Military Review

How we were friends with the Austrian Empire


“For though in all his wars stories The Austrians won, after most of these wars, they had to concede something. ”Robert Musil. "Man without properties"

This country has long since disappeared from the map, and history experts know about its existence, and yet at the beginning of the 20 of the 20th century it was one of the great powers that determined the paths of European politics (along with Germany, Russia, France and Britain). Yes, it was the “weakest of the five” in 1914, but nevertheless the great European power. After the First World War, it disappeared forever from the political map of the world: too many different peoples inhabited it - Germans, Czechs, Hungarians, Croats, Poles, Romanians, Slovaks and Bosnians. Not even a trace remained on the map of its former greatness. Oddly enough, its disintegration did not provide her former nations with either freedom, peace, or well-being, or genuine independence. Such a funny paradox: the Austrian (later twinned Austro-Hungarian) empire had numerous and serious flaws, which its critics did not get tired to say, but it provided its people with its own, not external, system of governance. All of these nations could love or dislike the official Vienna, but it provided them with the status of citizens of a great empire, security and independence from other major players.

With the fall of Austria-Hungary, these lands turned into a toy in the hands of the remaining great powers, and it does not matter where orders came from: from London, Berlin, Moscow or Washington. The fact is that the former nations of the once great power became, after 1918, the objects of world politics. The empire was gone and there was no one to stop the triumphant march of Hitler to Austria and the Czech Republic ... As all further political life showed: there could not be a “small, cozy, independent Czechoslovakia”. The same thing affected both Hungary and Austria ... So the “liberation” of 1918 of the year had very, very ambiguous consequences: why, strictly speaking, live by order from London, Paris or Washington is better than executing teams from Vienna? What is freedom here? And when, strictly speaking, after 1918, the same Czechs were completely free and independent? Is “freedom” possible in principle on this imperfect planet? Yes, for example, there were very strong contradictions between the Germans and the Czechs, this is certainly so. But in parliament, the Czechs had a very significant influence, and this was the last time that the opinion of the Czechs seriously influenced the policies of a great power.

After 1918, their opinion was already of little interest to anyone: the “small” power of independent politics, as a rule, does not conduct. This explains the Anschluss 1938 of the year. Paraphrasing a well-known expression, one can say: "who does not want to feed his empire, will feed someone else's." So, with regard to the "patchwork empire" of Franz Joseph - not everything was so bad. The economy, culture, industry developed. The country, one way or another, tried to find a solution to its political problems. And one of these problems was Russia and the “Slav issue”. But, oddly enough, for most of the history of relations between the Russian and Austrian empires, these relations were quite good. Before the First World War, which put an end to the rule of the Romanovs and the Habsburgs, Russia and Austria had never fought seriously. Russia fought with anyone: with Poland, Sweden, France, Prussia, Turkey or England. But not with Austria. Moreover, very often Russia and Austria were allies. For example, the war for the Polish inheritance (1733-1735). Allies. The war for the Austrian legacy (1740-1748), a difficult and dangerous war for Austria - they wanted to “divide” it. Allies. For Russia, participation in this war is largely a matter of prestige, for the Austrian Empire it is a matter of survival.

The eighteenth century was rich in big wars: the Seven Years War, as Winston Churchill called it, “World War,” a war that went on in Europe, in the New World, and in India, and on many seas and oceans. In this war, the future of humanity was largely determined. Russia and Austria are allies (we shall leave Peter III's strange demarche behind the scenes). It was the appearance of Russian troops in the theater of military operations that saved Austria from defeat. Who remembers this now in Austria? But this is exactly how it was! The Russian army and then changed the course of history. The army of Frederick was gorgeous, but the Russians broke it off the whole party. Over 200 years before that very 1945 ... Everything once happens for the first time ... So Berliners have nothing to not love Russia. But we are not talking about Prussia, but about Russian-Austrian relations. So, speaking of them, it is impossible not to mention the wars against Turkey. It is somehow forgotten that in the 18 century in these wars, Austria was our ally: 1735-1739 is the fifth Russian-Turkish, Austria is our ally (although it quickly got out of the war, having lost Belgrade). 1787-1792 is the seventh Russian-Turkish, Austria is our ally. In the course of these wars, Russia gained control of the northern coast of the Black Sea, having won a number of brilliant victories at sea and land over the Ottomans. And Count Suvorov flashed there, and Admiral Ushakov ... Austria is an ally. No, of course, not out of philanthropic motives - Turkey is Austria’s historical enemy in control of South-Eastern Europe. And yet. Allies.

