1830 - 1916 (86 years)
Has more than 100 ancestors and more than 100 descendants in this family tree.
||Franz Joseph Karl von Österreich |
||18 Aug 1830
||21 Nov 1916
||30 Nov 1916
||10 Jan 2007 |
||Erzherzog Franz Karl Josef von Österreich, b. 7 Dec 1802, Vienna , d. 8 Mar 1878, Vienna (Age 75 years) |
||Prinzessin Sophie Friederike Dorothee Wilhelmine von Bayern, b. 27 Jan 1805, München, Bayern , d. 28 May 1872, Wien, Österreich (Age 67 years) |
||4 Nov 1824
||5 siblings |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Herzogin Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie von Bayern, b. 24 Dec 1837, Munich , d. 10 Sep 1898, Geneva (Age 60 years) |
||24 Apr 1854
||Augustiner Kirche, Wien
| ||1. Sophie Frederike von Österreich, b. 5 Mar 1855, Wien, Österreich , d. 29 May 1857, Budapest, Ungarn (Age 2 years)|
| ||2. Erzherzogin Gisela Luise Marie von Österreich, b. 15 Jul 1856, Laxenburg , d. 27 Jul 1932, München, Bayern (Age 76 years)|
| ||3. Rudolf Franz Karl Joseph von Österreich, b. 21 Aug 1858, Schloss Laxenburg , d. 30 Jan 1889, Schloss Mayerling (Age 30 years)|
| ||4. Marie Mathilde Valerie Amalie von Österreich, b. 22 Apr 1868, Buda, Hungary , d. 6 Sep 1924, Schl. Wallsee, NÖsterr (Age 56 years)|
||29 Aug 2000 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Katharina Schratt, b. 11 Sep 1853, Baden , d. 18 Apr 1940, Wien, Österreich (Age 86 years) |
- Zwischen den Jahren 1910 und 1916 wird der Zeitpunkt einer möglichen Heirat der "Gnädigen Frau" und des Kaisers vermutet. Es soll sogar in einem Trauungsbuch für "Gewissensehen", die nach außenhin geheim blieben, im Wiener Erzbischöflichen Ordinariat eine solche Eheschließung verzeichnet gewesen sein. Das Buch selbst ist in den Wirren des Jahres 1938 verschwunden.
||10 Jan 2007 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Ritter des Ordens vom Goldenen Vlies (Österreich) - 1844, Kaiser von Österreich [1848-1916], Apostolicher König von Ungarn , König von Böhmen, Illyrien, Dalmatien, Kroatien, Slavonien, Galizien , 16º Oberhaupt des Ordens vom Goldenen Vlies (Österreich) - 1875, 14º Oberhaupt dem Haus Habsburg
, König v.Jerusalem 1849 Herzog der Bukowina.
Ascent: Franz Josef was crowned Emperor of Austria in 1848 at age 18. By the summer of 1914 he would be in the 66th year of his reign. He was also crowned King of Hungary in 1867 in an attempt to calm the situation with the problematic Magyars (Hungarians). This worked and the Dual Monarchy would last until his death in 1916.
Politics: The aging monarch had seen the Holy Roman Empire lose its holdings in both Italyand Germany until it had become mainly an eastern European power. Franz Josef was sensitive to these losses and was determined not to allow further decay of the empire by losing Austro-Hungarian holdings in the Balkans to Serbia. It has been said that he was "the last monarch of the old school".
Despite these political beliefs he was immensely popular among all the various national groups that comprised his kingdom. This can be attributed to the above average standard of living that his subjects enjoyed. By 1914 he rarely left his palaces but it was not out of fear of assassination.
Personal: Emperor and King, still his life was not without its trials and sorrows. Early on as Emperor he lost major wars to France (1848) and Prussia (1866). His brother, Maximilian, was executed in Mexico. His son, Crown Prince Rudolph, committed suicide in 1889 followed by his wife's assassination by an anarchist in Geneva (1897). He had numerous difficulties with his nephew and heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who would be assassinated by Serbian nationalists on 28-Jun-1914 at a place called Sarajevo.
In a world which has produced Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, and Stalin, there is much room for understanding the symbol of authoritative, autocratic, almost omnipotent, reigning over life and death, vested in the person of one man, Franz Joseph, who whatever may have been his faults--and there has been a lot of nonsense and much puerile slander written about him--held the Empire together.
How he did it is beyond the purpose of the present essay. As the monarch over life and death, he never used that power, for instance, for the execution of political enemies or women. As commander-in-chief of the Austro-Hungarian military forces, it was his determined will unto the very last which kept his country out of war, in spite of the fire-eating impetuosity of the heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, and his Chief of General Staff, Conrad von Hotzendorff. It was one of the most tragic blows to humanity in the history of mankind that his will to have peace was overruled by a handful of ambitious people and a megalomaniac.
