No long decline: WWI and the end of the Hapsburg Empire

Dr Jonathan Gumz has been awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant, for the project ‘No Long Decline: WWI and the End of the Hapsburg Empire’.

The £9,960 award will enable Dr Gumz to undertake archival research in Vienna, Austria to investigate the state of the Hapsburg Empire during WWI. The research will contribute to a re-interpretation of the Empire’s collapse that stresses the role of state failure (specifically, a deeply divisive conflict between the Army, state administration, and political class over how WWI should be fought), as opposed to disaffected peoples turning away from the Empire for national reasons.

Dr Gumz notes that scholars and the public have used the Hapsburg Empire as an example of a state destined to collapse because of its multinational basis. Thus, he believes the role of WWI in the collapse has been ignored or considered a moment that highlights its inevitable failure as a multinational state. This perspective stands in spite of much recent research that shows that the Habsburg Empire was a vibrant, functioning polity prior to 1914.

The main project output will be a scholarly book, co-authored with Professor John Deak, University of Notre Dame, US. The project started in February 2016 and will finish in May 2017.