Franz Joseph dies earlier and Franz Ferdinand is the new emperor of Austria



What is going to happen?

This is my take

1) No invasion of Serbia. No ww1.
wikipedia: "He also advocated a careful approach towards Serbia - repeatedly locking horns with Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, Vienna's hard-line Chief of the General Staff, warning that harsh treatment of Serbia would bring Austria-Hungary into open conflict with Russia, to the ruin of both Empires."

2) the previous Dualism in the Habsburg empire of Austria and Hungaria is turned to a Trialism Austria-Hungary-Southern Slavia and the empire is granted further decades of survival

3) possible clashes with the Hungarians which will see their privileges curtailed under his rule

What do you think about the topic?
 
The best time for this to happen would probably be in 1909: Franz Josef contracted pneumonia and was not expected to survive. In fact, his condition was so severe that all the members of the Habsburg family and courtiers/ministers visited the Hofsburg to pay their last respects. FF and his shadow cabinet were ready at the Belvedere to take charge the moment the news came.

So suppose FJ does indeed die. It is hard to say exactly what would happen, though. One thing that was not a mystery to anyone was that all of the ministers were going to retire en masse, as FF didn't like them anyway, and they wanted to save face. The Hungarians will be alarmed/annoyed but I doubt the new Emperor would intentionally provoke a civil war within a fortnight of acceding to the Throne. That may come sooner rather than later, however, because one of his prime concerns for transleitania was the voting system - FF wanted to grant universal male sufferage to break the power of the landed aristocracy in Hungary.

It seems that he had initially favored the idea of a third crown, either north or south, but realized that in doing so he would most likely make the political establishment even more of a headache, and so had decided to overhaul the Dual Monarchy estabslishment. The Military will probably continue to be a major concern for the new Emperor - the Navy will get its second group of four dreadnoughts, plus the two battlecruisers that were planned. Probably the older ships will be scrapped and new cruisers and destroyers built. The Army will get the proper funding it needs (otl, of the European powers it spent the LEAST money of all the combatants).
That's all I can think of at the moment.
 
FF would have the advantage to be younger and maybe a little less "rigid" in his thinking, so I also think he would want to make more reforms. And as he was a bit "anti-magyar" (hope thats a correct formulation ;))I also think he would have pushed for a third crown - and it would be a southern one - pring Croatia loose of Hungary and creating a "Yugoslav Habsburg Kingdom".

If he is strong enough to be an equal partner to German is doubtful.

IIRC he was friend with Hötzendorf, so maybe he stubbles into a war with Italy ;) - if that means he gives Russia a free hand in the (south) BAlkan nation to secure Russias neutrality in the Italian conflict that actually could be a sucessful ploy ;)

later on a 4th (northern) Crown could please the Czechs (and further weaken Hungary)

BTW 1909 would be a nice POD
 
What was Franz Ferdinand's position on the Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia? Unfortunately our timeline's bout of pneumonia would be too late to derail things even if it was to be fatal, but if it happened say a year earlier then that could change things.
 
I agree with Richter.

My impression was that FF was a diffcult personality, but vigorous and perhaps a kind of "Gordian knot"-guy.

I am surprised and happy that nobody yet made the connection to the idealistic, but hardly workable Popovici-concept. FF is said to have known the idea and liked it, but moved on from it. I am quite certain, that all the time he had his own rather dangerous concept on how to reform Austria-Hungary successfully.

The key lies in Budapest. I am not sure if we can describe him as Anti-Hungarian or if he just sees the disfunctional sides of the Ausgleich-idea and has to work from there.
We might see a "Royal Putch" in Budapest to break the rule of the Hungarian establishment. FF suspends the Transleithanian consitution, all provisions of the Ausgleich and the Hungarian rights in BH.

FF dictates the degree of autonomy Hungaria henceforth enjoys and which would be a model for the other "crowns". He introduces universal suffrage in this Kingdom so the old elites have other issues to deal with politically. Also, he splits of Croatia and lumps it together with BH as the Third Kingdom.
The South Slav idea is a firmly established part of his plans.