Franz Joseph the son of Archduke Franz Karl, younger brother of Emperor Ferdinand I and grandson of Franz I, was born in 1830. His education rested with his mother, the Bavarian Princess Sophie who was extremely religious and entirely dependent upon the church. As regards her character it must be said that she far excelled her husband in intelligence, energy, and firmness of character but she also possessed qualities which often led to friction and quarrels. She had the ambition to be the most important woman in the empire and did not want to relinquish this position when Franz Joseph married in 1854 and the new Empress Elizabeth entered the palace. Being brought up under such conditions, Franz Joseph naturally had a very religious upbringing. His studies were not neglected and he did well in such subjects as foreign languages. Independence of character and sound judgement were traits which developed naturally with experience. Quite unexpectedly he was called to the throne on December 2nd, 1848, only a short time after having fought in Italy under the old Field-Marshal Radetzky. Also in 1849 he personally took part in the war in Hungary and by his initiative greatly helped to achieve victory. During the first period of his reign he was principally occupied, with the help of his ministers, in trying to effect the recovery of Germany and to break the increasing Prussian influence throughout the country. He really became independent when his chief adviser and influencer, Prince Felix Schwarzenberg, the son of the Field-Marshal, was killed in battle . . .
From then onwards he made extensve journeys throughout his realm in order to convince himself of the conditions.
In 1853 Franz Joseph barely escaped being murdered by the Hungarian Libenyi. Out of gratitude for his lucky escape, which he owed to a Viennese butcher named Ettenreich, he erected the Votivkirche. In 1854 he married the Archduchess Elizabeth of Bavaria who bore him four children of whom the first daughter died two years after her birth. After the unfortunate wars of 1859 and 1866, in the first of which Franz Joseph fought in great personal danger, there was peace, with the exception of international conflicts principally with the Hungarians who wished to retain absolute autonomy, in which they were eventually successful. The intellectual leader of that nation, Ludwig Koszut, when he fled after having betrayed his country, took with him the Stephen's Crown from the Palace of Ofen, and buried it. For a long time it was thought it would never be found, until in 1863 a farmer, ploughing his fields near Orsowa brought it to light. In 1867 the conflicts with Hungary ended and Franz Joseph was crowned King of Hungary--the Hungarians having gained their point. In 1879 the Two-Power-Pact was concluded with
Germany and somewhat later Italy joined as the third great power. In spite of Prince Schwarzenberg's words when Franz Joseph ascended the throne "Thank God in this young man, we have a soldier King" the Emperor proved to be a prince of Peace, whose personal prestige succeeded in maintaining peace in Europe many times.
Napoleon III and his wife, the Empress Eugenie, sought his friendship, as did Queen Victoria and her son Prince Edward. A brotherly relationship bound him to the ruling house of Germany after the shadows of Koniggratz and Sadowa had disappeared and Bismarck had retired from public life. His marriage which was a lovematch would have been very happy but for Elizabeth's insupportable and jealous mother-in-law who was continually sowing the seeds of discord and suspicion and thereby embittered the lives of the royal couple. These conditions finally turned Elizabeth into a reticent and restless globe-trotter and forced her to spend the later years of her her life abroad, mostly in Italy, the Riviera, Paris, Greece, etc. whereas Franz Joseph buried himself in tormented loneliness in which he found some consolation by zealously devoting himself to his duties.
The little leisure he allowed himself, Franz Joseph spent almost entirely in hunting, which was his favourite pastime. His reign was the longest of any famous ruler in history. He reached the age of a Patriarch and during his long life went through so many experiences and received so many hard blows from fate as would have broken a less enlightened and less passionate man. The continual friction of the various Austrian nations and parties and the secret agitations and dissensions of elements opposed to the government or dynasty brought Austria in the course of the years to a condition which was very much near ruin and which nobody saw or felt more keenly than Franz Joseph. Then the catastrophe in his own family came. The tragedy of his only son Rudolph which even to this day has not been clearly explained and the violent death of his wife which gripped his heart like an ice-cold hand, even though Elizabeth had become almost a stranger. The revolt of Johann Orth; the hateful affair of the Archduke Otto, leopold Wolfling, etc. and finally the assassination of his nephew and heir Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo finally destroyed in Franz Joseph all hopes of a more peaceful old age. Few people had more reason than Franz Joseph to say: "Nothing has been spared to me." And then came the World War for the peace-loving ruler who, as already mentioned, had so many times succeeded, through the respectful esteem in which he was held, in restoring peace throughout Europe. A terrible blow to which he could only say: "My whole life has borne no fruit and I have worked in vain." It was a mercy that, when he died in 1916, he believed that his Empire would be victorious and he was spared the collapse that came in 1918. Franz Joseph was a worthy and earnest representative, the typical representative of a ruler sent by God's Grace, in the best sense of the word. Without equal as regards majesty and dignity, conscious of his duty and indefatigable to the point of exhaustion in carrying it out, calm and collected in emergencies, liberal as harun Al Raschid, he was affable and friendly even to his most humble subjects, owing to his inborn gentility and sense of justice. When Franz Joseph died the world lost its last real ruler in the best sense of the word.
Copyright W.J.G. Knoch, Vienna