Years of reform
Death of Charles II, the last Habsburg of the Spanish line, it coincided with Austria's involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). As a result, Emperor Charles VI retained only the dependent Spanish possessions (m.in. The Netherlands and part of Wioch), which forced him to take action, which would guarantee the legacy of the throne for his daughter Maria Teresa (Charles had no male heirs). Under the so-called. a pragmatic sanction, signed by the main forces of Europe, Maria Teresa ascended the Habsburg throne (w 1740 r.), however, it was not possible without the succession war she won (1740-1748).
Maria Teresa, assisted by England and the Netherlands, she had to defeat three rivals to the throne, including the Bavarian elector. Prussia took advantage of this conflict situation, which took control of Silesia, retaining rights to it under a later peace treaty. During the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) European powers changed their allies and Austria's efforts (now having a strong opponent in the form of England) for the recovery of Silesia ended in failure.
The reign of Maria Theresa lasted 40 years – this period was widely recognized as the golden age of Austria's history as a modern state. During her reign, the state administration was centralized, the army and economy were reformed, and the state education system was introduced. The role of Vienna as a city of music has also increased significantly.
Maria Teresa's son, Joseph II, which reigned in the years 1780-1790 (and together with the mother from 1765 r.), he became an even more zealous reformer. He published, among others. an edict on religious tolerance, he nationalized the church goods and abolished the serfdom of the peasants. Unfortunately, he acted too quickly and was eventually forced to annul some of his decisions.
A crumbling empire
The greatest threat to the Habsburg Empire turned out to be the rise of France under Napoleon's rule. This "great little man."” he dealt the greatest blows to Austria in the years 1803, 1805 i 1809. Francis II, grandson of Maria Teresa, which in 1804 r. took over the Austrian crown, two years later he was forced by Napoleon to both give up the German crown, and under the title of the Emperor of the Roman Empire of the German Nation.
In year 1809 Klemens von Metternich was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria (1773-1859), who persevere in his efforts to keep the peace, he sewn up in 1810 r. daughter of Francis II, Maria Ludwika, with Napoleon. But it was too late, war with France broke out, and its effect was the bankruptcy of the state and the economic collapse of 1811 r.
The European conflict lasted until the Congress of Vienna, which sat in the years 1814-1815. One of the people who had a decisive influence on the deliberations of the congress was Metternich, which managed to partially restore Austria's former strong position in the international arena. This efficient politician ensured his country hegemony in the German Union, which it enjoyed until the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 r. As a result of this conflict, Austria found itself outside the newly created German state, united in 1871 r. under Bismarck.
However, in Austria itself after 1815 r. not everything was going well. Admittedly, art and culture flourished (the so-called. style bidder meier), supported by the middle class, but most of the population was going through a difficult time. Metternich created a police state and abolished civil law. Low wages and a shortage of housing led in March 1848 r. until the revolution in Vienna (Spring of Nations). The minister of war was hanged on a street lamp, Metternich was driven out, and Emperor Ferdinand I abdicated. However, the period of liberalism was short-lived, and with the help of the army, the absolute monarchy was efficiently restored. Franz Joseph I became the new emperor (1830-1916), Ferdinand's nephew, who ascended the throne, having just 18 years.
The country's economic situation improved as a result of rapid technological development. Franz Josef I became the head of Austria-Hungary – the dualistic monarchy created in 1867 r. on the basis of equal rights for Austria and Hungary (after Austria's defeat in the war with Prussia in 1866 r.). Both countries also had a common army, foreign and economic policy, only parliaments remained separate. Another boom period has begun, which Vienna particularly benefited from. W 1906 r. all Austro-Hungarian citizens were granted the right to vote.
Peace in Europe was maintained by groups of allies (Austria-Hungary, along with the German Reich and Italy, belonged to the Triple Alliance). The situation turned into 1914 r., when 28 on June in Sarajevo, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was murdered - the nephew of Franz Joseph I and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. A month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and World War I began.