This post is an edited transcript the The reasons of the very first World War through Margaret MacMillan ~ above Dan Snow’s background Hit, an initial broadcast 17 December 2017. You deserve to listen come the complete episode below or come the complete podcast for cost-free on Acast.

You are watching: How did nationalism affect the austrian empire

By the moment of world War One, Austria-Hungary had survived because that a really long time together a collection of muddles and also compromises.

The empire was spread throughout a vast swathe of central and east Europe, encompassing the modern-day states of Austria and also Hungary, and the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and components of present Poland, Romania, Italy, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia and also Montenegro.

The concept of a mutual national identification was always going to it is in a trouble given the different nature of the union and the number of ethnic groups involved – many of whom were keen to form their very own nation.


Margaret MacMillan talks to her nephew Dan around the road to 1914. They talk about the function that mrs insecurity play in the build up to the war and likewise examine the build of and myths surrounding nationalistic feeling in the pre-war years.
Watch Now

Nonetheless, until the increase of nationalism in the year preceding people War One, the empire had regulated to combine a degree of self-governance, with particular levels the devolution operation alongside the main government.

Various diets – consisting of the Diet the Hungary and also the Croatian-Slavonian Diet – and also parliaments enabled the Empire’s topics to feel some sense of dual-identity.

We’ll never understand for sure, however without the merged forces the nationalism in the very first World War, it’s feasible that Austria-Hungary can have lugged on right into the 20th and also 21st century as a type of prototype because that the european Union.

It was possible to it is in both a good servant the the Kaiser and proud of Austria-Hungary and identify together a Czech or a Pole.

But, increasingly, as civilization War One approached, nationalist voices started to firmly insist that you couldn’t be both. Poles must want an elevation Poland, simply as every true Serb, Croat, Czech or Slovak should demand independence. Nationalism was start to tear Austria-Hungary apart.


The very first day that the battle of the Somme holds an well known record because that the brother army, gift the bloodiest work in its history. But the battle wasn't simply being combated in no-man's land. In ~ the soil a dreadful, silent battle was acquisition place, together British and also German engineers tunnelled and counter-tunnelled in a vicious war of explosives and also hand-to-hand fighting.
Watch Now

The risk of Serbian nationalism

Key decision-makers in Austria-Hungary had been wanting to walk to war through Serbia for some time.

The chief of the Austrian basic Staff, Conrad von Hötzendorf, had dubbed for war v Serbia a dozen times prior to 1914. This was due to the fact that Serbia was farming in power and also becoming a magnet for the south Slav people, consisting of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, many of whom lived within Austria-Hungary.


Conrad von Hötzendorf had called for war through Serbia a dozen times before 1914.

For Austria-Hungary, Serbia was an existential threat. If Serbia had actually its method and the south Slavs began to leave, climate surely that was just a matter of time prior to the Poles in the north would want out.

Meanwhile, the Ruthenians were start to build a nationwide consciousness that might lead come them wanting to sign up with with the Russian Empire and also the Czechs and also the Slovaks were currently demanding much more and much more power. Serbia had to be quit if the realm was to survive.

When Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary had actually the perfect excuse to go to war with Serbia.


The assassination that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the perfect pardon to go to war with Serbia.

See more: How To Make A Mini Bike Faster, Can It Do 50Mph

Backed by Germany, the Austro-Hungarian leader presented a perform of needs – recognized as the July Ultimatum – come Serbia that they thought would never ever be accepted. Sure enough, the Serbs, who were provided just 48 hrs to answer, embraced nine that the proposals however only partially welcomed one. Austria-Hungary declared war.