Otto I, Emperor of Austria

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File:AustriahungaryOtto.jpg
Official portrait of Otto I of Austria-Hungary for his eighteenth birthday, 1930

Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen (born Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xaver Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius in Reichenau an der Rax, Austria-Hungary, 20 november 1912) is the third and current Emperor of Austria-Hungary since 1 April 1922 and the death of his father, Karl I of Austria-Hungary.

More precisely, he is known as Emperor Otto I of Austria, King Otto II of Hungary, King Ottokar III of Bohemia. He also bears the nominal titles of King of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia, Duke of Carniola, King of Galicia, King of Lodomiera and King of Illyria, which are not officially recognized as nominal constituants of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.

Early life[edit]

Otto was born near Vienna in Reichenau an der Rax, Lower Austria, son of Archduke Karl of Austria and Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, in 20 november 1912. His father became heir presumptive for the old emperor Franz Josef (Otto's great-granduncle) when archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist in June, 28 1914, thus beginning the Weltkrieg. Karl became Emperor Karl I of Austria and King Karl IV of Hungary in 21 November 1916. Otto became at 4 the Crown Prince of one of the oldest and most fragile monarchies in the world.

Due to his poor health, Emperor Karl died in 1922 of pneumonia, without having realized his dreams of modernizing the aging Dual Monarchy, an entity impeached by the Weltkrieg, the firm and conservative Austro-Hungarian political class and the worldwide economic crisis. Shortly after, at 9, just after the end of the Weltkrieg, Otto became the head of one of the most shattered states in the world.

Reign[edit]

Of course, Otto's reign was under the authority of a Regency Council formed by Empress Dowager Zita, marshal Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf and Austria Minister-President Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, which preferred strong likes with powerful Germany, poor negoziations for the status of several regions during the 1927 Ausgleich, and consolidating Habsburg dynasty's strength in the region (Vasyl I Vyshyvanyi as King of Ukraine, Josef von Österreich-Toskana as pretender to the Italian throne, harsh treatments against defeated Romania and Serbia).

Major since his eighteenth anniversary in 1930 and de facto ruler, Otto is now the only guarantor of the unity of his shattered empire on the eve of Ausgleich renegoziations for 1937, which will certainly be rather violent.

Personal life[edit]

Emperor and King Otto is well-known for his admiration of democratic systems, which puts him at a distance towards his own ministers. He is also one of the youngest reigning monarchs in the world, and is still a bachelor; if he would die without a son, the crown of Austria-Hungary would go to his brother, Archduke Robert, only three years younger than him. He has also seven siblings (four brothers and three sisters).