In the meantime, the ethnic cohesion of the Habsburg Army began to collapse, ultimately leading to the implosion of the Empire itself. After the Czechoslovakian political revolution, Habsburg military garrisons had to be withdrawn from Czechoslovak territory. Some front line Hungarian units rebelled and started home. The lull proved invaluable to the Allies as more American troops deployed along the front lines. Troop morale also collapsed and the troops became unreliable in battle. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy and its various national sections could not survive the Fourteen Points and the policies, or lack thereof, of Emperor Charles. Tunstall, Graydon A.: The Military Collapse of the Central Powers , in: 1914-1918-online. Many soldiers also deserted their units. During this period, attempts to isolate front line soldiers from the turmoil in the interior failed. Whatever the armistice terms might evolve, the Entente Powers intended to make it impossible for Germany to renew armed hostilities. Troops of every nationality increasingly abandoned their front line positions. Ibid; Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg 2013, p. 1043. , Meanwhile, a planned 28 October Habsburg counterattack had to be scrubbed because three infantry divisions in the assault force had mutinied. In the negotiations for peace, Max von Baden ignored Emperor Wilhelm. Quality food became more difficult to obtain, leading to widespread malnutrition and, ultimately, mass starvation. Thus, the Italian High Command did not realize the accelerating chaos occurring behind Habsburg lines. In Hungary demonstrations erupted and a group of soldiers murdered Istvn Tisza at his home. The Wilson note removed any questions about his stance.  Hoping to hasten the armistice negotiations and avoid a major revolution, German leaders sought to placate President Wilson by making the new chancellor responsible to the Reichstag. This terminated shipments of vital grain supplies to the starving Habsburg population. Returning Czech soldiers were greeted as heroes at home.  In Germany, the war cabinet decided to accept President Wilsons armistice terms. The German High Commands demand for an immediate armistice on 3 October came as a complete shock to most of the country. The Russian Revolutions altered the situation on the Eastern Front and gave the Germans the opportunity to take one last fateful gamble to win the war before the mass of American troops arrived to sway the outcome. The military situation had deteriorated so badly that a Habsburg Supreme Command delegation traveled to the front lines to attempt to persuade the troops to defend their positions until an armistice could be concluded. Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg 2013, p. 1042. Many troops refused to obey orders and officers were rebuffed. On 4 October he dispatched a formal note requesting an armistice based on President Wilsons Fourteen Points. In January 1919, representatives of 27 victorious Allied nations met in Paris to make a final settlement of World War I.  Supreme Command claimed that armed hordes could pillage and plunder as they returned to their homes. President Wilsons emphasis on self-determination for the various national groups comprising the Dual Monarchy made any mediation with the Habsburg authorities irrelevant. Germany received a reply in which President Wilson demanded the evacuation of all Entente territory preceding the conclusion of an armistice, while again insisting upon the removal of all traditional Central Power ruling elites, specifically Emperor Wilhelm. Initial Habsburg gains, coming on the heels of some early successes on the Piave front, were quickly negated by Italian counterattacks. Continued artillery fire camouflaged the fact that portions of the Habsburg front had disintegrated. One must also consider how the appeals by the two main Central Power countries for an armistice affected the post-war order, leading to the enormous influence of President Wilsons Fourteen Points. Impact California Social Studies World History, Culture, and Geography The Modern World, Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction, Dahia Ibo Shabaka, Larry S. Krieger, Linda Black, Phillip C. Naylor, Roger B. Beck, Briefly explain its connection to European history from 1300 to 1600. The militarys deterioration coincided with the spread of increasingly strident nationalist movements demanding independence, accelerating political collapse. During the third offensive, the newly conquered salient made it not only difficult to supply German troops, but also to defend the newly extended front lines. On the eve of the 15 June offensive, the armys food supplies could only last a few days. However, with the July 1914 crisis and outbreak of war, the Young Turks leadership determined that they should ally with Germany, the strongest military power in Europe. This paved the way for negotiations based on initiating change in German political leadership. Hundreds of thousands of people protested the steadily worsening food situation. Emperor Charles and General Arz sought an immediate end to hostilities and the completely useless bloodletting on the front. Both were willing to accept any armistice terms as long as the honor of the Habsburg Army remained intact.. In the fall of 1918 a general strike erupted throughout Bohemia as the fledgling Czech government began to assemble. This had a major effect on Honvd troops, causing immediate agitation in their ranks. Escalating economic and political unrest at home also had a devastating effect on the army. Violent action forced the Parliament to be suspended. The Germans had again achieved tremendous advances, but, as in earlier operations, proved unable to exploit their gains. While the Austro-Hungarian Army suffered an inglorious death, German troops marched home to open arms after the 11 November termination of the war. Von Glais-Horstenau, Edmund: The Collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, New York 1930; Herwig, The First World War 1997, pp.
