Franz Josef Ludwig Hubert Georg Maria von Habsburg
(17.08.1887 - 01.04.1922)
place of birth: Schloß
Seine Majestät der Kaiser und König;
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.
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.