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Dredger summarizes the main causes for Habsburg defeat in both 1866 and 1914–1918 as frontal assaults without sufficient artillery support against materially superior enemies. Despite efforts to improve Austro-Hungarian tactics and weaponry during the 1870s and 1880s, the practical application of better tactical theory proved difficult for the military high command. With the accession of Conrad to the position of chief of the general staff, offensive tactics resumed dominance among the Habsburg officer corps. Combined with a desire to restore Austro-Hungarian prestige as a great power and poor spending decisions to upgrade permanent fortresses and procure Dreadnoughts instead of modern artillery, the offensive tactics resulted in destruction of the Habsburg army during the First World War.
Published Primary Sources
- Krauß, General der Infanterie Alfred. Die Ursachen unserer Niederlage: Erinnerungen und Urteile aus dem Weltkrieg. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1921.Google Scholar
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