It seems that all the members of the forum in one way or another read War and Peace (after the reform of writing, the name is misleading). So, there is a lot written about the Russian army in Europe, and this army was fighting side by side with the allies. With the Austrians. Austerlitz - the battle of the three emperors. So it was: on our side, Alexander I and the Austrian Emperor Franz II. A little earlier: the transition of Suvorov through the Alps and everything connected with it. The war with the French, and Austria - an ally of Russia. Or rather, Russia is an ally of Austria, the war was far from our borders. Count Suvorov also had an Italian campaign. He had a lot of things in general (by the way, there is one petty rogue who writes under such a pseudonym and publishes books under him in Russia, which is somehow wrong). So, the whole series of wars with revolutionary / Napoleonic France is Russia’s ally of Austria. It was. We can say that it was precisely the defeat of Napoleon’s Great Army in Russia that saved Austria’s independence (as did Prussia, by the way). That same 12 campaign of the year saved not only Russia. She changed the course of European history, allowing Berlin and Vienna to regain the status of great powers.

How we were friends with the Austrian Empire

It may be recalled that the Austrian empire tried many times to fight Napoleon, and each time suffered a defeat. And with each such defeat, the position of Vienna became more and more difficult. There was even a reform of the army, but it did not help. Rather, it helped, but not to the end, not enough to begin to adequately fight the French. There was no American marines then, and there was no one to land on the beaches of Normandy. The British army has traditionally been very small and engaged in mysterious evolutions on the Iberian Peninsula. So the only hope remained on the Russian imperial army. She did not let us down.

As is known, after the war, the so-called Vienna Congress took place, which determined the future of Europe after Napoleon and for the entire first half of the 19th century (at least!). So, there were no chances for the Congress of Vienna without defeating Napoleon in Russia. Wellington under Waterloo “hit the tails,” in 1815, Napoleon had no chance of winning - all of Europe was against him. Napoleon's victory at Waterloo would give him a few extra months in power, no more. "Great Army" was destroyed in Russia. We have a lot to discuss the impact of this victory on the fate of Russia, but much less talk about its impact on the fate of Europe.

So in 1812, not only the fate of Moscow was decided, but also the fate of Vienna. History, of course, does not have a subjunctive mood, but it does not have a certain “general line” either. There is no scenario that “was originally laid.” History is not a movie, and if Kutuzov had lost 1812 in the summer of th, the whole world history would have gone completely differently. For Russia, most likely, this option would be much worse, but for Austria it would be just disastrous - it would simply be cut, almost like after WWI. And it would simply cease to be a great power even then, at the beginning of the 19th century, that is, a hundred years earlier than in reality. However, the defeat of Napoleon in Russia allowed everything back "back." And the Austrian Empire again became a great power with an independent foreign policy. It should be added that after the defeat of Napoleon in Russia, the Russian army moved to Europe to finish it off, although there were options. And, most likely, without the foreign campaign of the Russian army, Napoleon would have sat. Just because the sensible was the commander and statesman. And Russia had no obligations to Europe and could not have it. However, the Battle of the Nations under Leipzig and the triumphal entry into Paris.

What happened next? And then a lot of things happened: “The Holy Alliance” and everything connected with it. It must be admitted that the outstanding role of Metternich in determining European policy in the first half of the 19th century (from the Congress of Vienna to the 1848 revolution of the year) could exist only with the strong support of Russia. The Austrian empire was certainly a wonderful state (the book “Roots and the Crown” was recommended, for example), but it was not an economic or military leader in the 19th century and certainly needed external support from the outside. No matter how offensive it sounds for the Austrian patriots (including one little-known painter).

The Austrian Empire was losing its capabilities and its influence. And here it was difficult to do something. This was especially vivid at the time of the 1848 crisis of the year: yes, revolutionary trends took place in France and in the German lands. But Austria stood on the brink of disaster: the Hungarian uprising was growing rapidly, and it was impossible to suppress it at the expense of the internal resources of the empire. The situation and the empire of the Habsburgs was saved by the Russian expeditionary corps of General Paskevich. After all, the Russians were allies of Austria, historical allies ... And soon, at last, Austria had the opportunity to repay Russia with good for good: the Crimean War began.

And Austria, of course, repaid Russia for all the good that was. Some (including Wikis) cite this as an example of "pragmatic politics." It is very difficult to say: a break in relations with Russia, and the gap was complete and irrevocable (the Russians do not like traitors), put the empire in a very difficult position - having lost a Russian ally, Vienna did not acquire, and could not acquire, a replacement for Russia in Paris or London. And political pressure in Europe was growing. And then the glorious battle of Solferino began to boil, blood flowed like a barrel of wine ...