I am not sure if FF would do it, but I would split of "Upper Hungary" as well and use it as a carrott on a stick for the Czechs so they swallow a few toads concerning the Germans in Bohemia and Moravia (far-ranging autonomy or splitting B/M and give it to Cisleithania) when it comes to a 4th Crown (Wenceslas). I am certain, that under which conditions ever, a crown for the Croats would make reviving the traditional Bohemian crown inevitable.

To pursue this, FF needs calm and especially no war. He spoke out much against a Serbian war, rightfully so. BH needs developing enough. Serbia is worth little for the trouble and would be as useful as Afghanistan as a 51st state of the USA.
War against Italy? Why take the risk? There is more to lose than to gain, besides, Italy is technically still allied.

In the longer run, a 5th crown for Galicia (the last remaining official kingdom of the construction) might be an interesting idea.

Of course, everything might still go wrong. But better try than....OTL.
 
I agree with Richter.

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War against Italy? Why take the risk? There is more to lose than to gain, besides, Italy is technically still allied.

SNIP
I think its a remote possibility as FF and Hötzendorf were quite close for some time - and Hötzendorf was all for such an action.

AFAIK FF also was a friend of Moritz von Auffenberg - one of the "better" Austrian Generals and short time war Minister (who would probably a modernisation of the Army)

I would like fo follow a timeline bbased on this idea... (helping if I can - but I am quite busy in RL.... Sigh)
 
He would not go to Sarajevo, so he wouldn't be killed of, so WW1 won't happen for that reason. When it comes to reforming the empire, I'm not sure if he had the will or the ability to do anything more than cosmetic reforms. (Not to mention the Habsburg family saw two parliaments as two too many, no way they'd accept even more of them).

And of course the Hungarian question, to try to reform without pissing of the Hungarians is like trying to steal honey from a bee hive without getting stung.
 
He would not go to Sarajevo, so he wouldn't be killed of, so WW1 won't happen for that reason. When it comes to reforming the empire, I'm not sure if he had the will or the ability to do anything more than cosmetic reforms. (Not to mention the Habsburg family saw two parliaments as two too many, no way they'd accept even more of them).

And of course the Hungarian question, to try to reform without pissing of the Hungarians is like trying to steal honey from a bee hive without getting stung.
IMHO, there is no such thing as "cosmetic reforms" in Austria-Hungary. Either you reform big-style, or you do it the Franz Josef way: diligently keeping things clean, but careful not to move the furniture.

I think it is quite well-established that for some unexplicable reason, FF saw a South-Slav 3rd party as the main project after his ascendancy to the throne.

That is a problematic project, but anything more than a cosmetic reform. In fact, it cannot happen without a complete overhaul (or cancellation) of the post-1867 dualism. As the government of Transleithania is dead-set against giving up an autonomous, but large part of its realm, this can only be achieved by a Royal Putch in Budapest.

His antagonism against the Hungarians is beyond doubt, so I think that he wouldn't be worried about "pissing them off". I suspect he might even enjoy it.

By the way, which nationality within the monarchy would feel sympathetic to the Hungarian cause? Also, he would establish universal suffrage in Hungary, so the whole power-arrangements there would shift. Social issues would suddenly be on the agenda and compete with the national cause.

In my assessment, FF would take a big risk by running wild in Budapest - but if he doesn't blunder the action itself and follows it by further reforming the monarchy into a federation of more states (3, later 4 or even more) with slightly less autonomy than Transleithania enjoyed (that means especially no own armed forces - FF didn't trust the Honved - although during the Putch he would of course play the card of being their sovereign and order them to stay put).

Interestingly, the central government was almost autocratic still in 1914; only the two halves had their own Parliaments.
With more Parliaments (Vienna, Budapest, Zagreb....Prague.....Cracow), their importance would shrink. I expect FF to delay reforms leading to opening the can of worms of a central Parliament (the one in Cisleithania was utterly disfunctional and would benefit well from getting the Czechs out, the one in Transleithania was rigged and thus mainly represented the Hungarian elites). I rather expect some sort of Imperial Council similar to the EU commission (a cabinet of appointees of the single "crowns") during his reign.

