What Happens to Austria-Hungary after a Late CP Victory?

There seems to be a consensus of opinion that America joining the Entente is a death knell for any chance of a German victory. So I decided to butterfly away the Zimmerman telegram. Likewise the sinking of the Lusitania (apparently is was a random ‘lucky break’ for the U-Boat involved anyway). The unrestricted submarine warfare campaign is a little tougher, but can be done, I refer you to OWs latest TL for an inventive way of doing this.

As Susano pointed out a late CP victory will make sure that all the combatants are ‘mortgaged to the hilt’ with war-loans and weary from four years of industrialised manslaughter. So, events proceed pretty much the same as in OTL with exceptions mentioned above. Russia is defeated and humiliated at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and Germany is able to transfer around 50 or so divisions to the western front for a knock out blow.

This is the real POD. Unlike in OTL Ludendorf actually has a vague gameplan in mind. He is quoted as saying ‘we just punch a hole in their line and the rest will follow’. Whilst this proved true in Russia, it wasn’t the case in OTL. But now, Ludendorf has a vague idea of what happens after the hole has been punched. He plans to pin the BEF against the channel and threaten Paris. It’s a close run thing, losses are heavy, but in the end the Germans win through and manage to isolate the BEF and threaten Paris.

Things don’t look great for the Entente at this point and its about to get worse. On the Italian front Von Straussenberg backs Von Hotzendorf (arguably the best of the Austrian WW1 generals) over Boroevic as supreme commander of the Austrian offensive. Von Hotzendorf concentrates his forces for a pinpoint style attack on 15th June 1918 (in OTL VS couldn’t decide between the two generals and divided his forces evenly and allowed both to attack along the entire front, unsurprisingly it was a disaster for the Austrians). The Italian lines are ruptured and after heavy fighting the Italians are forced to retreat. The Austrian breakthrough dislocates the Italian lines and leads to a general withdrawal/route. This is the final straw for the Italians, their army in tatters and the Austrians seemingly about to burst into northern and central Italy, the Italian government requests a cessation of hostilities.

The Italian ‘betrayel’ is the final straw for France. Many units simply refuse to move, when ordered to counter-attack the Germans. First Paris and then the rest of France explodes into violence. Within a few days, what is left of the French gov’t requests an armistice with the CPs.

German sends out peace feelers to Britain and points out that the BEF is still intact…for now, oh and btw they want their colonies back!
Ok, so, there is a rough explanation and the PoD. The relative merits/demerits have been thrashed through on the following thread:

https://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=143823

My question now is, what happens to AH politically? My understanding of AHs position in 1918 is that the Empire is fracturing apart along ethnic lines. However, would such a decisive victory enable it to hold together and cobble its way through to a more stable post war situation? Or simply postpone the collapse till a later event such as a severe economic depression? I've seen in various TLs that AH becomes a: Triple Monarchy, A Quadruple Monarchy or even a Federal Alliance:confused:

Also, as an afterthought, how likely is a victorious AH to demand territorial recompense off the prostrate Italians such as the province of Venetia?
 
It's going to be in a rough state (everyone postwar is in a rough state, but Austria-Hungary is already closer to the brink than most). I suspect victory will save it (at least in the incredibly short term) but I don't have too much hope for its long-term prospects. A good shock and it's probably going down.

...And if there's one thing they don't need, it's more revanchist minorities.
 
Kaiser Karl will have to act quickly. It will not be enough to promise a vague "third kingdom," by this time the full Popovici, 'Imperial States of Austria' plan will be necessary. Likewise, something very important happened in AH in 1917 (or early 1918, I forget, precisely): the Ausgleich renewal came up. Budapest effectively threatened Vienna with starvation to get even further concessions from the Imperial government. If, however, Habsburg arms are seen to be victorious, things will eventually settle down.
 
I'm not so sure it will be quite so difficult. After all, if Austria collapses and Gemrany's won, who will dominate the statelets of Eastern Europe?
 
Germany would try to prop up the Hapsburgs, or start a variation on the "United States of Austria" idea that Franz Ferdinand had. Either way, Germany is key to keep the country together, and to stop it from fragmenting.
 
Germany would try to prop up the Hapsburgs, or start a variation on the "United States of Austria" idea that Franz Ferdinand had. Either way, Germany is key to keep the country together, and to stop it from fragmenting.
Like the Allies saved Russia in 1918?

There's a limit to how much you can do for people who don't want you.
 
Yeah, but the Allies didn't care about the Whites and it was far away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Germany will be very interested in maintaining peace in Central Europe, and the first option will be to help in restoring order in Austria. If that doesn't work, then a peaceful dissolution of AH will be put forward. Habsburgs remain in Hungary, Austria and her dominions absorbed into Germany (a Habsburg archduke remains in Austria, however).

