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How great was the Austria-Hungary empire?
And how stable were they?(Politicly)
- MoravianEagleLv 710 years agoFavorite Answer
Austria-Hungary(AU) was not as strong and powerful as was the previous Austrian Empire that dominated European continent between 1740-1815. It was obvious that the conservative nature of the imperial monarchy, regressive national policies, and unsolved national issues weakened the state from previous prestigious place. Austria experienced extremely violent 1848 which brought large part of the country under civil war in Hungary, and later it was defeated by Italians in 1856 and Prussians in 1866. This showed the economic and military weakness of the state that instead being solved by reforms, were conserved by creation of Dual-Monarchy, further weakened the state. The Imperial state became secondary power, especially in comparison to Germany, and by the turn of the century, it was completely dragged and controlled by it. The truly German population became minority in overall multinational state, for which they looked upon Germany for solution and salvation. This often paralyzed the state, when the only Germans' will was accepted at the expense everyone else. The centrifugal forced were too strong for the state to survive crisis that appeared during WWI. Austria was run by geriatrics who were living mentally in the 19th century, and were unable to cope with a modern society, its industrial potential, and scientific progress. This created issues between liberally and modern minded population of various classes and nations, and reactionary forces dig too deep in the past. Austria-Hungary was after Russia the most politically regressive state in Europe and was not willing to change, especially when Franz Joseph ruled through entire long reign for 68 years.
On the other aspects, AU created very functioning economy, bureaucracy, school system, infrastructure, and achieved unparallelled cultural progress anywhere in Europe. Austrian cultural, architectural, and artistic styles were after France the most productive in Europe, and Vienna became the truly European metropolis of art and culture. It was not enough to keep the state together, and Austria-Hungary collapsed economically within first year of WWI. The state literary became protectorate of the Germany, who were eventually asked to control of the army, economy, and international politics. This undermined the monarchy in the eyes of non-German majority that felt nothing toward Germany.
The government was way too centralized in the hand of the imperial family and the aristocracy, which did not created enough social and political progress for the newly industrialists who lacked aristocratic background. The non-german new rich moved quickly toward nationalistic movements and sabotaged the state politically. Governments were very unstable, social and national riots were often suppressed by decrees and declaration of martial laws. At one areas, the state created very strong middle class with income on level of the wealthiest countries in the world. At the same time, many regions were deeply impoverished. This economic differences often deliberately created provided feeling among well to do provinces that they gaining nothing from the common state. This was also reason why Austria-Hungary felt apart not only on national boundaries, but economic ones.
The legacy of AU is still very clearly visible among all descendants of it. The imprint is felt in every city, villages, and provinces that were under Vienna. There is some ambivalent feeling toward it, mixed with some nostalgia. AU did provide stability that spared Central Europe from brutal warfare and dictatorships of the 20th century. All countries that were part of it, experienced rather unfortunate upheaval after its collapse, which could be felt to 21th century. Many of them were indeed a result of unsolved problems accumulated in the 19th century, which was unfortunate, considering that many states were part of the same state for 400 years.
- SzilardLv 45 years ago
From my perspective (as Hungarian) it was great. Hungary was a feudalistic, undeveloped place, and in a few decades we became fairly developed. These improvements were more visible in the major cities (for example Budapest built the first electrical subway in the world. Only London had a subway before that, but that didn't work with electricity.) Also the Hungarian culture (especially literature) lived a golden age at that point.
On the other hand we have to admit that the minorities weren't always satisfied, which led to the Monarchy falling apart after Word War I.