To What Extent was Austria-Hungary Guilty of Causing the First World War
Austria-Hungary had been established by a compromise between the Hungarian nobility and the Habsburg monarchy in an attempt to maintain the old Austrian Empire. It was a multi-national Empire, and its political life was dominated by disputes between the eleven principal national groups, in an era of national awakening. Although the Empire was frequently upset by quarrelling between the groups. This internal turmoil was translated into an aggressive foreign outlook which culminated in the fuse of the assasination of the arch duke being lit in 1914. However is it fair to say that Austria also placed the powder kegs which this fuse led to or was the keg placed by a number of interwoven reason such as the alliances system, Great Power politics and the more traditional view of guilty laying at the door of the Germans.
The Austrian Empire consisted of a number of differnet nationalitys, such as Serbs,Croats, Czechs, Italians, Germans and Slovaks. It was this great clash of cultures and religions which lead to the huge internal strife which envelopted the Austrian Empire. This internal strife was also key to the direction of Austrias foreign policy. Indeed the very existance of the Empire depended on its international relations and the ability of its leaders to convince the great powers that the preservation of the empire was vital for maintaining the stability of the international system. Thus it should come as no surprise that it was Austrias internal problems which lead to the adoption of a foreign policy which althought cannot be used soley to apply guilt to Austria can when commbined with other actions taken by Austria form a solid bedrock on which to build a case for Austrian guilt. At the start of the twentieth century the Turkish Empire was in decline. Thus there was a large power vacume in the Balkans one upon which Austrai being the largest Imperial power i…