Austria-Hungary survives WW1 and interwar years.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by HirosKnights, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    Hi all. First time posting on here. I thought of an idea for a scenario where Austria Hungary signs an early peace deal with the Entente and manages to survive, albeit weakened into the 30's, as well as some possible events. It's fairly bare, but what are your thoughts and suggestions?

    Early 1918 – Following an Italian breakthrough into Austria, Austria Hungary signs separate peace with Entente. Istria, Zadar and South Tyrol go to Italy. Bosnia becomes part of the new nation of Yugoslavia. Transylvania remains in Austria Hungary as an Armistice had been signed with Romania just months before. However, the occupation of Romania ends. Following the peace treaty, Austria Hungary can keep an army of 175,000 with no air force and only the most basic of navies.

    1919 – Austrian forces and paramilitaries prevent Soviet regime in Hungary, cementing their position within Austria Hungary

    1921 – Galicia is annexed by Poland. Weakened, Austria Hungary is powerless to stop this.

    1920 – 1930. Austria Hungary is reformed into a loose federation, based on the united states of Greater Austria concept.

    1935 – A Yugofascist government comes to power in Yugoslavia, with the goal of uniting all Slavic people within Yugoslavia. Austria Hungary begins rearming in secret, assisted by Czech aviation exports.

    1937 – Recognising the increasingly aggressive and pro German Yugoslavian regime, a “Bled agreement” is signed between France, a reluctant Romania and Austria Hungary to amend the original treaty and allow Austria Hungary to rearm.

    September 29th 1938 – Munich Agreement takes place. Hitler demands the Sudetenlands. Despite Austria Hungary’s protests, the Sudetenlands are ceded. Britain and France are unwilling to start a new European war for the sake of the country that started the last one.

    Hitler has a particular ire with Austria Hungary, blaming the separate armistice for the German loss in the last war and also states annexing Austria and other majority German areas within the empire as an eventual goal.

    December 1938 – Fearing being dragged into a war with Germany and with much of the population sympathetic to the Yugoslavian regime, Croatia votes in a referendum to leave Austria Hungary.

    February 1938 – Slovene Parliament narrowly votes to remain in Austria Hungary. Bohemia remains by vast margin, fearing further German aggression.

    10th March 1939 – Yugoslavia annexes Croatia to no resistance.

    16th March 1939 – Calling the Parliamentary vote undemocratic and encouraged by the weakness of Austria Hungary during the Sudetenland crisis (And lack of reaction to the Croatian annex), Yugoslavian troops enter Slovenia, believing Austria Hungary to still be mostly disarmed. Austria Hungary promptly declares war on Yugoslavia despite the possibility of German or Italian intervention.

    8th April 1939 – In a surprisingly swift war, Slovenia and Croatia are retaken and Belgrade is captured following an intensive bombing campaign. An armistice is signed the next day. Yugoslavia is to be reformed into Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Bosnia and Croatia are reincorporated into Austria Hungary with promises for self-determination at a later date. Surprised by the extent of Austria Hungary’s rearmament and their military accomplishment in the Yugoslav war, Hitler cancels plans for an Anschluss of Austria.

    1st September 1939 – Germany attacks Poland. WW2 begins. Austria Hungary remains neutral for now.
     
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  2. Maeglin Lómion

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    The existence of Austria-Hungary would induce butterflies. You might avoid Hitler altogether.
     
  3. Jiraiyathegallant Well-Known Member

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    Jun 4, 2012
    Austria remaining neutral during the invasion of Poland seems rather foolish. Forcing the Germans to fight on a third major front would probably cause a rapid German collapse, enable Austria to remove its only unmanageable security threat, and reclaim the Sudetenland. Assuming the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed, a successful conquest of Poland gives Austria unmanageable security threat on their border in addition to still having Italy and Romania.

    Like, this is probably the difference between having the Germans neutralized in one campaign, the Soviets contained, Italy/Romania too weak to do anything, and your status as a Great Power restored... or getting quickly gobbled up by any combination of the above. Poland and France seem too obvious for Austria’s Allies and not pursuing those alliances doesn’t seem to make sense.

    What’s motivating their decision to stay neutral?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  4. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    A mixture of reluctance of some constituent parts of the country to get involved, the vulnerability of Prague in particular and a fear that Italy may get involved leading to a war on 2 fronts.

    You're right that strategically it seems like a now or never moment to enter the war favourably, and I think the Austrians and some Czechs would be making those arguments in particular. Germany would not be able to devote the same forces into Poland that they did in our timeline as they would be concerned about an Austrian attack, so I think Poland would last longer in this scenario, at least until the Soviets enter.
     
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  5. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    A few other thoughts. Although the infantry would probably be competitive with Germany and Italy, the Austria Hungary air force would be inferior, based on Czech avia airplane designs and old Italian imports. I think they'd receive newer types off Britain as Finland did over the winter, but still not enough to compete with the luftwaffe.

