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Charles I of Austria
CharlesofAustria
Historical Figure
Nationality: Austria-Hungary (exiled after 1918)
Date of Birth: 1887
Date of Death: 1922
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Monarch
Spouse: Zita of Bourbon-Parma
Children: Eight
Relatives: Franz Ferdinand of Austria (uncle);
Franz Joseph I of Austria (great-uncle);
Maximilian I of Mexico (great-uncle)
House: Habsburg-Lorraine
Turtledove Appearances:
Southern Victory
POD: September 10, 1862
Appearance(s): The Grapple
Type of Appearance: Contemporary reference
Charles I (Karl Franz Josef Ludwig Hubert Georg Maria von Habsburg-Lothringen) (17 August 1887 – 1 April 1922) was the last Emperor of Austria, the last king of Hungary (as Charles IV), Croatia-Slavonia and Bohemia (as Charles III), and the last monarch of the Hapsburg dynasty, at the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He succeeded his great-uncle Franz Josef in the middle of World War I. Charles reigned from 1916 until 1918, when he "renounced participation" in state affairs, but did not abdicate. He spent the remaining years of his life attempting to restore the monarchy until he died of pneumonia in Madeira, an African colony of Portugal, in 1922. Following his beatification by the Catholic Church, he has become commonly known as Blessed Charles.

Charles I in Southern VictoryEdit

Charles I led his country to victory in two global wars.

Charles I became the heir-presumptive upon the death of his uncle Franz Ferdinand. He ascended as the King-Emperor of Austria-Hungary upon the death of his grand-uncle, Franz Joseph I in 1916. The world was in the throes of the Great War, with Austria-Hungary allied with Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and the United States. When Charles ascended, Austria and its allies had gained the strategic upper-hand in all theaters. By the following year, they had won.

Despite this victory, Charles found himself ruling an increasingly fragile empire, and Austria-Hungary found itself increasingly dependent upon Germany to hold its empire together. In 1929, Russia, one of the defeated countries of the Great War, defaulted on its financial obligations to Austria-Hungary, throwing Austria-Hungary and then the world into an economic depression. Moreover, various subjects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire grew restive. Charles was able to steer the country through the 1930s, but by the 1940s, the empire was barely holding together.

When France, Britain, and Russia declared war on Germany in 1941, Charles supported his traditional ally. Austria-Hungary acted once more in a subordinate role to the Germans, providing scientists to work on the German superbomb project. Austria-Hungary suffered from people bomb attacks during the Second Great War at the hands of its less willing subjects.

As in the previous war, Austria-Hungary was on the winning side of the Second Great War, but was a weak, fractured empire.

Literary CommentEdit

Most of this article is based on what the series reveals about Austria-Hungary generally during the course of the series. The only direct reference to Charles comes in The Grapple, on page 567.

Regnal titles
(OTL)
Preceded by
Franz Joseph I
Emperor of Austria
1916–1918
Succeeded by
Karl Seitz
as President of Austria
King of Hungary
1916–1918
Succeeded by
Mihály Károlyi
as Provisional President of Hungary
Regnal titles
(Southern Victory)
Preceded by
Franz Joseph I
King-Emperor of Austria-Hungary
1916-19??
Succeeded by
Incumbent at series' end, 1945

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