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Divided ArmiesInequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War$
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Jason Lyall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192444

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192444.001.0001

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Forging Armies from Prisons of Peoples

Forging Armies from Prisons of Peoples

How Inequality Shaped Ottoman and Habsburg Battlefield Performance

(p.253) 6 Forging Armies from Prisons of Peoples
Divided Armies

Jason Lyall

Princeton University Press

This chapter compares the Ottoman Empire, a high-inequality belligerent, with its medium-inequality Austro-Hungarian counterpart, during their respective wars in Tripolitania (1911–1912) and on the Eastern Front of World War I (1914–1917). Here the gap in military inequality is modest, at 0.08, suggesting that their observed differences should be far less glaring. Indeed, the chapter finds that while Ottoman performance was poor, the Austro-Hungarian Common Army was only marginally better. Moreover, wartime victimization of its own population pulled Austro-Hungary up the ladder of inequality, resulting in worsened performance that by war's end closely resembled Ottoman shortcomings. The Common Army also pulls double duty in this chapter by demonstrating what happens when military inequality increases during the conflict.

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, Habsburg Empire, Common Army, World War I, Tripolitania, Eastern Front, wartime victimization, military inequality

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