Germany will pursue one or the other option because they will be dead - set on their European Customs Union, and they need peace and order to implement it; also, they won't want any possible violence to spill over into their own country.
 

Germaniac

Donor
Yeah, but the Allies didn't care about the Whites and it was far away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Germany will be very interested in maintaining peace in Central Europe, and the first option will be to help in restoring order in Austria. If that doesn't work, then a peaceful dissolution of AH will be put forward. Habsburgs remain in Hungary, Austria and her dominions absorbed into Germany (a Habsburg archduke remains in Austria, however).

Germany will pursue one or the other option because they will be dead - set on their European Customs Union, and they need peace and order to implement it; also, they won't want any possible violence to spill over into their own country.
First the Hapsburg's will NOT EVER NEVER NO SIR NOT TODAY allow themselves to be simply absorbed into Germany as an archduchy. At the very least they will relinquish the Imperial Crown and become a Kingdom getting the same or greater autonomy that Bavaria had.

Second, Do the Hungarians really want a German Hapsburg Monarch ruling over them at this point. I can understand it happening considering the later movements, but really the wouldn't the hungarians see it as a continuation of Austrian dominance over them.

Alright here is my view, I believe that the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire IS NOT certain, in fact I don't even see it as all that likely. Now this is only my opinion, but If Karl has the complete support of Berlin I see him rebuilding his nation similar to what Germany had. Giving Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, and Transylvania will each be handed off to another Hapsburg Prince, except for Austria which will remain Karl's, and Austria will serve as the Austrian Empire's Prussia.
 
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Eurofed

Banned
At the very least they will relinquish the Imperial Crown and become a Kingdom getting the same (..) autonomy that Bavaria had.
This seems the most likely outcome for Austria and Bohemia.

Second, Do the Hungarians really want a German Hapsburg Monarch ruling over them at this point. I can understand it happening considering the later movements, but really the wouldn't the hungarians see it as a continuation of Austrian dominance over them.
They can easily get a new monarch from one of the manifold German minor royal houses.

Alright here is my view, I believe that the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire IS NOT certain, in fact I don't even see it as all that likely. Now this is only my opinion, but If Karl has the complete support of Berlin I see him rebuilding his nation similar to what Germany had. Giving Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia, Galicia, and Transylvania will each be handed off to another Hapsburg Prince, except for Austria which will remain Karl's, and Austria will serve as the Austrian Empire's Prussia.
I have the opposite view, in that I see the partition as the most likely and beneficial option. Germany stands to gain more if it annexes Austria and Bohemia (and it is much better able to keep the Czech in line than the Habsburg), independent Hungary with autonomous Croatia can do for Germany pretty much everything that A-H did, with much less trouble from the Magyars and Czech, and is somewhat more stable with less abundant and troublesome minorities in comparison. Galicia may be given to the vassal Kingdom of Poland which shall make Poles more amenable to German hegemony. Italy gets its much-coveted Trento, Gorizia, Trieste, Istria, and Dalmatia in the end, and is made a loyal German ally for all time. A unstable ally (A-H) is made two loyal and more stable ones (Italy and Hungary) and one less unhappy vassal (Poland).
 
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Read the POD. Italy was on the wrong side.
So? Eurofed discusses the case where AH is breaking apart and Germany is thinking about its options, which may well include alliances with recent enemies like Italy.

1. If AH breaks apart, all German-populated areas will turn to the German Empire and ask for annexation - as happened IOTL.
2. Given the geographical situation, the Czech would be in no position to resist annexation by a victorious German empire.
3. Galicia is easy pray for Ukraine and Poland - at this point firmly in the German sphere of influence. Partition of Galicia between Poland and Ukraine will appease the local population as well as two vassal countries of Germany.
4. Some form of Hungary will survive - a much smaller and less developped potential partner than AH. Not that bad either. Furthermore, Hungary may be thankful if Germany lends them a hand in securing Slovakia and Croatia.
5. Italy was on the wrong side of the war. True. Providing them with (almost) all they wanted would likely bring them on the right side (from a German viewpoint) AFTER the war. Good deal either.

To conclude: I think it would be easier for Germany to orchestrate AH falling appart than to keep it going and I also think Germany would gain more from it.
 
1. If AH breaks apart, all German-populated areas will turn to the German Empire and ask for annexation - as happened IOTL.
2. Given the geographical situation, the Czech would be in no position to resist annexation by a victorious German empire.
3. Galicia is easy pray for Ukraine and Poland - at this point firmly in the German sphere of influence. Partition of Galicia between Poland and Ukraine will appease the local population as well as two vassal countries of Germany.
4. Some form of Hungary will survive - a much smaller and less developped potential partner than AH. Not that bad either. Furthermore, Hungary may be thankful if Germany lends them a hand in securing Slovakia and Croatia.
Absolutely nothing in this part of your post was questioned by me.