According to the results of the 1859 campaign of the year (Austro-Italian-French war), the French and Italians knocked out the Austrians from Lombardy ... Such things, no one is to blame. And by the way, yes, when the French and Italians beat the Austrians, in Germany and even in Prussia (!) A powerful wave of sympathy for the Austrian rose brothers. Fraternal feelings - they are so fraternal, you can't overlap them with any kind of policy. Further, the Prussians beat the Austrians at Sadovaya / Koniggrac and the empire literally fell into nothingness (Italy otgryzla Venice!). After the defeat of Prussia with the allies of Napoleon’s empire, the III thought of revenge had to be abandoned. And in the end, following the results of Austria-Hungary (as a result of Sadovaya - Austria-Hungary), it became, in fact, a vassal of the German Empire. But theoretically - it was still a great power.

Then the entry into the First World War together with Germany and the Ottoman Empire ... Then Brusilovsky breakthrough and the disaster of 1918. And there is no more empire. By the way, Adolf Hitler was just the product of the collapse of this very empire, in his memoirs he described in detail and extremely hard experienced the crisis of his beloved fatherland. Even for him (a hard-nosed German patriot), the crisis of Austria was absolutely obvious long before July of the 1914 year. In Russia, for some reason, Hitler is viewed mainly as a German, in which, of course, there is a certain amount of truth: he was a general German patriot and he preferred to fight in the German rather than the Austrian army. All right, but as a person and a politician he is in many ways a product of not the growing German Empire, but the disintegrating Austrian. From there, by the way, comes his hatred of the Czechs and Jews who have “arrived in Vienna” ...

Thus, the decision of the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph (that very one!) To act diplomatically against Russia during the Crimean War had very far-reaching and ambiguous consequences for his empire and its citizens. Yes, perhaps, for all of Europe, this very decision had very, very ambiguous consequences: it was the rift of St. Petersburg with Vienna and Paris that ensured the rapid rise of Prussia! Neither Russia intervened in 1866, nor in 1870.. The active participation of Russia in these events could change everything, literally everything. And the history of the twentieth century could go very differently.

But in the current reality, being on the edge of the abyss, the French and Austrians were surprised to find that saving them there is nobody. Moreover, Napoleon III led foreign policy in such a way that the complete defeat and humiliation of France were extremely beneficial to Russia. But it became clear to the French only after Sedan. France nevertheless possessed some margin of safety and could “reboot” and start a new war with Germany (in alliance with Russia!). Austria after the defeat at Sadovaya, in fact, ended as a true great power. Over forever.

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  1. apro
    apro 5 January 2017 06: 55
    Friendship is possible between people, between states only selfish interests, what interests did Russia seek in Austria? Poland between them and the Ottomans? Who should drag chestnuts from someone for whom? You should not blame others for the same sins as yours. Austria was interested in normal relations with Russia? Of course, the Ottomans perls at one time on Vienna and Belgrade and Budapest and somehow managed to stop them, the Austrians passed Russia and it did, they made peace with the Ottomans without warning, they looked for their own benefits to the detriment of the Austrians. Talking about the laws of the collapse of Austria Hungary is not quite correctly, as if to justify the collapse of the USSR, the independent and economically powerful German center of Europe was extremely unprofitable for neighbors who were not averse to profit from the ruins of empires.
  2. 210ox
    210ox 5 January 2017 06: 57
    A very detailed and interesting article .. But for some reason it seems to me that the Austrians on the battlefield were so-so allies .. They always got horns (the same Napoleonic wars) and our regiments had to help them. But this is my opinion.
    1. Olezhek
      5 January 2017 09: 06
      But for some reason, it seems to me that the Austrians on the battlefield were so-so allies.

      This is not so important.
      the main thing is politics
  3. knn54
    knn54 5 January 2017 07: 52
    The rise of the national movements of the Slavic peoples of the empire, brought the Austrian Germans a sense of danger. As a result, there was an increase in Pan-German sentiment. And given the sympathy of the Russians for the Slavs, especially the Balkans, there could not be any friendship between the empires.
    1. Olezhek
      5 January 2017 09: 10
      And this whole "pan-Germanism" for some reason began after the Crimean War
      and resulted in an epic battle at Sadovaya ...
      In fact, having received a "stab in the back" from Vienna, Russia began to actively work against it
      If there were no betrayal, sympathy for the Slavs in the territory of the Austrian Empire they would have remained
    2. Cat
      Cat 5 January 2017 13: 08
      And the Slavs were immediately branded as a "historical" people.
      1. Cat
        Cat 5 January 2017 14: 32
        He was sealed by the "UNHISTORICAL PEOPLE".
  4. aszzz888
    aszzz888 5 January 2017 08: 37
    If you add something more modern, then from 01.01.2017, the Austrian headed the OSCE. We will see.
  5. demiurg
    demiurg 5 January 2017 10: 44
    After two World Wars, many Empires fell apart. Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Russia.
    Turks, British and French still remember the times of empires. Russia causes fierce malice and misunderstanding of how many nationalities can live together. Only China is close to us in terms of the number of autonomies.
    The real multinational state remains only we and China. Small nations drove the French, British and Turks out of their territory as they could. This is all you need to know about tolerance in Europe.
    1. Cat
      Cat 5 January 2017 13: 06
      Forgot Japanese and Chinese empires!
      1. demiurg
        demiurg 6 January 2017 00: 25
        I forgot the Japanese, yes. And China and India are eternal along the way.
  6. captain
    captain 5 January 2017 10: 56
    I read the comments and really hope. that we will not repeat what happened to the Austrian Empire and the USSR. Lenin's national policy showed that under certain conditions, the national elites of the union and autonomous entities begin to pursue a destructive policy. Stalin and Dzerzhinsky were right when they did not agree with Lenin.
    1. Photon
      Photon 7 January 2017 01: 18
      You did not confuse Lenin's national politics with Yeltsin’s politics for an hour?
  7. antivirus
    antivirus 5 January 2017 11: 06
    The capital Vienna lived at the expense of neighboring Hungary? Austria itself is small.
  8. K-50
    K-50 5 January 2017 12: 02
    The “liberation” of 1918 had very, very ambiguous consequences: why, strictly speaking, is it better to live by order from London, Paris or Washington than to carry out commands from Vienna? What is freedom here?

    Small states cannot be free and independent, a priori. Even Israel, no matter how proud it boasts of its "independence," is entirely dependent on the decisions of the Fashington "regional committee". Yes, there is a huge Jewish lobby there, but decisions are made not in Jerusalem, but in Fashington, therefore, what kind of independence can we talk about?
    Small states lack economic and mobilization weight, weak resource base and industrial ones. Now there is practically no country that could develop in complete isolation, keeping up with other powers, but the large ones are still less dependent, because of this, their "voice" in the international arena is more significant. And the "little ones" only have to keep up with someone, otherwise they simply "stop."
    1. Dart2027
      Dart2027 5 January 2017 20: 25
      Unfortunately, many do not want to understand this.
  9. igordok
    igordok 5 January 2017 21: 11
    Looking at the map of Distribution of Races in Austria-Hungary, I did not find any traces of the so-called Ukrainians in the territory of Galicia.
  10. michajlo
    michajlo 5 January 2017 23: 06
    Welcome all!

    After the campaign of the Russian corps in Austria in 1948-49, on the territory of the "Austro-Hungarian Subcarpathian Rus", an increase in the self-awareness of the Ruthenian population began, as a result of which in 1851, Alexander Dukhnovich, Greek Catholic Father, originally from the village of Topol near the current Snina in Slovakia, wrote poem, which was later called "THE ANTHEM OF RUSSIANS", I quote his text below:
    Anthem of the Carpathian Rusyns: “Let the Russian people live!”
    Dodano: 02 September 2010, 11:33
    Biography Alexander Dukhnovich was born on April 24, 1803 in the village of Topol, near Snina.

    I was Rusin, є cm, and I will be,
    I was born Rusyn,
    Honest kind I will not forget
    I will remain the Son of;

    Rusin was my father, mother,
    Russian whole motherland,
    Rusyns sisters and brothers
    And a wide squad;

    My great family, and the main one,
    Miru is modern,
    Glorious in spirit and power,
    All the peoples of the world.

    I have seen near Beskyd,
    The first air Russian pissed,
    And fed Russian bread,
    Rusin mesled.

    Kohl opened his mouth for the first time,
    The Russian word has prophesied,
    In azerbaijan
    my first sweat
    The young brow flowed.

    Then I was fed Russian,
    Russian iskol expense
    In the wide world; but did not forget
    With your noble family.

    And now, who feeds me?
    Who feeds, who holds me?
    The most Russian tribe
    It contains my fitness!

