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A Heart for Europe: The Lives of Emperor Charles and Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary

James & Joanne Bogle

A Heart for Europe

Emperor Charles was the last Hapsburg ruler of the Austrio-Hungarian Empire, now declared Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 2004. The Pope was himself formerly bishop in the once Habsburg-ruled city of Cracow and his baptismal name Karol (meaning Charles) was given in memory of the late Emperor under whom his father had served as an officer in the Imperial army. Married to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Charles inherited the throne of Austria-Hungary in 1916 at the height of World War One upon the death of his uncle, the Emperor Franz Josef. His dedicated efforts to end the war earned him the popular name the Peace-Emperor but led him to an idealistic struggle in the face of impossible odds and an early death in exile on the island of Madeira, after two attempts to regain the Hungarian throne. This book tells of these events set in the context of the wider drama of the twentieth century showing how a great and historically peaceful empire was destroyed by nationalist intrigue leaving the way free for the totalitarian powers that came after until their fall in 1945 and 1989.

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