary declared war.

Over the course of July and August 1914, these events caused the start of World War I, as Russia mobilized in support of Serbia, setting off a series of counter-mobilizations. Italy initially remained neutral, although it had an alliance with Austria–Hungary. In 1915, it switched to the side of the Entente powers, hoping to gain territory from its former ally.

General Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf was the Chief of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff during the war. Under his command, Austro-Hungarian troops were involved in much of the fighting in the Great War.

At the start of the war, the army was divided in two; the smaller part attacked Serbia while the larger part fought against the massive Russian army. The 1914 invasion of Serbia was a disaster. By the end of the year, the Austro-Hungarian Army had taken no territory and had lost 227,000 men (out of a total force of 450,000 men (see Serbian Campaign (World War I)).

On the Eastern front, things started out equally badly. The Austro-Hungarian Army was defeated at the Battle of Lemberg and the mighty fort city of Przemysl was besieged and fell in March 1915.

In May 1915, Italy joined the Allies and attacked Austria–Hungary. The bloody but indecisive fighting on the Italian front would last for the next three and a half years. It was only this front that the Austrians proved effective in war, managing to hold back the numerically superior Italian armies in the Alps.

In the summer, the Austro-Hungarian Army, working under a unified command with the Germans, participated in the successful Gorlice–Tarnow Offensive. Later in 1915, the Austro-Hungarian Army, in conjunction with the German and Bulgarian armies, conquered Serbia.

In 1916, the Russians focused their attacks on the Austro-Hungarian army in the Brusilov Offensive, recognizing the numerical inferiority of the Austro-Hungarian Army. The Austrian armies took massive losses (losing about 1 million men) and never recovered. The huge losses of men and material inflicted on the Russians during the offensive contributed greatly to their communist revolution of 1917. The Austro-Hungarian war effort became more and more subordinate to the direction of German planners, as it did with the standard soldiers. The Austrians saw the German army positively, but by 1916 the general belief in Germany was that they were "shackled to a corpse." Supply shortages, low morale, and the high casualty rate seriously affected the operational abilities of the army, as well as the fact the army was of multiple ethnicity, with different races, languages, and customs.

The last two successes for the Austrians, the Conquest of Romania and the Caporetto Offensive, were German-assisted operations. Due to the fact that the empire had become more and more dependent on German assistance, the majority of its people, not of Hungarian or Austrian ethnicity, became aware of the empire's destabilization.

Dissolution of the Empire in 1918

As it became apparent that the Allied powers of the British Empire, France, Italy and the United States would win World War I, nationalist movements which had previously been calling for a greater degree of autonomy for various areas, started pressing for full independence.

As one of his Fourteen Points, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson demanded that the nationalities of the empire have "freest opportunity to autonomous development." In response, Karl I agreed to reconvene the Imperial parliament and allow for the creation of a confederation with each national group exercising self-governance. However, the latter no longer trusted Vienna, and were now dead set on independence.

On October 14 1918 Foreign Minister [ Baron István Burián von Rajecz] [ [ Hungarian foreign ministers from 1848 to our days] ] asked for an armistice based on the Fourteen Points. In an apparent attempt to demonstrate good faith, Karl I issued a proclamation two days later, transforming Austria into a federal union of four components—German, Czech, South Slav and Ukrainian. The Poles were granted full independence with the purpose of joining their ethnic brethren in Russia and Germany in a Polish state, and Trieste was to receive special status.

It was all for naught; four days later, on October 18, Secretary of State Robert Lansing replied that the Allies were now committed to the causes of the Czechs, Slovaks and South Slavs. Therefore, Lansing said, autonomy was no longer enough, and Washington could not deal on the basis of the Fourteen Points anymore. In fact, a Czechoslovak provisional government had joined the Allies on October 14, and the leaders of the South Slav community had already declared in favor of uniting with Serbia in a large South Slav state.

The Lansing note was, in effect, the death certificate for Austria–Hungary. National councils formed in the empire's provinces had already begun acting more or less as provisional governments of independent countries. With defeat in the war imminent, Czechoslovakia declared independence on October 28, and on October 29, the southern Slav areas declared the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs. The Hungarian government terminated the personal union with Austria on October 31, officially dissolving the Austro-Hungarian state. There was now nothing left of the Habsburg realm except its Alpine and Danubian provinces.

Facing an impossible situation, the last Habsburg emperor-king, Karl I (styled Károly IV in Hungary), issued a statement on November 11 in which he renounced the right to participate in Austrian affairs of state. On November 13, he issued a similar proclamation for Hungary. However, he did not abdicate, in the event the people of either state recalled him.

In Austria and Hungary, separate republics were declared at the end of the war in November. The Treaty of Saint Germain (between the victors of World War I and Austria) and the Treaty of Trianon (between the victors and Hungary) regulated the new borders of Austria and Hungary.

A monarchist revival in Hungary after a short-lived communist government after the Romanian invasion of 1919 resulted in the restoration of the Hungarian monarchy on March 1920, with royal powers entrusted to a regent, the naval hero Admiral Miklós Horthy. Ill-prepared attempts by Karl to regain the throne in Budapest (March, October 1921) collapsed when the initially wavering Horthy, who had received threats of intervention from the Allied powers and neighboring countries, refused his cooperation. Subsequently, the British took custody of Karl and removed him and his family to the Portuguese island of Madeira, where he died the following year.

