"Moving beyond older approaches to the history of the Habsburgs in Central Europe in which nations are the main actors and nationalist conflict the inevitable moving force in the monarchy's trajectory, Pieter Judson offers an alternate narrative framework for the history of Habsburg Central Europe from the eighteenth century to the demise of the empire in World War I. He investigates how shared imperial institutions, administrative practices, and cultural programs helped to shape local society in every region of the empire. He shows how all of these elements gave imperial citizens fundamentally common experiences that crossed linguistic, confessional, and regional divides--experiences that even shaped nationalists' understandings of nationhood. And he traces what happened to the common or shared elements of imperial practice when the Habsburg monarchy formally ceased to exist in 1918."--Provided by publisher.