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80 Responses to Austria-Hungary

  1. reinertor says:

    Diversity is our strength? I’m Hungarian, and I can tell you one thing: in the case of Austria-Hungary, diversity was a weakness.

    It was much different from the modern US & Western Europe, where it is indeed a strength. At least, that’s what politicians and cultural Marxist intellectuals over there are saying, and I’m sure I can trust them, because if you can’t trust politicians and cultural Marxist intellectuals, who can you trust at all?

    • U2e1 says:

      Is that the correct translation? I got this from Google translate:
      roznorodnosc je mi starke (Slovak detected) = the variety is stagnant

      I think I like this meaning better. =)

      btw (and completely off topic) but je mi starke reminded me of Game of Thrones.

    • Jim says:

      It was a weakness but like the Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire the Habsburg Empire was remarkably resilient given what a hodgepodge it was.

      • reinertor says:

        Resilient until a serious war came around with a mass conscripted army. It did better in the 18th century with small professional armies. It’d do better again in the 21st century, with the return of the small professional armies.

        • spirit_of_negation says:

          But it did not do better in the 18th century: Tiny prussia kicked its ass in the war of the austrian succession and later in the seven years war. Then it got its butt kicked in the revolutionary wars. The only reasonable performance was against the turks in the 1790s war, but they were a declining power then.

          • reinertor says:

            The War of the Austrian Succession was waged by multiple powers, for example the enemies of the Habsburgs included France, by far the largest and strongest power of the time. The Prussians pulled off a risky but successful coup under a very talented soldier-king.

            But yes, ethnic homogeneity probably did play a role already then, just a smaller one than in the 20th century.

            • Peter Akuleyev says:

              Fredrick the Great’s armies weren’t that homogeneous by modern standards. He had a lot of Polish speaking peasants fighting for him, and kept acquiring more. His subjects were also a mix of Catholic and Protestant, whereas the Habsburg armies were at least notionally all Catholic. The 19th century in Prussia was all about beating those Polish Catholic subjects into becoming good Germans.

      • Frau Katze says:

        They were mostly Catholic. There were Jews and few Orthodox. Religion is a strong tie.

    • Frau Katze says:

      Can you read that Gothic text? I have trouble with it but I can make out “stärke” (strength).

      But it should end “ist unsere stärke.” I can’t make out the first word at all.

      However I looked up the coat of Austria-Hungary. It’s motto was in Latin and meant “indivisible and inseparable unity”: “Indivisibiliter ac Inseparabiliter”

      But your point stands. Diversity was weakness. And they aren’t the only example. A good contemporary example is Myanmar. I once checked it out and there a great number of ethnic groups and different religions. It fell into fighting after the Brits pulled out. A military dictatorship kept order until recently, where they loosened up. Currently in the news over the Rohingya (essentially Bengals by ethnicity and language).

      • reinertor says:

        The first word is obviously in some Slavic language which I didn’t bother to read. The second and third (“je and mi”) I don’t know (but the third could easily be Hungarian, meaning “we”, as explained above), while the fourth (“Stärke”) is obviously German (strength).

        • Bla says:

          The first one is likely Polish, różnorodność and means diversity. The second one, je, means is (third person singular of to be) in Croatian, Serbian, Czech, Slovak, and maybe some other Slavic language. Mi in more than one lanuage means we (didn’t know about Hungarian) but here it probably means our. Don’t know which language uses it in that way.

    • akarlin says:

      Makes for a sick coat of arms, though.

    • tautology says:

      I dont speak the languages but my best guess it means: “viribus unitis” which was the moto of the late empire. It means “with unified forces”

    • Erik Sieven says:

      There is no place without diversity. People have had war anywhere and anytime. People in Papua New Guinea would fight with people from the next village, because they have another language, culture etc., while from the point of view of a Eskimo all Papua New Guineans seem to be the same. I also do not think that Japan has so little violent street crime because it is such a homogenous country. It is safe because it is full of Japanese. A country full of Bantu people, even when every homogenous, will under almost all conditions be less safe in this regard than Japan.

