By the fourth year of the war the Habsburg Monarchy had reached the end of its tether and was in a state of complete military and economic exhaustion, which naturally inflicted a massive loss of authority on the traditional elites. In broad sectors of the population the longing for peace was accompanied by the desire for a comprehensive reordering of society and by an increasing feeling that the state structures of the Habsburg Monarchy were an impediment to progress.
In view of the reluctance of those in power to carry out thoroughgoing reforms, the idea of the creation of new and independent states became an increasingly realistic option in the minds of the political representatives of the peoples of the Dual Monarchy. The watchword ‘right of self-determination’ became a leitmotif of wartime politics.
The autumn of 1918 saw one event follow another in quick succession and the disintegration of the Habsburg Monarchy accelerated in parallel with its military collapse.