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Who was Franz Joseph?

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June 22, 2008 8:58AM

Franz Joseph was emperor of Austria (1848-1916) and king of Hungary (1867-1916). He is frequently confused with Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Hungary, whose assassination in 1914 precipitated the events leading to World War I.

Franz Joseph's uncle Ferdinand I had abdicated his throne; Franz Joseph was next in line. He was an authoritarian ruler, whose decisions were not always popular. A target himself off assassination attempts, Franz Joseph's wife was murdered in 1898. His son and heir apparent, Rudolf, had committed suicide in 1889. Franz Ferdinand became the heir apparent. With his assassination in 1914, World War I was sparked. Franz Joseph died in 1916, during the war, and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy dissolved at the end of the war.