So? Eurofed discusses the case where AH is breaking apart and Germany is thinking about its options, which may well include alliances with recent enemies like Italy.
Yes, have a new alliance with the country that stabbed you in the back in the last Great War over a technicality.

5. Italy was on the wrong side of the war. True. Providing them with (almost) all they wanted would likely bring them on the right side (from a German viewpoint) AFTER the war. Good deal either.
A Italy defeated in WWI is much weaker then OTL Italy. The Germans might give them some territories, but I find it very hard to believe they would give away all the Irredenata territories.
 

Eurofed

Banned
Yes, have a new alliance with the country that stabbed you in the back in the last Great War over a technicality.
Well, of course, we would have to stay in the doghouse for a few years for that, but if German leaders think about it a bit, they know that Italy never had any serious quarrel with them. Our Entente lapse, sheer geopolitical idiocy as it was IMO (we betrayed our natural business and strategic partners to aggrandize revanchist cheese-munchers that sold us for the useless Serbs at the peace table, if we had stayed in the CPs, A-H would have still fallen in the long run, we would have feasted on French booty, and we would have been in an excellent position to pick Habsburg spoils), was from bottom to end about Austria-Hungary. Differently from the "innatural" alliance with Austria, the one with the Kaiserreich was always genuinely popular in Italy. And from the Italian PoV, yes, the Entente lapse was a most serious mistake, but Germany's obsessive love of the Habsburg inbreds instead of picking us as preferred ally was frustrating and maddening. Now that Austria is no more, we can easily and genuinely won over to the victor's side for good (differently from UK, France, or Russia) if we are treated well. Ask the Americans.

Since the whole point is a proper disposition of former Habsburg territories, well there are some that only makes real sense to give Italy, and it shall make us quite loyal afterwards: No South Tyrol of course, but Trento, western Istria, and Gorizia-Gradisca are packed with Italians and of no real use to Germany, and differently from Austria, Germany does not really need Trieste, which is likewise full of Italians. As it concerns eastern Istria and Dalmatia, we may or may not get it in this situation, our chances would of course not be nowhere that good as if we had picked the CP side. It depends whether Germany wants to appease Italy or Hungary more, but Italians quite likely care to get them more than Hungary does, Budapest would mostly really care to get Fiume.

A Italy defeated in WWI is much weaker then OTL Italy.
Nonetheless, in the long term, such weakness would be fleeting. Italy would still be one of the demographic and economic big guys of Europe, and poised to make the economic boom within the German-led economic community. Differently from Britain, France, or Russia, Italy has no serious geopolitical quarrel or revanchist bone with the German hegemony if we are given the Irredenta stuff, quite the contrary Germany was and is our natural economic and strategic partner (even today, our industry is practically an extension of theirs). If we are treated well, after the A-H demise, we can amaze Germany with our eager loyalty in a few years much as we did the Americans OTL, and we can a much useful tool to help the Germans keep the real revanchists to the west and east into line.
 
Just a small question on Germany. After a CP victory would Germany be in a financial position to support the Hapsburgs at all? In my opinion if Germany had a poor or recovering economy it would be more interested in a peaceful dissolution of Austria-Hungry. Not to mention trying to keep all its new vassals from Russian territory in line. Granted I don't know much about the Austrian-Hungarian Empire but I assume if anyone would benefit the most would be Hungry as it would be likely that Germany would annex the German parts of the former empire and leave Hungry as the predominant power in the region to gain it as an ally to replace the Hpasburgs.
 
...it shall not collapse

First of all - while the underlying reasons are more grave, the collapse of the monarchy is a result of the apparent defeat in October 1918. If the CP win the Great War, such a collapse is about as likely as a Räte-Revolution in Germany the same day.

If Austria-Hungary wins the Great war, it will survive into the 1920s with a probability of something like 85-90%. Its politics will be turbulent, there will be separatist parties and Transleithania might achieve full independance unless the whole structure of the monarchy would be overhauled.

Also, any annexations it might win will cause countless troubles, be it in Poland, Romania, Italy or Serbia.

Very much will depend on the abilities of Karl I - and on his survival skills. If he dies in 1924 as in OTL, this might be it.

Just a small question on Germany. After a CP victory would Germany be in a financial position to support the Hapsburgs at all?
That depends on the degree of victory. Is the blockade broken? Will the Entente have to pay reparations to Germany?

But even if German economy might be not far better off than in OTL, they could still manage to send enough "volunteers". Compared to the strain of the Great War, a German engagement in Austria-Hungary would probably be cheap.

it would be more interested in a peaceful dissolution of Austria-Hungry.
Why trading an ally for a mixed pack of small states of which none could be much help? We would need a really rogue Germany which has an interest in killing off its only major ally and half-annexing most of it to become a truly hegemonial power. OK, it might happen.

