As World War I progressed, the cumulative effects of wartime economic and social disorganization became pervasive and the discipline of Austro-Hungarian soldiers faded away. Hunger, cold and pointless drills resulted in complaints, desertions and strikes. Revolutionary propaganda fuelled by the example of the Russian Revolution spread among soldiers and workers.
On February 1 1918 a mutiny started in the Fifth fleet at the Gulf of Kotor naval base on the Adriatic Sea. Sailors on about 40 ships had joined the mutiny. Initial demands for better treatment were soon replaced by political demands and a call for peace.
The mutiny failed to spread to other units. On February 3, the loyal Third fleet arrived and together with coastal artillery engaged in a short and successful skirmish against the mutineers. About 800 sailors were imprisoned, dozens were court-martialed and four seamen were executed (the leader of the uprising, Czech social democrat František Raš and three Croatians).