The two halves of the Dual Monarchy evolved in different directions after 1867. Opinions about the rights and obligations of the two parts of the empire with regard to the state as a whole diverged increasingly.
One of the fundamental differences between the two states in the Dual Monarchy after the Compromise of 1867 was that Hungary, unlike the Austrian half of the Empire, did not see itself as a multinational entity but rather as a Magyar nation state.
After the defeat of the Hungarian revolution, brutal retaliatory measures were decreed by the Austrian authorities. Officers, officials and other representatives of the revolution were court-martialled.
In the Vormärz era, a new generation emerged in Hungarian ‘patriotic’ circles, a young and more radical movement that became increasingly assertive in its claims for nationhood, demanding a special constitutional status for Hungary within the Monarchy.
As in the majority of the Habsburg empire, the aristocracy was the ruling class in Hungary and was able to maintain its political and economic privileges until the First World War. In the process of national development, however, it played a more important role in Hungary than in most of the other nationalities of central Europe.
In the era of emergent national identity, the foundations of a modern Magyar nation were also laid in Hungary, where it took place on the basis of a strong national awareness and historical identification with the Crown of St Stephen.
The Hungarians – or in a narrower ethnic sense Magyars – saw themselves as a nation state within the Kingdom of Hungary. In the realm of the Crown of St Stephen, the Magyars were not only the dominant language group but also the largest ethnic group.
Even before 1914, the Serbs were regarded in the shadow of Austria-Hungary’s aggressive Balkan policy during the Balkan crisis from 1908 as ‘enemies’ of the Habsburg Monarchy. With the outbreak of war they became definitively the prime object of patriotic hate.
National unification ideologies developed on the principle of a common language for the southern Slavs. One of the contentious issues was whether it should be led by Serbs or Croats. The question of the inclusion of the Slovenes also remained to be solved.
Attempts to model the administration, school system and judiciary on the structures in other parts of the empire offer interesting examples of the integrative potential of the Habsburg Monarchy.