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Austria German

March 15th, 2013 admin

Was Austria-Hungrary a willing ally for the Germans during WW One depite..?

the latter took the pretext of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife?

What were the key roles of Austria-Hungary in the western and eastern front?

Sure was.
1) The Austro-Hungarian government feared attack from Russia . In 1879 Austro-Hungary and Germany agreed to form a Dual Alliance. This became the Triple Alliance when in 1882 it was expanded to include Italy. The three countries agreed to support each other if attacked by either France or Russia.

The Triple Alliance was renewed at five-yearly intervals. The formation of the Triple Entente in 1907 by Britain, France and Russia, reinforced the belief that they needed a military alliance.

The Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army was officially under the control of the Commander-in-Chief, Emperor Franz Josef. By 1914 Josef was 84 years old and the chief of staff, Count Franz Conrad, had more power over the armed forces. Conrad, favoured an aggressive foreign policy and advocated the use of military action to solve Austro-Hungary's territorial disputes with Italy and Serbia.

2)Many years after the First World War, Karl von von Bulow, the German general who organised the invasion of Belgium in August 1914, admitted that the Austro-Hungarian and German governments knew that Serbian government had not instigated the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. He wrote:

Although the horrible murder was the work of a Serbian society with branches all over the country, many details prove that the Serbian government had neither instigated or desired it. The Serbs were exhausted by two wars. The most hot-headed among them might have paused at the thought of war with Austria-Hungary, so overwhelmingly superior.

3)General Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf was the Chief of the Austro-Hungarian General Staff during the war. Under his command, Austro-Hungarian troops were involved in much of the fighting in the Great War.

At the start of the war, the army was divided in two, the smaller part attacked Serbia while the larger part fought against the massive Russian army. The 1914 invasion of Serbia was a disaster. By the end of the year the Austrian army had taken no territory and had lost 227,000 men (out of a total force of 450,000 men); see Serbian Campaign (World War I).

On the Eastern front, things started out equally badly. The Austrian army was defeated at the Battle of Lemberg and the mighty fort city of Przemysl was besieged (it would fall in March 1915).

In May 1915, Italy joined the Allies and attacked Austria-Hungary. The bloody but indecisive fighting on the Italian front would last for the next three and a half years. It was only this front that the Austrians proved effective in war, managing to hold back the numerically superior Italian armies in the Alps.

In the summer, the Austrian army, working under a unified command with the Germans, participated in the successful Gorlice–Tarnow Offensive.

Later in 1915, the Austrian army, in conjunction with the German and Bulgarian armies, conquered Serbia.

In 1916, the Russians focused their attacks on the Austrian-Hungarian army in the Brusilov Offensive, recognising the numerical inferiority of the Austro-Hungarian Army. The Austrian armies took massive losses (losing about 1 million men) and never recovered. The huge losses of men and material inflicted on the Russians during the offensive contributed greatly to the causes of their communist revolution of 1917. The Austro-Hungarian war effort became more and more subordinate to the direction of German planners, as it did with the standard soldiers. The Austrians saw the German army positively, but by 1916 the general belief in Germany was that they were "shackled to a corpse." Supply shortages, low morale, and the high casualty rate seriously affected the operational abilities of the army, as well as the fact the army was of multiple ethnicity, all with different race, language and customs.

The last two successes for the Austrians: the Conquest of Romania and the Caporetto Offensive, were German-assisted operations. Due to the fact that the empire had become more and more dependent on German assistance, the majority of its people, not of Hungarian or Austrian ethnicity, became aware of the empire's destabilisation.

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