    • Bla says:

      Austria-Hungary indeed had many problems, and the national question was always present. Slow reforms to address it didn’t help much, not to mention internal conflicts due to the incompatibles in state and national programs (Habsburgs-national programs, Hungarians-Croatians, Germans-Czechs,divided Poland, i guess you are quite familiar with all that…). However, you could argue that all constituent parts lost more than they gained by the Empire’s collapse. Especially since the division of territory, as it happened, didn’t create basis for any form of normal relations between successor, and neighboring, states. We started with an Empire with many problems, and ended with more or less dysfunctional states and a vacuum in the middle of Europe. But losing war, with winners having war aims they did, made the collapse inevitable.
      That being said, Austria-Hungary’s diversity was by default. When you inherit a few kingdoms, and the imperial crown, that’s what you get. The modern diversification is something completely different.

  2. pyrrhus says:

    Austria-Hungary had military manuals printed in 17 languages….That must have worked well.

  3. AppSocRes says:

    Also a suitable epitaph for the imperial USA, at least when translated into Spanish, Arabic, Bantu, Ebonics, and a number of other appropriate languages.

  4. dearieme says:

    Since no one else has seized the opportunity: some years ago Otto von Habsburg was a Euro-MP. He was known to be a football fan. One day a colleague asked “Are you going to watch the Austria-Hungary match this evening?”

    “Oh” says he “who are we playing?”

  5. @dearieme – I had never heard that. Loved it.

    The Anglosphere has done a remarkably good job of overcoming the essential weakness of diversity. Too good, apparently as it has encouraged people to regard diversity as a strength.

    Romaneste: “Cap de dovleac” seems appropriate here.

  6. tautology says:

    To Greg:
    Why were the austro hungarians and their predecessors so weak throughout the ages in your estimation? Despite large population and some reforms, I cannot think of one war were they were really convincingly asseerted themselves after after the early 1700s, and they were involved in a few.

    • Wency says:

      If you wanted to look at who really did poorly in the early modern period, look at Poland-Lithuania, another multinational state. The difference seems to be an ineffective system of governance and being in Russia’s crosshairs.

      The Habsburgs did OK prior to WW1, considering their limitations. They preserved the core of their empire, sometimes losing territory in the face of both powerful enemies and nationalism, but also sometimes opportunistically gaining it. Their emphasis was usually on diplomacy, which makes sense, given their position in central Europe, between so many expansionistic powers. France, the greatest power in Europe, also didn’t do so well in this period, other than Napoleon, who accomplished nothing in the end from all his wars.

      Next to the big winners, Russia and Prussia (especially Prussia under Frederick the Great and Bismarck), everyone looks pathetic. Also no one did terribly well in the field against Napoleon, not even the Prussians.

      • Cantman says:

        “If you wanted to look at who really did poorly in the early modern period, look at Poland-Lithuania, another multinational state.”

        Also the location of nigh all of Europe’s Jews, and the eventual source of all of Russia’s.

        Which begs the question: why is it that in all my time on the internet, I have never seen anyone blame ZOG for the partitions.

    • gcochran9 says:

      It has been said that the typical Prussian expression was “the situation is serious but not hopeless, while Austrians would say that “the situation is hopeless but not serious”.

  7. luisman says:

    Diversity is so strong, we even have a little trouble deciphering the message 😀

    • krakonos says:

      Believe it or not, some living in what used to be Austrian Empire have no trouble reading the message without any aid. All you need is a knowledge of a (western) Slavic language and basics of German. The rest you can figure out easily.
      The font (kind of švabach, it seems) is not unknown too.

  8. Steven Wilson says:

    I feel plagiarized. I’ve been trying to make the “centuries long and continuing hegemony of the Austro-Hungarian” a satiric meme for years now.

  9. You nerds quibbling over the right way to write the phrase miss the point. There is no right way! It’s a mishmash non language for the mishmash empire.

  10. dearieme says:

    In a couple of hundred years your descendants will ask “Daddy, which came first – the United States of America or the Austro-Hungarian Empire?” In which language they will ask it is beyond my powers of prediction.