    As for armour, Austria Hungary would have very little and Germany would be able to blitzkrieg into czechoslovakia, probably stopping short of the Danube. I think Austria Hungary's best bet is to keep the fighting contained to the Alps and sudeten mountains which would limit armour to the valleys.

    Also I could imagine Italy trying to invade through Montenegro and / or Serbia but failing like they did against Greece upon their entry into the war.
     
  6. Inter2010 Well-Known Member

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    Jun 17, 2018
    First of all, there would be no Yugoslavia, but enlarged Serbia.
    Second, Croatia stripped of its ethnic teritory would be hostile to Habsburgs and Serbia at the same time. Nice potential for communists.

    Survived A-H butterflies interwar Hungary, Czechoslovakian-Polish relations, Austrofascists, Mussolini wolud face much stronger opponent then Yugoslavia....

    Alliance of Poland, A-H and France would be nightmare for Hitler. On the other side, Serbia would be in Axis, along with Italy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  7. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    It is basically an enlarged Serbia and I think most would probably still refer to them as Serbia.

    Croatians wouldn't necessarily be happy about being annexed by Yugoslavia, but wouldn't be able to resist much. Croatian citizens would probably be in an unenviable position of having to choose between supporting the Yugoslav regime or the habsburgs during the war itself though. Who do you think theyd tend to side with? Austria Hungary is at least promising self determination after the war.

    As for communists, I didn't think of that. Were there any communist movements in that area of the world at the time to draw some inspiration from?
     
  8. Inter2010 Well-Known Member

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    Jun 17, 2018
    Since I'm Croatian, I can answer this. Giving up Istria and Zara to Italians, and Bosnia to enlarged Serbia would, most likely, end up in massive, proto-bolshevik revolution in Croatia.
    Croats were loyal to the Habsburg monarchy for centuries, especially in the First World War, and the surrender of these territories would have been seen as an unseen act of betrayal. I guess that federalization would somehow calm down various nationalities, but not Croatians considering what territories would be given in peace treaty.

    On the other hand, staying in Austria-Hungary would have been perceived as lesser evil. Serbia would also not be attractive, given that fascist Serbia would have pretensions to Dalmatia and Slavonia, and that Italy also claim rights to Dalmatia, Croats would probably end up in the Second World War in the partisans and would not fight for Austria-Hungary.
     
  9. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    You have probably avoided Mussolini.

    i will go for a stalemate at Caporetto, with A-H no more able to continue to fight and the internal situation in Italy more tense without the scare of the Austrian invasion an agreement can be reached even if Sonnino (italian foreign ministier will try to get everything agreed in the Treaty of London) and the German will try to stop this even by occupy A-H.
    On the other hand it can give at Germany leaderships an excuse to ask a surrender in a better position than OTL
     
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  10. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    Very interesting points, and I think there would have been lots of Croatian resentment to the notion that Istria and Zara were ceded after the war at the expense of keeping transylvania (in reality it was easier to keep transylvania as Romania was still capitulated when Austro Hungary leaves the great war.

    And I was thinking that perhaps a lot of croats would rally around Austria Hungary after Italy enter WW2, albeit not out of any love for the Habsburg regime. What do you think?
     
  11. Inter2010 Well-Known Member

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    It really depends how is A-H federalized. Is Triune kingdom still separated? Absolute minimum would be Croatia as united country. Without it, there is no way for fighting for Habsburgs. If are Habsburg half saned, they would ask for given teritories after war. Problem is that Italians and Serbs are enemies, too.

    Also, in this scenario there would be no Italian-sponsored Ustashas?
     
  12. HirosKnights Member

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    I imagined the Triune United as federalised croatia, and that dalmatia, Slavonia and Croatia proper is the territory that votes to secede in 1938.

    Do you think the equivalent of the Ustashas would have sided with 'yugoslavia' in the 1939 war? Also would the promise of self determination after WW2 be enough, or would some still fight for the Axis, perhaps believing that the 1938 referendum wasn't respected
     
  13. knightdepaix Well-Known Member

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    Jan 26, 2018
    Why must an Austria-Hungary scenario? How about an Anschluss but Bohemia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia as federated states would remain in the nation. The capital is located at Budapest. Romania would lose the Hungarian populated enclave in Transylvania to the Hungarian led nation but take other parts of Transylvania. Prince Otto would became Otto I of Hungary and the rest except as Ottokar III of Bohemia.