A proper "Danubian" Parliament might wait well into the mid-20th century. Perhaps Otto introduces it.

In such a shape, AH would be fit to last into the 21st century if it doesn't lose a world war in a desastrous way* and also manages to solve the Czech position within the monarchy in a matter with with a majority of the Czech can live after a few years.

*a moderate loss which results in getting rid one or several ethnic minorities (Romanians, Italians, Polish, Ukrainians) might actually strengthen the monarchy
 
I always wondered how the succession to the Empire would run if FF got the throne earlier...would his children still be considered illegitimate or would he change it now that hes the Head of the House and Emperor to boot?...or would this cause dissension among the Austrians?
 
I always wondered how the succession to the Empire would run if FF got the throne earlier...would his children still be considered illegitimate or would he change it now that hes the Head of the House and Emperor to boot?...or would this cause dissension among the Austrians?
in 1900 FF had to sign a paper that prohibeted his children from ascending the throne. it also stated that even as emperor he would NOT have the power to change this...

But this ONLY applied to the AUSTRIAN Crown... But FF included out of free will that the Hungarian and Bohemian crowns are included...
 
I always wondered how the succession to the Empire would run if FF got the throne earlier...would his children still be considered illegitimate or would he change it now that hes the Head of the House and Emperor to boot?...or would this cause dissension among the Austrians?
For having the children of Franz Ferdinand as legitimate the best option would be make him Emperor before marry Sophie or maybe also make Rudolph live longer and Franz Ferdinand not being the heir at the time of the wedding (the girl had almost all the requisite for a non morganatic wedding: her family was not mediatized but was a very ancient family of high nobility (between her ancestors she had also the sister of the founder of the Habsburg dynasty and many princess)) and he can obtain to marry her not morganatically. A successive legitimation of their wedding and children is really unlikely to being accepted (and also is likely who Franz Joseph asked and Franz Ferdinand promise to do nothing of that kind)
 
For having the children of Franz Ferdinand as legitimate the best option would be make him Emperor before marry Sophie or maybe also make Rudolph live longer and Franz Ferdinand not being the heir at the time of the wedding (the girl had almost all the requisite for a non morganatic wedding: her family was not mediatized but was a very ancient family of high nobility (between her ancestors she had also the sister of the founder of the Habsburg dynasty and many princess)) and he can obtain to marry her not morganatically. A successive legitimation of their wedding and children is really unlikely to being accepted (and also is likely who Franz Joseph asked and Franz Ferdinand promise to do nothing of that kind)
There's also the fact that FF, by 1910, had reconciled himself to his children's status and was actually fairly happy that they'd be able to enjoy normal lives as members of the landed aristocracy instead of having to endure the rarefied atmosphere of being imperial heirs. Also, he was close to the next in line, Archduke Karl, who was something of a protege of his.

The more interesting question, from my standpoint, is what he can do to improve Sophie's status; it was the slights - some of them really petty - against her that really drove him up the wall (among other things, she wasn't allowed to sit alongside him in the royal box at theater performances and wasn't even allowed to ride in a carriage with the same type of golden wheels as the rest of the imperial family; not to mention that whenever she tried to hold a ball, some of the "legitimate" imperial archduchesses would throw their own balls on the same night, just to screw with her). I know that he planned to declare her First Lady of the realm.
 
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I think its a remote possibility as FF and Hötzendorf were quite close for some time - and Hötzendorf was all for such an action.
Employing someone for reasons such as competence or expecting a good working-relationship is not the same as giving him a free reign in starting an unprovoced war of aggression.
Although, I admit I would give Conrad little credit on point 1 or 2.

But this ONLY applied to the AUSTRIAN Crown... But FF included out of free will that the Hungarian and Bohemian crowns are included...
THIS is very interesting as the Bohemian Crown should under the construction of the Ausgleich not be an issue. Also, do I remember correctly that his wife was Bohemian? I think that expecting a Quadralism under FF is not that far fetched.
 
