Archduke Joseph August
Archduke Joseph August
Signature on Album Page
Bold Autograph “Archduke Joseph F.M.” (Field Marshal) on autograph album page.
Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia (1872-1962) was the eldest son of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria (1833-1905) and his wife Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1846-1927). Joseph August’s grandfather had been Palatine Joseph of Hungary (1776-1847), Palatine and Viceroy of Hungary, a younger son of Emperor Leopold II.
August was highly decorated before World War I broke out. Some of his awards include The Bronze Military Merit Medal, Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Joseph, The Marianer Cross of the Deutscher Ritterorden, The Order of the Black Eagle, The 1st Class of the Order of the Red Eagle, The Grand Cross of the Victorian Order of Great Britain, the Grand Cross of the Order of Karl III, and the Grand Cross of the Bulgarian Order of Cyrill and Methodius.
In 1914 August was involved in combat in the Galician theatre and took command of the VII Corps and was involved in fighting in the Carpathian Mountains. After Italy became involved in the war he was transferred to the Carinthian border and involved in fighting the Isonzo army. August remained on this front until the 9th battle of the Isonzo in 1916 a period in which once again he was highly decorated. August was highly liked by his troops, especially those of Hungarian nationality.
In November 1916 August was put in command of the Heeresfront fighting against Russian and Romanian forces. In January 1918 he was put in command of the 6th army in the Southern theatre and that July took over the Armeegruppe Tirol, which was the 10th and 11th Armies. Finally he was put in command of the Heeresgruppe Kövess in Balkan theatre. He became the last field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) of the Austro-Hungarian Army on October 24, 1918, as an attempt by Kaiser Karl to calm Hungarian nationalists.
On October 27, 1918 Kaiser Karl made August the “Homo Regius” of Hungary, but August asked to be released from his oath of allegiance from the Kaiser. He then began negotiations and appointed Graf János Hadik to build a new national government. However a Bolshevik revolution broke out on October 31, 1918, deterring his plans. This revolution was to fail and the popular August survived unharmed and once again became the head of state “Reichsverweser” and appointed a Prime Minister. He did however want to restore Kaiser Karl back to the throne and because of this was forced to abdicate in 23 October 1919. In 1927 he became a member of the newly established House of Lords. He later became an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was its president from 1936-1944. He fled Hungary for the United States in 1944 but later returned to Germany. He died in 1962 at Rain near Straubing.
His eldest son Archduke Joseph Francis of Austria had predeceased him, dying in 1957.
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