April 16, – Austrian Foreign Minister Czernin Resigns and Austria Humiliated after Failed Peace Attempt
Pictured – A Punch cartoon shows Emperor Karl of Austria being scolded by Kaiser Wilhelm for trying to make peace.
The young Hapsburg Emperor Karl I was convinced that if his monarchy was to survive it must disentangle itself from the world war. Karl used his brother-in-law Prince Sixtus, an officer in the Belgian army, as an intermediary to discuss terms with Britain and France. Karl did not discuss the details of the negotiations with Kaiser Wilhelm, which included that the Austrians were willing to support Italy’s claims to Tyrol and France’s to Alscace-Lorraine.
However, in a speech in March 1918 the Austrian Foreign Minister Count Czernin accused French Prime Minister Clemenceau of being the greatest obstacle to peace in Europe. Clemenceau had been interested in the peace talks and was outraged, in relation he published a letter by Karl in the French press showing the Hapsburg Emperor’s concession of Alsace-Lorraine. This obviously infuriated the Germans. On April 15 Czernin resigned in humiliation and was replaced the next day. For the rest of the war Germany kept a close eye on the Austrians. Karl and his empire were shackled to Germany and fighting to the last.