if Hungary refused to declare war?
In 1914, Austria and
Hungary were not a single country, but not quite disunited, either. The
compromise of 1867 (Augsleich) had established two technically
independent governments and a third entity for co-ordinating between the two.
One of the constitutional
powers that the Hungarian government had was the ability to declare war and
peace…without regard to Austria! After the assassination of Archduke
Franz Ferdinand, the Hungarian government of Count Tisza Istvan was extremely
anti-war, and even contemplated not joining in the war; however, German
support for Austria, and the (undoubtedly correct) argument that the Dual
Monarchy could not survive Hungary’s taking so independent course, convinced
him to throw Hungary’s fate into the balance.
What if Tisza had not
been convinced (or had been overborne by other, more chauvinist politicians)?
Let us feign that, in July 1914, as the ultimatum to Serbia is being composed,
Tisza announces that Hungary, although reserving its freedom of action against
Serbia, will not participate in a German-Austrian attack upon it.
Franz Ferdinand’s elder son is declared king of Hungary as Maximilian II, and
the Dual Monarchy comes to an end.
What then? I see two
Austrian realists recognize, however reluctantly, that war against Serbia is now
impossible, even with German support. The Austrian ultimatum to Serbia is
much moderated; the complicity of Serbian officials, and of the Serbian
government as a whole, is debated in a series of diplomatic exchanges and
congresses (perhaps those ad hoc congresses evolve into an International
Criminal Court, although I think this unlikely).
Ferdinand had three children by his marriage to Countess (later Duchess) Sophie
Chotkowa; Sophie (1901-1990), Maximilian (1902-1962), and Ernst (1904-1954).
His children, as products of a morganatic marriage, were excluded from the
succession in Austria
Hungary…but any port in a storm. Maximilian has the additional
“recommendation” as king of being not quite twelve years old at this time;
obviously a regency will be needed, and obviously that regency will be conducted
by Magyar aristocrats…
W. Braue, III