Ottokar Theobald Otto Maria Graf Czernin von und zu Chudenitz
(September 26 1872
– April 4 1932
) was a son of the Bohemian high aristocracy, in the diplomatic service of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
and a politician during the time of World War I
. He was born in Dymokury
In 1895, after Czernin studied law, he decided to serve in the foreign service of Austria-Hungary and was sent to the embassy in Paris
. Two years later married the countess Marie Kinsky of Wichnitz and Tettau in Hermannstetz. In 1899 he was sent to The Hague
. Three years later, in 1902, he had to terminate his career due to an illness of the lungs.
In the years 1903 to 1913 he represented the Deutsche Volkspartei in the Bohemian state parliament and became a close advisor of archduke Franz Ferdinand, the successor to the throne of the Dual Monarchy, and returned to the diplomatic service in 1912 as the ambassador to Bucharest.
World War I
After the assassination at Sarajevo, which resulted in World War I, Karl I.
, the nephew of Franz Ferdinand, ascended the throne in 1916 and appointed Czernin as his minister for foreign affairs. At the outbreak of the war Czernin said "We are bound to die. We were at liberty to choose the manner of our death, and we chose the most terrible."
In this role he participated at a conference held in March 1917, where Germany and Austria-Hungary argued about the goals of the war. Speaking for Karl I., he suggested, among other things, the cession of territory of the Central Powers to arrange a fast peace with the Entente. In his view, the declaration of war by the United States was a disaster and a victory for the Central Powers became improbable. He failed, however, because of the resistance of Italy and gave way to the urge of the OHL of Germany, which wanted to begin an unrestricted submarine war. By the end of the war in 1918 he was involved as a representative of Austria in the peace negotiations with Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
He withdrew from his office in April 1918 because of the Sixtus Affair, when his French colleague Georges Clemenceau published documents in which the secret peace negotiation efforts of Austria-Hungary with the governments of the Entente were revealed.
Republic of Austria
With the end of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the founding of independent states in its former territories, Czernin returned as a delegate to the national council of the Republic of Austria for the Democratic Party in 1920.
On April 4 1932 Ottokar Graf Czernin von und zu Chudenitz died in Vienna.
In 1992 Czernin was portrayed by actor Christopher Lee in an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The episode was entitled "Austria, March 1917" and premiered on the ABC television network on September 21, 1992.
- In the 1920s, Czernin wrote a book of memoirs of his days as an insider in the Austro-Hungarian political and diplomatic arenas during World War 1, called "Im Weltkrieg" ("In The World War") an extremely interesting look at the inside machinations of an ancient empire being pulled apart by war.