What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

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What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Futurist » 26 Jun 2020 21:01

What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like in a scenario without either of the World Wars?

I'm thinking something along these lines:

-Galicia to Russia (or eastern Galicia to Russia and western Galicia to Poland, if Poland would have already managed to break away from Russia by this point in time)
-Bukovina split between Russia (northern half) and Romania (southern half)
-Hungary is allowed to keep its pre-war borders. I doubt that Germany would allow Hungary to lose Transylvania--at least not so long as Hungary will remain loyal to Germany. *Theoretically,* there could be a compromise where Romania gets southern Transylvania while Hungary gets to keep northern Transylvania (as in 1940 in real life, with the Second Vienna Award), but that is likely to satisfy no one and thus I don't think that Germany would actually agree to such a compromise over Transylvania in this scenario--instead likely preferring to have all of Transylvania remain under Hungarian rule.
-Serbia annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina.
-Dalmatia is going to be heavily contested between Serbia and Italy, with its outcome being decided either through an Italo-Serbian war or through Great Power arbitration.
-Italy annexes the Italian-majority parts of Trentino but NOT anything else. Germany will support Austria's desire to keep Trieste, Istria, Fiume, and South Tyrol.
-A rump Austria consisting of Slovenia, the German Austrian lands (including both South Tyrol and the Sudetenland, of course), Istria, Fiume, and the Czech lands will continue to exist as an independent state. Germany will refrain from annexing this rump Austria due to its desire to avoid incorporating even more Catholics--not to mention Slavs, in the form of the Slovenes and especially Czechs!--into the German Reich.

Anyway, does all of this actually sound realistic? Or would you make any changes to this?

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by maltesefalcon » 27 Jun 2020 14:34

To be convincing you'd need to explain the motivation for the Hapsburg crown to relinquish their empire voluntarily without any military action.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Terry Duncan » 27 Jun 2020 16:20

Futurist wrote:
26 Jun 2020 21:01
What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like in a scenario without either of the World Wars?

I'm thinking something along these lines:

-Galicia to Russia (or eastern Galicia to Russia and western Galicia to Poland, if Poland would have already managed to break away from Russia by this point in time)
-Bukovina split between Russia (northern half) and Romania (southern half)
-Hungary is allowed to keep its pre-war borders. I doubt that Germany would allow Hungary to lose Transylvania--at least not so long as Hungary will remain loyal to Germany. *Theoretically,* there could be a compromise where Romania gets southern Transylvania while Hungary gets to keep northern Transylvania (as in 1940 in real life, with the Second Vienna Award), but that is likely to satisfy no one and thus I don't think that Germany would actually agree to such a compromise over Transylvania in this scenario--instead likely preferring to have all of Transylvania remain under Hungarian rule.
-Serbia annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina.
-Dalmatia is going to be heavily contested between Serbia and Italy, with its outcome being decided either through an Italo-Serbian war or through Great Power arbitration.
-Italy annexes the Italian-majority parts of Trentino but NOT anything else. Germany will support Austria's desire to keep Trieste, Istria, Fiume, and South Tyrol.
-A rump Austria consisting of Slovenia, the German Austrian lands (including both South Tyrol and the Sudetenland, of course), Istria, Fiume, and the Czech lands will continue to exist as an independent state. Germany will refrain from annexing this rump Austria due to its desire to avoid incorporating even more Catholics--not to mention Slavs, in the form of the Slovenes and especially Czechs!--into the German Reich.

Anyway, does all of this actually sound realistic? Or would you make any changes to this?
Any chance you could flesh this out with more detail and especially the reasoning behind what you are proposing here?

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Futurist » 28 Jun 2020 00:28

maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Jun 2020 14:34
To be convincing you'd need to explain the motivation for the Hapsburg crown to relinquish their empire voluntarily without any military action.
Hungary voluntarily secedes while the rest of Austria-Hungary experiences internal unrest and thus a Great Power conference is called in order to decide Austria-Hungary's future fate?

