April 1st – Karl’s Death in Exile

99 Years Ago…

Emperor Charles passed on the Island of Madeira. His passing marked the conceptual end of Austria-Hungary. The last man to be crowned Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary was gone, and with him what was left of the Empire. Small political movements in favor of the former monarchy still existed after his passing, with the most notable likely being movements to install Otto Von Habsburg as the Emperor of Austria again, but in any real regard the Imperial Family and its legacy was entirely gone.

Karl on his deathbed in Madeira. He spent his final moments with his wife, firstborn son Otto, and a priest who administered Holy Communion.

There is much to say about Karl’s short reign as Emperor. Opinions on his decisions in regards to military strategy, international diplomacy, and internal policy are all widely debated, and it is not my place to give any of my own in this short dedication. What can be said about Karl is that he was a man deeply devoted to both his faith and his family, and in spite of all he faced in the final years of his life, he never lost that devotion. Those are traits which can always be admired.

It is also important to commemorate these things in honor of the millions of men who fought and died under his reign. Many of them fighting for their emperor. Their sacrifice is just as important, and Karl was known for being kind to his men and seeking to end the war. Of all the leaders during World War One, he was the only one who made an attempt, no matter how naive in its proposal, to cease the fighting for the good of the men under his rule.

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