Karl Franz Josef Ludwig
Hubert Georg Maria von Habsburg
(17.08.1887 - 01.04.1922)
place of birth: Schloß Persenbeug (Austria)
Seine Majestät der Kaiser und König;
The last of the Habsburg emperors,
Karl I (Charles I) was the grand nephew of Archduke Franz Josef and the
younger brother of Franz Ferdinand. Following the assassination of Franz
Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Karl was thrust into the role of heir to the
Austro-Hungarian Empire's throne. Durring the first years of the
war he served as a staff officer, commanding Austria's XX. Army Corps in
the Austrian Tyrol offensive of May 1916 and moving to Galicia
that summer in the wake of the Brusilov Offensive. He performed
well in these engagements but remained skeptical about the chances for
an ultimate Austro-German victory.
Upon the death of Franz Josef on
November 21, 1916, Karl I was pronounced emperor. Convinced of war's
inhumanity and fearing the growth of German political and military
influence in the alliance, he was prepared from the beginning to seek a
way out of the hostilities. His attempt at a peace initiative with
France and Italy failed, although he had pledged support in restoring
Alsace-Lorraine back to France, Trentino to Italy, as well as Serbian
sovereignty. Clemenceau made public Karl's promises regarding
Alsace-Lorraine in April 1918, and the damage to the relations among the
Central Powers was severe. He renounced political power on November 11
but refused to abdicate, going instead into exile in Switzerland (March
1919). His attempts in March and October 1921 to return to power in
Hungary were not successful, and the now impoverished former emperor
died in Madeira, Portugal in 1922.
von Österreich .....
le Mérite ....................