In the Twilight of Empire
Count Alois Lexa von Aehrenthal (1854-1912). Imperial Habsburg Patriot and Statesman
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Count Aehrenthal, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (1906-1912), is well-known to diplomatic historian for the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. Solomon Wank"s biography, the first since 1917, shows that Aehrenthal"s life and work transcend diplomatic history and illuminate critical problems threatening the viability of the Habsburg Monarchy. Wank focuses on the inseparable connection between foreign and internal affairs in Aehrenthal"s thinking, his involvement in domestic politics, his attempt to transform the office of the foreign minister into that of an imperial chancellor, his grand scheme of constitutional reform to solve the South Slav problem within the empire, and his personality. The work is based on unpublished documents in Austrian and Czech archives, as well as recently published correspondence with Habsburg diplomats and aristocratic relatives and friends, and with his parents. Volume I covers the history of the Aehrenthal family, Aehrenthal"s early years and education, his personality and political outlook, his diplomatic career and his involvement in domestic politics from 1878 to the eve of appointment as foreign minister.