In 1916, on this day Kaiser Franz Josef Habsburg, Emperor of the Germans, (pictured) died at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.
Death of Kaiser Franz Josef, Emperor of the GermansHaving ruled for an incredible sixty-eight years, he was succeeded by his twenty-nine year old grand-nephew Karl. Tragically, he died five years later and was succeeded by Otto von Habsburg who lived to the ripe old age of ninety-eight.
The thousand year future of the Imperial House of Habsburg had taken a change of direction after the hard fought victory at Königgrätz which stymied the Prussian attempt to force the unification of Germany on their own terms. And instead of the Hohenzollerns, it would be the Habsburgs who won out, establishing the new Kaiserreich, a Germanic monarchist system, ruled from Vienna with a central european system of thinking. During the transition from Franz Josef to Karl to Otto, nationalist pressures were threatening to rip the Slavic part of the Empire apart. The resolution of this so-called "Southern Question" would completely dominate the early decades of Otto's long rule.
A sign of the coming was the assassination of Franz Josef's nominal heir Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in August 1914. Although the Habsburg brought the Black Hand Gang to justice, by overriding Serbian sovereignty (they insisted on sending detectives across the border) they had inadvertently de-stabilised the entire region.