Otto Von Habsburg

By Mullen, Richard | Contemporary Review, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Otto Von Habsburg


Mullen, Richard, Contemporary Review


THIS summer - July the Fourth to be exact - one of the most honourable as well as one of the most distinguished lives of the last century came to an end. Archduke Otto von Habsburg was 98 when he died and his life had spanned most of the twentieth century. At his birth in 1912, he was third in line to the thrones of the Habsburg dynasty which had ruled Austria and much of Europe since the thirteenth century. The birth of this 'male child', commented The Times, 'may prove to be of high importance for the Hapsburg dynasty' [The Times, 21 November 1912]. The Emperor was the aged Franz Joseph, who had succeeded in 1848, and his heir was his nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose morganatic marriage barred his own sons from succeeding. The next heir was therefore the Emperor's great-nephew Archduke Karl. (It is a curious fact that only twice since 1705 had the throne passed from father to son.) The Habsburgs regarded themselves and were generally accepted as the oldest of Europe's great royal houses and the prestige of the Holy Roman Empire which they had generally ruled for many centuries still clung to them.

The young Archduke was given a resounding array of names at his baptism: Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius. He was the child of a marriage between the two greatest dynasties for his mother was Zita of Bourbon-Parma, one of 24 children of Duke Robert of Parma, who had ruled his small Italian duchy until deposed by the forces of Italian unification. The marriage between Karl and Zita was based on a genuine love fortified by deep religious faith. The couple looked forward to several peaceful decades before acceding to the throne of Austria-Hungary and throughout her lengthy life Zita never forgot the way her husband's face turned white after opening a telegram at lunch on 28 June 1914. His uncle Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie had been murdered by a gang of Serbian terrorists in Sarajevo, an act which led to the First World War in the midst of which Karl became Emperor after Franz Joseph's death in November 1916.

For many decades the general view of these events was distorted by continuing propaganda about 'noble little Serbia' spread by the likes of Rebecca West. It was only after the break-up of that un-natural slate Yugoslavia and the activities of Serb fanatics such as Milosevic that people began to have a clearer understanding about Serbian terrorism in 1914. There has also been a growing understanding of the history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as seen in recent works by historians, such as Alan Sked in his life of Field Marshall Radetzky.

In 1916 the four-year-old Archduke Otto, now Crown Prince or Thronfblger of Austria-Hungary, made his first public appearance at Franz Joseph's funeral when he walked between his parents behind the massive 'Habsburg Death Carriage'. Clad almost totally in white from his fur hat down to his white shoes, the golden-haired little boy stood out among all the figures swathed in deepest mourning. A month later he was in yet another splendid costume when he attended his father's coronation as Apostolic King of Hungary. (Ironically, emperors of Austria were never crowned.)

Emperor Karl was the only ruler who made a genuine attempt to stop the slaughter of the First World War through secret peace negotiations with the French usine his Bourbon-Parma brothers-in-law as intermediaries. The revelation of these negotiations left the 'Peace Emperor' in a weak position with his domineering German ally and German nationalists in Austria itself. By the autumn of 1918, food shortages were ravaging the cities of the Empire, especially Vienna. The various nationalities, or rather the intriguing politicians and coffee house babblers joined with fanatical and power-hungry nationalists such as Masaryk and Benes, plotted to secede from the endangered Empire. They were encouraged by the American President Woodrow Wilson armed with an infallible belief in his own messianic rectitude and confined to an equal degree by his deep ignorance about the complicated nature of Central Europe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Otto Von Habsburg
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.