The War Aims of the Belligerent Parties of the First World War in Central and Eastern Europe for the Disintegration of Russia and Austria-Hungary


At the beginning of the 20th century, the region of Central and Eastern Europe was the arena of the rivalry of the German and the Austro-Hungarian Empires, on the one hand, and the Russian Empire, on the other. Before the First World War, the balance of power in the region was shaky: Austria-Hungary was an important sui generis bulwark against Russian expansion into the Balkans, and on the contrary, Russia was such a kind of counter-balance to Germany and Austro-Hungary. During the war, both the Allies and the Central Powers assumed to redraw the map of Central and Eastern Europe by creating between Russia and Germany the so-called “Middle Tier” (Halford Mackinder’s term) of newly independent states. For instance, Germany tried to push Russia back from Europe by the establishment of the buffer states such as Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine in order to minimize Russian influence in the Baltic and Black Seas regions and prevent its aspirations to the Balkans and Asia Minor, i.e., to return Russia to the pre-Petrine borders of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. This plan was practically implemented in 1918 as a result of the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty. Russia, guided by the idea of Pan-Slavism, aspired to disintegrate Austria-Hungary and create the Czechoslovak and Yugoslav states in order to ensure its dominance in Central and Eastern Europe. Austrian-Hungarian goals were revised throughout the war. For instance, if at the beginning of the war, Austria aimed to incorporate Serbia, Montenegro, and the Russian part of Poland, but at the end of the war, the Dual Monarchy practically agreed to make certain territorial concessions in favour of Serbia, Italy, and Romania, and recognize the independence of Poland. However, as history has shown, the satisfaction of all the territorial claims of the neighbouring states such as Serbia, Romania, Italy, and the self-determination of the Czechs and the Poles automatically led to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result of the First World War and the dissolution of the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian Empires, the vacuum of power in Central and Eastern Europe was filled by the newly independent states of Central and Eastern Europe, oriented to Great Britain and France. Thus, “Middle Tier” (Halford Mackinder’s idea) was realized.




Як цитувати
Bondarenko, D. (2022). The War Aims of the Belligerent Parties of the First World War in Central and Eastern Europe for the Disintegration of Russia and Austria-Hungary. Дриновський збірник, 15, 235-257. вилучено із