This chapter analyses the military mobilization and expansion, as well as the social and political disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the era of the Great War (1912–1920, thus including the formation of the Successor States). The chapter will open with a discussion of the Balkan Wars and their psychological effects on the Habsburg Empire’s mobilization for war. Although one of the driving forces for war in 1914, the Habsburg Empire was ill prepared for the requirements of a modern industrial conflict. The lack of adequate military and infrastructural preparations, however, was not the only factor that limited the ability of the Habsburg Empire to cope with the challenges of total war. More crucial perhaps was the process of “disintegrative mobilization”: the empire’s destabilization from within as a result of lacking political legitimacy and complex interethnic relations that were thrown off balance over the course of the war.
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