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Archduke Joseph August of Austria
Regent of Hungary

In office
7 August 1919 – 23 August 1919
Preceded by Gyula Peidl
Succeeded by István Friedrich
Personal details
Born (1872-08-09)9 August 1872
Alcsút, Kingdom of Hungary, Austria-Hungary
Died 6 July 1962(1962-07-06) (aged 89)
Rain, Bavaria, West Germany
Spouse(s) Princess Auguste of Bavaria
Children Archduke Joseph Francis
Archduchess Gisela Auguste
Archduchess Sophie Klementine
Archduke Ladislaus Luitpold
Archduke Matthias Joseph
Archduchess Magdalena Maria

Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia (9 August 1872 – 6 July 1962) was 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-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

He was born at Alcsút, Hungary. On 15 November 1893, in Munich, he married Princess Augusta Maria Louise of Bavaria (1875–1964), 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 (1895–1957)
  • Archduchess Gisela Auguste (1897–1901)
  • Archduchess Sophie Klementine (1899–1978)
  • Archduke Ladislaus Luitpold (1901–1946)
  • Archduke Matthias Joseph (1904–1905)
  • Archduchess Magdalena Maria (1909–2000)

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.[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 Kaiser 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 once again became the head of state as "Reichsverweser" (regent) and appointed a Prime Minister. Since the Allied forces declined to accept Archduke Joseph, a Habsburg, as Hungary's head of state, he 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 (born 1933), the eldest son of Joseph Francis and his wife Princess Anna of Saxony. Joseph Árpád is married to Princess Maria of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, and had children in Joseph August's lifetime. His 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.



  • Cunliffe-Owen, Marguerite. Keystone of Empire: Francis Joseph of Austria. New York: Harper, 1903.
  • Gerő, András. Emperor Francis Joseph: King of the Hungarians. Boulder, Colo.: Social Science Monographs, 2001.
  • Palmer, Alan. Twilight of the Habsburgs: The Life and Times of Emperor Francis Joseph. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995.
  • Van der Kiste, John. Emperor Francis Joseph: Life, Death and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire. Stroud, England: Sutton, 2005.
  • Schad, Martha,Kaiserin Elisabeth und ihre Töchter. München, Langen Müller, 1998

External links

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

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