The once mighty Habsburg Empire is disintegrating into a patchwork of new nations with overlapping borders. Yugoslavia has been proclaimed in the south, to combine southern Slav areas of the Empire with Serbia. The Czechs have declared their independence from Austria and now the Slovaks declare their independence from Hungary; the two kindred peoples hope to unite into a new state, Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile German-Austrians are talking about either establishing a republic for themselves or else uniting with Germany.
Budapest has seen increasingly large and rowdy demonstrations by Hungarian nationalists seeking to sever the link with Austria. Blood has been spilled but Lukachich, commander of the city’s garrison is unable to restore order. So many of his troops have gone over to the rebels that he begs Emperor Karl to send him a contingent of loyal troops. However, the Emperor demurs; “enough blood has been spilt,” he says. Wekerle, the Hungarian Prime Minister, resigns and is replaced by Károlyi, the nationalists’ leader. Lukachich is placed under arrest.
The changing of the guard in Budapest allows old scores to be settled. Tisza, the Hungarian prime minister in 1914 when Austria-Hungary went to war, has already survived two assassination attempts. Tonight his luck runs out as armed soldiers burst into his city residence. Blaming him for the war in which millions have died, they shoot him down in front of his wife and niece.
For all the chaos within its borders, Austria-Hungary is still at war with the Allies, but the war may not have much time left to run. Emperor Karl has already requested an armistice of the Italians and now they receive his negotiators at Padua to work out the details of the end to hostilities. Meanwhile in Paris representatives of the USA, Britain, France and Italy meet and agree that once Austria-Hungary drops out of the war the Italians should occupy the territories on the Dalmatian coast assigned to them by the Treaty of London.