Franz Joseph (1830—1916)


Emperor of Austria from 1848, crowned King of Hungary from 1867

He took over the throne from his uncle at the time of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848. In order to consolidate his reign he was forced to ask for help from the Russian Tzar. His ruthless reprisal against Hungarian freedom fighters has not been forgiven by Hungarians to this very day.

He devoted his entire life to the service of the Empire. He was indefatigable and conscientious in meeting his obligations and was an example of discipline and humbleness. During his long reign he preserved the unity of his empire and the peace among its 11 nationalities. He did not differentiate among his subjects and did not allow any form of religious or ethnic persecution. He based his rule on immobility and a harmony of fragile balances.

He lived according to a strict daily schedule. His only real passion outside his job was hunting. He avoided luxury; he did not smoke expensive cigars and kept a simple diet. During his reign, Vienna, the Imperial City flourished, followed, after the compromise with the Hungarians, by Budapest. The cultural performance of his era is still leaving observers aghast.

He consistently kept himself to the compromise reached in 1867 and thus assured the preconditions for peaceful and safe growth for both sides of the dual state.

Although his marriage was a love match, the disaffection of his spouse let him to extramarital liaisons as well.

He ruled for 68 years. When he died, many people felt that it was the end of an era.


„I am the last ruler of the old world.”
Franz Joseph
His statement to Theodore Roosevelt, former U.S. President.
Beruf: Kaiser Die Geschichte der Familie Habsburg für junge Leser

„My policy is a policy of peace. Everybody should take note of that.”
A statement to the Chief of the General Staff Conrad von Hötzendorf in 1911.
Christopher Clark: The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

„People say about me: He is old by now, nor does he understand. Then revolutions will break out and it will all be over.”
His statement to Princess Zita in 1915
Franz Herre: Kaiser Franz Joseph von Österreich. Sein Leben - seine Zeit.

(The quotations are displayed in the Assasination Hallway)


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