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Courses / Modules / HIST3171 The Crisis of Austria-Hungary Part 1

The Crisis of Austria-Hungary Part 1

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
John Cornwall
Academic year

Module overview

In this module you will study how and why domestic crises struck the Habsburg Monarchy (Austria-Hungary) in the two decades before the First World War, and what the potential consequences were for the Empire’s long-term sustainability. The module particularly considers issues of stability/instability as its theoretical framework, as expressed not only by the ruling authorities towards certain suspect peoples or political groups (eg. socialists), but also by certain groups towards their respective rulers. We begin by evaluating the Habsburg dynasty as a ‘centripetal force’ and examples of civilian loyalty in the 1890s; then look at developments in the imperial city of Vienna (the rise of Christian Socialism). From there the module develops into three major crisis case studies. First, the crisis in Hungary where in the aftermath of the Millennium celebrations a new Magyar confidence resulted in a full-on clash with the Habsburg dynasty from 1905. At the same time, for the Magyar rulers themselves a different type of crisis was evident in their own back-yard: the behaviour of their Slovak and Romanian minorities. This reached a European-wide public when publicized in 1908 by the British historian R.W. Seton-Watson. The second case study is the Czech-German nationalist clash in the Bohemian lands. Here the Viennese government managed to effect some solution (in Moravia), but both Czech and German nationalists in Bohemia were still viewed as disruptive or disloyal. The module will take stock of the different tactics employed on all sides in order to explain rising national and dynastic paranoia. Third, the module turns to the infamous South Slav Question. It focuses in this part particularly on crisis in Croatia where Serb politicians after 1903 were thought to be in league with neighbouring Serbia. A prime point of study is the Zagreb Treason Trials of 1908-19 and their repercussions. Your knowledge base will slowly increase so that you can make informed comparative judgements (a) about contemporary mentalities and (b) about why these major domestic crises could not be solved by the Empire before 1914.

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