Friday, June 27, 2014

Wilhelm & Franz Ferdinand talked about European politics

June 27, 1914

The Chicago Tribune report today on the recent meeting between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria as Austria-Hungary is seen in "connection with the big international questions" as they think of Germany.  The "alliance between the two great German speaking empires is regarded as the keystone of central European politics."

The relationship between the two countries, their governments and monarchs, are of "utmost importance in the torturous and turbulent problems known as the European situation."

These problems have come to the forefront as a "consequence" of the recent visit by Kaiser Wilhelm II to the future emperor of Austria, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, at the latter's home, Konopischt, in Bohemia.

The Kaiser spent two days with the archduke.  The Kaiser was accompanied by Grand Admiral von Tirplitz, his "fleet builder," and the commander-in-chief of Austria's naval forces was at Franz Ferdinand's elbow.

Although there are "official assurances" that politics was not discussed, but it can be safely assume that the "thoughts of the archduke and his guests were not spent exclusively on the famous rose gardens at Konopischt."

Austria's naval forces have just gone in for "dreadnought building on a lavish scale."

There are worries that the elderly Emperor Franz Joseph will outlive his heir, and Austria will be "thrown violently into the melting pot and the map of eastern Europe will be radically altered."

Austrians and Hungarians, "when pressed," do believe there will be "internal changes in the dual monarchy" when Franz Ferdinand comes to the throne.  But they "scoff at the idea that the monarchy will break up."  They do not believe that Hungary will declare independence or that "Austria's Slavs will embrace the opportunity to revolt,"
One Austrian diplomat states "The outstanding change in our international relations which will accompany the accession of Emperor Franz Ferdinand, will be Austria-Hungary's emancipation from the tutelage of Germany.  There will be a very sharp break with the tradition that Vienna is Berlin's vassal.  There will be no more holding us back from righteous war, such as Franz Ferdinand was ready to make on Serbia two years ago, simply because Germany is not willing to join in.  The present aged ruler of the dual monarchy is wedded to the idea that without German approval and support Austria-Hungary is impotent.  That will be buried with him."

Franz Ferdinand is described as a man who has an "iron will and unbounded courage."

The diplomat added that the Kaiser did not originally get on with Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  "but they have learned to know each other in recent times and to esteem each other's sterling qualities.  Austria-Hungary has every reason in the world to await the new reign with confidence."

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