Leopold Berchtold

Count Leopold Berchtold (full name Count Leopold Anton Johann Sigismund Josef Ferdinand Korsinus Berchtold and Ungarschitz, Frättling, and Püllütz; Hungarian Gróf Berchtold Lipót; * April 18 1863 in Vienna , † 21 November 1942 in Peresznye at Sopron ), was an Austro-Hungarian politicians and played a major role in the July crisis , the outbreak of the First World War led.

The family of Count Berchtold was originally from Tyrol and owned extensive lands in Moravia . Leopold was the son of Sigmund Graf von Berchtold (1834-1900) and his wife, née Countess Trauttmansdorff . He grew up on Castle Buchlau on in Moravia. There he learned the Czech , Slovak and Hungarian language . [1]

After passing the State examination he joined in 1887 at the governor’s office in Brno in the government service a. 1894 put Berchtold from the diplomats and testing was as legation secretary of the embassy in Paris assigned. He married Countess Ferdinandine Károlyi , heiress of large possessions in today’s Slovakia and got her three sons, two of whom have died as children. In 1897 he became the first secretary at the embassy in London and in 1903 as Counsellor to St. Petersburg and lived there the Russian defeat in the war against Japan . [2]

Berchtold was from December 1906 to 1911 Austrian Ambassador in St. Petersburg. In 1908, he initiated a meeting between Foreign Minister Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal with Russian Foreign Minister Isvolsky in his castle Buchlau. [3] On 16 September 1908 agreed here the two kingdoms prior to the Bosnian annexation crisis Buchlau of the Agreement, after the monarchy Bosnia-Herzegovina received and Russia to free passage through the Dardanelles should win.

On 19 Berchtold was in February 1912 by the emperor k u k Common Foreign Minister appointed. He took office after his predecessor’s policies Aehrenthal Austria had led to international isolation and worsened, especially the relationship with Russia. Berchtold pursuing this course on. He was a representative of an anti-Serbian policy and therefore initiated – to Serbia from the Mediterranean keep – the establishment of Albania . After the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 ( assassination in Sarajevo formulated), and he held on 23 July 1914 the ultimatum to Serbia, whose rejection ultimately initiated the First World War.

After his resignation as foreign minister in 1915 Berchtold was advisor to the crown prince and future Emperor Charles I , until 1918 when he Obersthofmeister served. In 1918, he was temporarily in Switzerland, since 1923 he lived mainly in Hungary . Berchtold died withdrawn on 21 November 1942 on his estate in the Hungarian Peresznye.
Balkan Wars 1912/1913

During the First Balkan War , in October 1912 aimed Berchtold, besides minimal boundary adjustments, a close economic connection between Serbia and the monarchy. A Serbian Adriatic access refused the Foreign Minister. Therefore, he created an autonomous Albania and wanted the economic interests of the monarchy in the Balkans, through the construction of a railway to the converted into a free port Saloniki secure. His plans customs union with Serbia and Montenegro pursue the aim of eliminating these countries politically through an economic affiliation. [4]

Already in the Bosnian annexation crisis, but even more during the Balkan wars, plans appeared on the South Slav question to resolve annexation by Serbia. Berchtold was also the Joint Council on 2 May 1913, during the Scutari crisis, for the annexation of Serbia as an equal part of the monarchy. [5]

Berchtold revealed the political program of the monarchy after the Balkan wars in a conceived before the assassination in Sarajevo memorandum dated 1 July 1914:

“That by the expansion of Serbia and the hegemonic position of Romania disturbed equilibrium of the Balkans and deep down lower influence of Austria-Hungary should be restored by a new political offensive, and thus the dangerous machinations of the Greater Serbian and large Romanian irredentism , which had received such a powerful drive pushed back, will.

crisis of July 1914
Philip Alexius de Laszlo , Count Leopold Berchtold, oil on canvas, 1906

After the assassination in Sarajevo of the previously negative Berchtold himself took over the leadership of the war party. Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf wanted to start on the news of the assassination immediately with the attack on Serbia, but Berchtold and Emperor Franz Joseph held an investigation and a diplomatic preparation necessary. [7] At the Council of Ministers for common affairs of 7 July 1914 urged Berchtold, Serbia by force forever harmless statement to make. [8]

It was Berchtold’s tactics in the July crisis, to pretend as if you have no interest in the annexation of Serbia. Austro-Hungarian diplomats in St. Petersburg and London repeatedly emphasized, the monarchy had no plans of conquest in Serbia. Berchtold was the Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov say:

“We intend that any territorial acquisition in our campaign against Serbia and do not want to destroy the independent existence of the kingdom altogether. [...] The monarchy is territorial saturated and carries no desire to owned by Serbs. If the fight with Serbia is forced upon us, so this will be a battle for territorial gain, but merely a means of self-defense and self-preservation for us. ”

On 29 July, however, the message was avoided: a government could not foresee was allowed to do in London, what would they do after a victorious war. But it is natural that all relevant statements on our disinterest apply only to the case that the war remains localized between us and Serbia. [9]

The danger which threatened by the intervention of Russia, they were well aware at the decision-makers, but they could not and would strike a strong desire against Serbia, apparently no longer suppress. Berchtold wrote during the July crisis, 25 July:

“At the moment, we have decided to take a serious action against Serbia, we have been aware also of the possibility of evolving from the Serbian differential collision with Russia. [...] We but we could through this eventuality can not be in our opinion against Serbia deterred because basic state political Considerationen confronted us with the need to put an end to the situation that a Russian charter Serbia enables the constant, unpunished threat to the monarchy. ” [10]

The responsibility for these fatal decisions Austria-Hungary was Emperor and King Franz Joseph and his counselors: Berchtold, the two Prime Ministers Stürgkh Charles and Stephen Tisza and Chief of Staff Conrad. The Austrian Parliament was adjourned in March 1914 by the Emperor and Stürgkh and was not asked.
Italian Receivables

Berchtold refrained deliberately, the (official) allies Italy and Romania to teach the intended action against Serbia, because he foresaw that they would give their consent only to compensation. [11]

The Italian Ambassador in Vienna Berchtold said on 19 December 1914, Italy also demanded compensation for partialer, permanent or temporary … territorial occupation, but also the Monarchy advantages when non-territorial nature, or even merely political influence or economic privileges to win her. [12] The ambassador in Rome , Bernhard von Bülow and Karl Macchio urged Berchtold relented and, on 9 January 1915 Franz Joseph before the Trentino assign. But the emperor and the Hungarian Prime Minister Stephen Tisza would have none. At the instigation of the mighty Berchtold, Tisza was 13 January 1915 by the emperor as Foreign Minister by the Hungarians Stephan Burián replaced. [13]
Personality and Miscellaneous
On his estate Peresznye Berchtold spent his last years

By contemporaries as Berchtold was amiable, subtle, tactful and educated aristocrat described, modest, self-deprecating but also unsafe and unrealistic. Hunting, equestrian, women and friends were often in the foreground, the political reality he stayed away. A real conflict with the needs and ideas of the people of the empire to him was not possible. [14]

In his time as Lord Chamberlain of the Emperor Charles had the new Minister Josef Redlich received in private audience and told him … he never declared war, but he was at that time was a small officer …. Probably the main responsible, Berchtold, was meanwhile as Lord Chamberlain in the hall, comments Anton Mayr Hartig.

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