Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saxe-Coburg & Gotha: A Tribute to Adrian Coburg

During one of the multiple conversations I have had with Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, who has been visiting us at home since a week ago, he mentioned a website dedicated to the memory of his brother Adrian.

Adrian, who ended his life in 2011, was a talented musician, a realm to which he dedicated a large part of his life. He wrote music, founded a music school and became a expert in Afro-Cuban music, with particular interest in drums.

Adrian's death came too soon, too shockingly soon. Behind he left a loving wife who misses him terribly, Gertrude, and two sons by his first marriage, Simon and Daniel. All reside in Switzerland.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

EUROHISTORY: Upcoming Issue XCIX (June 2014)

Dear Subscribers,

Issue XCVIII arrives here tomorrow. We have mailing envelopes ready and many of you, in the USA, will start getting the magazine Saturday. European subscribers should start receiving the magazine the following week.

In the meantime, Issue XCIX (June 2014) is now in production and we expect to mail it by our deadline in the second half of July.

In Issue XCIX, which is dedicated to the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and the Duchess of Hohenberg, we have covered the reaction of various monarchs to news of the dastardly deed, while also paying special attention to Europe's mad dash to the abyss of the Great War.

Issue C, our centennial issue, will contain the remainder articles about the effects of the Sarajevo assassination, particularly dealing with: Italy, the Balkans, Austria, and the neutral countries. It will also include an article on the fate of the Hohenberg children, the forgotten victims of the Gavrilo Princip's cowardly act.

Five weeks separated the death of the Archduke and his wife from the start of hostilities between the Central Powers and the Allies. Five weeks during which Europe's chancelleries failed to avoid the ensuing conflict, a war that wiped out millions and brought down Tsar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Emperor Karl I, as well as all the German ruling houses.

The Great War was a conflict fought "to end all wars." Military leaders mistakenly believed that the troops "would be home for Christmas." That was not the case, as we know. Instead, the shots fired in Sarajevo plunged the world into a global conflict, a veritable grinder responsible for claiming the lives of millions of people, not just during the conflict, but in the horrific aftermath that followed the end of hostilities in November 1918.

Among the contributors to this very important edition of our magazine are:

Greg King
Coryne Hall
Marlene Eilers Koenig
Ilana Miller
Katrina Warne
Janet Ashton
Justin Vovk
Frank Amoroso and
Arturo Beéche

We sincerely hope you enjoy our articles on Sarajevo and its immediate aftermath.

Here is the cover for Issue XCIX!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SPAIN: King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia at the Vatican

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis received the new King of Spain Felipe VI and his glamorous ex-newsreader wife Queen Letizia at the Vatican on Monday, on their first foreign trip since taking the throne.
Felipe, 46, who was sworn in two weeks ago, invited the Argentine pontiff to Spain during what the Vatican described as "cordial discussions" between the heads of state.
Francis left the offer unanswered, though he did tell Letizia he hoped "to see you again soon".
While the former Olympic yachtsman was dressed in a dark blue suit, his 41-year-old wife wore white -- a privilege reserved to Catholic queens, as protocol has it that all other women who are received by the pope wear black.
Asked by the 77-year-old pope how his first weeks as king were going, Felipe said they were "intense, but serene", according to a pool of journalists present at the start of the visit.
The king said he hoped Francis would be able to visit Spain for the fifth centenary of the birth of Saint Teresa on March 28 next year.
Continue reading ...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

AUSTRIA: The New York Times Headline

News of the assassination was published in The New York Times the following day...

AUSTRIA: Sarajevo Today...

In Sarajevo, Divisions That Drove an Assassin Have Only Begun to Heal

Nationalist and sectarian passions continue to haunt Bosnia, which was ravaged by a civil war just two decades ago and is even now the scene of dueling efforts to define Gavrilo Princip’s legacy.

Continue reading ...

AUSTRIA: First World War centenary: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, as it happened

Our journey starts with an extremely promising omen. Here our car burns, and down there they will throw bombs at us.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand comments wryly on the fact that his journey to Bosnia in June 1914 begins with his car overheating
The Archduke: Franz Ferdinand, the bumptious, little-loved 51-year-old nephew of the ailing Emperor Franz Joseph, was heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. In 1913 he was made inspector general of the armed forces of Austria-Hungary; it was this role that took him to Bosnia in June 1914, to inspect the army’s summer manoeuvres.
The Duchess: Franz Ferdinand married Countess Sophie Chotek for love, for which both paid a price. She was from a Czech noble family but was deemed unfit to be a Habsburg bride; she had been a lady-in-waiting to Archduchess Isabella, whose sister Franz Ferdinand was expected to marry. Their marriage was morganatic, meaning their children were excluded from the line of succession. Although she was made Duchess of Hohenberg in 1909, the slights were constant at functions such as imperial banquets, where she had to enter the room last.
Continue reading ...

