Archduke Josef Ferdinand, Prince of Tuscany

Archduke Josef Ferdinand, Prince of Tuscany

Infobox Austrian Royalty|archduke
name = Archduke Josef Ferdinand of Austria, Prince of Tuscany

title =Archduke of Austria, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, Prince of Tuscany
full name =Josef Ferdinand Salvator Maria Franz Leopold Anton Albert Johann Baptist Karl Ludwig Rupert Maria Auxilatrix
spouse =Rosa Kaltenbrunner
Gertrude Tomanek von Beyerfels-Mondsee
issue =Claudia
royal house =House of Habsburg-Lorraine
father =Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany
mother =Alice of Bourbon-Parma
date of birth =birth date|1872|5|24
place of birth =Salzburg
date of death =death date and age|1942|2|28|1872|5|24
place of death =Vienna|

Archduke Josef Ferdinand of Austria, Prince of Tuscany (May 24 1872February 28 1942) was an Austro-Hungarian Archduke, military commander, and early advocate of air power. He later retired to life as a common citizen of Austria, and was briefly imprisoned in Dachau during the Nazi era.

Early life

Ferdinand was born in Salzburg to Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, and his wife, Alice of Bourbon-Parma. As the fourth child and second son, he assumed the mantle of heir after his elder brother gave up the claim following numerous scandals. He succeeded his father as head of the House of Tuscany on 17 January 1908.

Education and career

Ferdinand attended the military Oberrealchule at Hranice (in that time also known as Mährisch Weissenkirchen) and later the Maria Theresa Military Academy at Wiener Neustadt. Upon graduating from the academy, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Tirol Jäger regiment on August 18 1892. Following various assignments with Infantrie Regiment (IR) No's. 93, 17, 59 and the Tirol Jäger Regiment No. 4, he was attached to IR No. 27 as an Oberstleutnant in 1903. From 1895 until 1897, he attended the Kriegsschule in Vienna. From 1905 until 1908, the Archduke commanded IR No. 93 as an Oberst, then the Infantry Brigade No. 5.

The Archduke Josef Ferdinand concerned himself with aviation, which was not taken seriously in military circles at the time. He was fascinated by balloons from an early age; in 1909, he arranged a balloon flight from his manor in Linz to Dieppe in France, which lasted 16 hours. In January 1911, the Archduke received command of the 3rd infantry division in Linz, followed afterwards by his promotion to Feldmarschalleutnant on May 1 1911.

World War I

In August 1914, he took the command of the XIV Corps, succeeding General der Kavallerie Viktor Dankl, who had taken command of the First Army. His Corps was part of the Third Army of General Brudermann. In early September 1914, the devastating battles at the Zlota and Gnila Lipas practically destroyed the Third Army, and the Fourth Army under General Auffenberg was also decimated following Rawa Russka. The Archduke was chosen to replace Auffenberg on October 1. Meanwhile, the XIV Corps was taken over by Feldmarschalleutnant Josef Roth on September 30.

Josef Ferdinand was to remain in command of the Fourth Army until early June 1916. At this time, General Aleksei Brusilov launched the Brusilov Offensive at the juncture of the Fourth and First Armies. The result was that Josef Ferdinand's trenches were obliterated by the Russian bombardment and his troops surrendered en masse to the advancing Russians. In light of this massive set-back, the German High Command insisted on his removal from command. The Archduke went into retirement and was replaced by General Tersztyanszky.

Following the accession of Kaiser Karl in November 1916, Archduke Joseph Ferdinand was offered the post of Inspector General of the Imperial Air Force. The Archduke brought his interest in ballooning to the post, although the Army HQ immediately objected to the appointment. In spite of their reservations, the Archduke was appointed on July 8 1917 and he remained there until September 3 1918.

End of the Monarchy

After the war, he settled in Vienna as a commoner. He was married on May 2 1921 to Rosa Kaltenbrunner, who was not a noble; the marriage lasted until her death in 1928. On January 27 1929, Josef Ferdinand married again, this time to Gertrude Tomanek von Beyerfels-Mondsee. He had two children from this marriage; a daughter, Claudia, born in 1930, and a son, Maximilian, born in 1932.

When the Germans occupied Austria in 1938, Josef Ferdinand was arrested along with more than 70,000 other Viennese. He was interrogated by the Gestapo and sent to Dachau concentration camp, where he was imprisoned for three months. The conditions in the camp ruined his health permanently. Josef Ferdinand was released and lived an isolated existence thereafter, under continual observation by the Gestapo. He died on February 28 1942 in Vienna.


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1= 1. Archduke Josef Ferdinand, Prince of Tuscany
2= 2. Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany
3= 3. Princess Alice of Bourbon-Parma
4= 4. Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany
5= 5. Princess Marie Antoinette of the Two Sicilies
6= 6. Charles III, Duke of Parma
7= 7. Princess Louise Marie Thérèse of France
8= 8. Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany
9= 9. Princess Luisa of the Two Sicilies
10= 10. Francis I of the Two Sicilies
11= 11. Maria Isabella of Spain
12= 12. Charles II, Duke of Parma
13= 13. Princess Maria Teresa of Savoy
14= 14. Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry
15= 15. Princess Caroline Ferdinande Louise of the Two Sicilies
16= 16. Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
17= 17. Maria Louisa of Spain
18= 18. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
19= 19. Marie Caroline of Austria
20= 20. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies (= 18)
21= 21. Marie Caroline of Austria (= 19)
22= 22. Charles IV of Spain
23= 23. Maria Luisa of Parma
24= 24. Louis of Etruria
25= 25. Maria Louisa of Spain
26= 26. Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia
27= 27. Maria Teresa of Austria-Este
28= 28. Charles X of France
29= 29. Princess Marie Thérèse of Savoy
30= 30. Francis I of the Two Sicilies (= 10)
31= 31. Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria


* [ The Austro-Hungarian army]


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