New states

thumb|250px|right|Austria–Hungary and new states that emerged in 1918.

The following successor states were formed (entirely or in part) from the former Habsburg lands:
*State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (joined with the Kingdom of Serbia on 1 December 1918 to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later Yugoslavia)

Some Austro-Hungarian lands were also ceded to Romania, Ukraine and Italy. Liechtenstein, which had formerly looked to Vienna for protection, formed a customs and defence union with Switzerland, and adopted the Swiss currency instead of the Austrian. In April 1919 Vorarlberg, the westernmost province of Austria, voted by a large majority to join Switzerland; however both the Swiss and the Allies disregarded this result.

Territorial legacy

The following present-day countries and parts of countries were located within the boundaries of Austria–Hungary when the empire was dissolved:

"Empire of Austria" (Cisleithania)
*Austria (with the exception of Burgenland)
*Czech Republic (with the exception of Hlučínsko area)
*Slovenia (with the exception of Prekmurje)
*Italy (autonomous regions of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and small portions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
*Croatia (Dalmatia, Istria)
*Poland (voivodeships of Lesser Poland, Subcarpathia, southernmost part of Silesia (Bielsko and Cieszyn)
*Ukraine (oblasts of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Ternopil, and most of the oblast of Chernivtsi)
*Romania (county of Suceava)
*Montenegro (bay of Boka Kotorska, the coast and the immediate hinterland around cities of Budva, Petrovac and Sutomore)

"Kingdom of Hungary" (Transleithania)
*Austria (Burgenland)
*Slovenia (Prekmurje)
*Croatia (Slavonia, Central Croatia, southern parts of the pre-1918 Baranya and Zala counties – today's Croatian part of Baranja and Međimurje county)
*Ukraine (oblast of Zakarpattia)
*Romania (region of Transylvania and Partium)
*Serbia (autonomous province of Vojvodina and parts of the present-day Belgrade metropolitan region north of the Sava River)
*Bosnia and Herzegovina (the villages of Zavalje, Mali skočaj and Veliki skočaj including the immediate surrounding area western of the city of Bihać)

"Austrian-Hungarian Condominium"
*Bosnia and Herzegovina
*Montenegro (Sutorina – western part of the Municipality of Herceg-Novi between present borders with Croatia (SW) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (NW), Adriatic coast (E) and the township of Igalo (NE))
*Raška region/Sandzak of Serbia and Montenegro under effective Austro-Hungarian occupation while formally part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912

Other parts of Europe had been part of the Habsburg monarchy once but left it even before its dissolution in 1918. Prominent examples are the regions of Lombardia and Veneto in Italy, Silesia in Poland, most of Belgium and Serbia, and parts of northern Switzerland and south-western Germany.

Flags and heraldry


Although Austria–Hungary did not have a common national flag, a common naval ensign and a common civil ensign (the latter was introduced in 1869) did exist.

The colours of the House of Habsburg were used as flag of the Austrian part. The Hungarian part used a red-white-green Tricolour defaced with the Hungarian coat of arms.

Coat of arms

The double-headed eagle of the Habsburg-Lorrain dynasty was used as coat of arms of the common institutions of Austria–Hungary between 1867 and 1915. In 1915 a new one was introduced, which combined the coat of arms of the two parts of the empire and that of the dynasty.

Additionally each of the two parts of Austria–Hungary had their own coat of arms.

ee also

*Aftermath of World War I
*Austrian nobility
*Ethnic composition of Austria-Hungary
*Habsburg Monarchy
*Former countries in Europe after 1815
*List of extinct states
*Banat Republic
*Corporative federalism, a form of administration adopted by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
*Baron Ladislaus Hengelmüller von Hengervár, Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to the United States from 1894–1913


*Jászi, Oszkár "The Dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy", Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.
*Macartney, Carlile Aylmer "The Habsburg Empire, 1790–1918", New York, Macmillan 1969.
*Mark Cornwall (ed.) "The Last Years of Austria–Hungary" in Exeter Studies in History. University of Exeter Press, Exeter. 2002. ISBN 0-85989-563-7
*Sked Alan "The Decline And Fall of the Habsburg Empire, 1815–1918", London: Longman, 1989.
*Taylor, A.J.P. "The Habsburg monarchy, 1809–1918 : a history of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary", London: Penguin Books in assoc. with Hamish Hamilton, 1964, 1948
*" _de. Geographischer Atlas zur Vaterlandskunde an der österreichischen Mittelschulen". (ed.: Rudolf Rothaug), K. u. k. Hof-Kartographische Anstalt G. Freytag & Berndt, Vienna, 1911.

External links

* [ Habsburg Empire Austrian line]
* [ Microsoft Encarta: The height of the dual monarchy]
* [ The Austro-Hungarian Military]
* [ Heraldry of the Austro-Hungarian Empire]
* [ Austria–Hungary] – extensive list of heads of state, ministers, and ambassadors
* [ History of Austro-Hungarian currency]
* [;internal&action=_setlanguage.action?LANGUAGE=en Austria-Hungary, Dual Monarchy]
* [ The Austro-Hungarian Army in the Italian Dolomites (in italian)] Hun-hist-develop
before=← Kingdom of Hungary
Austrian Empire

after=Hungary → (1918–)
Austria → (1918–)
Czechoslovakia → (1918–1993)
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs→ (1918)
current=Kingdom of Hungary as part of Austria–Hungary (Transleithania)

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