23/5/1917 Tisza steps down as Hungarian Prime Minister

Back in 1914, it was only after winning over Prime Minister Tisza of Hungary that the pro-war faction in Vienna was able to issue an ultimatum to Serbia. The main Austrian authors of the war have now left the stage. Emperor Franz Josef has died, Foreign Minister Berchtold has retired, Austria’s Prime Minister Stürgkh has been assassinated and army commander Conrad has been demoted.

And now Tisza is obliged to step down as prime minister of Hungary. Since his accession, Emperor Karl has been intent on reforming his empire. He wishes for a more liberal and federal structure for Austria-Hungary, one in which all the peoples would be equally privileged. This is problematic for Hungary, as the Hungarians there rule over many people of other ethnicities. Karl talks also of widening the franchise, which would both dilute the power of ethnic Hungarians and shift power away from the gentry class who are Tisza’s base.

Tisza seems unable to resist Karl. His position is undercut be increasing demands within Hungary for greater democracy. Now he agrees to resign and is succeeded by Moritz Esterházy, who declares himself a supporter of democracy, so long as it is “Hungarian democracy”. Now he must set to work on the negotiation of a renewal of the 1867 compromise that established self-rule in Hungary.

image source:

István Tisza (Wikipedia)

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