The Habsburg Supreme Command continued to attempt to prevent the disintegration of the army. Nationalist movements increasingly undermined the Habsburg war effort. Habsburg commanders thought it better to surrender as soon as possible rather than witness the chaos that would occur if hundreds of thousands of armed undisciplined troops arrived back home. A new defensive line was established on the Danube-Save River line, with Hungary now facing the threat of invasion. Two days later, revolutionary activities expanded in Berlin, particularly encouraged by Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919), a leader of the Spartacist League, the far left-wing of the Socialist Party. On 26-27 October, at least thirteen Habsburg divisions were in dissolution. A definitive front line no longer existed as unit entities turned into masses of soldiers often retreating. The major blow from the Italian military did not occur until 26 October. March formations continued to disobey orders to proceed to the front, and almost all remaining Hungarian troops demanded that they be allowed to return to their homeland because of the increasingly dangerous military situation on the Balkan front. General Arz ordered present front line positions be maintained as long as possible in order to prevent the destruction of the army until an armistice could be concluded. Charles I, Emperor of Austria (1887-1922) divided Habsburg forces between the Isonzo and Tyrolean fronts. As military defeat loomed for Germany, revolutionary groups increased their activity within the German army and naval fleet. Following those conflicts, the German General Staff considered the Turkish army powerless. On the following day, the South Slavs (Slovenes, Serbs and Croatians) and Czechs met at Agram (Zagreb) and Prague, whereupon they determined to establish quasi-national governments. The elections of 19 January 1919 resulted in the Social Democratic Party emerging as the largest party in the Reichstag. Herwig, The First World War 1997, p. 437. German agricultural output plummeted due to enduring manpower shortages, lack of fertilizer, and poor weather conditions. During the next two weeks, the army began to rapidly disintegrate. On 31 October, politicians in Prague proclaimed a Czech state joined by Slovakia. Some estimates placed the number of German shirkers at up to 1 million soldiers on the Western Front. Through mid-August, on the Isonzo River troops suffered 600 to 800 cases of malaria daily. The battle thus produced a great tactical success, but provided little strategic advantage. Then, on 15 October, the Habsburg Supreme Command ordered the evacuation of all troops stationed in Russia and Ukraine. By 25 October, in an effort to protect the army from total collapse, Habsburg Supreme Command demanded an immediate ceasefire (Waffenstillstand) as serious battle continued. The same day, Habsburg Supreme Command dispatched General Staff officers to Prague, Krakw, Laibach, and Agram to enlist the national assemblies against the outbreak of anarchy among the troops, which it feared might spread to other parts of the Empire, particularly German Austria. Their casualties had reached 600,000 irreplaceable trained assault troops. However, the rapidly advancing Germans quickly outran their supply lines and lacked the necessary reserve formations because of the heavy casualties they sustained. On November 9, the Socialist Philip Scheidemann (1865-1939) appeared on the balcony of the Reichstag and, without any authority, proclaimed a German Republic to prevent the repetition of Red October as had occurred in Petrograd in 1917. Many German civilians scoured both street and countryside in search of food, often resorting to raiding garbage cans for rotting meats and vegetables. The army had begun to disintegrate as up to 1,500,000 soldiers were reported missing or had deserted. Thus the two Central European Great Powers suffered defeat. Meanwhile, Czechoslovakians and Yugoslavs forbade the movement of troop convoys, resulting in a true paralysis throughout the old Empire as millions of soldiers attempted to reach home. The social, political, and economic structure of the Central Powers began to disintegrate as strikes and unrest spread with the increasing war-weariness. General Arz informed German High Command that his forces could only continue to fight until the end of that year. Entente offensives continued unabated after 28 September, as the German government learned that Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff were demanding peace negotiations. The Germans sought to obtain a final, decisive victory by attacking the junction between the British and French lines in an attempt to drive the British back to the Channel ports. German military leadership was seriously concerned that the Entente would send troops through the Tyrol to invade Bavaria. President Wilsons rejection of the Habsburg armistice request and Emperor Charles promise of autonomy for his Czech-Slovak and Southern Slav peoples provided the death sentence for the Dual Monarchy. On the German front, retreat movements shortened the front lines, while fear of revolution and Bolshevik activity grew in the hinterlands