Primary Documents - Emperor Karl I's Abdication Proclamation, 11 November 1918

Emperor Karl I Following heavy defeat at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, which heralded the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective fighting force, the Austrian government sought and negotiated an armistice; meanwhile simultaneous political turmoil completed the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Reproduced below is Austro-Hungarian Emperor Karl I's abdication announcement, published on 11 November 1918.

Click here to read an account of the Austro-Hungarian Army's collapse by the head of the British Red Cross in Italy, G. M. Trevelyan.  Click here to read the reaction of Italian Army Chief of Staff Armando Diaz to news of complete victory at Vittorio Veneto and the Austro-Hungarian armistice. 

Emperor Karl's Abdication Proclamation, 11 November 1918

Since my accession I have incessantly tried to rescue my peoples from this tremendous war.

I have not delayed the re-establishment of constitutional rights or the opening of a way for the people to substantial national development.  Filled with an unalterable love for my peoples I will not, with my person, be a hindrance to their free development.

I acknowledge the decision taken by German Austria to form a separate State.  The people has by its deputies taken charge of the Government.  I relinquish every participation in the administration of the State.  Likewise I have released the members of the Austrian Government from their offices.

May the German Austrian people realize harmony from the new adjustment.  The happiness of my peoples was my aim from the beginning.  My warmest wishes are that an internal peace will be able to heal the wounds of this war.

(Signed) KARL

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

One in five of the Australians and New Zealanders who left their country to fight in the war never returned; 80,000 in total.

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Primary Docs