Brass medal Franz Josef standard
Franz Joseph I (1848–1916), was the oldest son of archduke Franz Karl and Sophie of Bavaria, nephew of emperor and last crowned Czech king Ferdinand I (V). Franz Joseph I acceded to the throne in the revolutionary year 1848 in Olmütz (Olomouc), where the imperial family found refuge fleeing from Vienna. His accession came in response to the revolution and concessions of Ferdinand I, who was forced to give up the throne (as well as Ferdinand’s successor and father of Franz Joseph I – Karl). With the accession of the 18-year old emperor to the throne the reactionist party also came to power and the 1848 revolution was brutally suppressed. His rule was the period of frequent defeats abroad, most of which were caused by his autocracy and delusions of grandeur (primarily Sardinia 1859, Prussia and Italy 1866, Serbia 1914). The latter was fatal for the monarchy. The domestic policy mirrored the problems abroad. A typical feature of the emperor’s reign were constant minor concessions forced by the circumstances in the unusually quickly developing society. The absence of a “state-forming“ idea and policy led to discontent of all nations co-existing in the empire, and it also reflected in the ruler’s own family. Brother of the Mexican emperor Maximilian was shot in 1867, the emperor’s only son and crown prince committed suicide in 1889, his wife Elisabeth, or “Sissy“, was murdered in 1898, his nephew and successor Franz Ferdinand d’Este and his wife were shot in 1914. All these events were just peaks of the growing dissatisfaction with the rule of his imperial and royal highness.