"Die Vereinigten Staaten von Gross-Österreich"  The United States of Greater Austria
Franz Ferdinand and several thinkers including Aurel Popovici created this peaceful and productive
concept that with his death never materialized. Their specific proposal in 1906 was meant as a just
solution to the severe problems facing the Dual Monarchy, which although composed of eleven
distinct ethnic groups was largely controlled by only two, Hungarians and Germans (with Austrians),
who formed the biggest element of the population at 45%.  Italians, Czechs, Poles, Croats, Serbs,
Romanians, Slovaks, Serbs and Slovenians, meanwhile, were relatively powerless and becoming
increasingly more vocal, more discontent and violent.
Ironically, Franz Ferdinand was not only married to a Slav, he had a deep appreciation of Slavic
culture. He was one of the most enlightened Habsburgs and had a reputation as a just, kind man and
a loving husband and father. He supported the notion of a redrawn map of Austria-Hungary which
created a number semi- autonomous "states" of the distinct ethnic cultures and languages who would
all be a part of a modern confederation: South Tyrol, German-Moravia, Bohemia, Czech Republic,
Slovakia, West Galicia, Poland, East Galicia, Ukraine, Hungary, Szeklerland, Romania, Trieste,
Transylvania, Carniola, Slovenia, Croatia, Vojvodina, and Serbia. In addition, the German enclaves
in eastern Transylvania and elsewhere were to have limited autonomy.
The plan encouraged separate language and cultural identity, and it was met with strong opposition
from the Hungarian royalists who feared a loss of power. It also sent a shudder down the spines of
the rabid packs of nationalistic zealots as well as powers that be in the entrenched European power
structure.
Language was always a contentious issue in Austro-Hungarian politics, with minorities desiring
education in their own language as well as in the "dominant" languages of Hungarian and German.
Emperor Franz Joseph himself mirrored the linguistic variety of his Empire and spoke fluent German,
Hungarian, Czech, and some Polish and Italian. Beginning in 1867, a series of laws regarding
language usage within the Austro-Hungarian Empire were enacted in an effort to satisfy individual
demands. Article 19 of the Austro-Hungarian constitution stated: "All races of the empire have equal
rights, and every race has an inviolable right to the preservation and use of its own nationality and
language. The equality of all customary languages ("landesübliche Sprache") in school, office and
public life, is recognized by the state. In those territories in which several races dwell, the public and
educational institutions are to be so arranged that, without applying compulsion to learn a second
country language ("Landessprache"), each of the races receives the necessary means of education in
its own language."
Ethnic German minorities throughout the realm were deeply affected by language changes. Within
this framework, the Croatian language was made equal to the official Italian language dominating in
Dalmatia, and in the diet of Carniola's capital of Laibach (Ljubljana), a Slovenian majority replaced
German as the dominant official language from 1882. In 1869, in Galicia, Polish overtook German as
the government language, but the Poles in turn systematically disregarded the large Ukrainian
minority in the country, thus Ukrainian was not granted official language status. In Bohemia and
Moravia, language disputes became tense when the Czechs first wanted to establish their language as
dominant even in the old, German-speaking  "Sudetenland". Bit by bit, German status was eroded. In
1880, German-speakers lost their majority in the Bohemian diet and their linguistically dominant
position in the cities of Prague and Pilsen, and in 1882, traditionally German Karl University in
Prague was divided into German and Czech.
From 1683 to 1790, three major German migrations were sponsored by the Habsburgs to colonize
and develop the barren, sparsely populated, frontier regions of Hungary.  The Danube "Swabians",
as they were all commonly called,  excelled and helped develop the cities of Hungary: the stately
classical buildings in Budapest such as the former Royal Palace and Parliament Buildings, the
National Theater, the Bourse and the original bridges across the Danube, all of which were mainly
the creation of Danube Swabian architects and engineers. Furthermore, Hungarian achievements in
medicine, science and mathematics were in good part due to Germans. But by 1905, under
Magyarization, the German language was replaced by Hungarian throughout the realm and no one
without a Hungarian name could get employment in any government, railways, or other national
positions or even take part in Olympic Games.