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Emperor Franz Joseph

Postcard image of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kaiser Franz Joseph, in the Secessionist style. The men are in a hexagonal lozenge, an image that may have been drawn from them riding in a carriage. Kaiser Wilhelm is wearing the uniform and shako of the Death's Head Hussars. Above the image, the word "Völkerkrieg" (people's war); below "1914; In Treue Fest" (fixed in loyalty).

Postcard of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Kaiser Franz Joseph, in the Secessionist style. Kaiser Wilhelm is wearing the uniform and shako of the Death's Head Hussars.

Image text

Völkerkrieg (people's war)

1914; In Treue Fest



People's War

Firm in Loyalty

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Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria and Apostolic King of Hungary, came to the throne of the Austrian Empire in 1848 after the revolutions of that year and the abdication of his uncle Emperor Ferdinand.

The nineteenth century rise of nationalism threatened the multi-ethnic, polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire throughout Franz Joseph's reign. In the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, the Empire lost most of Lombardy in north-central Italy including the city of Milan. In 1866, the alliance of Italy and Prussia in the Third Italian War of Independence and Austro-Prussian War tore Venetia in northeast Italy from the Empire and confirmed Prussia rather than Austria as the dominant power of the German-speaking states.

Franz Joseph's personal tragedies included the execution of his brother, the suicide of his son, and the assassination of his wife. With the support of France, Franz Joseph's brother Maximilian declared himself Emperor of the Second Mexican Empire, and was executed there in 1867. His nephew Franz Ferdinand became heir to the throne when Franz Joseph's only son Rudolph committed suicide in 1889. The emperor's wife Elizabeth was assassinated by an Italian anarchist in Geneva, Switzerland in 1898.

On the death of Franz Ferdinand, Karl, son of Franz Ferdinand's younger brother, became heir to the throne.

Emperor Franz Josef was Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary, and Commander in Chief of the armed forces. His rule, his army, his fleet, were K.u.K., kaiserlich und königlich, imperial and royal.

He died November 12, 1916.

August 18, 1830

November 21, 1916

Austria-Hungary

Roles held by Emperor Franz Joseph

Role Start Date End Date
Head of State 1916-11-21

Books by or about Franz Joseph (1)