|Austria Table of Contents
The dismantling of the Habsburg Empire had not been an objective of the Allies. Following the collapse of the tsarist government in Russia, however, the Allies increasingly portrayed the war as pitting freedom and democracy against oppression and autocracy. This strategy benefited the representatives of Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and other nationalist committees-in-exile, which skillfully played on the theme of self-determination expressed in United States president Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. Austria-Hungary was unable to put forward a meaningful program of reform while still preserving the monarchy and so could not successfully resist the centrifugal forces pulling it apart. By mid-1918 the Allies began recognizing the national committees-in-exile and made plans for an independent Poland and Czechoslovakia. By October 1918, when the Austro-Hungarian government was seeking an armistice, control of the empire's constituent lands was passing to national committees, including one representing German Austrians.
On October 21, German Austrian delegates to the Austrian parliament voted to establish an Austrian state incorporating all districts inhabited by ethnic Germans. At the end of the month, the delegates established a coalition provisional government. On November 3, imperial authorities signed an armistice, bringing Austro-Hungarian participation in World War I to an official end. On November 11, Karl renounced any role in the new Austrian state, and the next day the provisional government issued a constitution for the German Austrian Republic.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress