István Tisza - Second Ministry

Second Ministry

Tisza became prime minister again on 7 June 1913. During this period of international insecurity, he wanted to solidify the government. He limited the rights of association and passed a law limiting freedom of speech.

A few days before the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which resulted in World War I, Tisza supported a strong stand against Serbia. However, after the assassination he was against going to war against Serbia, the only one opposing this in Austria-Hungary. He knew the army's strength, and he was afraid that with the increase of more Slavic territories the equilibrium inside the monarchy would be upset. Moreover, he was afraid that the Little Entente would attack Transylvania. The loss of the alliance with the German Empire would have meant the end of Austria-Hungary as a Great Power, so he gave in and supported the war. He then became a relentless supporter of the war until its end.

Tisza believed Romania to be an enemy from the beginning. He was afraid that if Romania attacked Hungary then the Romanians in Transylvania would revolt against Hungary. In the end, 40,000 soldiers were moved to protect Transylvania.

During the war, the reformists became more and more powerful, but he continued to oppose them. He opposed even the ideas of the new king, Karl I, and so he resigned on 23 May 1917. However, he retained great political influence, and was able to delay the enactment of universal suffrage.

Towards the end of the war, he wanted to convince the Serbs and Bosnians to achieve autonomy within Austria-Hungary. As a homo regius (“king's man”), he went to Sarajevo to attempt this, but without success.

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