Joseph III
King of Hungary
Reign 20 August 1949 – 6 July 1962
Predecessor Otto II
Successor Joseph IV
Spouse Princess Augusta of Bavaria
Father Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria
Mother Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Born 9 August 1872
Alcsút, Hungary, Austria-Hungary Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918).svg
Died 6 July 1962 (aged 89)
Gödöllő, Hungary Flag of Hungary (1915-1918, 1919-1946; 3-2 aspect ratio).svg
Burial Palatinal Crypt

Joseph III of Hungary (born Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria; 9 August 1872 – 6 July 1962), known as Archduke Joseph August of Austria until 1949, was the first King of Hungary after the 1947 dissolution of the union with Austria. He was a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, the eldest son of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria (1833–1905) and his wife Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1846–1927). Joseph August's grandfather had been Palatine Joseph of Hungary (1776–1847), Palatine and Viceroy of Hungary, a younger son of Emperor Leopold II.

The Archduke Joseph Diamond, a 76.02 carat colourless diamond with internal flawless clarity, is named after him and officially recorded as his property.

Early life[edit | edit source]

He was born at Alcsút, Hungary on 9 August 1872. Joseph August began his military career in 1890 when he was commissioned into the 1st Infantry Regiment as a Leutnant. He was soon promoted to Oberleutnant and was transferred to 72nd Infantry Regiment in 1893. He was transferred to Dragoon Regiment #6 in 1894 and then transferred to the 1st Honvéd Hussars by the Emperor and promoted to the rank of Major. He took command of this regiment in 1904 and then went on to command 79th Honvéd infantry brigade in 1908 then finally the 31st infantry division at Budapest in 1911.

The Great War[edit | edit source]

File:BorojevicevPrestol1.JPG

In the front, the Boroevic Throne, named after Svetozar Boroević. In the back, a fingerpost and a monument built by the 43rd Infantry Regiment in honour of Archduke Joseph.

August was highly decorated before the Great War broke out. Some of his awards include The Bronze Military Merit Medal, Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Joseph, The Marianer Cross of the Deutscher Ritterorden, The Order of the Black Eagle, The 1st Class of the Order of the Red Eagle, The Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, the Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III, and the Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

In 1914 he was involved in combat in the Galician theatre and took command of the VII Corps and was involved in fighting in the Carpathian Mountains. After Italy became involved in the war he was transferred to the Carinthian border and involved in fighting the Isonzo army. August remained on this front until the 9th battle of the Isonzo in 1916 a period in which once again he was highly decorated. August was highly liked by his troops, especially those of Hungarian nationality.

In November 1916, August was put in command of the Heeresfront fighting against Russian and Romanian forces. In January 1918 he was put in command of the 6th Army in the Southern theatre and that July took over the South Tyrolean Army Group, which was the 10th and 11th Armies. Finally, on 26 October 1918, he was sent to the Balkan theatre to take command of the Heeresgruppe Kövess, which occupied Serbia, Albania and Montenegro. He was promoted to field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) of the Austro-Hungarian Army on 24 October 1918, as an attempt by Kaiser Karl to calm Hungarian nationalists.

In Hungary the Aster Revolution broke out on 31 October 1918. In November, the socialist Hungarian Democratic Republic was proclaimed, only to be replaced a few months later by the communist Hungarian Soviet Republic. This revolution was to fail and Hungary would remain part of the United States of Greater Austria. In 1920 the Archduke became the first knight of the Hungarian Order of Vitéz, in 1927 he became a member of the newly established House of Lords. He later became an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was its president from 1936-1940.

King of Hungary[edit | edit source]

As the European War began he was given permission from Kaiser Otto to remain in the Hungarian parliament. He did organize the flow of refugees fleeing Hungary as the Red Army marched closer to Budapest. He fled Hungary for the United States in 1941. On 20 August 1949, the Diet of Hungary re-established the Kingdom of Hungary. However, it was apparent that the Germans would not accept any return of King Otto II (the former Austrian emperor) from exile. Instead, with the fascist Party of Hungarian Renewal controlling the parliament building, the assembly voted to install the Archduke as King.

Bishop Lajos Shvoy then led a small delegation to meet August, announcing, "Hungary's Parliament has elected you King! Would it please you to accept the Holy Crown of Saint Stephen?" To their astonishment, August declined, unless Otto gave him permission to accept. As the Archduke stalled, the politicians went to see King Otto in Switzerland, Otto then issued a proclamation in which he relinquished his right to take part in Hungarian affairs of state. He also released the officials in the Hungary from their oath of loyalty to him. With those and a written blessing given, August accepted the crown. He took the regnal name of Joseph III as king.

Although he did not support the Renewal party and it's Nazi leaning policies, he complied with it out of conviction to ensure the continuity of the throne of St. Stephen. Through his popularity, he eventually made the monarchy a force to be reckoned with in the eyes of the regime. He did not support the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and with support from the German envoys he forced Prime Minister Szemák to resign leading to more moderation in Hungarian fascism. The following year his eldest son Crown Prince Joseph had predeceased him. On the morning of 6 July 1962, Joseph III was found dead at the Gödöllő Palace at the age of 56. His grandson Crown Prince Josef Arpád succeeded him as King Arpád II.

Marriage and Issue[edit | edit source]

Titles, styles and honours[edit | edit source]

Titles and styles[edit | edit source]

Monarchical styles of
József III
Royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Hungary (1915-1918).svg
Reference style His Apostolic Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sire
  • 9 August 1872 – 20 August 1949 His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke and Prince Joseph August of Austria, Prince of Hungary, Bohemia and Croatia
  • 20 August 1949 – 6 July 1962 His Apostolic Majesty The King of Hungary
Joseph III of Hungary
Cadet branch of the House of Lorraine
Born: 9 August 1872 Died: 6 July 1962
Hungarian royalty
Preceded by
Otto II
King of Hungary
20 August 1949 – 6 July 1962
Succeeded by
Joseph IV
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