Leopold von Berchtold

Leopold von Berchtold

Leopold von Berchtold was born in Vienna in 1862. He joined the Austro-Hungarian government and in 1907 was the country's ambassador in Russia. He returned to Vienna in 1912 when he was appointed by Emperor Franz Josef as his foreign minister.

Although Berchtold favoured an aggressive approach to Serbia, he disagreed with the chief of staff, Conrad von Hotzendorf, about an immediate invasion of the country after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Berchtold, with Istvan Tisza, the premier of Hungary, that Austro-Hungarian should use normal diplomatic procedures to deal with the matter. However, Berchtold was over-ruled by Franz Josef and war was declared on Serbia on 28th July, 1914.

As Berchtold was a reluctant supporter of war, Conrad von Hotzendorf was able to label him as a defeatist and in January 1915 he was removed from office by Franz Josef.

Leopold von Berchtold died in 1942.

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