The Austro-Hungarian Empire furnishes the political background for the primary subject of this book—the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy (die KuK Kriegsmarine). This empire was not a modern nation-state, made up of one people, contiguous, speaking the same language, and professing at least mutually tolerated religions. It was rather a holdover from medieval and renaissance times, a loose assemblage of a dozen or so peoples gathered from hereditary Habsburg lands, newer crown lands, and a number of autonomous or semiautonomous areas, all bound together in the last instance only through personal fealty to the emperor. It was contiguous. The emperor provided a measure of security and a tolerable law and order. Over the years, the Habsburgs had won an empire that reached from the Tyrol to the Carpathians, from the Balkan “tinderbox” to troublesome Poland. Beautiful Vienna was its capital. There the arts and sciences flourished. 1 Hungary’s Budapest shared the glory, as did the Czech Prague.