Coordinates: 48°12′N 16°21′E / 48.200°N 16.350°E / 48.200; 16.350

Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie  (German)
Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia  (Hungarian)
Motto: Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter
"Indivisibly and Inseparably"
Anthem: Gott erhalte Gott beschütze
"God shall save, God shall protect"
Austria-Hungary on the eve of World War I
Austria-Hungary on the eve of World War I
Capital Vienna (main)[1]
Official languages German, Hungarian[2]
Common languages Czech, Croatian, Italian, Polish, Romani, Romanian, Rusyn, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Ukrainian, and Yiddish[3]
Religion 76.6% Catholic (incl. 64–66% Latin & 10–12% Eastern)
8.9% Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed, Unitarian)
8.7% Orthodox
4.4% Jewish
1.3% Muslim
(1910 census[4])
Demonym Austro-Hungarian
Government Dual parliamentary constitutional monarchy personal union, under a liberal autocracy in Austria, and parliamentarism in Hungary
• 1867–1916
Franz Joseph I
• 1916–1918
Charles I & IV
of Austria
• 1867
Friedrich von Beust (first)
• 1918
Heinrich Lammasch (last)
Prime Minister
of Hungary
• 1867–1871
Gyula Andrássy (first)
• 1918
János Hadik (last)
Legislature 2 national legislatures:
House of Magnates
House of Representatives
Historical era New Imperialism/World War I
1 March 1867
• Czechoslovak indep.
28 October 1918
• State of SCS indep.
29 October 1918
• Vojvodina lost to Serbia
25 November 1918
11 November 1918
• Treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Trianon
10 September 1919 and 4 June 1920
• 1914
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Austrian Empire
Republic of German-Austria
Hungarian Democratic Republic
First Czechoslovak Republic
West Ukrainian People's Republic
Second Polish Republic
Kingdom of Romania
Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Kingdom of Italy
Today part of

Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy in English-language sources, was a constitutional union of the Austrian Empire (the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council, or Cisleithania) and the Kingdom of Hungary (Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen or Transleithania) that existed from 1867 to 1918, when it self-dissolved at the end of World War I. The union was a result of the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and came into existence on 30 March 1867. Austria-Hungary consisted of two monarchies (Austria and Hungary), and one autonomous region: the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia under the Hungarian crown, which negotiated the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement (Nagodba) in 1868. It was ruled by the House of Habsburg, and constituted the last phase in the constitutional evolution of the Habsburg Monarchy. Following the 1867 reforms, the Austrian and the Hungarian states were co-equal. Foreign affairs and the military came under joint oversight, but all other governmental faculties were divided between respective states.

Austria-Hungary was a multinational state and one of the world's great powers at the time. Austria-Hungary was geographically the second-largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire, at 621,538 km2 (239,977 sq mi),[6] and the third-most populous (after Russia and the German Empire). The Empire built up the fourth-largest machine building industry of the world, after the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.[7] Austria-Hungary also became the world's third largest manufacturer and exporter of electric home appliances, electric industrial appliances and power generation apparatus for power plants, after the United States and the German Empire.[8][9]

After 1878, Bosnia and Herzegovina was under Austro-Hungarian military and civilian rule[10] until it was fully annexed in 1908, provoking the Bosnian crisis among the other powers.[11] Sandžak/Raška, de jure northern part of the Ottoman Sanjak of Novi Pazar (in modern-day Montenegro and Serbia), was also under de facto joint occupation during that period but the Austro-Hungarian army withdrew as part of their annexation of Bosnia.[12] The annexation of Bosnia also led to Islam being recognized as an official state religion due to Bosnia's Muslim population.[13]

Austria-Hungary was one of the Central Powers in World War I. It was already effectively dissolved by the time the military authorities signed the armistice of Villa Giusti on 3 November 1918. The Kingdom of Hungary and the First Austrian Republic were treated as its successors de jure, whereas the independence of the West Slavs and South Slavs of the Empire as the First Czechoslovak Republic, the Second Polish Republic and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, respectively, and most of the territorial demands of the Kingdom of Romania were also recognized by the victorious powers in 1920.

Structure and name

The realm's full, official name was The Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of St. Stephen.

German: Die im Reichsrat vertretenen Königreiche und Länder und die Länder der Heiligen Ungarischen Stephanskrone

Hungarian: A Birodalmi Tanácsban képviselt királyságok és országok és a Magyar Szent Korona országai

The Habsburg monarch ruled as Emperor of Austria[14] over the western and northern half of the country that was the Austrian Empire ("Lands Represented in the Imperial Council", or Cisleithania)[6] and as King of Hungary[14] over the Kingdom of Hungary ("Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen", or Transleithania).[6] Each enjoyed considerable sovereignty with only a few joint affairs (principally foreign relations and defence).[15]

Certain regions, such as Polish Galicia within Cisleithania and Croatia (officially the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia, even though Dalmatia was in the Cisleithanian part of the Dual Monarchy) within Transleithania, enjoyed autonomous status, each with its own unique governmental structures (see: Polish Autonomy in Galicia and Croatian–Hungarian Settlement).