of the Central Powers. The soldiers literally became skeletons from lack of proper nourishment. By 23 October, the peace offering and changes in the German government had greatly affected public opinion and further radicalized the masses. The lack of coal resulted from the fact that miners did not have sufficient food to continue their heavy labor. VII, Vienna, p. 573. The Allies agreed that a peace settlement was necessary. The Hungarians unrealistic hope of maintaining their present territorial boundaries collapsed when Romanians and Slovaks announced their intentions to secede from Hungary. Losses for both sides proved significant, while the Hungarian government repeated the demand that their soldiers return to protect their homeland. Meanwhile, the government became paralyzed as anti-dynastic agitation increased everywhere. However, soldiers ignored their officers and animals were set free. For Germany, the U.S. president emphasized that he would not negotiate for an armistice with Emperor Wilhelm. Indications of morale problems in the Germany army became difficult to ignore. Herwig, The First World War 1997, p. 446. This placed Central Power troops in a very precarious military situation on the entire Balkan front. The blockade produced many deaths and mass starvation, increasing the peoples war-weariness and popular unrest. The Czechoslovakian National Council proclaimed a Czech-Slovak provisional government. As Habsburg Supreme Command Headquarters prepared for the anticipated Italian offensive, it received word of the armistice negotiations with President Wilson. On the same day, a revolution in Bavaria overthrew the Wittelsbach dynasty and the king fled. The battle ended on 5 April with the attacking German troops exhausted. The Entente had seized the initiative from the Germans for good. This treaty ended the war by Germany accepting it. Karl Liebknecht led such an uprising, but failed to provide adequate leadership for it to succeed.
The Austro-Hungarian central government became paralyzed as the crisis escalated. Then, the former kaisertreu Hungarian Premier Istvn Tisza (1861-1918) gave his infamous the war is lost speech in Budapest after Emperor Charles manifesto had been announced. The U.S. President demanded that the German government be replaced by a constitutional body and that German unrestricted submarine warfare be terminated immediately. Already on 2 September, the first German Hindenburg Line defensive positions had been breached. Any illusions the German government might have harbored about armistice conditions ended with Wilsons reply. Meanwhile, the Habsburg home front also collapsed. Germany signed the Bread Peace with Ukraine on 2 February and occupied Kiev on 1 March. Artillery was also unable to keep pace with the advancing troops due to the terrible terrain. As the war progressed, the British (Entente) blockade strangled the Central Powers, creating misery and economic turmoil. Because of the earlier Sixtus Affair, at the Spa meeting in May the Entente powers regarded the Dual Monarchy as an appendage of Germany. Wilson wanted to create a world organization, the League of Nations, to prevent future wars. Meanwhile, as increasingly negative news arrived from the Balkan front Habsburg Emperor Charles traveled to Hungary to be crowned King of Hungary. The domestic crisis also intensified in the Austro-Hungarian and German homelands. Herwig, Holger H.: The First World War. Emperor Charles actions and continued South Slav problems created an increasingly chaotic situation on the domestic front. Habsburg Army troop numbers had meanwhile dropped precipitously, while three separate command groups were separated by hundreds of kilometers, posing an insurmountable challenge for the operation. On 3 October, Prince Max von Baden became Chancellor of the new liberal German government. On the same day, the Habsburgs decided to seek an armistice and retreat to their original frontiers. Von Glais-Horstenau, The Collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, p. 240. The provisional assembly managed public affairs until a constitution for the truncated Austria was drafted. Some Romanian leaders ordered the integration of the Bukovina into Romania. Meanwhile, the situation on the German front became highly unstable and unfavorable, thus leading Germany to ultimately accept Wilsons Fourteen Points. 365, 434; Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg 2013; Von Glais-Horstenau, The Collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1930, p. 235. The desire for national security' security against future German attacks. Chaos continued in the Empire as German-speaking sectors of Austria and Bohemia declared their independence and a republican form of government. With Russia finally eliminated from the war in 1917, the Habsburg Supreme Command was free to transfer fifty-three divisions and assorted reserve units to the Italian front. The same war-weariness that had long gripped Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria finally took its toll on the German population. The Serbian front collapsed on 20 September, leading Hungarian, Polish, and Czech units to mutiny on the Galician front.
