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Franz Joseph,1830–1916, emperor of Austria (1848–1916), king of Hungary (1867–1916), nephew of FerdinandFerdinand,
1793–1875, emperor of Austria (1835–48), son and successor of Emperor Francis I (who also, as Francis II, had been the last Holy Roman emperor). A well-meaning monarch in his lucid moments, he was subject to fits of insanity.
..... Click the link for more information. , who abdicated in his favor. His long reign began in the stormy days of the revolutions of 1848revolutions of 1848,
in European history. The February Revolution in France gave impetus to a series of revolutionary explosions in Western and Central Europe. However the new French Republic did not support these movements.
..... Click the link for more information. and ended in the midst of World War I. In that troubled period of growing nationalism, he held the many peoples of his empire together. He subdued Hungary (1849) and in the same year defeated Victor Emmanuel IIVictor Emmanuel II,
1820–78, king of Sardinia (1849–61) and first king of united Italy (1861–78). He fought in the war of 1848–49 against Austrian rule in Lombardy-Venetia and ascended the throne when his father, Charles Albert, abdicated after the defeat
..... Click the link for more information. of Sardinia. In the Italian War of 1859, in which he faced Napoleon IIINapoleon III
(Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808–73, emperor of the French (1852–70), son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), king of Holland. Early Life
..... Click the link for more information. and Victor Emmanuel, he lost Lombardy to Sardinia by the Treaty of Villafranca di VeronaVillafranca di Verona
, town (1991 pop. 27,036), Venetia, NE Italy. In 1859, Napoleon III and Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria met there after the Austrian defeats at Magenta and Solferino and signed a preliminary peace treaty, which was formalized the same year by the Treaty
..... Click the link for more information. . In the Austro-Prussian WarAustro-Prussian War
or Seven Weeks War,
June 15–Aug. 23, 1866, between Prussia, allied with Italy, and Austria, seconded by Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, Hanover, Baden, and several smaller German states.
..... Click the link for more information. (1866) his only territorial loss was that of Venetia to Italy, but his crushing defeat resulted in the loss of Austrian influence over German affairs and in the ascendancy of Prussia. Constant pressure from Hungary led to the reorganization (1867) of the empire as a dual monarchy—the Austro-Hungarian MonarchyAustro-Hungarian Monarchy
or Dual Monarchy,
the Hapsburg empire from 1867 until its fall in 1918. The Nature of Austria-Hungary
The reorganization of Austria and Hungary was made possible by the Ausgleich
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1879, Francis Joseph joined Germany in an alliance that later also included Italy (see Triple Alliance and Triple EntenteTriple Alliance and Triple Entente
, two international combinations of states that dominated the diplomatic history of Western Europe from 1882 until they came into armed conflict in World War I.
..... Click the link for more information. ). His reign, although it brought material prosperity, was disturbed by the discontent of the national minorities, notably the Slavs. When Russian Pan-Slavism backed Serbia, particularly after the annexation of Bosnia and HerzegovinaBosnia and Herzegovina
, Serbo-Croatian Bosna i Hercegovina, country (2013 pop. 3,791,622), 19,741 sq mi (51,129 sq km), on the Balkan peninsula, S Europe. It is bounded by Croatia on the west and north, Serbia on the northeast, and Montenegro on the southeast.
..... Click the link for more information. (1908), a situation was created that helped bring on World War I. Francis Joseph's private life was beset by the tragedies falling on his wife, Empress ElizabethElizabeth,
1837–98, empress of Austria and queen of Hungary. A Bavarian princess, she was married (1854) to her cousin, Emperor Francis Joseph. Despite her exceptional beauty, intelligence, and kindness she led an unhappy domestic life, which was marred, moreover, by
..... Click the link for more information. , his brother, MaximilianMaximilian,
1832–67, emperor of Mexico (1864–67). As the Austrian archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, he was denied a share in the imperial government by his reactionary brother, Emperor Francis Joseph.
..... Click the link for more information. of Mexico, and his son, Archduke RudolfRudolf,
1858–89, Austrian archduke, crown prince of Austria and Hungary; only son of Emperor Francis Joseph and Empress Elizabeth. Upon his mysterious death at Mayerling near Vienna (officially declared a double suicide with his mistress, Baroness Maria Vetsera), his
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1914 his nephew, the heir apparent, Francis FerdinandFrancis Ferdinand,
1863–1914, Austrian archduke, heir apparent (after 1889) of his uncle, Emperor Francis Joseph. In 1900 he married a Czech, Sophie Chotek. She was made duchess of Hohenberg, but because she was of minor nobility their children were barred from succession.
..... Click the link for more information. , was assassinated, and his death was the spark that set off World War I. Francis Joseph died before the empire actually fell apart under the impact of military defeat, as it did under his successor, Charles ICharles I,
1887–1922, last emperor of Austria and, as Charles IV, king of Hungary (1916–18); son of Archduke Otto and grandnephew and successor of Emperor Francis Joseph. He married Zita of Bourbon-Parma.
..... Click the link for more information. .
See biographies by J. Redlich (1928; tr. 1929, repr. 1965), K. Tschuppik (1928, tr. 1930), A. Murad (1968), and A. Palmer (1995); C. W. Clark, Franz Joseph and Bismarck (1934, repr. 1968); E. Crankshaw, Fall of the House of Habsburg (1963, repr. 1971); G. B. Marek, The Eagles Die (1974).