Franz Joseph I (1885)

The division between Austria and Hungary was so marked that there was no common citizenship: one was either an Austrian citizen or a Hungarian citizen, never both.[16][17] This also meant that there were always separate Austrian and Hungarian passports, never a common one.[18][19] However, neither Austrian nor Hungarian passports were used in the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia. Instead, the Kingdom issued its own passports which were written in Croatian and French and displayed the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia-Dalmatia on them.[20] It is not known what kind of passports were used in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was under the control of both Austria and Hungary.[citation needed]

The Kingdom of Hungary had always maintained a separate parliament, the Diet of Hungary, even after the Austrian Empire was created in 1804.[21] The administration and government of the Kingdom of Hungary (until 1848–49 Hungarian revolution) remained largely untouched by the government structure of the overarching Austrian Empire. Hungary's central government structures remained well separated from the Austrian imperial government. The country was governed by the Council of Lieutenancy of Hungary (the Gubernium) – located in Pressburg and later in Pest – and by the Hungarian Royal Court Chancellery in Vienna.[22] The Hungarian government and Hungarian parliament were suspended after the Hungarian revolution of 1848, and were reinstated after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867.

Despite Austria and Hungary sharing a common currency, they were fiscally sovereign and independent entities.[23] Since the beginnings of the personal union (from 1527), the government of the Kingdom of Hungary could preserve its separated and independent budget. After the revolution of 1848–1849, the Hungarian budget was amalgamated with the Austrian, and it was only after the Compromise of 1867 that Hungary obtained a separate budget.[24] From 1527 (the creation of the monarchic personal union) to 1851, the Kingdom of Hungary maintained its own customs controls, which separated her from the other parts of the Habsburg-ruled territories.[25] After 1867, the Austrian and Hungarian customs union agreement had to be renegotiated and stipulated every ten years. The agreements were renewed and signed by Vienna and Budapest at the end of every decade because both countries hoped to derive mutual economic benefit from the customs union. The Austrian Empire and Kingdom of Hungary contracted their foreign commercial treaties independently of each other.[6]

Austria-Hungary was a great power but it contained a large number of ethnic groups that sought their own nation. The Dual Monarchy was effectively ruled by a coalition of the two most powerful and numerous ethnic groups, the Germans and the Hungarians. Stresses regarding nationalism were building up, and the severe shock of a poorly handled war caused the system to collapse.[26][27]

Vienna served as the Monarchy's primary capital. The Cisleithanian (Austrian) part contained about 57 percent of the total population and the larger share of its economic resources, compared to the Hungarian part.

Following a decision of Franz Joseph I in 1868, the realm bore the official name Austro-Hungarian Monarchy/Realm (German: Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie/Reich; Hungarian: Osztrák–Magyar Monarchia/Birodalom) in its international relations. It was often contracted to the Dual Monarchy in English, or simply referred to as Austria.[28]


The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (called the Ausgleich in German and the Kiegyezés in Hungarian), which inaugurated the empire's dual structure in place of the former Austrian Empire (1804–1867), originated at a time when Austria had declined in strength and in power—both in the Italian Peninsula (as a result of the Second Italian War of Independence of 1859) and among the states of the German Confederation (it had been surpassed by Prussia as the dominant German-speaking power following the Austro-Prussian War of 1866).[29] The Compromise re-established[30] the full sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hungary, which was lost after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.

Other factors in the constitutional changes were continued Hungarian dissatisfaction with rule from Vienna and increasing national consciousness on the part of other nationalities (or ethnicities) of the Austrian Empire. Hungarian dissatisfaction arose partly from Austria's suppression with Russian support of the Hungarian liberal revolution of 1848–49. However, dissatisfaction with Austrian rule had grown for many years within Hungary and had many other causes.

