05.11.

1916: Austrian Archduke who was to become King of Poland

1916: Austrian Archduke who was to become King of Poland
Photo Credit To http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Polish_Regents_1916.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: Austrian archduke Charles Stephen (a cousin of Emperor Francis Joseph) was a candidate for the Polish throne in 1916.

On this day in 1916, a joint declaration by German Emperor Wilhelm II and Austro-Hungarian Emperor and King Francis Joseph I promised the creation of the Kingdom of Poland on the territory they had occupied during the war. Namely, during World War I (the Great War), Germany and Austria-Hungary had managed to conquer the westernmost part of the Russian Empire, which encompassed Warsaw and central Poland. In order to sway the Polish to their side, the Central Powers decided to create a sort of vassal state which would then be given to the Poles. Let us mention that Emperor Francis Joseph I died only two weeks after the declaration.

In that way, the newly created Kingdom of Poland would get its own king. Austrian archduke Charles Stephen (a cousin of Emperor Francis Joseph) was a candidate for that position. Still, that did not come to pass, and the throne remained vacant.

Since the king was not elected, the country was headed by a Regency Council, so that Kingdom of Poland of 1916 is sometimes called the Regency Kingdom. Members of the Regency Council were Cardinal Alexander Kakowski (Archbishop of Warsaw), Prince Zdzisław Lubomirski and wealthy landowner Józef Ostrowski.

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