An entire era is lowered into the grave

Brief summary

Franz Joseph’s death was felt as a tragedy by his contemporaries.

The death of the ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was felt by his contemporaries as an epic tragedy, fraught with danger. When Franz Joseph I died on November 21, 1916, it was as if everything that he had represented – security, predictability, an entire system of dynastic, cultural and economic relations that linked European states together – would be lowered with him into the grave. For the citizens of the Empire, Franz Joseph – the Habsburg ruler who considered himself to be the first servant of his peoples – symbolised peace and increasing prosperity. With his departure, no one with similar authority was left to radiate the luminous grandeur of the old world.


Franz Joseph departure will lead to the disintegration of the thousand-year-old empire.
Stefan Zweig

Franz Joseph was not a great man, but he was a true sovereign – perhaps the last true sovereign in world history.
Ferenc Herczeg



The Imperial Crown of Austria

The Holy Crown of Hungary

Franz Joseph’s ceremonial sword

Franz Joseph’s field marshal’s hat

(László Makai, replicas)




Further rooms

An entire era is lowered into the grave

Franz Joseph’s death was felt as a tragedy by his contemporaries.

Back from the front

The military casualties of the war numbered 10 million dead and 21 million wounded.

The creators of the peace structure

The victors invoked the principle of “national self-determination”, but their decisions bore no trace of this.

The dawn of the American century

After World War I the United States took over the leading role in world politics from Europe.

Europe in tumult

The continent’s victors and vanquished alike faced similar problems: everyday life was overshadowed by social unrest and economic hopelessness.

The Spanish flu pandemic

In three devastating waves, the pandemic killed over twenty million people: more than twice the number of soldiers killed in the war.

The league of nations

The organisation founded at President Wilson’s initiative was the first attempt at peaceful resolution of the world’s conflicts.

Red terror

Violence and intimidation were from the very start the essence of communist dictatorships.

The Leninist model

Attempts at transforming European societies and the threat of a communist world revolution posed a serious challenge to European states.

Changes – 1914–1922

“Divide and rule!” The victors redrew the world map in a way that would possibly perpetuate ethnic and religious conflicts.

In the shadow of Trianon

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy plunged the Kingdom of Hungary into its deepest crisis since the Ottoman occupation.