AUSTRIA: Who Was the Archduke – Princess Anita Hohenberg Speaks

We don’t think of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as a great joke-teller. That pudgy face, the piercing eyes, the overblown military attire complete with green-feathered plumed helmet, worn so ostentatiously on that fateful day, don’t seem the hallmarks of a comic. And yet according to his great-granddaughter, Anita Hohenberg, he had a keen sense of humour. Take the time he was out on a shoot and on being alerted to the proximity of a white chamois, took aim and killed it with one shot. “Bravo, your highness!” cried his followers. “Franzi, Franzi, why did you kill a white chamois? It will bring bad luck,” cried his wife, Sophie. “Don’t worry,” the Archduke replied. “There is always a reason why one has to die one day.”
The Archduke’s gallows humour was just as well, given the frequency of assassination attempts against members of Europe’s royal families at the time. The words were prophetic, too. Within a year, Franz Ferdinand was to fall victim to the most significant political assassination of all time, resulting in global war and the disappearance of the empires of Austro-Hungary, the Ottomans and Tsarist Russia.
There will be ceremonies in Sarajevo today, but none of his direct descendants will be there. “We did not want to go to a city in which people can remember the sound of bullets flying around their heads just 18 years ago,” says Ms Hohenberg.
Instead, the family will gather at Artstetten, the modest castle about 60 miles west of Vienna containing the crypt which the pair had chosen as their final resting place. At the nearby Basilika Maria Taferl there will be a service presided over by the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn; later there will be processions of soldiers dressed in the uniforms of the time, Austro-Hungarians, Russians, Italians, Serbs: former enemies, but for today, friends.

Continue reading ...

AUSTRIA: The Telegraph's Take

This day 100 years ago dawned memorably bright over Sarajevo. After days of stormy rain, Sunday June 28,1914 began cloudless as Austria-Hungary, the imperial power that held dominion over the small Balkan province of Bosnia, prepared for a show of ostentatious pageantry in its capital.
Loyal citizens came out in their thousands, lining the route into the city centre that was to be used for a rare official visit by a top member of the Habsburg royal house, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, second only in imperial protocol to the venerable, mutton-chopped emperor himself, Franz Joseph. Witnesses remember the morning sun being fierce as the crowds gathered, eight deep in places, many of them waving the yellow imperial standard of Austria-Hungary with its double-headed black eagle, some shouting ''Long Live the Archduke’’ as the Gräf & Stift limousine drove sedately by. An imperial 21-gun salute, from the fortress high in the hills that ring Sarajevo, sent out puffs of smoke, vivid white against the blue summer sky.
Continue reading ...

AUSTRIA: BBC Live Coverage of 1914 Assassination

Very interesting concept...extremely clever!

Friday, June 27, 2014

AUSTRIA: Centenary of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's Assassination

One hundred years ago, on 28 June 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by a Serbian nihilist by the name of Gavrilo Princip. Dying by the Archduke's side was his wife Sophie, who was also fatally shot by the unsteady hand of Princip.

The youngster had been trained and armed by rogue Serbian army officers. They were bent on avenging Austria-Hungary for centuries' old grievances, as well as Emperor Franz Joseph's fateful decision to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina to the multinational realm he had ruled since 1848. By doing so, the old Emperor set in motion the monster that Princip's shots unleashed on that sunny day in the summer of 1914.

No one expected that the Archduke's untimely death was to plunge the continent into a war that would destroy life as Europe and the world knew it. The conflict ignited by the shots fired in Sarajevo eventually claimed the thrones of those who had so willingly beaten war drums, thus encouraging the European monarchies to self destruct.

By November 1918 Austria-Hungary was no more. In Sofia, King Ferdinand had already been forced out and the Bulgarian throne survived by a thread. Germany collapsed and the Kaiser, the bombastic Wilhelm II, left in a hurry for permanent exile in the Netherlands. Once the Prussians lost their hold on power, nothing could stop the other German rulers from losing their own thrones. The republic was proclaimed and a way of life came to an abrupt end. The stupidity of war left behind a continent ravaged, hungry, prostrated when confront by its own hubris.

Tsar Nicholas II, who also failed to keep Russia out of war, did not witness the collapse of his enemies in Vienna and Berlin. He lost the throne in March 1917. In July 1918, he, along with his wife and children, as well as some loyal servants, was gunned down in a cellar in Yekaterinburg. It took nearly eight decades to find the final burial place of the tragic, but spineless, Tsar and the other victims of that ghastly act of atrocity. By the time war came to a screeching halt on 11 November 1918, little remained of the Romanov empire that so gallantly had gone to war in August 1914..

The European Powers learned little from the brutality of the conflict. Once peace arrived, France rushed to inflict in Germany a peace treaty that guaranteed that nation's thirst for revenge. The United Kingdom stood by and allowed their French allies to  plant the seeds of World War II. The United States retreated and pretended the globalization was a germ Americans could vaccinate against. By retreating into isolationism, the United States turned it's back on Europe and allowed Germany's humiliation to proceed.

As for Austria-Hungary, well there was little left recognizable of the once mighty of the multinational empire. Woodrow Wilson promised self determination to a group of people who clearly did not know the difference between ethnicity and national identity. The dismantling of the one structure that held these ethnic groups together only assured the continent that the Balkan powder keg would become even more flammable.

The shots fired in Sarajevo, were not only heard around the world, but they changed the planet forever. I am sure that there will be an abundance of articles and reading material to commemorate the sad events of Sarajevo. I suppose, at the very least, one can say a prayer for the soul of the Archduke and his wife, as well as the three orphaned children they left behind. Yet, one must also remember the millions whose lives were taken during the conflict and after. Had Princip misfired, the world would be an entirely different place...
Archduke Franz Ferdinand arriving in Sarajevo.