Archduke Joseph August of Austria

Archduke Joseph August
Palatine of Hungary (titular)
Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962) in 1917.jpg
Regent of Hungary
In office
7 August 1919 – 23 August 1919
Monarch Vacant
Prime Minister István Friedrich
Preceded by Gyula Peidl
(Acting Head of State)
Succeeded by István Friedrich
(Acting Head of State)
Born (1872-08-09)9 August 1872
Alcsút, Kingdom of Hungary
Died 6 July 1962(1962-07-06) (aged 89)
Rain, Bavaria, West Germany
Spouse Princess Auguste of Bavaria
  • Archduke Joseph Francis
  • Archduchess Gisela Auguste
  • Archduchess Sophie Klementine
  • Archduke Ladislaus Luitpold
  • Archduke Matthias Joseph
  • Archduchess Magdalena Maria
Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Archduke Joseph Karl, Palatine of Hungary
Mother Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Religion Roman Catholic

Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia (9 August 1872 – 6 July 1962) was a Feldmarschall (field marshal) of the Austro-Hungarian Army and for a short period head of state of Hungary. He was a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, the eldest son of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria (1833–1905) and his wife Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and 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.

The Archduke Joseph Diamond, a 76.02 carat colourless diamond with internal flawless clarity, is named after the Archduke and officially recorded as his property.[1]

Early life

August was born at Alcsút, Kingdom of Hungary. On 15 November 1893, in Munich, he married Princess Augusta Maria Louise of Bavaria (1877–1964), daughter of Prince Leopold of Bavaria (1846–1930) and his wife Archduchess Gisela of Austria (1856–1932).

Archduke Joseph August became thus from 1893 "grandson-in-law" to Emperor Francis Joseph. His wife's mother, Archduchess Gisela, was the eldest surviving daughter of Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph and Empress Elisabeth ("Sisi"). The young couple's children were born in their great-grandfather's lifetime.

They had six children:

  • Archduke Joseph Francis of Austria, born on 28 March 1895; died on 25 September 1957(1957-09-25) (aged 62)
  • Archduchess Gisela Auguste Anna Maria, born on 5 July 1897; died on 30 March 1901(1901-03-30) (aged 3)
  • Archduchess Sophie Klementine Elisabeth Klothilde Maria, born on 11 March 1899; died on 19 April 1978(1978-04-19) (aged 79)
  • Archduke Ladislaus Luitpold, born on 3 January 1901; died on 29 August 1946(1946-08-29) (aged 45)
  • Archduke Matthias Joseph Albrecht Anton Ignatius, born on 26 June 1904; died on 7 October 1905(1905-10-07) (aged 1)
  • Archduchess Magdalena Maria Raineria, born on 6 September 1909; died on 11 May 2000(2000-05-11) (aged 90)

Joseph August began his military career in 1890 when he was commissioned into the 1st Infantry Regiment as a Leutnant. He was soon promoted to Oberleutnant and was transferred to 72nd Infantry Regiment in 1893. He was transferred to Dragoon Regiment #6 in 1894 and then transferred to the 1st Honvéd Hussars by the Kaiser and promoted to the rank of Major. He took command of this regiment in 1904 and then went on to command 79th Honvéd infantry brigade in 1908 then finally the 31st infantry division at Budapest in 1911.

World War I

In the front, the Boroevic Throne, named after Svetozar Boroević, near Opatje selo in Slovenia. [2] In the back, a fingerpost and a monument built by the 43rd Infantry Regiment in honour of Archduke Joseph. [3]

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 Royal Victorian Order, the Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III, and the Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

In 1914 he 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 South Tyrolean Army Group, which was the 10th and 11th Armies. Finally, on 26 October 1918, he was sent to the Balkan theatre to take command of the Heeresgruppe Kövess, which had lost Serbia, Albania and Montenegro by then. He was the last person to be appointed a Feldmarschall (Field Marshal) of the Austro-Hungarian Army on 24 October 1918, as an attempt by his cousin, Emperor Karl, to calm Hungarian nationalists.

Post war

On 27 October 1918 Emperor 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 the Aster Revolution broke out on 31 October 1918, deterring his plans. In November, the socialist Hungarian Democratic Republic was proclaimed, only to be replaced a few months later by the communist Hungarian Soviet Republic. This revolution was to fail: the popular August survived unharmed, and on 7 August became head of state of Hungary once again, officially as regent (Reichsverweser) for Karl. He appointed István Friedrich as Prime Minister. When it became apparent that the Allies would not recognize a Habsburg as Hungary's head of state, the archduke was forced to resign on 23 August 1919.[4] In 1920 the Archduke became the first knight of the Hungarian Order of Vitéz, 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.

Thus Joseph August's main heir was his eldest grandson Archduke Joseph Árpád of Austria (1933-2017), the eldest son of Joseph Francis and his wife Princess Anna of Saxony. Joseph Árpád married Princess Maria of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, and had children in Joseph August's lifetime. His surviving eldest son is Archduke Joseph Karl (born 1960).

Joseph August's granddaughter Archduchess Ilona of Austria (b. 1927) married George Alexander, Duke of Mecklenburg. Her son George Borwin, Duke of Mecklenburg is the current head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.



  1. ^ "'Perfect' Archduke Joseph diamond sells for $21m". BBC News. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  2. ^ "A0002 - Kostanjevica - The Boroevic's throne". Pro Hereditate. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  3. ^ "A0003 - Kostanjevica - The monument-signpost near Lokvica". Pro Hereditate. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Die amtliche Meldung über den Rücktritt" (in German). Neue Freie Presse, Morgenblatt. 1919-08-24. p. 2.

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Archduke Joseph Karl
Palatine of Hungary
Title abolished
Preceded by
Miklós Horthy
Captain General of the Order of Vitéz
Succeeded by
Ferenc Farkas
Political offices
Preceded by
Gyula Peidl
as Acting Head of State
Regent of Hungary
Succeeded by
István Friedrich
as Acting Head of State
Cultural offices
Preceded by
Albert Berzeviczy
President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Succeeded by
Gyula Kornis