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The second cardinal tragedy [of the Great War] was the complete break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the treaties of St. Germain and Trianon. For centuries this surviving embodiment of the Holy Roman Empire had afforded a common life, with advantages in trade and security, to a large number of peoples none of whom in our own times had the strength or vitality to stand by themselves in the face of pressure from a revivified Germany or Russia. There is not one of these peoples or provinces that constituted the Empire of the Hapsburgs to whom gaining their independence has not brought the tortures which ancient poets and theologians had reserved for the damned.

Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm

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