The disturbed state of European politics and the great increase The army. in the military establishments of other countries made it desirable for Austria also to strengthen her military resources. The bad condition of the finances rendered it, however, impossible to carry out any very great measures. In 1868 there had been introduced compulsory military service in both Austria and Hungary; the total of the army available in war had been fixed at 800,000 men. Besides this joint army placed under the joint ministry of war, there was in each part of the monarchy a separate militia and a separate minister for national defence. In Hungary this national force or honvéd was kept quite distinct from the ordinary army; in Austria, however (except in Dalmatia and Tirol, where there was a separate local militia), the Landwehr, as it was called, was practically organized as part of the standing army. At the renewal of the periodical financial and economic settlement (Ausgleich) in 1877 no important change was made, but in 1882 the system of compulsory service was extended to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a reorganization was carried out, including the introduction of army corps and local organization on the Prussian plan.
This was useful for the purposes of speedy mobilization, though there was some danger that the local and national spirit might penetrate into the army. In 1886 a law was carried in either parliament creating a Landsturm, and providing for the arming and organization of the whole male population up to the age of forty-two in case of emergency, and in 1889 a small increase was made in the annual number of recruits. A further increase was made in 1892-1893. In contrast, however, with the military history of other continental powers, that of Austria-Hungary shows a small increase in the army establishment. Of recent years there have been signs of an attempt to tamper with the use of German as the common language for the whole army. This, which is now the principal remnant of the old ascendancy of German, and the one point of unity for the whole monarchy, is a matter on which the government and the monarch allow no concession, but in the Hungarian parliament protests against it have been raised, and in 1899 and 1900 it was necessary to punish recruits from Bohemia, who answered the roll call in the Czechish zde instead of the German hier.
In those matters which belong to the periodical and terminable The Customs Union. agreement, the most important is the Customs Union, which was established in 1867, and it is convenient to treat separately the commercial policy of the dual state. At first the customs tariff in Austria-Hungary, as in most other countries, was based on a number of commercial treaties with Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, etc., each of which specified the maximum duties that could be levied on certain articles, and all of which contained a "most favoured nation" clause. The practical result was a system very nearly approaching to the absence of any customs duties, and for the period for which these treaties lasted a revision of the tariff could not be carried out by means of legislation. After the year 1873, a strong movement in favour of protective duties made itself felt among the Austrian manufacturers who were affected by the competition of German, English and Belgian goods, and Austria was influenced by the general movement in economic thought which about this time caused the reaction against the doctrines of free trade.
Hungary, on the other hand, was still in favour of free trade, for there were no important manufacturing industries in that country, and it required a secure market for agricultural produce. After 1875 the commercial treaties expired; Hungary thereupon also gave notice to terminate the commercial union with Austria, and negotiations began as to the principle on which it was to be renewed. This was done during the year 1877, and in the new treaty, while raw material was still imported free of duty, a low duty was placed on textile goods as well as on corn, and the excise on sugar and brandy was raised. All duties, moreover, were to be paid in gold - this at once involving a considerable increase. The tariff treaties with Great Britain and France were not renewed, and all attempts to come to some agreement with Germany broke down, owing to the change of policy which Bismarck was adopting at this period. The result was that the system of commercial treaties ceased, and Austria-Hungary was free to introduce a fresh tariff depending simply on legislation, an "autonomous tariff" as it is called.
With Great Britain, France and Germany, there was now only a "most favoured nation" agreement; fresh commercial treaties were made with Italy (1879), Switzerland and Servia (1881). During 1881-1882 Hungary, desiring means of retaliation against the duties on corn and the impediments to the importation of cattle recently introduced into Germany, withdrew her opposition to protective duties; the tariff was completely revised, protective duties were introduced on all articles of home production, and high finance duties on other articles such as coffee and petroleum. At the same time special privileges were granted to articles imported by sea, so as to foster the trade of Trieste and Fiume; as in Germany a subvention was granted to the great shipping companies, the Austrian Lloyd and Adria; the area of the Customs Union was enlarged so as to include Trieste, Istria and Dalmatia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1887 a further increase of duties was laid on corn (this was at the desire of Hungary as against Rumania, for a vigorous customs war was being carried on at this time) and on woollen and textile goods.
Austria, therefore, during these years completely gave up the principle of free trade, and adopted a nationalist policy similar to that which prevailed in Germany. A peculiar feature of these treaties was that the government was empowered to impose an additional duty (Retorsionszoll) on goods imported from countries in which Austria-Hungary received unfavourable treatment. In 1881 this was fixed at 10% (5% for some articles), but in 1887 it was raised to 30 and 15% respectively. In 1892 Austria-Hungary joined with Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland in commercial treaties to last for twelve years, the object being to secure to the states of central Europe a stable and extended market; for the introduction of high tariffs in Russia and America had crippled industry. Two years later Austria-Hungary also arranged with Russia a treaty similar to that already made between Russia and Germany; the reductions in the tariff secured in these treaties were applicable also to Great Britain, with which there still was a most favoured nation treaty.