Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Austria, 1867-1893 : Foreign Policy

Bismarck, in the TREATY OF NIKOLSBURG, had treated Austria leniently. Still, Emperor Franz Joseph had revenge on his mind and appointed FRIEDRICH VON BEUST, former prime minister of Saxony and opponent of Bismarck, chancellor. It was Beust who arranged the Ausgleich with Hungary, as a first step to prepare for a war of revenge against Prussia.
Austria then approached France (Austria's entry into the Latin Monetary Union fit into this policy) and an alliance was negotiated; the obstacle was Rome, occupied by French troops and demanded by Italy. Austria wanted France to evacuate Rome so that Italy would be satisfied. France refused, and in 1870 it faced Prussia and its allies alone. The prospect of another war with Prussia, however, was unpopular with the Austro-Germans and with the Hungarians alike, a policy of Franz Joseph I. and his chancellor, which had little hope of success from the start.
In the 1870es the Balkans situation deteriorated; in 1877/78 the Russian Army defeated the Ottoman Empire. A partition of the Ottoman Empire's European possessions between Austria-Hungary and Russia had been suggested by the latter; at the BERLIN CONGRESS of 1878, Austria reluctantly accepted a protectorate over BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (under the pretext that the territory, although occupied and administrated by the Austrians, would remain a part of the Ottoman Empire). Austria did not want it and only took it because it did not want Serbia to take it.
After the French alliance had failed to materialize, in 1879 the ZWEIBUND or DUAL ALLIANCE (with Germany) was signed; it would form the foundation of German and Austrian foreign policy until into World War I, a relation called NIBELUNGENTREUE by historians (mutual faith as the highest virtue).
In 1882, the Dual Alliance was extended into the TRIPLE ALLIANCE which included Italy. In 1873, 1881 and 1884 the DREIKAISERBUND (Three Emperors' League) was signed, tying Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary in an alliance. It was concepted for 3 years and expired in 1875 and again in 1887.
In the 1880es, Russian foreign policy would turn increasingly hostile to Austria-Hungary, Russia now finally responding to the Czech call for taking up the issue of Slavic peoples under the yoke of non-Slavic rule.

DOCUMENTS Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Bismarck at Nikolsburg negotiations, 1866
Dual Alliance of 1879, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Triple Alliance of 1882, excerpt, from World War I Document Archive
Three Emperors' League (Dreikaiserbund of 1881), from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Consular Convention Between the United States and Austria-Hungary; July 11, 1870, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School; Naturalization Convention Between the United States and Austria-Hungary; September, 20 1870, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School; Trade-Mark Convention Between the United States and Austria-Hungary; November 25, 1871, from Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Vix Dum A Nobis, Encyclica by Pope Pius IX., March 7th 1874, On the Church in Austria; In Ipso, Encyclica by Pope Leo XIII., March 3rd 1891, On Episcopal Reunions in Austria
REFERENCE National Awakening in the Habsburg Lands (pp.778-785); Mass Politics and Nationalism : Austria-Hungary, 1867-1914 (pp.950-953) in : John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, NY : W.W. Norton 1996
The Making of Dualism 1866-1867 (pp,130-140), Liberal Failure : German Ascendancy in Austria 1867-1879 (pp.141-155), Habsburg Recovery : The Era of Taaffe, 1879-1893 (pp.156-168); The Years of Confusion : From Taaffe to Badeni, 1893-1897 (pp.169-184); Hungary after 1867 : Koloman Tisza and the Magyar Gentry (pp.185-195) from : A.J.P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918, Chicago : UP (1948) 1976

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First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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