436-437. On 8 October, President Wilson responded to Prince Max von Badens armistice overtures.  Galician leaders announced that they would join a new Polish state. Mutinies coincided with disturbances and demonstrations at various areas of the front to further cripple Habsburg military efforts. The inevitable Habsburg general retreat commenced on 29 October. Herwig, The First World War 1997, p. 436; varia. The accelerating problem of food shortages, owing to low production and poor distribution, affected the starving population. Attention now focused on the Versailles peace settlement and its effects. En masse mutinies and desertions became the order of the day. In addition, President Wilsons sharp, second note of 14 October opened the door for decisive negotiations. The Bulgarian collapse created significant danger for both the Habsburg Balkan front and for Turkey. Throughout 1916, warfare in the Middle East intensified.  As the Dual Monarchy fragmented, German politicians of all parties in the provisional Austrian National Assembly proclaimed a new Austrian state to embrace the German-speaking areas of the former Empire, including the predominately German-speaking districts of Bohemia. Czech civil service employees immediately cooperated with their National Council, ignoring Viennese officials. Although the terrain had been badly damaged from the Somme battles and the 1917 Nivelle Offensive, the Germans managed to drive the British back forty miles. Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg 2013, p. 1045. The following year the Turks made a second attempt to seize the Suez Canal, but once again were repulsed. The turning point in the war came on 20 October as growing discontent produced unrest throughout the Dual Monarchy. By late summer 1918, German armed forces neared complete exhaustion on the Western Front, as the Entente blockade increased the civilian starvation levels and war-weariness accelerated in both Germany and Austria-Hungary. Only then would he transmit a separate diplomatic communiqu to Vienna. By 31 October the Dual Monarchy had all but ceased to function, with several independent states replacing it. Like Max and Ebert, he feared a Spartacist-led communist attempt to seize power. Constant rainfall caused the Piave River to spill over its banks, washing away the attackers pontoon bridges and cutting off Habsburg escape routes. In the process, the USPD Party (Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany) split from the Socialist Party and demanded immediate peace without annexations. The failed campaign led to the loss of 143,000 troops. Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg 2013, p. 1046. Food ration per individual had fallen to 60 percent of the amount deemed necessary for even light work. Habsburg Supreme Command continued to fear the outbreak of anarchy when troops returned home. Yet during the last days of the war, some Austrian-German, Hungarian, Czech, Slovene, and Croat soldiers fought to the bitter end and died on the battlefield side by side, even though the Austro-Hungarian Army no longer existed. The Italians had learned the attack plans from Habsburg deserters, and air reconnaissance located pertinent troop assembly areas. The home front remained in turmoil.. Insubordination in training camps had been a problem since the early weeks of October, when many recruits had refused to join their regiments at the front lines. At a meeting at Spa on 13-14 August, Generals Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934) and Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937) informed Wilhelm II, German Emperor (1859-1941) and Chancellor George Count von Hertling (1843-1919) that Germany could not win the war. 368, 370, 373; Rauchensteiner, Der Erste Weltkrieg 2013, p. 995ff. The long-anticipated first German spring offensive, Operation Michael (Kaiserschlacht), commenced on 21 March 1918. These internal Habsburg conditions weakened its negotiating position at the Brest-Litovsk meeting. By 20 September, Bulgarian troops had retreated on all fronts. By the end of May, German troops had reached the Marne River Valley, the natural route to Paris, just fifty miles away.  