„C’est la paix!”
The Emperor Karl I of Austria (King Károly IV of Hungary) is remembered today in Hungary mostly for his staunch attempts at a forced retake of his Hungarian kingdom in 1921 which proved to be an abysmal failure. The Emperor, however, initiated a separate peace treaty with the Entente powers right after inheriting the throne from the Emperor Franz Joseph on November 21, 1916. His endeavour to lead Austria-Hungary out of the war was an important political decision, based on a sincere vision of world peace. The peace effort was carried out almost exclusively by the Emperorís family, first and foremost by his brother-in-law Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma. Executed in utmost secrecy, the peace plan involved the Empress Zita and her immediate family, as well as Count Tamás Erdődy, a childhood friend of the Emperor. The plan failed for a number of domestic and international reasons, but the Emperor deserves credit for his separate peace project of 1916-1917 which could have saved the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, innumerable lives and, eventually, avert the peace treaties of St. Germain-en-Laye and Trianon. Partly for his peace efforts, the Emperor was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004.