By Marvin Benjamin Fried (auth.)
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Extra info for Austro-Hungarian War Aims in the Balkans during World War I
Most authors, particularly those influenced by the Fischer thesis, have said very little about Austro-Hungarian war aims in the Balkans, and have instead focused their attention on Poland. 42 Ritter also downplayed the importance and impact of AustroHungarian war aims. ’43 Although Ritter argued that the vacillations of Burián and Tisza over Serbia and Montenegro showed ‘continuing uncertainty about Austrian war aims,’44 it will be argued here that Vienna stepped up its ambitions in line with successive military victories, the resulting rise in AOK pressure, and the MdÄ’s internal war-aims development.
12 Playing a duplicitous game from the beginning of the war, Italy insisted that it ‘in no way sought to obtain an advantage in Albania’13 while Austria-Hungary was engaged elsewhere. 14 The Austrians, sensing their own weakness even before the great military defeats they were to suffer in Serbia, tried to work with Italy to maintain some sort of status quo between them as well as a measure of stability in Albania. 15 Some may interpret this change of attitude as evidence of the uncertainties in Austria-Hungary’s designs for Albania.
87 This plan also included an economic ‘connection’ with Belgium, but Bethmann Hollweg insisted that he did not have any additional European territorial ambitions. Understanding German plans was crucial for Austria-Hungary to meet its own goals, which in the Balkans included as much of a reduction and weakening of Serbia as possible without actually annexing much. Only ‘smaller, strategically vital’ mainly northern territory would be annexed with an obvious emphasis on the Negotin and Belgrade, rather than the traditional Austro-Hungarian aim of the Sandjak.