    Proto toby, my kind,
    I swear to the living God

    For the sad sweat and your labor
    I obey half an hour.

    And give as much as I can
    Take that nice gift,
    Here’s a little book,
    And this writing line;

    I won’t forget anything else
    The hearts of my scruff
    Sacrifice; - I will be yours
    Your friend and die.
    1851 year.

    With the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the 1st Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938) was formed, which included former Subcarpathian Russia, the current Transcarpathian region of Ukraine.

    And unfortunately, the real fact is that due to the former policy of the USSR, where, due to the Decision of the Politburo of the CPSU (b) of 1923 or 1924, when it was proclaimed that all peoples living in Ukraine are Ukrainians, later in 1945, after the annexation of Subcarpathian Rus as the Transcarpathian region to the Ukrainian SSR, all "Subcarpathian Rusyns" became "UKRAINIANS".
    I can confirm this fact by the example of my parents, who in 1945 instead of ORIGINAL Czechoslovak "Birth certificates" / "Native list", where it was written in the graph "nationality" - RUSIN, were issued Soviet copies of the Birth Certificate, where instead of RUSIN it was written "Ukrainian" and my parents and we are their children, became "Ukrainians", like all the current 600-700 thousand natives from the current Transcarpathia, where in total, about 11-15 thousand REMEMBER that they are RUS not Ukrainians moreover, there are NO documents about this, except for the archives of the Transcarpathian Czechoslovak "metrics" (this is an analogue of our registry office).
  11. vladimirvn
    vladimirvn 6 January 2017 14: 08
    Not all nations are given the power to create states, and especially empires. And even after creating them, save and develop. Confirm by force, the right to exist. There have always been, are and will be leading and led peoples in geopolitics. Throughout their stories, the Russians have proved to everyone the right not only to an independent state, but to an empire.
    1. michajlo
      michajlo 6 January 2017 19: 19
      vladimirvn Today, 14:08 PM New
      Not all nations are given the power to create states, and especially empires. And even after creating them, save and develop. Confirm by force, the right to exist. There have always been, are and will be leading and led peoples in geopolitics. Throughout their stories, the Russians have proved to everyone the right not only to an independent state, but to an empire.

      You are right dear "vladimirvn" that NOT ALL PEOPLES are GIVEN to create states.
      I'm really not sure to whose / what comment you wrote your comment?
      Regarding Rusinov, I can confidently say that once Rusyns had their territory (lands in the north-east of the former Austria-Hungary), but much earlier (in the 9-11th century), moreover, as a state or an autonomous region, many traces in history have not been left, or they have been carefully cleaned after them.
      But in terms of what Rusyns are one of the nationalities of the WESTERN SLAVS in Eastern Europe, no one in the world among historians disputes this. And now, when in Russia, there was only one burden to bring ALL SLAVES together, it is worth thinking and weighing that the Russians are closer: Slavs or peoples of the Caucasus, Central Asia or other groups.
      The Rusyns themselves always gravitated towards RUSSIA, regardless of where they live, they write mainly in Cyrillic, although in some places and Latin, but IN RUSSIAN.
      For example, many forum users will probably be interested to know that today in Serbia in the city of Novy Sad published newspaper of SERBIAN RUSINS (since 1945), and she called, do not be surprised "RUSSIAN WORD"
      (link:, mailing address: Addresses: Boulevard oslєbodzena 81 / VII, 21000 Novi Sad) and there is the Rusyn Serbian publishing house "RUSKOE".
      But since mother Russia on the Rusinov of Eastern Europe pays little attention, then and so in the "Russian Word" today there are more Ukrainian and few Russian ...
      Indeed, in the days of the USSR, the topic of Rusyns in the media was "unpublished", and only now, due to short-term geopolitical issues, the "Subcarpathian Rusyns" from the present Transcarpathian region of Ukraine have become SUDDENLY KNOWN in Russia ...
      And 3-5 years after the problem of Bandera Ukraine_ hostile Russia will be solved, it is possible that about the Rusyns (Western Slavs) here in Russia - EVERYONE WILL FORGET AGAIN for 50 years ... Alas, "Sela Vee", as the French say
      1. Olezhek
        7 January 2017 11: 54
        Rusyns are one of the nationalities of the WESTERN SLAVS in Eastern Europe, no one in the world of historians disputes this.
        The Rusins ​​themselves always gravitated toward RUSSIA,

        About Rusyns we periodically write and talk
        But this is the first time I come across a "backlash".
  12. Akuzenka
    Akuzenka 7 January 2017 10: 47
    Very informative. To the author - respect.