Franz Josef I. Emperor of Austria 
(18.08.1830 - 21.11.1916)
place of birth:  Wien, Österreich  (Vienna)
Österreich-Ungarn:  Seine Majestät der Kaiser und König,  hon. Generalfeldmarschall

                           

Emperor Franz Josef I, also referred to as Francis Joseph, ruled Austria from 1848 to 1916 and was also King of Hungary from 1867. He fought the constant struggle to hold together the many different nationalities of his empire. In 1849 he was able to subdue both Hungary and Sardinia's Victor Emmanuel II., but in 1859 he lost Lombardy to Napoleon III.  During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 his only territorial loss was that of Venetia to Italy, but this crushing defeat resulted in the loss of Austrian influence over German affairs and was the precursor to the ascendancy of Prussia. In February 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II. named him an honorary general field marshal in the Prussian Army.

Constant pressure from Hungary led to the reorganization of the empire as a dual monarchy in 1867. In 1879 he joined Germany and Italy in the Triple Entente. His reign brought material prosperity but was marked by perpetual discontent on the part of some national minorities, notably the Serbs. And there were personal tragedies as well. In 1889 his only son and heir, Archduke Rudolf, committed suicide. In 1898 his wife was assassinated by an Italian anarchist. When Russian Pan-Slavism backed Serbia, particularly after the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908, a situation arose which helped contributed to the base causes of World War I.  In 1914 his nephew and heir apparent Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, an incident which proved to be the spark which would set Europe ablaze. Franz Josef I. died in November 1916 before his empire actually fell apart under the impact of military defeat. His grand-nephew Karl I. then assumed the throne as the last Habsburg monarch until November 1918. 

  

Kaiser von Österreich ..... 02.12.1848  -  21.11.1916
Generalfeldmarschall ..... 27.02.1895  (Ehrentitel)

Pour le Mérite .................... 00