  11. st says:

    “raznorodnosc je mi starke”. raznorodnosc – literal meanining is multiethnicity. raz =multiple; norodnosc=nationality. Yes, they were bipolar. Or multipolar. At the end, out of this multiple ethnicity disorder where bipolarity was considered strenght came Hitler. It gave him shape, I guess. Slowly. Were brown shirts the reaction to this “raznorodnosc”? Slavs were the first subject to affirmative action in this empire. First ever in history, as far as I know. Because, there were even things as affirmative action and positive discrimination in AH empire -its subjects were slavs; in politics, at workplace and in univercity. It ended bad. Anschluss, Hitler, holocaust. Several attempted genosides. But it all started there, in late AH empire, in the times of “raznorodnosc je mi starke”. Americans should read the history of AH empire, I think. It might give them prospective. As to where they stand. Maybe things will go better this time.

    • No Signal says:

      No, no, no, “różnorodność” is derived from the adjective “różnorodny”, literally “różno-rodny” (not “raz-norodny”, actually “raz” would mean “one”…), something like “hetero-geneous”.

      You know, I have the superpower of speaking Polish, since I was two.

  12. Okay, that’s a fancy sword in the eagle’s one talon, but what’s in the other talon? The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch?

  13. IC says:

    As individual, I do not like diversity. I like to hang out with people similar to me.
    As business person, I love diversity. If everybody think like me, I have no money to make.

    • IC says:

      Business, biological creatures, engines, generators are very similar in force driving behind them.

      Biological creatures depending on the difference in energy flow high to low by position in the process. Solar – plant -animal – bacteria – space (energy chains like food chains).

      Engine, power generators depending the difference in energy from high to low created by physical or chemical process. Higher the difference in energy, bigger the power.

      Human business/investment depending on difference in people’s ability to do thing through trading. Bigger the difference, larger the profit.

      • IC says:

        I am very successful stock investor. The success come when I am correct where most other investor are wrong. As Charlie Munger put, it is a parimutuel horse bet in stock market. I am value investor. As value investor, you have to be able to form your independent judgment without majority approval. High agreement only results in mediocre performance. So value investors (Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger) will always be minority who can outthink majority; who do give a damn about majority opinion or approval. But your judgment has to be right which is confirmed by measurable investment outcome. If you are wrong when majority are right, you will lose your shirt.

        If everybody can think like me, I have no chance to win. Value investors success depend on majority people who can not think like us.

        Larger the IQ gap in investors, bigger the profit.

        • IC says:

          At end, how smart you are is not judged by approval rating. It is measured by measurable outcome. Any win based on subjective voting is popularity win, not true merit win. Popular opinions are not truth.

  14. georgioxblog says:

    The Fall of KuK Monarchy just shows the failure of nationalism. Kuk could have easily worked, if its inhibtants would not have developed ethnic nationalism, of course there was also WW1. Switzerland is a also a quite diverse state and it works fantastic.

    • Rhetocrates says:

      Switzerland is staffed ad run by Swiss Germans. It doesn’t count.

      • georgioxblog says:

        Diversity is all about who?. Diversity with Europeans, East-Asians and Ashkenazi Jews works fine. Diversity with other groups less so. KuK worked a long time and could have worked in the future. All or most former KuK countries are (still) settled by very succesfull groups(and back then they also had a model minority).

  15. Bla says:

    Could have worked with nationalism also (if only there were no nationalisms is actually pointless statement. There was, everywhere in Europe, and it was inevitable it will also be the force in A-H, easy to see why if you know the area and it’s history). That’s why there were ideas of reforming it (trialism etc.). It couldn’t survive losing WWI, not under then actual circumstances.

  16. crew says:

    I think there is no way to say Diversity is Strength in Chinese or Japanese!

    • IC says:

      各族人民大团结是无穷的力量!(slogan from Mao era)

    • IC says:

      When China had strong dynasty like Han or Tang, diversity was strength due to soft power from mighty central power. Ethnic minorities swore loyalty to Han or Tang emperors. Historical records showed numerous minority heroes sacrificed their life defending Chinese dynasty powers.

      But once the central power failed, they formed their own separatist regimes at fall of Han or Tang dynasties because their former masters (Han or Tang emperors) were gone. They became parts of warlords fighting each other. They refused to recognize the new claims.

  17. Toad says:

    Archie only shot the ostrich because he was hungry.

  18. Cpluskx says:

    I love Yugoslavia.

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