Field Marshal Baron Franz Conrad von Hotzendorff


General Information

Chief of the Austrian General Staff, Conrad was a true "war hawk" when it came to his political stance. One might say he suffered from "Serbophobia", with constant pleas to "crush the Serb skull" (preventative strikes against Serbia). He had a major falling out with Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1912 over this policy - a falling out that was never mended. They had once been close friends, with the Archduke saving the hot tempered commander's career on more than one occasion. Regardless of his feelings toward the Archduke, he and Count von Berchtold were determined to use the assassination as a pretense for the long awaited invasion of Serbia.

Aside from his hawkish tendencies, he was generally regarded as strong military leader and strategist. One of his military shortcomings, however, was overestimating the abilities of the army he commanded. The feeble Austrian army of 1914 was not capable of executing Conrad's intricate plans. He was dismissed in 1917 due to his opposition to Emperor Charles I's peace initiatives. A hawk to the end.

See also:
Jul-1914: The July Crisis
ø The 'Blank Check'
ø The Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia


"...a dangerous little viper."
Conrad's opinion of Serbia