From Kaiserreich

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, commonly known as Ausgleich, established the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary, formerly the Habsburg Empire. Signed by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and a Hungarian delegation led by Ferenc Deák, the Compromise established the framework of the new government in which the Cisleithanian (Austrian) and Transleithanian (Hungarian) regions of the state were governed by separate Parliaments and Prime Ministers. Unity was maintained through a common ruler, military, and several ministries. The Compromise was formally voted on by the restored Hungarian Diet on March 30 1867.

Prior to the Compromise, the Habsburg Empire had addressed internal pressures through less drastic reform. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century threatened the stability of the state as the ruling Austrian elite faced pressures from Magyars, Romanians, Czechs and Croats among others. The state's loss in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 was the final factor in the state’s decision to restructure. With the defeat, Austria needed to redefine itself in order to maintain unity in the face of nationalism. The suggestion for a dual monarchy was made by the Habsburgs but Hungarian statesman Ferenc Deák is considered the intellectual force behind the Compromise.


Under the Compromise of 1867, Austria-Hungary has two capital cities, Vienna and Budapest. The two regions have separated Prime Ministers and Parliaments that create and maintain different laws. Austria-Hungary remains unified through several ministries and in the form of a single ruler, the Emperor-King. The army and navy are managed by a common Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade regulation are also unified under the Ministry of Finance. There is no common citizenship, but matters such as weights, measures, coinage, and postal service were made uniform. Terms of the Compromise were renegotiated every ten years.

After 1867, relations between the two halves of the empire featured repeated disputes over shared external tariff arrangements and over the financial contribution of each government to the common treasury. These matters were renegotiated every ten years, but they often led to political turmoil and constitutional crisis. The disputes between the halves of the empire culminated in the mid-1900s in a prolonged constitutional crisis, triggered by disagreements over the language of command in Hungarian army units and deepened by the advent to power in Budapest (April 1906) of a Hungarian nationalist coalition. Provisional renewals of the common arrangements occurred in October 1907 and in November 1917 on the basis of the status quo.

1927 Ausgleich

Despite the victory in the Weltkrieg, the war revealed the Empire’s significant weaknesses and its dependence upon Germany. After the death of Emperor Karl in 1922, nationalistic tension rised, especially between Czechs and ethnic Germans. The Ausgleich negotitions in 1927 soon degenerated in quarrels and disputes between the ethnic minorities of the empire, prompting a constitutional crisis. Emperor Otto was still too young to assert his power and Austria had to face the humiliation of having to call in German mediation to resolve the deadlock. The Germans denied the Hungarian requests for greater power in the Dual Monarchy, but forced Austria to concede autonomy statutes to Bohemia and Galicia-Lodomiera and transfer the control over Ukraine (obtained at the end of the Weltkrieg) to Germany itself. Croatia remained under the control of the Hungarian Crown whereas Bosnia was put under the direct control of the Austrian Crown (previously it was a common holding of the Austrian-Hungarian Condominium).

Even if the 1927 Ausgleich kept the Empire together by granting more autonomy to ethnic minorities, the Hungarians were especially angered becuase their requests for greater power and autonomy were denied, but they had to accept the negotiations because of the German intervention. However, in the Ausgleich of 1937 the Hungarian Crown will probably try again to assert its dominant position in the Dual Monarchy whereas the now adult Emperor Otto will try to reassert the power of the Habsburg dynasty.

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