The recent publication of two books by P. Judson and S. Beller has profoundly renewed studies on the Habsburg empire between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In some ways, these two books reflect a tradition of scholarship that has been ongoing for many decades. Indeed, soon after the First World War, the rebuilding of Europe based on the principles of nationality espoused by the U.S. president W. Wilson led British and American historians to study the causes of the Habsburg empire’s dissolution. For a long time, the empire’s oppressive policies toward national minorities was considered the main cause of its downfall. In contrast to this «negative model» stood the «positive models» offered by Great Britain (a more liberal empire) and the United States, viewed as a nation capable of integrating its minorities easily. The present article attempts, on the one hand, to retrace the origins of the Anglo-American tradition of scholarship on the Habsburg monarchy, and, on the other hand, by contrasting and comparing Judson’s and Beller’s books, to show how this «new imperial history» has completely changed the way we approach the final centuries of Habsburg history.
Keywords: Habsburg Monarchy, Anglo-American Historiography, Empires, Nationalism