Although the operation caught the Habsburg Supreme Command by surprise, the defending troops fought fiercely, driven by the instinct to survive. He also demanded justice for the South Slav nationalist aspirations. After suffering through the revolutionary events between November 1918 and January 1919 precipitated by battlefield defeat and the replacement of the Hohenzollern Emperor and imperial government Germany finally seemed to be on a path to social and political stability. During the first half of 1918, the increased military presence proved sufficient to suppress the early nationalistic demonstrations and uprisings that occurred in Bohemia. Habsburg troops could not halt the Italian attacks with such high casualty rates and intensifying disturbances in the ranks. The increasing chaos, combined with Allied demands for total capitulation and the floundering attempts to force Emperor Wilhelm to abdicate in favor of his grandson, severely undermined Max von Badens political position. The Sixtus Affair entailed Habsburg Emperor Charles sending a letter to his relative. Thus, during 1918, revolutions erupted in both Austria-Hungary and Germany following military defeat after four years of warfare. Often designated the Second Battle of the Marne, the operation lasted from 15 July to 18 August. During the first week of July, the Italians launched a counterattack, turning the tide on that front. The decision did not put an end to the fighting and did little to alleviate the pressure on the faltering Habsburg Army.
On 25 March, the attacking forces refocused their attention from the flanks to the center and right flank of the German lines, with a new objective of Arras. The Habsburg Commission then learned that the Italian negotiating team would not arrive until the next day, continuing the obvious Italian delaying tactics. First, they fought in Italy in the Italo-Turkish War and then against various Balkan states, which initiated the two Balkan wars in 1912-1913. Then, on 21 October, President Wilson announced that he had altered his earlier 8 January stance because of events that had transpired since then. Troops could not be transported from other fronts and deployed rapidly enough to halt the Entente advances (the reinforcements would have come from the Serbian and Ukrainian fronts). Living conditions obviously suffered as material exhaustion accelerated. Although senior army commanders made plans to intervene in the Dual Monarchys internal crisis when the war ended, Emperor Charles wisely resisted pressure to deploy Habsburg troops against the newly emerging states. Wilhelm departed his homeland on 29 October, ending over 500 years of Hohenzollern rule. What were the national interests of the United States? The events of October 1918 brought a rapid end to Austria-Hungary and Germanys World War destiny. President Wilsons 8 October diplomatic note contained a list of conditions stipulating that Austria-Hungary must evacuate all Allied territory. is licensed under: CC by-NC-ND 3.0 Germany - Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivative Works. The obvious expanding Entente superiority in both manpower and material and its overwhelming supremacy both on land and in the air further depressed the remaining troops, many of whom surrendered to the enemy as Germany was forced to revert to the defensive. Meanwhile, the Supreme Command of the Habsburg Army concentrated its efforts on keeping the army intact regardless of battlefield events. Seven front-line Habsburg infantry divisions (41,000 soldiers) were deployed to the homeland to preserve internal security and to track down army deserters. This was General Ludendorffs infamous Black Day for the German army, as many of his troops surrendered after offering little more than token resistance to the attackers. War-weariness abounded. German forces next sought to link their salient north along the Somme River with their salient south of the Marne River. Multiple divisions refused to defend their front lines and instead marched to rear echelon areas, which only accelerated the armys disintegration. The Germans also launched a diversionary attack against the French to bind their troops at the Chemin des Dames. Meanwhile, the Hindenburg myth endured through the 1918 German offensive, as the people still trusted him. The Habsburg Supreme Command attempted to meet with representatives of the various nationalities as they began to plan their future status outside of the Dual Monarchy, but these groups had no desire to assist Habsburg military authorities in continuing the war. As the military situation worsened, despair spread throughout the Central Powers ranks. Turkey also signed an armistice agreement shortly thereafter on 30 October. On the home front, new demonstrations erupted in Prague and Krakw, while the revolutionary Hungarian Parliament, led by Count Mihaly Karolyi (1875-1955), recalled all Honvd regiments from the various fronts in reaction to the negative Balkan military situation.. Many troops, now basically skeletons, suffered from various ailments, becoming pathetic shadows of their former selves.