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by maltesefalcon » 28 Jun 2020 02:22

Futurist wrote:
28 Jun 2020 00:28
maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Jun 2020 14:34
To be convincing you'd need to explain the motivation for the Hapsburg crown to relinquish their empire voluntarily without any military action.
Hungary voluntarily secedes while the rest of Austria-Hungary experiences internal unrest and thus a Great Power conference is called in order to decide Austria-Hungary's future fate?
Hungary may have been happy to secede. But Franz Josef was their monarch and I don't see him signing off on this.
Allowing Hungary to break away would perhaps invite Croatia and Slovenia to do likewise. That would left the rump empire land locked.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Futurist » 28 Jun 2020 02:59

maltesefalcon wrote:
28 Jun 2020 02:22
Futurist wrote:
28 Jun 2020 00:28
maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Jun 2020 14:34
To be convincing you'd need to explain the motivation for the Hapsburg crown to relinquish their empire voluntarily without any military action.
Hungary voluntarily secedes while the rest of Austria-Hungary experiences internal unrest and thus a Great Power conference is called in order to decide Austria-Hungary's future fate?
Hungary may have been happy to secede. But Franz Josef was their monarch and I don't see him signing off on this.
Allowing Hungary to break away would perhaps invite Croatia and Slovenia to do likewise. That would left the rump empire land locked.
I meant after Franz Josef's death. Also, just what exactly could Franz Josef actually do about Hungarian secession? After all, wasn't this a legal right of Hungary's?

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by maltesefalcon » 28 Jun 2020 03:53

Futurist wrote:
28 Jun 2020 02:59
maltesefalcon wrote:
28 Jun 2020 02:22
Futurist wrote:
28 Jun 2020 00:28
maltesefalcon wrote:
27 Jun 2020 14:34
To be convincing you'd need to explain the motivation for the Hapsburg crown to relinquish their empire voluntarily without any military action.
Hungary voluntarily secedes while the rest of Austria-Hungary experiences internal unrest and thus a Great Power conference is called in order to decide Austria-Hungary's future fate?
Hungary may have been happy to secede. But Franz Josef was their monarch and I don't see him signing off on this.
Allowing Hungary to break away would perhaps invite Croatia and Slovenia to do likewise. That would left the rump empire land locked.
I meant after Franz Josef's death. Also, just what exactly could Franz Josef actually do about Hungarian secession? After all, wasn't this a legal right of Hungary's?
[/quote

Wars have been fought over that very concept. USA, Bangladesh, Texas 1836 to name a few.
Franz Josef would not even relinquish Bosnia and there is little likelihood that Franz Ferdinand was of a different mindset.
By the way a Great Power Conference to force the partition might have worked, but this sort of gun to the head diplomacy hardly qualifies as peaceable.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Futurist » 28 Jun 2020 04:10

In other to make any actions against Hungary, would Franz Ferdinand need the consent of Austria's parliament?

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Jun 2020 10:35

Franz Ferdinand seems to have thought the dual monarchy did not work and Hungary had too much power. He appears to have wanted to centralise central authority at the expense of the Hungarians, which he disliked. He advocated granting greater autonomy to ethnic groups within the Empire and addressing their grievances, especially the Czechs in Bohemia and the south Slavic peoples in Croatia and Bosnia, who had been left out of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. I don't think he would want to give away Galicia to Russia or Croatia and Bosnia to Serbia.

The end would not be peaceful.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by maltesefalcon » 28 Jun 2020 16:26

I would like to ask a question to the OP based on this line from the first post:
"Hungary is allowed to keep its pre-war borders."
What war are you talking about as the ATL indicates there were no world wars?

Let's also analyze the Great Powers conference. I see no mention of France or UK. The dissolution of a European empire would set a dangerous precedent for both and they were not mentioned above. Nor does it appear they were offered anything from the spoils. (Bear in mind that one of the initial causes of the Napoleonic Wars was largely due to hopes of restoration of the status quo in France, lest the thought of revolution spread.)

What's more, the somewhat unlikely but gentle partition of former Hapsburg states would not necessarily ensure peace, nor their independence in the long run. Russia would certainly absorb some into their sphere, if not outright annexation. Some of the freed states could move to take over the smaller ones. (Serbia is the one I thought of immediately.)

The Ottomans may also have hoped to profit from this, but based on the earlier Balkan wars and possible objections from UK and France, it is not likely they would see territorial gains.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Futurist » 28 Jun 2020 22:04

