The Full Wiki

More info on Franz Joseph I of Austria

Franz Joseph I of Austria: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Franz Joseph I (-German, I. Ferenc József in Hungarian, in English Francis Joseph I, see the name in other languages) (18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916), reigned as Emperor of Austriamarker, King of Bohemia etc. and Apostolic King of Hungarymarker from 1848 until 1916.

Early life

Franz Joseph was born in the Schönbrunn Palacemarker in Viennamarker, the oldest son of Archduke Franz Karl (the younger son of Holy Roman Emperor Francis II), and his wife Princess Sophie of Bavaria. Because his uncle, from 1835 the Emperor Ferdinand, was weak-minded, and his father unambitious and retiring, the young Archduke "Franzl" was brought up by his mother as a future Emperor with emphasis on devotion, responsibility and diligence. Franzl came to idolize his grandfather, der Gute Kaiser Franz, who had died shortly before his fifth birthday, as the ideal monarch. At the age of 13, young Archduke Franz started a career as a colonel in the Austrian army. From that point onward, his fashion was dictated by army style and for the rest of his life he normally wore the uniform of a junior officer.

Franz Joseph was soon joined by three younger brothers - Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian (born 1832, the future Emperor Maximilian of Mexicomarker); Archduke Karl Ludwig (born 1833), and Archduke Ludwig Viktor (born 1842), but a sister, Maria Anna (born 1835), died at the age of four.

Following the resignation of the Chancellor Prince Metternich during the Revolutions of 1848, the young Archduke, who it was widely expected would soon succeed his uncle on the throne, was appointed Governor of Bohemia on 6 April, but never took up the post. Instead, Franz was sent to the front in Italy, joining Field Marshal Radetzky on campaign on 29 April, receiving his baptism of fire on 5 May at Santa Luciamarker. By all accounts he handled his first military experience calmly and with dignity. Around the same time, the Imperial Family was fleeing revolutionary Viennamarker for the calmer setting of Innsbruckmarker, in Tyrolmarker. Soon, the Archduke was called back from Italy, joining the rest of his family at Innsbruck by mid-June. It was at Innsbruck at this time that Franz Joseph first met his cousin Elisabeth, Duchess in Bavaria, his future bride, then a girl of ten, but apparently the meeting made little impact.

Following victory over the Italians at Custozamarker in late July, the court felt safe to return to Vienna, and Franz Joseph travelled with them. But within a few months Vienna again appeared unsafe, and in September the court left again, this time for Olmützmarker in Moravia. By now, Prince Windischgrätz, the influential military commander in Bohemia, was determined to see the young Archduke soon put onto the throne. It was thought that a new ruler would not be bound by the oaths to respect constitutional government to which Ferdinand had been forced to agree, and that it was necessary to find a young, energetic emperor to replace the kindly, but mentally unfit Emperor.

It was thus at Olmütz on 2 December that, by the abdication of his uncle Ferdinand and the renunciation of his father, the mild-mannered Franz Karl, Franz Joseph succeeded as Emperor of Austria. It was at this time that he first became known by his second as well as his first given name. The name "Franz Joseph" was chosen deliberately to bring back memories of the new Emperor's great-granduncle, Emperor Joseph II, remembered as a modernizing reformer.

Imperial absolutism, 1848–1860

Under the guidance of the new prime minister Prince Schwarzenberg, the new emperor at first pursued a cautious course, granting a constitution in early 1849. At the same time, military campaigns were necessary against the Hungariansmarker, who had rebelled against Habsburg central authority under the name of their ancient liberties. Franz Joseph was also almost immediately faced with a renewal of the fighting in Italy, with King Charles Albert of Sardinia taking advantage of setbacks in Hungary to resume the war in March 1849. Soon, though, the military tide began to turn in favor of Franz Joseph and the Austrian whitecoats. Almost immediately, Charles Albert was decisively beaten by Radetzky at Novaramarker, and forced both to sue for peace and to abdicate his throne. In Hungary, the situation was more grave and Austrian defeat was quite possible. Franz Joseph, sensing a need to secure his right to rule sought help from a reactionary Russia. With this Russian aid the Hungarian revolution was crushed by late summer of 1849. With order now restored throughout the Empire, Franz Joseph felt free to go back on the constitutional concessions he had made, especially as the Austrian parliament, meeting at Kremsiermarker, had behaved, in the young Emperor's view, abominably. The 1849 constitution was suspended, and a policy of absolutist centralism was established, guided by the Minister of the Interior, Alexander Bach.

The next few years saw the seeming recovery of Austria's position on the international scene following the near disasters of 1848–1849. Under Schwarzenberg's guidance, Austria was able to stymie Prussianmarker scheming to create a new German Federation under Prussian leadership, excluding Austria. After Schwarzenberg's premature death in 1852, he could not be replaced by statesmen of equal stature, and the Emperor effectively took over himself as prime minister.