FF would have the advantage to be younger and maybe a little less "rigid" in his thinking, so I also think he would want to make more reforms. And as he was a bit "anti-magyar" (hope thats a correct formulation ;))I also think he would have pushed for a third crown - and it would be a southern one - pring Croatia loose of Hungary and creating a "Yugoslav Habsburg Kingdom".

If he is strong enough to be an equal partner to German is doubtful.

IIRC he was friend with Hötzendorf, so maybe he stubbles into a war with Italy ;) - if that means he gives Russia a free hand in the (south) BAlkan nation to secure Russias neutrality in the Italian conflict that actually could be a sucessful ploy ;)

later on a 4th (northern) Crown could please the Czechs (and further weaken Hungary)

BTW 1909 would be a nice POD
http://www.amazon.com/Archduke-Sarajevo-Romance-Tragedy-Ferdinand/dp/0316109517/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357834201&sr=1-1&keywords=Archduke+of+Sarajevo
According to this he abandoned Trialism in 1907 when he seriously explored the option and realized it would make the political gridlock worse by having yet another ethnic group making demands during the Ausgleich negotiations.
FF wanted to confront Hungary and introduce universal male sufrage there to break the lock the Hungarian nobility had on the Hungarian political process (only 5% of the population could vote, those with noble heritage).
FF was an archconservative and was totally against any more crowns being added to the Empire, in fact according to his personal paper he wanted to centralize the country again and have a single crown without a parliament, but realized that it would be too difficult to pull off, so he was just going to break the Hungarian ruling class and play various ethnicities off against one another to rule. Basically he wanted divide and conquer within the current system with some reforms that weakened his political rivals.

FF was also a pacifist in that he realized a war would destroy the country, so he wanted nothing to do with war with anyone. The only guy that wanted war with Italy was Conrad and he was viewed as a nut by the entire political establishment, including FF, who replaced him once in 1912, brought him back in 1913 when the interm guy was not up to the job, and then was going to replace him by 1915. So FF is never going to war unless someone declares it on him.
http://www.amazon.com/Franz-Conrad-Von-Hotzendorf-Apocalypse/dp/0391040979
This book has interesting stuff about Conrad's pathological issues and his very poor relations with FF by 1910.
 
FF wanted to confront Hungary and introduce universal male sufrage there to break the lock the Hungarian nobility had on the Hungarian political process (only 5% of the population could vote, those with noble heritage). FF was an archconservative and was totally against any more crowns being added to the Empire, in fact according to his personal paper he wanted to centralize the country again and have a single crown without a parliament, but realized that it would be too difficult to pull off, so he was just going to break the Hungarian ruling class and play various ethnicities off against one another to rule. Basically he wanted divide and conquer within the current system with some reforms that weakened his political rivals.
Well breaking the lock on political power the Hungarian nobility had would probably be a good thing, once everyone has universal male suffrage for those that are twenty-one years of age would it be better or worse if Hungary lost control of Croatia-Slavonia and Bosnia? On the one hand it reduces the Hungarian's power even more, on the other it pretty much creates a fairly homogeneous ethnically Hungarian territory so less possible groups to play off against each other.

In a dream scenario when crushing the Hungarian nobility he'd somehow be able to get the Hungarian crown made hereditary and cancel the Ausgleich. Have one central parliament and military with all the powers and give the Czechs and Slovaks, Hungarians, and southern Slavs - bolt Croatia-Slavonia Istria and Bosnia together - their own mini-parliaments but with very limited devolved powers that are overseen by the main one. Whether that keeps things solidly together to simply sets up the paths for things to break apart along in the future I don't know. If it was me I'd break off Transylvania as well and offer the local Hungarians cheap land and cash incentives to move back to Hungary proper but that would probably be pushing things completely too far. :)
 
