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By Geoffrey Wawro

The Austro-Hungarian military that marched east and south to confront the Russians and Serbs within the starting campaigns of global conflict I had an excellent prior yet a pitiful current. talking a mystifying array of languages and lugging outmoded guns, the Austrian troops have been hopelessly unprepared for the industrialized battle that may presently eat Europe.

As prizewinning historian Geoffrey Wawro explains in A Mad Catastrophe, the doomed Austrian conscripts have been an unlucky microcosm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire itself—both both ripe for destruction. After the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, Germany goaded the Empire right into a battle with Russia and Serbia. With the Germans massing their forces within the west to interact the French and the British, everything—the process the conflict and the destiny of empires and alliances from Constantinople to London—hinged at the Habsburgs’ skill to overwhelm Serbia and maintain the Russians at bay. despite the fact that, Austria-Hungary were rotting from inside of for years, hollowed out by way of repression, cynicism, and corruption on the maximum degrees. Commanded by way of a loss of life emperor, Franz Joseph I, and a querulous megastar normal, Conrad von Hötzendorf, the Austro-Hungarians controlled to bungle every thing: their ultimatum to the Serbs, their declarations of conflict, their mobilization, and the pivotal battles in Galicia and Serbia. through the top of 1914, the Habsburg military lay in ruins and the result of the warfare appeared all yet made up our minds.

Drawing on deep archival learn, Wawro charts the decline of the Empire prior to the conflict and reconstructs the good battles within the east and the Balkans in exciting and tragic aspect. A Mad Catastrophe is a riveting account of a ignored face of worldwide struggle I, revealing how a once-mighty empire collapsed within the trenches of Serbia and the jap entrance, altering the process eu background.

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Additional resources for A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire

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Unlike their American allies, for the victorious European powers the intimacy of the connection between German reparations and inter-Allied war debts loomed large in the aftermath of the Armistice. In February 1919, a British Cabinet discussion about the relative priority to be accorded to various claims upon the proceeds from German reparations prompted Winston Churchill to draw attention to ‘the great importance of the British indebtedness to the United States . . involving, as it did, a complete alteration of our financial position to America’.

Come when the desirability of continuing this . . one-sided cooperation should be re-considered’ because if postponement of interest was to be agreed then Britain must submit to the US Treasury’s desire that it ‘should appear in the somewhat undignified attitude of supplicants . . for relief’. As an alternative, he pleaded for ‘dignified and independent action by the British Treasury’ to propose officially an unconditional and unilateral cancellation of all inter-Allied debts owed to Britain without reference to its debt to America in the hope that Washington would eventually follow London’s lead.

13 By the time William Gibbs McAdoo left his post as US Treasury Secretary in November 1918, he had effectively established most of the key principles which informed American war debt policy for the next 15 years. 14 Equally in accord with their future position, the British were reluctant to accept this isolation of the debt question from its broader inter-Allied context while France was even more vehement in its resistance on the grounds that it was in a similar, but rather less advantageous, position to that of Britain.

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