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Karl von Stürgkh (30 October 1859 – 21 October 1916) was an Austrian politician and Minister-President of Cisleithania during the 1914 July Crisis that led to the outbreak of World War I. He was shot and killed by the Social Democratic politician Friedrich Adler.

Karl Stürgkh
Karl Graf von Stürgkh.jpg
Stürgkh in 1911
24th Minister-President of Cisleithania
In office
3 November 1911 – 21 October 1916
MonarchFrancis Joseph I
Preceded byPaul Gautsch von Frankenthurn
Succeeded byErnest von Koerber
Personal details
Born(1859-10-30)30 October 1859
Graz, Austrian Empire
Died21 October 1916(1916-10-21) (aged 56)
Vienna, Austria-Hungary


Stürgkh descended from a Styrian noble family (originally from the Bavarian Upper Palatinate region), which had been elevated to the status of Imperial Counts in 1721. He owned large estates in Halbenrain and was elected a member of the Austrian Imperial Council in 1891. From 1909 until 1911 he served as education minister in the cabinets of Richard von Bienerth-Schmerling and Paul Gautsch von Frankenthurn.

Gautsch resigned when rising prices led to bloody unrest in Vienna and even a shooting in parliament (the bullets just missed Stürgkh), whereafter Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria appointed him Austrian Minister-President (Prime Minister) on 3 November 1911. He went on to rule the Cisleithanian lands autocratically: On 16 March 1914 he used the continuous filibustering in parliament to indefinitely adjourn the convenings of the Imperial Council and to pass laws by emergency decrees. This de facto elimination of the legislature turned out to be fatal in the following July Crisis, when upon the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria the deputies were not able to interact with the government on the way to World War I.

Stürgkh together with Foreign Minister Leopold Berchtold and Chief-of-Staff Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf advocated a preventive strike against Serbia, mainly for internal reasons, in order to defy Pan-Slavism in the Bohemian, Carniolan and Croatian crown lands. After the declaration of war on 28 July, Stürgkh implemented a harsh censorship and kept refusing to convoke the parliament.

He served as Prime Minister until he was shot and killed by Friedrich Adler, son of the Social Democratic party chairman Victor Adler, while having lunch in a Vienna hotel. Adler's action was a protest against Stürgkh's government without the legislature.[1] Emperor Franz Joseph appointed Ernest von Koerber his successor, one of his last official acts, as he died four weeks later. Adler was sentenced to death, pardonned by Emperor Charles I and finally amnestied after the war.


  1. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Stürgkh, Carl, Count" . Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York.
Preceded by
Paul Gautsch von Frankenthurn
Minister-President of Austria
Succeeded by
Ernst von Körber