A Plan for a 'United States of Greater Austria'

Had Franz Ferdinand not been assassinated in Sarajevo, he might have pushed through this plan, and the empire might have survived

The assassination at Sarajevo in 1914 of archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian crown prince, led to the First World War, and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Had the bullet missed, Franz Ferdinand might have become the saviour of his empire rather than its unwitting destroyer.

Before his death, a group of scholars associated with him had come up with a plan to re-arrange the volatile Double Monarchy into a United States of Greater Austria. This specific plan was proposed by Aurel Popovici in 1906. What if he had not been killed, and had been able to push through this kind of reform? Would Austro-Hungary have become a more stable state, and perhaps still be around today?

Prior to World War One, Austro-Hungary was unstable because, as a multi-ethnic state, it was dominated by only two out of its main eleven nationalities – Germans and Hungarians, totalling 44% of the entire population. Each of these two nationalities controlled roughly one half of the Double Monarchy. Revolts and resistance by the other nine nationalities made this situation untenable.

Franz Ferdinand wanted to re-draw the map of his country into a number of states that would be as ethnically and linguistically uniform as possible. These would be supplemented by small autonomous areas, mainly German-speaking ‘islands’, for example in the south of Hungary. The states in Popovici’s plan were defined as:

  • German Austria - Present-day Austria and South Tyrol, now a part of Italy.
  • German Bohemia - Northwestern part of the former Sudetenland, now in the Czech Republic.
  • German Moravia - Northeastern part of the former Sudetenland, now in the Czech Republic.
  • Bohemia - Present-day Czech Republic, minus the former Sudetenland.
  • Slovakia
  • West Galicia - Part of present-day Poland.
  • East Galicia - Part of present-day Ukraine.
  • Hungary
  • Szeklerland - Part of present-day Romania.
  • Transylvania - Part of present-day Romania and Ukraine.
  • Trentino - Part of present-day Italy.
  • Triest - Part of present-day Italy.
  • Carniola - In German: ‘Krain’, present-day Slovenia.
  • Croatia
  • Vojvodina - Part of present-day Serbia.
  • The borders don’t completely correspond to those of today, but some of the nations that would eventually appear after the First World War are prefigured quite accurately, especially Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia.

    More information (and this map) on this Wikipedia page.

    Strange Maps #17

    Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

    How to bring more confidence to your conversations

    Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

    • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
    • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
    • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
    Keep reading Show less

    Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

    Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

    The Sarco assisted suicide pod
    Technology & Innovation

    Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

    Keep reading Show less

    Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

    Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

    Getty Images
    Mind & Brain
    • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
    • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
    • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
    Keep reading Show less