Who's Who - Count Karl von Sturgkh

Count Karl von Sturgkh Count Karl von Sturgkh (1859-1916) served as Austria's arch-conservative Minister-President from 1911 until his assassination in 1916.

Born on 30 October 1859 in Graz, Sturgkh entered politics as an ultraconservative and clericalist member member of the Austrian Reichsrat.

As a measure of Sturgkh's implacable opposition to liberal or constitutional reform he came out in firm opposition to the reform of Austria's electoral system in 1907.  He served in government the following year as Minister of Education in 1908.

Sturgkh retained the Education portfolio until November 1911, at which point (and in the midst of ongoing parliamentary disagreement between Czech and German nationalists) he was appointed Austria's Minister-President.

Preferring to rule via dictat rather than by consultation and negotiation, Sturgkh's relationship with parliament was never a happy one in spite of his initial success in securing passage of a fresh military programme in 1912-13.

He acted to dissolve the Bohemian Landtag in 1913 and then - a moment he later claimed as one of his proudest - prorogued the Reichsrat in March 1914, a few months before war broke out.  It was converted into a makeshift hospital during the war (an action he viewed with satisfaction in light of his contempt for the Reichsrat).

Governing thereafter in the manner in which he preferred - by decree - Sturgkh's political and public popularity plummeted as the effects of policies of strict press censorship and restrictions upon the right of public assembly mounted.

Austrian political turmoil gathered until, on the night of 21 October 1916, Sturgkh was assassinated - shot dead - by Friedrich Adler, son of the leader of the Socialist Party Viktor Adler.  His loss was not greatly felt.

He was succeeded as Minister-President by Ernst von Korber.

A sandbag was a sack filled with earth from which defences were built.

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