Saturday, June 30, 2012

On this day in history

On this date in history people were still talking excitedly about the Archduke Ferdinand being assassinated a few days ago, and wondering if that might portend a WWI and, if so, would that mean there might later be a WWII? And if so, why bother with WWI when they could just wait for WWII and get it all over with at once? Many people were (excitedly) taking about this.

No, as interesting as the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was, especially to the Serbs, it was much less interesting than the Mayerling Affair. I mean Mayerling "Incident" - which ended with the previous heir to the throne looking like the above picture. In fact, that is Crown Prince Rudolf himself, his head wrapped in a royal turban because his recent shotgun-assisted suicide proved to be beyond the art of even the royal undertakers. If you get my drift.

Yes, old Franz Joseph had had his share of misfortune during his long ineffective life. He had survived an assassination attempt himself, being stabbed in the neck but not fatally. And then his wife went crazy. This, I think, was after his little brother was executed by a firing squad in Mexico, having been found guilty of pretending to be an emperor. Then there was his only son Rudolf, apparently unable to just live with his wife and keep his mistress, he pulled the shotgun Romeo and Juliet trick. Except neither woke up in between and neither was poisoned. And never was there such a tale of woe as Marie-et and her Rudofio. I'm sure Shakespeare would have liked my little adaptation. Anyhow.

Then his unbalanced wife was assassinated. ¡Que Lastima! the Mexicans must have thought.

And now Franz Ferdinand. He who also loved. But the Habsbourg curse held, and the Great War ensued.

Following the suicide of Rudolf, the old Emperor's other younger brother was next in line. "No thank YOU!" says he, a couple days later, and so HIS son, Franz Ferdinand, became heir presumptive. He of the blank staring pig-like eyes of resignation. After Serajevo, Karl (Charles I and IV) became emperor after the probably-happy-to-go old Franz Joseph died during the war, in 1916. As it turned out, there was to be no more Austrian-Hungarian Empire after the war, and no need for Karl. But, if you are taking notes, his full name was Karl Franz Joseph Ludwig Hubert George Leroy Otto Marie von Hapsburg-Lothringen (English: Charles Francis Joseph Louis Hubert George Otto Mary of Habsburg-Lorraine.)

Life is fair, so der Kaiser became a gentleman farmer in The Netherlands, and passed away quietly, surrounded by doting grandchilluns, and the Americans, having spent 4 or 5 months winning the war in Europe, made a motion picture about a hick named Sergeant York, starring Gary Cooper. I think.

The book that records the annals of all this is called "A Fall of Eagles" but I think it should have been titled, "A Pack of Idiots."


  1. All very interesting and prob'ly accurate (to a given degree of 'accurate') 'cept for the 'winning the war' bit (we are still talking WWI here aren't we?).

    I'm pretty sure that history records the American involvement in WWI as being (at first) just as catastrophic and ineffective as the Brit's and the Froggies.

    But well done for turning up, that's what I say!

  2. Franz Joseph did have some fun, but I'm not sure when.

  3. The Yanks were in WW!?
    Was this the usury that made you rich perhaps?

    1. I don't think you can call it usury, technically, if it is never paid back.

  4. Actually our war debts were paid back. Gordon Brown made a big thing abiout that a while ago. The fact we gave you jet engines and various other tech stuff we didn't charge for shall not be mentioned. The French have never paid us back as far as I can see.



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