Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Karl A. Roider, Jr


The army of the Habsburg Monarchy was the central institution of the Habsburg state, and it embodied the ideal of non-national, dynastic rule. The army leadership was aware of the dangers of nationalism, but in the period between the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the revolutions of 1848, no attempt was made to overcome the danger of national disaffection. The revolutions of 1848 caused the army to remove Hungarian and Italian units from their homelands, but, despite the suspicion in which they were held, these troops fought well in the wars of 1859 and 1866. The financial weakness of the Monarchy and the coming of home rule to Hungary caused this policy of garrisoning Hungarian units outside of Hungary to be gradually abandoned after 1867. The worsening of relations with Russia after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 led the Monarchy's army to undertake a series of reforms designed to reduce the time needed for mobilization. Central to rapid mobilization was a "territorial" system wherein most of the Monarchy's soldiers were garrisoned in their recruiting districts. Despite the growth of nationalist agitation, the army leadership expressed no fears for the loyalty of the troops. Nonetheless, the army became deeply involved in suppressing nationalist unrest, especially in Bohemia and Hungary. This process culminated in 1905 with proposals for full-scale military intervention in Hungary. In the last decade before the outbreak of the First World War the army leadership, aware of the growing of nationalist feeling and the growing social isolation of the officer corps, sought to develop its own plans for a renewal of the Monarchy. These various plans, which became increasingly pessimistic, involved proposed wars with Italy or Serbia or support for the plans of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Monarchy's heir-apparent, who intended to begin his reign with a military coup in Hungary that would enable him to reconstruct the Monarchy as a centralized state. By 1914 the army leadership, though not the soldiers in the ranks, had come to despair of the Monarchy's future.