Assassination attempt in 1853

On 18 February, 1853, the Emperor survived an assassination attempt by Hungarian nationalist János Libényi. The emperor was taking a stroll with one of his officers, Maximilian Karl Lamoral Graf O'Donnell von Tyrconnell, on a city-bastion, when Libényi approached him. He immediately struck the emperor from behind with a knife straight at the neck. Franz Joseph almost always wore a uniform, which had a high collar that almost completely enclosed the neck. It so happened that the collar of his uniform was made out of very sturdy material. Even though the Emperor was wounded and bleeding, the collar saved his life. Count O'Donnell (descendant of the Irish noble dynasty O'Donnell of Tyrconnell) struck Libényi down with his sabre. O'Donnell, hitherto only a Count by virtue of his Irish nobility, was thereafter made a Count of the Habsburg Empire, conferred with the Commander's Cross of the Royal Order of Leopold, and his customary O'Donnell arms were augmented by the initials and shield of the ducal House of Austria, with additionally the double-headed eagle of the Empire. These arms are emblazoned on the portico of no. 2 Mirabel Platz in Salzburgmarker, where O'Donnell built his residence thereafter. Another witness who happened to be nearby, the butcher Joseph Ettenreich, quickly overwhelmed Libényi. For his deed he was later elevated to nobility by the Emperor and became Joseph von Ettenreich. Libényi was subsequently put on trial and condemned to death for attempted regicide. He was executed on the Simmeringer Haide. After the unsuccessful attack the Emperor's brother Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, the later Emperor of Mexicomarker, called upon Europe's Royal families for donations to a new church on the site of the attack. The church was to be a votive offering for the rescue of the Emperor. It is located on Ringstraßemarker in the district of Alsergrundmarker close to the University of Viennamarker, and is known as the Votivkirchemarker.


It was generally felt in the court that the Emperor should marry and produce heirs as soon as possible. Various potential brides were considered: Princess Elisabeth of Modena, Princess Anna of Prussia and Princess Sidonia of Saxony. Although in public life the Emperor was the unquestioned director of affairs, in his private life his formidable mother still had a crucial influence. She wanted to strengthen the relationship between the Houses of Habsburg and Wittelsbach, and hoped to match Franz Joseph with her sister Ludovika's eldest daughter, Helene ("Nené"), four years the Emperor's junior. However, the Emperor became besotted with Nené's younger sister, Elisabeth ("Sisi"), a girl of sixteen, and insisted on marrying her instead. Sophie acquiesced, despite some misgivings about Sisi's appropriateness as an imperial consort, and the young couple were married on 24 April, 1854 in St. Augustine's Churchmarker, Viennamarker.

Their married life was not happy. Sisi never really adapted herself to the court and always had disagreements with the Royal Family; their first daughter Sophie died as an infant; and their only son, Crown Prince Rudolf, died, allegedly by suicide in 1889, in the infamous Mayerling episode. The Empress was an inveterate traveler, horsewoman, and fashion mavin who was rarely seen in Vienna. She was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist in 1898; Franz Joseph never fully recovered from the loss. According to the future Empress-Consort Zita of Bourbon-Parma (although there is no definite proof he actually said this), he usually told his relatives: "You'll never know how important she was for me" or, according to some sources, "She will never know how much I loved her."

The 1850s witnessed several failures of Austrian external policy: the Crimean War and break-up with Russia, and defeat in the Second Italian War of Independence. The setbacks continued in the 1860s with defeat in the Austro-Prussian Warmarker of 1866, which resulted in the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867.

Political difficulties in Austria mounted continuously through the late 1800s and into the 20th century. But Franz Joseph remained immensely respected. His patriarchal authority held the Empire together while the politicians squabbled.

Later reign and death

In 1885 Franz Joseph met Katharina Schratt, a leading actress of the Vienna stage, and she became his mistress. This relationship lasted the rest of his life, and was, to a certain degree, tolerated by Sisi. Franz Joseph built Villa Schratt in Bad Ischlmarker for her, and also provided her with a small palace in Vienna.

After the death of Rudolf, the heir to the throne was his nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand. When Franz Ferdinand decided to marry a mere countess, Franz Joseph opposed the marriage strenuously, and insisted that it must be morganatic; he did not even attend the wedding. After that, the two men disliked and distrusted each other.

In 1903, Franz Joseph's veto of Cardinal Rampolla's election to the papacy was transmitted to the conclave by Cardinal Jan Puzyna. It was the last use of such a veto, because new Pope Pius X provided penalties for such.

In 1914, Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevomarker, leading to World War I. When he heard the news of the assassination, Franz Joseph said that "in this manner a superior power has restored that order which I unfortunately was unable to maintain."

