Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What Was the Ethnic Composition of the Hapsburg Army?

In 1906 a survey found that out of every 1000 men enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian army, there were 267 Germans/Austrians, 223 Hungarians, 135 Czechs, 85 Poles, 81 Ukrainians, 67 Croats and Serbs, 64 Romanians, 38 Slovaks, 26 Slovenes, and 14 Italians.

The Germans and Hungarians were strongly over-represented in the army. German speakers were 23% of the population but almost 27% of the armed forces, while Hungarians were 19.5% of the population and over 22% of the military.

Most of the other groups were quite close to their population percentages, a little over or a little under, except for Serbo-Croatians (counted as one group). While they were almost 11% of the population, they were under 7% of the armed forces.

This may help explain why it was a Serbian who later shot two members of the Hapsburg royal family, thus precipitating WWI.

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