Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
We didn’t do anything to start a war between Serbia and their allies. Serbia began the fight by hiring a terrorist group- blackhand- to assassinate our Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand who was supposed to be next in line to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, happened on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo when they were killed by Gavrilo Princip. They did this with the intention of trying to break off our South Slav provinces, so that they could be combined into a Yugoslavia. This move by Serbia caused us to declare a war against them which led to other European countries getting involved as well. Germany decided to support us in the war and Russia, Serbia’s big brother, decided to side with Serbia. This eventually led to the joining of other European countries like France, Belgium and Italy who supported Serbia to honour their alliance with Russia. The Ottoman Empire also declared war against Russia honouring their agreement with Germany, making Ottoman Empire our ally during the war.
The consequences of the war were severe and is now leading to multiple changes within the country. The war caused us more harm than good. Many people died during the war and the estimates of the total losses of the Austro-Hungarian armed forces ranged from 1.1 to 1.2 million. In addition to that, there were also 450,000 deceased prisoners of war and 300,000 soldiers who went missing even after the war. The number of direct and indirect civilian losses is completely unknown. Austria-Hungary can be estimated at 460,000 deaths caused by famine, cold, and the Spanish Flu which caused an additional 250,000 people to die. The negative effects of the First World War hit our country severely especially in the Austrian Republic where poverty still remains a problem.
In terms of our military’s performance, there were three main groups involved- the joint army, which were soldiers recruited from the empire, the Imperial Austrian army, and finally, the Royal Hungarian army. As for the Austrian and Hungarian armies, they were capable of sustaining themselves, however, they were burdened with a complex and slow organization, causing each army to report to different defense ministries. As for the joint army, they were made up of poorly trained conscripts due to the lack of investment from the empire and to make matters worst, most soldiers in this army were illiterate and unable to understand Austrian or Hungarian which led to a lot of miscommunication among the armies. The lack of leadership, miscommunication and money, which could have helped the armies thrive, ultimately led to the overall poor performance from the military. In terms of the diplomats, their performance proved also to be mediocre. With the lack of leadership and understanding of the enemies resources and forces fully as well as our own misunderstanding of our resources and forces, foreign minister Count Leopold Berchtold and his chief hastily decided to persuade Emperor Franz Joseph to declare war which could have been avoided if they understood the state of our country. As for the government’s performance within the war, due to the overlapping responsibilities of the austro and hungarian joint ministries, there many problems and inefficiencies, which greatly affected the army, and due to the result of what happened within the army, you can tell that the government had very poor leadership and many issues that became handicaps for us during the war.
There could have been many things in which our country could have done to have done better in the war. First we should have thought more carefully about how many other countries we had that could help us during the war against Serbia compared to their connections and allies before declaring the war. We also should have managed our military better as well. Our military lacked in many ways during this war. From inadequate training to lack of funds, to many officers incompetence, the military seemed to be in no shape to fight a war. Lastly, there was no reason to even start a war in the first place. Many other countries during the war were already dealing with their own problems. For example, the Russians were defending their country and allies from central power aggression, french troops wanted to avenge the Franco-Prussian war and lastly Serbia troops killed our new leader to ensure their survival. There would have been no benefit with starting the war, besides avenging our deceased leader. With the war declared, our country fell, and their are even more problems today then before the war. These several things we could have done better in order to avoid or do better in the war, is a large part in why our country is suffering now.
There was not much that could have been done to avoid the involvement of our country during the war. Starting the war was inevitable because of the Archduke getting assassinated by the terrorist group, blackhand. There was no way that we could have avoided getting involved because they are the ones who started everything and not us. What they’ve done is huge to us since they took our Archduke away. If we took matters into our own hands and ended up punishing Serbia, Russia will still end up getting involved and will try to defend its little brother. This will still result to France, Belgium, Italy and their other allies backing them up which will still result to war.
We should focus on finding millions of civilians and soldiers that went missing during the war. Millions of people from our country got injured so we should focus on treating them and avoid more people from dying. We should also establish treaties with the countries that were involved in the war for a better future for all of us. We should deal with the consequences of the war we started with our allies so that we can finish it faster and we can focus on other concerns like what our people want and what the “winning” countries want. We should also start resolving problems in our country like poverty and undernourishment. We should also create more alliances with other countries because of the fact that it can be really beneficial to us when we get involved in another war.