Who are the Habsburgs?

The National Arms of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

The Habsburg family, sometimes spelled Hapsburg, was one of the most powerful royal families of Europe until the end of World War I in 1918. Between 1438 and 1740 the Habsburgs continuously occupied the throne of the Holy Roman Empire. The House of Habsburg also produced kings of Bohemia, England, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, as well as rulers of several Dutch and Italian countries. Essentially, if something important was happening in Europe, the Habsburgs were involved.

The Habsburgs were unique in their pursuit of territory in that they often chose marriage over war as a way to expand their empire. The motto of the Habsburgs (in Latin) was, “Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube” which translates to, “Let others make war, thou, happy Austria, marry.” In effect, the Habsburgs married other powerful families in order to unite kingdoms and align interests between those nations.

On June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary (not to be confused with the Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand), heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated, along with his wife Duchess Sophie, in Sarajevo (modern day Bosnia). The assassination precipitated Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia. This caused the Central Powers (including Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria) and the Allies (including Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and later USA) to declare war on each other thus leading to World War I.

The fighting of World War I ended on November 11, 1918 with Germany’s declaration of unconditional surrender. Soon after, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled and Austria became a republic. In the months and years that followed, the victorious Allies rearranged the borders of European countries and formed several new ones. On April 3, 1919, legislation called the Habsburg Law was passed in Austria, which legally dethroned the House of Habsburg-Lorraine as rulers of the country and confiscated their property. With the exception of a brief repeal period between 1935 and 1938, the law remained in effect until 2011 when the Habsburgs were one again allowed to rule in Austria.

In the epic film Return of the Habsburgs (2014), we see how the Habsburgs resort to old techniques to restore their empire on the 100th anniversary of World War I. God help us all!

 

“Wake up America! Civilization calls every man, woman and child!”

            – Slogan from a WWI recruiting poster

 

To see the causes of World War I expressed as a bar fight, please visit:

http://themetapicture.com/if-world-war-one-was-a-bar-fight/

To see the geographical rise and fall of Habsburg Empire, please visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyLSUZ1qlVM