    Could this entity survive the ww2? If so there would be a Karl V of Hungary and the rest except as IV of the Czech.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  14. Inter2010 Well-Known Member

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    Problem is they wouldn't cede. Especially no to fascist Serbia. AH is lesser evil and much more developed country. Yugoslavism is overrated. In OTL, in 1918. Croatia was forced to join Serbia in new country so that she could keep teritories from Italy. What kind of fascism is in Serbia? I guess pretty much like in Romania. Orthodox based, and Serbs are destined to unite all South Slavs under new Serbian empire. Ain't gonna happen, since Serbs would have enormous problems with Macedonians, Muslims, Croats in Herzegovina, annexed Montenegro, and Albanians. Serbia would try what they try in OTL. Forceful assimilations and deportations. After Bosnia, they would ask for more. Much more. Vojvodina, Dalmatia, Slavonia.

    In this scenario there is no Little Entente, and AH is on good terms with Bulgaria. That would have massive ramifications on Balkan policy.

    Ustashas movement wouldn't develop as in OTL. Interwar period would be a constant clash between pro-Habsburg and pro-independence. Nobody likes Italians, and nobody likes fascist Serbia. Self determination inculedes also return of integral teritories and large autonomy.

    But, problem is that Soviets are around and I don't see how to eliminate communist in such large and multiethnic empire. There would be increased demands from all nationalities, and I don't see that Hungarians would give their influence so easily.

    OK, but how to create this?
    WW1 ends with Serbian Bosnia, I guess with annexed Montenegro too, but Vojvodina stays in AH monarchy. Basically, AH lost a war.

    This Hungary-wank would last very short.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  15. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    In the scenario the main reason for the vote and Croatian independence is the threat of war with Germany. I think that'd probably be enough for the vote to take place after the sudetenlands were ceded.

    I think Bulgaria would worry about being next if things went badly for Austria Hungary so would remain on good terms with them.

    The Serbian fascist government would have a lot of the problems you describe and be weaker than it appears to the outside world. The problems with their own minorities and unity contribute to the quick victory in the 1939 war for Austria Hungary.

    As for hungarians giving up their influence, a lot would have been lost in the 1919 revolution where Austria bailed them out. How do you think other areas of the empire would stave off communism?
     
  16. Marko Well-Known Member

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    I would disagree on the Croat reaction. Though Istria and BiH were seen as historic Croat lands they were under no control of Croatian diet. If the concession to Italy would be limited to what Italy got after WWI there would be very little change in the area governed by the diet and ban in comparison to the pre WWI situation. Depending on the actions of the Italian and Serbian forces in their respected annexed regions the support for the Hapsburgs could easily be increased as the monarchy would be seen as a bulwark against Italian and Serbian encroachment.

    In many ways the situation of OTL autumn/winter 1918 was fueled by the attempts of the Croatian diet to maintain its territorial jurisdiction.


    Whether later events lead to stronger or weaker communist support is hard to predict but it is unlikely based on the development of the region as well general ideological tendencies among the population.
     
  17. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

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    Can't we have A-H somehow do better enough against the Italians? So that why they can keep Istria and Zara and the Allies don't back Italy claims? That why you stop the Croatians resentment. I rather want that so we can have an future Austrian-Italian War.
     
  18. HirosKnights Member

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    Mar 14, 2019
    In order to survive, Austria Hungary would need to leave the war early before the starvation hardships set in further. Because of the Russian revolution Italy would have to be the ones to secure victory in WW1

    Italy would enter WW2 on Germany's side as their eyes were set on dalmatia. Austria Hungary would also want to retake the lost territories in the event of an allied victory.

    I could see Austria Hungary surprising Italy and perhaps even advancing. Its Germany they would struggle with
     
  19. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    Italianization of the new territory...but in a softer manner than the fascist; change in the name of the cities and road, encouragement for everyone working for the state to voluntary changes their name and surname and italian as an obbligatory language at school; on the other hand i doubt that they will made illegal the teaching and the use of croats and slovens in the administration and in the law courts. Very probable an encouragement of italian internal immigration in this new territory and emigration of the slavic population (nothing of forced, more about giving some financial and administrative incentive if they want to relocate in the A-H)

    I doubt that Italy will want dow A-H for Dalmatia, in this scenatio OTL Mussolini takeover has been very probably butterflied away as i doubt Caporetto had happened (offensive transformed in a stalemate or more simple delayed for various reason in the spring, giving time to Karl and co. to sue for a separate peace) and even all the problems at Versailles has basically gone avoiding a lot of losing face by the liberal goverment. Better remember that the 11th battle of the isonzo just before the defeat of Caporetto, almost caused a collapse of the Austrian line, the only reason that this was avoided was the lack of italian reserve at the last stage of the offensive (plus some bad luck and the usual problems of the italian army), so maybe a better offensive there (the offensive ended in the middle of september 1917) caused A-H to ask a separate peace by the end of 1917.
    The early bow out of A-H can also cause Germany to surrender early and this also mean some butterfly for Versailles, expecially regarding reparations and military limits...even because without the OTL Anshluss Germany capacity to start any WWII will be more limited
     
  20. Evil Crusader Well-Known Member

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    If they do better though, why fold?