The single unifying force for the empire was the Emperor, Franz Joseph, of the ruling Hapsburg family. His empire was in no shape to fight a protracted war in 1914, it could barely afford the running costs of the vast bureaucracy that maintained imperial control, however its armed forces were still formidable.
The regular army was known as the Imperial& Royal Army (Kaiserlich und Koniglich or KuK) and often referred to as the Common Army (ie common to both nations) which recruited from various military districts. The main army reserve was divided into the Landwehr, in ‘German’ areas, and the Honved in ‘Hungarian’ areas. The second level of army reserve was the Landsturm which was intended for use in rear areas, garrison and fortress duty and suchlike.
The administrative difficulties which beset the Army were formidable. Although the Common Army was controlled by a central ministry there were separate ministries for the Austrian and Hungarian reserve forces in Vienna and Budapest respectively. The language difficulties were daunting, in theory every recruit learned eighty “words of command” in German but this practice failed in the face of mass mobilization and regiments were usually commanded in the language of the predominant ethnic or national group.
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