Well breaking the lock on political power the Hungarian nobility had would probably be a good thing, once everyone has universal male suffrage for those that are twenty-one years of age would it be better or worse if Hungary lost control of Croatia-Slavonia and Bosnia? On the one hand it reduces the Hungarian's power even more, on the other it pretty much creates a fairly homogeneous ethnically Hungarian territory so less possible groups to play off against each other.
It doesn't matter for political reasons if the Southern Slavic areas are better off or not in Hungary; with Hungary having only about 50% ethnic Magyars in its territory its better for the Habsburgs to have them as part of Hungary, so as to create dissent and a power block that can be used to undermine Hungarian intransigence (which probably would evaporate once the poor Magyars, 90% of the ethnic Magyars in 1914, got the vote and could go after the ruling class) during Ausgleich negotiations, as the negotiators would be selected by a much different Hungarian parliament with universal male suffrage open to all ethnicities, especially as the minority groups would be very keen on gaining political protections by forming coalitions against the Magyars. I expect that the Honved and Landwehr could be abolished in favor of the Combined Army just to stick it to the Magyars; not to mention the funding problems the army had would evaporate overnight with promises of political favors by the Habsburgs. Koerber's 1904 plan is the perfect model of how A-H should and could have been run, both for the betterment of the Habsburg position, but also the economic health of the Empire. One of the major reasons that A-H fell behind economically was because the lack of government investment in the economy, which is why Germany pulled ahead. A-H was just starting to catch up, as in the last 5 or so years before the war the government started seriously spending, which caused the A-H economy to grow faster in real terms than any country in Europe.

In a dream scenario when crushing the Hungarian nobility he'd somehow be able to get the Hungarian crown made hereditary and cancel the Ausgleich. Have one central parliament and military with all the powers and give the Czechs and Slovaks, Hungarians, and southern Slavs - bolt Croatia-Slavonia Istria and Bosnia together - their own mini-parliaments but with very limited devolved powers that are overseen by the main one. Whether that keeps things solidly together to simply sets up the paths for things to break apart along in the future I don't know. If it was me I'd break off Transylvania as well and offer the local Hungarians cheap land and cash incentives to move back to Hungary proper but that would probably be pushing things completely too far. :)
Yeah, this is way off. Frankly the best thing would be to have a unified Empire with a single parliament, IIRC Metternich recommended something like this in the 1830's, with regional administrations like US states and minority rights as part of the constitution. Its a pipe-dream though; the Dual Monarchy was the only way to go given the attitudes at the time, so reform and clever deal making would need to be made the run the thing; plus a heavily pushed school curriculum pushing pan-ethnic values that the Habsburgs represent, that the empire should transcend petty ethnic squabbles and focus on the mission of a greater strength through diversity.
 
As much as Sophie was mobbed until her untimely death in OTL, it would be hard to continue doing so once she is the spouse of the Kaiser und König. I also assume that he accepted that his children would neve take over the crown(s). Besides, they are wild cards wheras Karl would be weak, but a decent person and Otto might be a jackpot when it comes to monarchs.

There are the following nitpicks:

- if FF tries to introduce universal male suffrage in Transleithania, the struggle is as hard, he could almost just as well go for splitting of Croatia

- maybe that would be a pro for a monarchical ruler with autocratic tendencies, but a complete Austro-Hungarian-Parliament in the 1910s would be absolutely disfunctional. It would be (Vienna Reichstag)².

-"cleansing" Transsilvania? Why? So that Romanian irredentism gets more justifiable by the day?

- divide and impera as the main glue for the monarchy? Nothing new, that was how it worked. The Habsburs placed Hungarians over Romanians/Slovaks and to a degree Croats, but gave Croats a good degree of autonomy, placed Italians over Croats and Slovenes in the Küstenland, placed Poles over Ruthenes and Ukrainians and Germans over Czechs within Cisleithania. It "worked" because it gave a lot of groups some kind of "sub-domination" they might lose.
 
Also you guys shouldn't forged that Croatia-Slavonia (and Dalmatia in their own mind) allready had a prliment so FF can't give what already exist.

I personaly believe one of the best thing for A-H would have been accepting the name Habsburg Monarchy made out of it constitutent kingdoms (Hungary, Bohemia, Galizia, Croatia, Bosnia) + Archdutchy of Austria with every kingdom (and archdutchy) having its own parliment and then a central parliment for the entire monarchy.
 
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