Franz Joseph died in the Schönbrunn Palacemarker in 1916, aged 86, in the middle of the war. He is said to have died singing "Gott erhalte, Gott beschütze, Unsern Kaiser" ("God Save the Emperor"). He was succeeded by his grandnephew Karl. But two years later, after defeat in World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy dissolved.

His 68-year reign is the third-longest in the recorded history of Europe (after those of Louis XIV of France and Johannes II, Prince of Liechtenstein).


Image:Sophiebayern franzjoseph.jpg|
Franz Joseph with his mother Princess Sophie of Bavaria
The young Emperor Franz Joseph
Image: Franz joseph1.jpg|
Franz Joseph wearing the uniform of an Austrian Field Marshal
Image:Francis Joseph & Otto.JPG|
Franz Joseph and his great nephew Archduke Otto
Image:Wappen Kaiser Franz Joseph I.png|
Personal arms of Emperor Franz Joseph
Image:J.Reiner - Attentat auf Kaiser Franz Joseph.jpg|
Assassination attempt on the Emperor, 1853
Image:Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria.ogv|Emperor Franz Joseph being greeted, circa 1910Image:Kaiser Franz Joseph tomb - Vienna.jpg|
Tomb of Franz Joseph I, flanked by wife Elisabeth and son Rudolf, in the
Imperial Crypt, Viennamarker, Vienna


Name Birth Death Notes
By Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria (24 Dec 1837 – 10 Sep 1898; married on 24 April 1854 in St. Augustine's Churchmarker, Viennamarker)
Sophie Friederike Dorothea Maria Josepha 5 March 1855 29 May 1857 died in childhood
Gisela Louise Marie 15 July 1856 27 July 1932 married, 1873 her second cousin, Prince Leopold of Bavaria; had issue
Rudolf Francis Charles Joseph 21 August 1858 30 January 1889 died in the Mayerling Incident
married, 1881, Princess Stephanie of Belgium; had issue
Marie Valerie Mathilde Amalie 22 April 1868 6 September 1924 married, 1890 her second cousin, Archduke Franz Salvator, Prince of Tuscany; had issue


Orders, decorations, and honors

Emperor Franz Joseph held the following chivalric orders:

He founded the following orders:

He held the following honorary appointments:

  • Colonel-in-chief, 1st Dragoon Guards, British Army, 25 March 1896 - 1914
  • Colonel-in-chief, Kexholm Life Guards Grenadier Regiment, Russian Army, until 26 June 1914
  • Colonel-in-chief, 12th Belgorod Lancer Regiment, Russian Army, until 26 June 1914
  • Colonel-in-chief, Schleswig-Holstein Hussars No. 16, German Army
  • Field Marshal, British Army, 1 September 1903 - 1914


The archipelago Franz Josef Landmarker in the Russian high Arctic was named in his honor in 1873.Franz Josef Glaciermarker in New Zealandmarker's South Islandmarker also bears his name.

Franz Joseph founded in 1872 the Franz Joseph University (Hungarian: Ferenc József Tudományegyetem, Romanian: Universitatea Francisc Iosif) in the city of Cluj-Napocamarker (at that time a part of Austria-Hungary under the name of Kolozsvár). The university was moved to Szegedmarker after Cluj became a part of Romaniamarker, becoming the University of Szeged.

Official Grand Title

His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty,

Franz Joseph I, by the Grace of God Emperor of Austria, King of Hungarymarker, Bohemia, King of Lombardy and Venice, of Dalmatia, Croatiamarker, Slavoniamarker, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; King of Jerusalemmarker etc., Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracowmarker, Duke of Lorraine, of Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and of the Bukovina; Grand Prince of Transylvania; Margrave of Moravia; Duke of Upper and Lower Silesia, of Modenamarker, Parmamarker, Piacenzamarker and Guastallamarker, of Auschwitz, Zator and Teschen, Friulimarker, Ragusa (Dubrovnikmarker) and Zaramarker (Zadarmarker); Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrolmarker, of Kyburg, Gorizia and Gradisca; Prince of Trent (Trentomarker) and Brixenmarker; Margrave of Upper and Lower Lusatia and in Istriamarker; Count of Hohenemsmarker, Feldkirchmarker, Bregenzmarker, Sonnenbergmarker, etc.; Lord of Triestemarker, of Cattaromarker (Kotormarker), and over the Windic march; president of The German Confederationmarker.The official title of the ruler of Austrian Empire and later the Austria-Hungary had been changed several times: by a patent from 1 August 1804, by a court office decree from 22 August 1836, by an imperial court ministry decree from 6 January 1867 and finally by a letter from 12 December 1867. Shorter versions were recommended for official documents and international treaties: "Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia etc. and Apostolic King of Hungary", "Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary", "His Majesty Emperor and King" and "His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty". The term Kaiserlich und königlich (K.u.K.) was decreed in a letter from 17 October 1889 for the military, the navy and the institutions shared by both parts of the monarchy.
From the Otto's encyclopedia (published during 1888-1909), subject 'King', online in Czech.

