Liberal Austro-Hungarian Empire
Matthew Yglesias has written a neat little alternate history in which Franz Ferdinand lives and turns the Austro-Hungarian Empire into a liberal democracy.
Full version here. Some highlights:
- Without World War I, the imperial authorities recognize the need to return to parliamentary government, even if that means dealing with socialists as a counterweight to the grab-bag of nationalists.
- The empire becomes a federation, where a lot of power is devolved down to dozens of regions, to avoid nationality-based states.
- The Eastern European, including Hungarian and Jewish, entrepreneurs and scientists who in the real world emigrated to America remain in Austria-Hungary, fueling an economic boom.
- The monarchy also attracts Jewish immigrants from Russia. (There is no WW2, no Holocaust, and no Israel in this timeline.)
- German, not English, becomes the dominant language of Europe.