maltesefalcon wrote:
28 Jun 2020 16:26
I would like to ask a question to the OP based on this line from the first post:
"Hungary is allowed to keep its pre-war borders."
What war are you talking about as the ATL indicates there were no world wars?
I misspoke here. I meant to write that Hungary is allowed to keep its existing borders (as opposed to its pre-war borders, which wouldn't make sense since there's no actual war in this scenario). Is this now clearer?
Let's also analyze the Great Powers conference. I see no mention of France or UK. The dissolution of a European empire would set a dangerous precedent for both and they were not mentioned above.
The idea is not too unprecedented, though--is it? After all, Poland was partitioned by its neighbors in the late 19th century and again in 1815 and also in the 19th century there were discussions by the Great Powers about the ultimate fate of the Ottoman Empire--as in, whether or not to partition it.
Nor does it appear they were offered anything from the spoils. (Bear in mind that one of the initial causes of the Napoleonic Wars was largely due to hopes of restoration of the status quo in France, lest the thought of revolution spread.)
What exactly should Britain and France be offered?
What's more, the somewhat unlikely but gentle partition of former Hapsburg states would not necessarily ensure peace, nor their independence in the long run. Russia would certainly absorb some into their sphere, if not outright annexation. Some of the freed states could move to take over the smaller ones. (Serbia is the one I thought of immediately.)
The hope would be that future Great Power conferences will manage to prevent any major wars from occurring just like they have in the past, such as over Morocco.
The Ottomans may also have hoped to profit from this, but based on the earlier Balkan wars and possible objections from UK and France, it is not likely they would see territorial gains.
Yeah, given that most of the Balkans were Christian and in any case not under Austro-Hungarian rule (in fact, I don't believe that the Ottomans and Austro-Hungarians actually shared a common border after the Balkan Wars), I really don't see the Ottomans actually gaining or regaining any territories from this.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Futurist » 28 Jun 2020 22:06

Sheldrake wrote:
28 Jun 2020 10:35
Franz Ferdinand seems to have thought the dual monarchy did not work and Hungary had too much power. He appears to have wanted to centralise central authority at the expense of the Hungarians, which he disliked. He advocated granting greater autonomy to ethnic groups within the Empire and addressing their grievances, especially the Czechs in Bohemia and the south Slavic peoples in Croatia and Bosnia, who had been left out of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. I don't think he would want to give away Galicia to Russia or Croatia and Bosnia to Serbia.

The end would not be peaceful.
I just wonder if massive internal unrest can force other Great Powers to impose a fait accompli on Franz Ferdinand.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Peter89 » 29 Jun 2020 08:31

Sheldrake wrote:
28 Jun 2020 10:35
He advocated granting greater autonomy to ethnic groups within the Empire and addressing their grievances, especially the Czechs in Bohemia and the south Slavic peoples in Croatia and Bosnia, who had been left out of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867.
That is not quite correct, the Croats had a fair amount of autonomy in contemporary Europe, as per the Hungarian-Croatian Compromise of 1868. The Czech issue was much more important.

The legal basis of the A-H Compromise was the Pragmatica Sanctio (1723) which acknowledged the Kingdom of Hungary as a distinct part of the Empire, in return, the Hungarian nobility acknowledged the Habsburg house as their royality. Thus he could not address eg. the Croatian issue without the Hungarians, and that would mean the end of the Compromise, and that would mean civil war, and that would mean the end of the Empire. The nationalities he could address were the Czech and the Slovenian, but the Hungarian elites did not allow that either.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by Terry Duncan » 29 Jun 2020 14:01

I am not sure which book contained the following, it was likely The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark or The War That Ended Peace by Margaret MacMillan as I read both about the same time and own neither to check now, but it seems that Franz-Ferdinand consulted with Conrad about turning the army on Hungary to force a new agreement on them, presumably as he believed they would not accept his plan for Trialism without the use of force. Quite how practical this would be is another matter.

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Re: What does a peacetime demolition/break-up of Austria-Hungary look like?

Post by maltesefalcon » 29 Jun 2020 14:37

Futurist wrote:
28 Jun 2020 22:04

Let's also analyze the Great Powers conference. I see no mention of France or UK. The dissolution of a European empire would set a dangerous precedent for both and they were not mentioned above.
The idea is not too unprecedented, though--is it? After all, Poland was partitioned by its neighbors in the late 19th century and again in 1815 and also in the 19th century there were discussions by the Great Powers about the ultimate fate of the Ottoman Empire--as in, whether or not to partition it.
There may have been prior discussions on breaking up the Ottoman Empire, but it took several wars to actually do it.

As for Poland, it was not a major world power nor empire at the time of partition. However, a more contemporary example would be the partition of Czechoslovakia in 1938. France and the UK had no skin in the game, but were invited to the conference.

Likewise any discussion on dismemberment of A-H that would strengthen both Russia and Germany would need to get both France and UK involved. Shutting them out would probably endanger existing alliances or friendships and drive the UK/French governments into forming a tight alliance.

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