After 1867:

His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty,

Francis Joseph I, by the grace of God Emperor of Austria; Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria, Illyria; King of Jerusalem, etc.; Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Tuscany, Crakow; Duke of Lorraine, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, the Bukovina; Grand Prince of Transylvania; Margrave of Moravia; Duke of the Upper & Lower Silesia, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Guastalla, Oswiecin, Zator, Cieszyn, Friuli, Ragusa, Zara; Princely Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Kyburg, Gorizia, Gradisca; Prince of Trent, Brixen; Margrave of the Upper & Lower Lusatia, in Istria; Count of Hohenems, Feldkirch, Bregenz, Sonnenberg, etc.; Lord of Triest, Kotor, the Wendish March; Grand Voivode of the Voivodship of Serbia etc. etc.

Personal motto

  • mit vereinten Kräften = Viribus Unitis = "With united forces" (as the Emperor of Austria). A homonymous war ship existed.
  • Bizalmam az Ősi Erényben = Virtutis Confido = "My trust in [the ancient] virtue" (as the Apostolic King of Hungary)

Names in other languages

Friulian: Francesc Josef;
Latin: Franciscus Iosephus


Italian: Ceccobeppe, Cecco Beppe or Cecco Peppe (various dialectal forms) from shortened forms of Francesco Giuseppe, used mockingly, especially by Italian troops who fought during the Great War (World War I). There is also a pacifist poem written by Italianmarker poet Trilussa, "Ninna nanna de la guerra" ("War's lullaby"), where Franz Joseph is called Cecco Peppe.

Czech: Starej Procházka (Old Prochazka or "Walker") or František Procházka (Francis Procházka/"Walker"). Procházka is a common Czech surname which approximates to the English "Walker". It was applied to Franz Joseph after his visit to Praguemarker in 1901 when a picture of him crossing a bridge on foot was published in Czech newspapers with the caption: "Strolling on a bridge" (Czech: "Procházka na mostě")). This, however, may be an urban legend. According to some historians, Franz Joseph was called Starej Procházka much earlier than 1901, the reason being that his arrival was being announced by a cavalryman named Procházka.

Hungarian: Ferenc Jóska, in which Jóska means Joey, mocking his young age when he became the ruler and later his old aged image of an old uncle of the people.

References in popular culture

  • The satirical Czech anti-war novel The Good Soldier Švejk of 1932, by Jaroslav Hašek, satirized with comic absurdity, the aging monarch as Old Prochazka, as being totally out of touch with the times.
  • Radetzkymarsch (The Radetzky March), a 1932 novel by the Austrian writer Joseph Roth, where he is portrayed as a lonely, forgetful, ageing autocrat, awaiting death.
  • Sissi, a 1955 film depicting the fictionalized and romanticized idyll between a young Franz Joseph and Elisabeth of Bavaria. Franz Joseph was played by Karlheinz Böhm.
  • Kenneth MacMillan's 1978 ballet, Mayerling
  • The Michael Kunze/Sylvester Levay musical Elisabeth portrays Franz Joseph's marriage with Elisabeth as a love triangle between the two and Death.
  • The Illusionist, a 2005 film where a fictional son of Franz Joseph plans to overthrow him. Franz Joseph does not actually appear in the film, but the illusionist magically creates a painting of the emperor to impress the fictional prince's court.
  • Frequent references are made to a stamp of Franz Josef I in Bruno Schulz's short story "Spring."
  • Franz Joseph appears frequently in the novel Flashman and the Tiger by George MacDonald-Fraser. (1999/Harper Collins).
  • In Episode 6 of Hidekaz Himaruya's anime series, Hetalia: Axis Powers, Franz Joseph is referenced extensively by the character Austria, who priases his frugality.

See also


Further reading

  • Beller, Steven. Francis Joseph. Profiles in power. London: Longman, 1996.
  • Bled, Jean-Paul. Franz Joseph. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.
  • Cunliffe-Owen, Marguerite. Keystone of Empire: Francis Joseph of Austria. New York: Harper, 1903.
  • Gerö, András. Emperor Francis Joseph: King of the Hungarians. Boulder, Colo.: Social Science Monographs, 2001.
  • Palmer, Alan. Twilight of the Habsburgs: The Life and Times of Emperor Francis Joseph. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995.
  • Redlich, Joseph. Emperor Francis Joseph Of Austria. New York: Macmillan, 1929.
  • Van der Kiste, John. Emperor Francis Joseph: Life, Death and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire. Stroud, England: Sutton, 2005.

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address