Franz Ferdinand

Emperor Franz Josef I had ruled over Austria Hungary for sixty-six years in 1914. He was eighty four at the time and had seen a great deal over the years of his rule. He cared solely about the preservation of his dynasty and legacy of the Austria Hungarian empire. Emperor Josef was left with very little family in his old age.   In 1898, his wife Elizabeth of Bavaria was stabbed to death by an anarchist. More importantly he lacked a male heir after his only son and obvious successor committed suicide in 1889. No other males remained in Josef’s immediate family. The very last hope for the survival of the family’s rule was the emperor’s nephew and Hapsburg Archduke of Austria, Francis Ferdinand.
Franz Ferdinand was everything that his Uncle Franz Josef was not. While Franz Josef stood for bureaucracy and the upper class, Franz Ferdinand aimed to better the lives of minorities and looked to aid the lower classes. He married Countess Sophie Chotek von Chotkova, a woman who was below his family and status. Clearly the marriage represented love and not social advancement, making it very atypical among noble marriages of the time. She was a Czech countess though she was considered lowly among the Austrian court. Ferdinand and his wife tolerated adversity constantly because of their marriage.
Franz Ferdinand had in mind many wildly unpopular plans for the empire in the eyes of the people on top of being in a controversial marriage. He considered imposing federalism under sixteen states, which was much too drastic a change for the people of an empire that had been majorly unchanged for almost a century. He also planned to potentially seek a triple monarchy as opposed to Austria Hungarian dualism which would recognize slavs as an equal voice in the government and combine Slavic nations with Austria Hungary to form one larger monarchy.
In addition to serving as the archduke of Austria, Ferdinand served as the inspector-general of the armed forces. In the summer of 1914...