Karl von Habsburg is a grandson of the last Habsburg emperor, Charles I (1916–18), and is the current head of the House of Habsburg. The assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Charles I’s uncle, by a Serb nationalist in Sarajevo 100 years ago triggered World War I. Franz Ferdinand is often depicted inaccurately, Karl von Habsburg told LN.This is also true of his relationship with Emperor Francis Joseph I (1848–1916). It was much better than generally believed, he added.Share
Franz Ferdinand, successor to the throne, was absolutely loyal to the emperor, Karl von Habsburg said. Nevertheless, he had his own political ideas he wanted to implement at the moment he would have become the emperor, he added. Asked whether Franz Ferdinand would have been able to reform the monarchy, von Habsburg said he was a personality with a very exact idea of the internal state of the monarchy. As he knew both its weak and strong points, he prepared some reform plans, von Habsburg said.
His relations to the Lands of the Bohemian Crown (which roughly correspond to the present-day Czech Republic) was very positive, he added. He was able to recognize the weakness of the dualism (the division of power between Germans and Hungarians in the empire), from which he could derive some conclusions, von Habsburg said.
It is a well-known fact that he wanted to give a better position to the Slavic nations of the monarchy, he said, adding that this was to be a sort of trialism (a federation or union of three states within the empire), Karl von Habsburg told the paper. Franz Ferdinand knew about the problem (of Czechs' position inside the monarchy), and he advocated some change, he added. Eventually, this caused his assassination by a Serb nationalist terrorist because a strengthening of Slavic nations within the Austro-Hungarian monarchy would have weakened Serbia's effort to gain dominance of all Slavic nations, von Habsburg said. (Read more.)