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The United States of Greater Austria (German: Vereinigte Staaten von Groß-Österreich) was a proposal, conceived by a group of scholars surrounding the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, that never came to pass. This specific proposal was conceived by Aurel Popovici in 1906.
As the twentieth century started to unfold, the greatest problem facing the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary was that it consisted of twelve distinctly different ethnic groupings, of which only two, the Germans and Hungarians (who together accounted for about 44% of the total population), wielded any power or control. The other ten groupings (Czechs, Poles,Ruthenians, Romanians, Croatians, Slovaks, Bosniaks, Serbs, Slovenes and Italians) hardly wielded any power at all, only Croats had limited autonomy in the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia. The idea of the Dual Monarchy system of 1867 had been to split the previous Austrian Empire into two realms, one German-dominated, the other Hungarian-dominated. However, after various demonstrations, uprisings and acts of terrorism, it became readily apparent that the notion of two ethnic groups dominating the other ten could not survive in perpetuum.
Franz Ferdinand had planned to redraw the map of Austria-Hungary radically, creating a number of ethnically and linguistically dominated semi-autonomous "states" which would all be part of a larger confederation renamed the United States of Greater Austria. Under this plan, language and cultural identification was encouraged, and the disproportionate balance of power would be corrected. The idea was set to encounter heavy opposition from the Hungarian part of the Dual Monarchy, since a direct result of the reform would have been a significant territorial loss for Hungary.
However, the Archduke was assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914, triggering the outbreak of the First World War. After the war Austria-Hungary was dismantled and several new nation states were created, and various Austro-Hungarian territories were ceded to neighbouring countries by the victorious Entente powers.
Proposed states from Aurel Popovici
The idea came from Hungarian revolutionary Lajos Kossuth, who proposed to transform the Habsburg Empire into a so-called "Danubian State", a federal state with autonomous regions. The following territories were supposed to become states of the federation after the reform. The majority ethnic group within each territory is also listed.
- Deutsch-Österreich (German-Austria, present-day Austria, the Italian province of South Tyrol, and the southern part of the present-day Czech Republic, ethnic German)
- Deutsch-Böhmen (German-Bohemia, northwestern part of present-day Czech Republic, ethnic German)
- Deutsch-Mähren (German-Moravia, northeastern part of present-day Czech Republic, ethnic German)
- Böhmen (Bohemia, southern and central part of present-day Czech Republic, ethnic Czech)
- Slowakenland (Slovakia, ethnic Slovak)
- West-Galizien (West Galicia, part of present-day Poland, ethnic Pole)
- Ost-Galizien (East Galicia, part of present-day Ukraine and Poland, ethnic Rusyn and Ukrainian)
- Ungarn (Hungary, present-day Hungary, southern Slovakia, northern Vojvodina, ethnic Magyar)
- Seklerland (Székely Land, part of present-day Romania, ethnic Magyar)
- Siebenbürgen (Transylvania, the Banat, plus Bukovina - part of present-day Romania and Ukraine, ethnic Romanian)
- Trento (Trentino, part of present-day Italy, ethnic Italian)
- Triest (Trieste and Gorizia, parts of present-day Italy, western Istria, part of present-day Croatia and Slovenia, ethnic Italian)
- Krain (Carniola, present-day Slovenia and southern Carinthia, ethnic Slovene)
- Kroatien (Croatia, present-day Croatia, Srem in present-day Serbia and Boka Kotorska in present-day Montenegro, ethnic Croatian)
- Woiwodina (Vojvodina, part of present-day Serbia and Croatia, ethnic Croatian and Serb)
In addition, a number of mostly German-speaking enclaves in eastern Transylvania, the Banat and other parts of Hungary, southern Slovenia, large cities (such as Prague, Budapest, Lviv and others) and elsewhere were to have autonomy within the respective territory.
- Isac, Iulian Nicusor. The United States of Greater Austria – a step towards European Union?. Retrieved December 2009.
- (German) Kowalski, Erich (2005). Die Pläne zur Reichsreform der Militärkanzlei des Thronfolgers Franz Ferdinand im Spannungsfeld von Trialismus und Föderalismus. Vienna: Universitätsbibliothek Universität Wien.
- (German) Popovici, Aurel (1906). Die Vereinigten Staaten von Groß-Österreich. Politische Studien zur Lösung der nationalen Fragen und staatrechtlichen Krisen in Österreich-Ungarn. Leipzig.
- (German) Teslaru-Born, Alina (2005). Ideen und Projekte zur Föderalisierung des Habsburgischen Reiches mit besonderer Berücksichtigung Siebenbürgens 1848–1918 (Inauguraldissertation). Frankfurt am Main: Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität zu Frankfurt am Main. Retrieved December 2009.
- "Encyclopædia Britannica: Kossuth article"
- Lessons of the War and the Peace Conference : Oreste Ferrara