Austria Hungry Term Paper

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World War I

The Reasons for Austria-Hungary Involvement in WWI

The reasons for World War I are many and multifaceted. Each of the major countries involved felt that they were completely justified in declaring war against their rivals. Austria-Hungary especially felt that they were justified due to the assignation of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

Austria-Hungary's desire for security played a prominent part in the start of war in 1914. Even though he was the leader of an increasingly fossilized and out-of-date government, the Habsburg emperor Franz Josef was an expansionist. In 1907, he conquered Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnian Serbs disliked Austrian rule and set out to defend independent Serbia. It was one of these Bosnian Serb factions, the Black Hand that killed the Crown Prince, Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

This paper will show that, in fact, Austria-Hungary was fully justified in going to war in 1914 because of the need to protect their safety, their rights and their honor.

Ferdinand's death by the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist covert society, set in motion an unconscious sequence of actions that concluded in the world's first global war. Austria-Hungary's response to the loss of their heir took about three weeks to materialize. Arguing that the Serbian government was caught up in the intrigues of the Black Hand, the Austro-Hungarians chose to take the occasion to pound its power upon the Serbians, devastating the nationalist movement there and strengthening Austria-Hungary's control in the Balkans.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Austria Hungry Assignment

Both governments thought that their status and integrity were at risk, not only in the global area, but also at home. For the Austrians, an individual attack on the royal family necessitated a strong reply, particularly if the killers were Serbs, who had confronted the Dual Monarchy during the Pig War, which was a confrontation in 1859 between the United States and the British Empire over the boundary between the U.S. And British North America and had recently shattered southeastern Europe's other dynastic empire, the Ottomans. Failure to do something in the summer of 1914 only invited greater chaos later on.

At the time that the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, condemning them in the fact that they were mixed up in Black Hand's killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Russia, which had a treaty with Serbia, organized its huge army to protect Serbia. Germany, which had a treaty with Austria-Hungary, declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914. Afterwards, France, which had a treaty with Russia, announced war on Germany. In the end, Britain, also allied with France, decided to protect France.

Austria, with the support of its German allies, rapidly sent Serbia an ultimatum and then announced war.

Austria-Hungary's anticipation was that Serbia would refuse the extraordinarily harsh stipulations of the ultimatum, thus giving them the reason for beginning a limited war against them. While not actually imagining that Russia would be drawn into the argument to any vast extent other than by way of words of diplomatic objection, the Austro-Hungarian government sought reassurances from their ally Germany, that Germany would come to Austria-Hungary's assistance should the improbable take place and Russia declare war on Austria-Hungary. Germany willingly encouraged Austria-Hungary to hold its belligerent, war like position.

The reasons for Austria-Hungary going to war with Serbia were many. The Serbian government thought that the embarrassing Austrian terms would have unfastened all the development that had been made since 1903 in obtaining self-government from Habsburgs. The Kingdom of Serbia was once a province of the Habsburg Monarchy. It was fashioned from the territory south of the rivers Sava and Danube that Habsburg Monarchy took control of from Ottoman Empire. The Habsburg Serbian rule was a time in which it was essentially built up from its very foundations. Serbia's population had augmented rapidly and a detached entity was left behind by the Habsburgs, which never again completely accepted Ottoman control. The Habsburg monarch held great power within the Catholic Church. They also held privileges to protect Catholics in the non-Catholic states of Serbia, Montenegro and Albania. In 1914 the Catholic Church signed an agreement with Serbia which ended the Hapsburgs rights over Catholics in Serbia.

All of this progress that Serbia had made was not something that they were willing to give up easily.

At the beginning of the twentieth century Serbia was economically little more than a satellite of the Habsburg Empire, its main export was pork, most of which was bought by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. When Serbia started trying to avoid economic and political control by the Habsburgs, and build relations with other nations, mainly Bulgaria and France, Vienna decided to penalize the Serbs with economic sanctions. Purposely, in an attempt to diminish its economic reliance on the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1904 Serbia began to bring in French rather than Austrian weapons and set up a customs union with Bulgaria in 1905, making tariff-laden Austrian goods unsalable in Serbia.

In 1908, Austria-Hungary straightforwardly annexed Bosnia, provoking the Serbs to request the aid of Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece in taking the last Ottoman-ruled lands in Europe. In the resulting Balkan Wars of 1912-13, Serbia gained northern and central Macedonia, but Austria forced it to yield Albanian lands that would have given it admittance to the sea. Serb hostility against the Hapsburgs reached a climax on June 28, 1914, when the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo.

All of these things were thought to renew Austrian control and there was a real danger that right-wing extremists would kill Serbs if they backed down.

It was for these reasons that they were in no frame of mind to agree to Austria-Hungary's demands.

On the global stage, both sides were one conquest away from being marginalized. Neither side ever thought that there was a possibility that a war would extend across Europe.

In Austria-Hungary, the government was surprised and angered at how the Serbs managed to so successfully get around the Austrian economic boycott of Serbian meat in 1903. The Hungarians were quite dubious about such a radical attack against Serbian commerce, which in the end had hurt the Hungarian economy, and seemed designed to only benefit Austria itself. The Slavic groups in Austria-Hungary were angry at their state for this unnecessary attack against a fellow Slavic state like Serbia.

It was obvious that conflict was on the horizon.

At the time of the Austrian-Serbian economic war, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign minister declared that Austria-Hungary could not permit the creation of a Greater Serbia. He said that such a development would make it impossible to govern Austria, because the centrifugal Slav elements would tear it apart. The ability for conspiracy that the Serbs had demonstrated in the recent trade war was more and more pronounced, and more and more directed toward building a territory that would include the Austrian territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Russia opposed Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which Austria-Hungary claimed that they had saved these lands from anarchy and put upon the road to progress by Austrian arms and statesmanship, and for which Austria-Hungary had exhausted vast amounts of money for necessary enhancements. The Russian press reported this opposition in a series of aggressive statements that depicted the Serbian movement upon the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

The Government of the Dual Monarchy had learned from experience that the Serbian Kingdom was a Russian torpedo launched at the body of the Monarchy. This is why the Austro-Hungarian Government, in its relationship with Serbia after the crime of Sarajevo, found no alternative but adamant and unbending action. Any quibbling, any half actions in containing such unbearable activities such as the Russo-Serbian propaganda on Austrian territory, would have continued the peril and made the situation worse than it already was. It would have been equivalent to abdication by the Monarchy of its sovereignty on its own soil. And such a renunciation they were not prepared to make. It had to vindicate its sovereignty and insure order within its boundaries, even at the risk of incurring the accusation of undue aggressiveness from those who did not realize that the patience of the Dual Monarchy had been long just like its desire for peace.

The Austro-Hungarians were very conscious that grave actions against Serbia might expand into a conflict with Russia. Austria-Hungary could not, on the other hand, permit themselves to be sidetracked by this possibility from the position they took against Serbia, for the reason that basic contemplations of nationwide policy brought them face-to-face with the requirement of putting an end to the state of affairs in which a Russian support made it probable for Serbia to intimidate the Austria-Hungary Monarchy constantly without punishment and without the likelihood of punishment.

Austria-Hungary knew that should the measures prove that Russia saw this as a chance for the great resolution with the central European Powers, and was unwavering on war from the start, that they would have to deal with it. It was known that Russia might refuse the demands of Serbia and feel that it was necessary for the use of military… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Austria Hungry.  (2011, March 23).  Retrieved October 27, 2020, from

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"Austria Hungry."  23 March 2011.  Web.  27 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Austria Hungry."  March 23, 2011.  Accessed October 27, 2020.