Franz Ferdinand (1863—1914)


from 1889 Heir Apparent of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy

He became Heir Apparent after Crown Prince Rudolf’s suicide. Inhibited by his tuberculosis, in the beginning he was unable to fulfil his role as heir to the throne, and therefore felt unjustly ignored. He had strong willpower and good intellectual potential. He only had few friends but was unconditionally faithful to them. He could on the other hand fervently hate those who betrayed his trust or opposed his political will.

In 1900 he married his love, Countess Sophie Chotek. Their marriage was morganatic and therefore he had to relinquish their children’s claim to the throne. He was a loving husband and an exemplary father. His spouse was named by the public "Empress of the Hearts”.

He intended to transform the Monarchy into a federal state and to broaden the competences of the Emperor. He was considered to be a patron of southern Slavic endeavours. As for the Hungarians, he disliked them and that feeling was mutual. He was a passionate hunter and his activity in animal breeding and the protection of art monuments is also to be remembered.

He was murdered along with his spouse on June 28, 1914, by Serb terrorist Gavrilo Princip. Rather than the real cause, his death was merely a pretext for the forthcoming fratricidal European war.


„I know that the bullet destined to me has already been cast.”
His statement in the year of his assassination
Alma Hannig: Franz Ferdinand: Die Biografie

„Tomorrow I shall visit Sarajevo and leave in the evening.”
His statement a day before his assassination
Franz Herre: Kaiser Franz Joseph von Österreich. Sein Leben - seine Zeit.

„It is the duty of the government to safeguard peace.”
Christopher Clark: The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

„We have been everywhere throughout the country and have been welcomed even by the Serbian population, without exceptions, so enthusiastically, which justifies the greatest joy.”
Beate Hammond: Habsburgs größte Liebesgeschichte. Franz Ferdinand und Sophie

„Mr Mayor! Coming to pay a visit to your town and being thrown bombs is shocking! We will get a few bullets before the day is out.”
Beate Hammond: Habsburgs größte Liebesgeschichte. Franz Ferdinand und Sophie

„Franz Ferdinand Archduke made a very good impression on everyone with his natural, elegant but at the same time modest demeanour.”
Alma Hannig: Franz Ferdinand: Die Biografie

(The quotations are displayed in the Assasination Hallway)


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