But I would also like to add, that Germany's post-war concept meant to economically merge Europe in the "Mitteleuropa" customs union. Breaking up of the allied multi-ethnic empire in Europe wouldn't make that easier.

and leave Hungry as the predominant power in the region to gain it as an ally to replace the Habsburgs.
Hungary wouldn't be half as valuable as Austria-Hungary as an ally, IMHO. Austria-Hungary was only on the verge of being a major power. Hungary couldn't dream of reaching that status. While Budapest was a vibrant and growing metropolis at the time, the rest was hopelessly rural and hardly industrialized. Even more than Austria-Hungary, it would over-extend itself as soon as it annexes anything in Serbia and or Romania, or even Bosnia-Herzogovina.
 

Redbeard

Banned
By OTL November 1918 the A-H Empire indeed was deep into a process of dissolution, but I will claim that was only beacuse the army had started cracking already in October 1918. The A-H Empire's destiny first of all was tied to its army, as long as it existed the Empire stood. Please also note, that the various nationalist groupings creating the new states on the ruins of the Empire, were very marginal until very late in OTL WWI and only could take over because of the power vacuum creted by the collapse of the army.

In this ATL the army not only still exist but can see itself as victorious, I very much doubt that we will see anything beyond a few arrests of rebels and perhaps some rioting.

If a Polish state is sometime errected the Poles inside the A-H Empire would expect an option to join, and AFAIK had been promised so. But anyway, my understanding is that the Poles actually felt A-H as the best place to be if no independent Polish state could be created.

In the long run I think the Hungarian question probably is going to be the tough one. In order to please the Hungarians they had in 1867 been given "partner-status" and in that context were given hegemony over a number of Slavic peoples. That is not going to last forever, but reform into a more federal status will meet tough opposition from the Hungarians. I could see a civil war some time in the 20th century - Hungary vs. the rest - which the Hungarians are likely to loose. Perhaps a rump Hungarian independent state is the result, and the rest going on in a "Federal Monarchy".

Regards

Steffen Redbeard
 
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Hungary wouldn't be half as valuable as Austria-Hungary as an ally, IMHO.
That is true, since, as you said, Hungary is much less powerful than AH and would stay so. If the fate of AH in this alternate timeline lies in the hands of Germany, the Germans can decide whether they want South eastern Europe consisting of a bunch of small states which will likely become vassal states of (victorious and expanding) Germany or dominated by a (so far) loyal and weaker Ally. Would Germany prefer a strong and independent partner, or a group of dependent underlings? If you look at American positions regarding the process of European unification, you see that this question has not necessarily a clear answer.

Yes, have a new alliance with the country that stabbed you in the back in the last Great War over a technicality.
Realpolitik. :cool:
 
If you look at American positions regarding the process of European unification, you see that this question has not necessarily a clear answer.
Good point. :rolleyes:

I would say that Germany would try a policy which stabilizes AH far enough to be still viable as an ally, but that it still depends on Germany - which it more or less did since 1879.

In the Mitteleuropa - Konzept, Germany will have to juggle with so many balls, they will be thankful if there is big floating balloon among them rather than 5,6,7 more rogue balls.

PS:
If Germany wanted to kill off the Danube monarchy and annex the German parts of it, it would funnily be so late to do this. A slight re-arrangement of alliances and an alternate Great War would have done it for them (more emphasis on the alliances with Italy and Romania...and maybe a nice offer to Serbia in the years prior to 1914).
 

Susano

Banned
Im not convinced it would be all that difficult to prop up A-H. The Hungarians have a vested interest to keep up the state, too, what with all ttheminorities in Hungary, and then theres the German minorities everywhere, and of course simply the Habsburg loyalists and those whod want to avoid chaos at any price, so there would be a local support base. It will be much, much more difficult for Germany to keep its new eastern vasalls in line, and nobody talks avbout those difficulties. Compared to that, propping up A-H is a piece of cake.

Hungary wouldn't be half as valuable as Austria-Hungary as an ally, IMHO. Austria-Hungary was only on the verge of being a major power. Hungary couldn't dream of reaching that status. While Budapest was a vibrant and growing metropolis at the time, the rest was hopelessly rural and hardly industrialized. Even more than Austria-Hungary, it would over-extend itself as soon as it annexes anything in Serbia and or Romania, or even Bosnia-Herzogovina.
A-H was a great power, one of the Pentarchy. The least of them, sure, but it was "officially" so to say seen as a Great Power.

In the Mitteleuropa - Konzept, Germany will have to juggle with so many balls, they will be thankful if there is big floating balloon among them rather than 5,6,7 more rogue balls.
Yeah, thats what I meant. With Germany economcially and politcially so dominant, and with A-H maybe in need fo an intervention now and then, it woudl de facto be vasallised anyways, but for a change it would be a loyal vasall. Theres absoutely no reason to give that up.
 
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