The Habsburg Monarchy as a state framework for the smaller nationalities of Central Europe was not seriously questioned before 1914, either internally or externally. With the outbreak of war, representatives of the nationalities initially emphasised their loyalty to the Monarchy’s war aims.
It was not until the weaknesses and shortcomings of the Dual Monarchy became dramatically evident as the war progressed and the depletion of the “Imperial and Royal” system and its inability to effect reforms were revealed that a marked changed emerged within the individual national political circles. As the repressive measures by the state made it increasingly dangerous to voice criticism, politicians in exile tended to take the leading roles. Existence within the Habsburg Monarchy was now no longer seen as an immutable constant. The idea of self-determination gave rise to new options for the future as independent nation states.