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The Impact of the Dual Alliance upon the Slavs of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: A Centennial Reappraisal

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image of East Central Europe

The Alliance of 1879 with Germany was one of the truly fateful steps taken by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the forty years before its demise. The diplomatic and strategic ramifications of this momentous agreement have been discussed in the historical literature for decades, but its impact upon the monarchy's 21-million subjects of Slavic nationality or ethnicity has not.1 This omission can perhaps be explained by the relatively slight influence that Slavic leaders and their followers had upon the makers of the monarchy's foreign policy. Although the seven Slavic nationalities by 1910 constituted 47.2 percent of Austria-Hungary's population, they remained, as they had always been, complete outsiders on foreign policy. To them, as indeed to most subjects of the Emperor Franz Joseph, diplomatic matters and political events abroad were of slight concern, and even if not, information about them was modest among the general public. Still, if the international relationships of the monarchy conveyed little sense of immediacy, this vital function of the state administration ultimately affected the most humble of persons. The intent here is to examine the Dual Alliance not through the eyes of those who arranged and implemented it, but of those who were Slavic outsiders, and to see how the Alliance affected their loyalty and commitment to the monarchy.

Affiliations: 1: (New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J., USA


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