Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


30 January 1889

Rudolf von Hapsburg kills his seventeen-year-old mistress, then himself.

At age 31, Rudolf was the heir to the Austria-Hungary Empire of the Hapsburgs, a figure beloved throughout his father Franz Joseph's realm. He was more liberal than most royalty, and took special interest in his father's non-Austrian subjects, who were often disaffected and angry. He was in a loveless marriage and his father gave him no role in the government. When his father found out about his liaison with Baroness Maria von Vetsera, he rebuked the prince and told him both he and the Pope were against an annulment or divorce. The only way out, Rudolf believed, was murder-suicide, an action that sent shockwaves through Europe and led to a huge cover-up by the royal family. Rudolf's successor as heir, Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated 25 years later in Sarajevo, providing the spark for World War I.

I maintain that Rudolf's death was one of the most significant events in European history in the past 150 years or so. "What if?" is a dangerous game to play, and Franz Joseph did manage to live a ridiculously long time (Rudolf would have been almost 60 when he inherited the throne), but there is every indication that Rudolf would have fought hard for the rights of minorities in the Empire, and Serbia may not have been so eager to get rid of him as they were of his father and cousin Franz Ferdinand. Without the assassination at Sarajevo, World War I may have happened, but not in the same way, and who knows if Rudolf would have been able to keep his polyglot realm together. Rudolf's death is a tragic story, and a fascinating one. Read more about it in Frederic Morton's brilliant book A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889.


Post a Comment

<< Home