Towards the end of WWI, both Austria-Hungary and Russia faced populist or socialist revolutions and successful nationalist uprisings. In both cases, both revolutions and uprisings resulted in the creation of numerous successor states. In both cases, war existed within and between successor states.

In the case of the successors of Imperial Russia, the new states generally united.

  • In Union as of 1922: RSFSR; SSRS: Ukraine, Byleorussia, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan,

  • Non union: Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland

  • Major wars: Russian civil war first (internal) and second (intervention) periods, with warring successor states above, and failed alternatives to the above

In the case of the successors of Austria-Hungary, the new states did not generally unite.

  • In unions: Czechoslovakia; Yugoslavia

  • Non unionate: Romania, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, Italy

  • Major wars: Hungarian revolution intervention, Trieste, Russian Civil War

In particular, the central economic mass surrounding the dominant nations of Imperial Russia formed a union, whereas in Imperial and Royal Austria Hungary the peripheral nations formed the only unions.

Why the difference?

  • 2
    Actually naming the protagonist states/nations/countries warring might help, Do you have any specific areas/countries in mind? Oct 27, 2018 at 0:23
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    @LangLangC ?actioned Oct 27, 2018 at 0:55
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    "United" is an incorrect description of what happened. They were conquered, after a very bloody war.
    – Alex
    Oct 27, 2018 at 13:37

2 Answers 2


The answer is simple. In the parts of Imperial Russia that became the USSR, the Communist Party had managed to achieve sufficient control, and was determined to form a union. The parts that became independent had strong nationalist movements which won their conflicts with the local communist movements.

In Austria-Hungary, the nationalist movements won everywhere. The unions of Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Croats, Serbs and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) were formed more or less willingly by groups that feared they were too small to form successful nation-states.


There was an important difference between the two empires. In the case of the Soviet Union, there was one country, Russia, with 50% or more of the people of the whole Union. The next two, Ukraine, and Byelorussia, had about 15%. The remaining 30%-35% were divided among 13 Republics, averaging 2%-3% each. Russia was so much larger (in population) than the others, so the most of the smaller states were easily subjugated.

In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the (Germanic) Austrians were a minority. I don't have most of the 1910 population figures but today's are indicative: Austria, 9 million, Hungary, 10 million, Czech Republic, 11 million, "Yugoslavia" (Croatia, Dalmatia, Bosnia, Slovenia,), 10 million, Slovakia, 5 million, Polish (in 1910 Austrian Empire), 5 million, Romanian, (in 1910 Austrian Empire), 3 million. Put another way, the "core" Austrian part of the Empire was "one of many," not "dominant" as in the case of Russia.

  • "Join" is not the appropriate word to use here. They were conquered, or in the case of the Baltics, successfully maintained their independence.
    – jamesqf
    May 6, 2020 at 16:00
  • @jamesqf: OK, fixed. Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    May 6, 2020 at 16:03

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