Were the Habsburgs All That Bad? The Case for Supranationalism

Much history written about the famous Habsburg dynasty has been written from a nationalistic perspective and that has been consistently negative. Sure the dynasty had its weaknesses and failures, and fell mainly because of “overreach” and strategic mistakes, such as a misguided push into the Balkans, which sparked World War 1.

But the Habsburgs achieved much, showing the advantages of an overarching and cosmopolitan system. Hasn’t out of control nationalism been responsible for mind-blowing world disasters, wars and civil strife? An historian of the dynasty, Benjamin Curtis, speaks of “the small minds and restrictive confines of nationalism”. A loose and largely tolerant, ethnically diverse system gives us something to think about in today’s catastrophic world.

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