By the late 1850s, a large number of Hungarians who had supported the 1848–49 revolution were willing to accept the Habsburg monarchy. They argued that while Hungary had the right to full internal independence, under the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, foreign affairs and defense were "common" to both Austria and Hungary.[31]

After the Austrian defeat at Königgrätz, the government realized it needed to reconcile with Hungary to regain the status of a great power. The new foreign minister, Count Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust, wanted to conclude the stalemated negotiations with the Hungarians. To secure the monarchy, Emperor Franz Joseph began negotiations for a compromise with the Hungarian nobility, led by Ferenc Deák, to ensure their support. In particular, Hungarian leaders demanded and received the Emperor's coronation as King of Hungary and the re-establishment of a separate parliament at Pest with powers to enact laws for the lands of the Holy Crown of Hungary.[31]

From 1867 onwards, the abbreviations heading the names of official institutions in Austria-Hungary reflected their responsibility: k. u. k. (kaiserlich und königlich or Imperial and Royal) was the label for institutions common to both parts of the Monarchy, e.g. the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine (War Fleet) and, during the war, the k.u.k. Armee (Army). There were three k.u.k. or joint ministries:

  • The Imperial and Royal Ministry of the Exterior and the Imperial House
  • The Imperial and Royal War Ministry
  • The Imperial and Royal Ministry of Finance

The last was responsible only for financing the Imperial and Royal household, the diplomatic service, the common army and the common war fleet. All other state functions were to be handled separately by each of the two states.[32]

From 1867 onwards, common expenditures were allocated 70% to Austria and 30% to Hungary. This split had to be negotiated every decade. By 1907, the Hungarian share had risen to 36.4%.[33] The negotiations in 1917 ended with the dissolution of the Dual Monarchy.

The common army changed its label from k.k. to k.u.k. only in 1889 at the request of the Hungarian government.

  • K. k. (kaiserlich-königlich) or Imperial-Royal was the term for institutions of Cisleithania (Austria); "royal" in this label referred to the Crown of Bohemia.
  • K. u. (königlich-ungarisch) or M. k. (Magyar királyi) ("Royal Hungarian") referred to

    There were three parts to the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire:[34]

    1. the common foreign, military and a joint financial policy (only for diplomatic, military and naval expenditures) under the monarch
    2. the "Austrian" or Cisleithanian government
    3. the Hungarian government
    Austrian Parliament building
    Hungarian Parliament building

    Hungary and Austria maintained separate parliaments each with its own prime minister. Linking/co-ordinating the two parliaments fell to a government under the monarch. In this sense Austria-Hungary remained under an authoritarian government, as the Emperor-King appointed both Austrian and Hungarian Prime ministers along with their respective cabinets. This made both Governments responsible to the Emperor-King, as neither half could have a government with a program contrary to the views of the Monarch. The Emperor-King could appoint non-parliamentary governments, for example, or maintain in power a government which does not have a majority in Parliament to block the formation of another which he does not approve. The Monarch had other prerogatives such as the right of Royal Assent before any kind of Bill would be presented to the National Assembly (the common name for the Hungarian Diet), the right to Veto all legislation passed by the National Assembly, and the power to prorogue or dissolve the Assembly and call to new elections (he had the same prerogatives considering the Croatian-Slavonian Diet or Croatian Parliament, the common name for the Croatian-Slavonian Diet). In the Austrian half, however, the Monarchs's power was even greater, as the Emperor had the power to both appoint and dismiss its Prime minister and cabinet members. The monarch's common government, in which its ministers were appointed by the Monarch and responsible to him, had the responsibility for the army, for the navy, for foreign policy, and for the customs union.[31] Due to the lack of common law between Austria and Hungary, to conclude identical texts, each parliament elected 60 of its members to form a delegation that discussed motions of the Imperial and Royal ministries separately and worked towards a compromise.[32]

    A common Ministerial Council ruled the common government: it comprised the three ministers for the joint responsibilities (joint finance, military, and foreign policy), the two prime ministers, some Archdukes and the monarch.[35] Two delegations of representatives (60–60 members), one each from the Austrian and Hungarian parliaments, met separately and voted on the expenditures of the Common Ministerial Council giving the two governments influence in the common administration. However, the ministers ultimately answered only to the monarch who had the final decision on matters of foreign and military policy.

    Overlapping responsibilities between the joint ministries and the ministries of the two halves caused friction and inefficiencies.[32] The armed forces suffered particularly from overlap. Although the unified government determined the overall military direction, the Austrian and Hungarian governments each remained in charge of recruiting, supplies and training. Each government could have a strong influence over common governmental responsibilities. Each half of the Dual Monarchy proved quite prepared to disrupt common operations to advance its own interests.[35]

    Relations during the half-century after 1867 between the two parts of the dual monarchy featured repeated disputes over shared external tariff arrangements and over the financial contribution of each government to the common treasury. Under the terms of the "Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867", an agreement renegotiated every ten years, determined these matters. There was political turmoil during the build-up to each renewal of the agreement. The disputes culminated in the early 1900s in a prolonged constitutional crisis. It was triggered by disagreement over which language to use for command in Hungarian army units, and deepened by the advent to power in Budapest in April 1906 of a Hungarian nationalist coalition. Provisional renewals of the common arrangements occurred in October 1907 and in November 1917 on the basis of the status quo.[32]

    Judicial system

    Empire of Austria