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   Course Title    The Eentente and Aaustria-Hungary During the First World War 1914-1918
Lecturer    Krassimira Marholeva
Institution    St.Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia
Country    Bulgaria


  • To present to the students and explain to them the attitude of the Entente (including Italy and the USA) toward Austria-Hungary, how and when it changed in the course of the war and the reasons for its modification.
  • To explain the reasons for unsuccessful attempts to conclude a separate peace between the Entente and Austria-Hungary.
  • To explain the role of the wartime propaganda led by the oppressed nationalities (Czechs, Poles, the Southern Slavs) in the capitals of the Allies, how this propaganda contributed to the dismemberment of the Habsburg empire.


The course will discuss some aspects of the First World War and especially those relating to Central Europe in the wartime policy of the Great Powers. This course will be offered to students in their 3rd year of academic education (Summer semester).

Such a course has never been taught in the Department of Modern and Contemporary history. Traditionally, the topics which are the subject of discussion, comprise the period of 18th and 19th centuries. This course will be important for students because it refers to the change of political map of Central Europe (disintegration of Austria-Hungary, establishment of new states in its place) which reflected the historical fate of this region in the subsequent years. Thus, the students will obtain knowledge for discussing matters concerning the Paris Peace Conference.


The course will include not only lectures and discussions, but also the presentation of course work written by students. Since most of the Bulgarian students have knowledge of English and use Internet, they will meet not difficulties in finding materials for preparing their written presentations.

The discussions will comprise analysis of documents related to the topic, thus the students will get more experience in obtaining information from published documents.

The course will finish with a written and oral exam.


1. Introduction (1st week)

The course will begin with an outline of the formation of the two military-political alliances in Europe - the Entente and the Central powers. The international factors which contributed to the formation of these two alliances must be mentioned.

2. Prewar relations between Austria-Hungary and the Entente (2nd week)

  • stress will be put on international relations in the 1st decade of the 20th century;
  • the national problems in the multinational empire - the national aspirations of the oppressed nationalities, how they envisaged their future within the Habsburg empire;
  • To what extent the national aspirations were similar to those of the Entente and the USA;

3. The first years of the world conflict (1914-1916) (3rd week).

  • Austria-Hungary in the strategy and plans of the Entente. Why did Great Britain and France consider its existence was of vital necessity?;
  • What was the attitude of Italy - its aspirations toward Habsburg lands(the Treaty of London in April 1915) and the Yugoslav problem;
  • the Russian program - the transformation of the Dual monarchy into a Triple monarchy, the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dalmatia;

4. The relations between the USA and the Dual monarchy (1914- December 1917) (4th and 5th week).

  • Wilson` s propositions for peace meditation; the reaction of Austria-Hungary and the Entente;
  • The problem of the submarine war - Lusitania, Ancona, Sussex and Persia cases;
  • Discussions on the possibility of signing a separate peace between the Habsburg empire and the Entente - the role of the American ambassador in Vienna: Penfield, the wartime policy of the new Habsburg emperor Charles I and his foreign minister Ottokar Czernin; the role of Charles` s brother-in-law Sixtus of Burbon;
  • Wilson` s note to all belligerent governments requesting them to state officially their war aims; the Entente` s note of 10.01 1917(analysis of the document);
  • Circumstances which contributed to the American declaration of war on Germany and Austria-Hungary;

5. Propaganda of the oppressed nationalities(Czechs, Poles, Yugoslavs) in the capitals of the Entente, in Italy, and in the USA(6th and 7th week).

  • Similarities and basic differences between the movements for Czechoslovak liberation and Yugoslav unification, and for the Polish independence;
  • the Czech activities in Great Britain, France, Russia, the USA - the role of the Czech immigrants and the Czech leaders in exile - Masaryk, Benes;
  • the Yugoslav propaganda in London;
  • the role of Seton-Watson and Wickham Steed in London and their anti-Habsburg sentiments;
  • the activities of Roman Dmowski and Joesph Pilsudski in favor of Polish independence;

6. The USA, the Entente and Austria-Hungary during the last years of the war(1917-1918)(8th and 9th week)

  • the negotiations between Austria-Hungary and the Entente aiming to concluding a separate peace with the Dual monarchy - the reasons for their failure;
  • Wilson` s 14th points(analysis of the document);
  • the Sixtus affair - the hopes for separate peace became impossible;
  • the Russian affairs in the spring of 1918 - the role of the Czechoslovak legion;
  • the Congress of Oppressed Nationalities held in Rome(Spring of 1918) - the Allied and the American attitude toward it.

7. Disintegration of the Habsburg empire (Summer - Autumn 1918)(10th week)

  • the Entente and the American recognition of the Czechoslovak national council;
  • the negotiations for concluding an armistice with Austria-Hungary; the note of president Wilson in October, which meant recognition of the Dual monarchy dismemberment;
  • the Yugoslav case and Italy;


Proposed literature

Calder, Kenneth J., Britain and the Origins of the New Europe, 1914-1918. Cambridge-New York 1976.

Cornwall, Mark. The Undermining of Austria-Hungary. London, 2000.

Daniels, Josephus, The Cabinet Diaries, 1913-1921. Lincoln 1963.

Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation, by its Provisional Government. New York 1918.

Fest, Wilfried, Peace or Partition: The Habsburg Monarchy and British Policy, 1914-1918. New York 1978.

Fic, Victor M., The Bolsheviks and the Czechoslovak Legion: The Origin of their Armed Conflict, March-May 1918. New Delhi 1978.

Fowler, W. B., British-American relations, 1917-1918: The Role of Sir William Wiseman. Princeton 1969.

Gelfand, L. E., The Inquiry: American Preparations for Peace, 1917-1919, New Haven, Conn., 1963.

Gerson, L. L., Woodrow Wilson and the Rebirth of Poland, New Haven, 1963.

Glaise-Horstenau, E., The Collapse of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, London, 1931.

Hanak, H., Great Britain and Austria- Hungary During the First World War, London, 1962.

Chada, Joseph, The Czechs in the United States. [Washington] 1981.

Kann, Robert A., A History of the Habsburg Empire, 1526-1918. Berkeley 1971.

Kann, Robert A., The Multinational Empire, New York, 1950.

Kennan, George F., Soviet-American relations, 1917-1920. 2 vols. Princeton 1956-1958.

Lansing, Robert, War Memoirs. 1935. Reprint Westport, Conn. 1970.

Link, Arthur S., Wilson the Diplomatist: A look at his Major Foreign policies. Baltimore 1957.

Mamatey, Victor S., The United States and East Central Europe, 1914-1918: A Study in Wilsonian Diplomacy and Propaganda. Princeton 1957.

Morley, James W., The Japanese Thrust into Siberia, 1918. New York 1957.

Charles Pergler, America in the struggle for Czechoslovak independence. Philadelphia 1926.

Seton-Watson, Robert W., Masaryk in Ångland. Cambridge-New York 1943.

Seton-Watson, Robert W., The Southern Slav Question and the Habsburg Monarchy. 1911. Reprint New York 1969.

Smith, Daniel Malloy, The Great Departure: The United States and World War I, 1914-1920. New York [1965].

Smith, Daniel Malloy, Robert Lansing and American Neutrality, 1914-1917. New York 1972.

Steed, Henry Wickham, The Habsburg monarchy. 1914. Reprint. New York 1969.

Willert, Arthur, The Road to Safety: A Study in Anglo-American relations. London [1952].

Zeman Zbynek A., The Break-up of the Habsburg Empire, 1914-1918. London-New York 1961.

Zeman Zbynek A., A Diplomatic History of the First World War. London 1971.

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