The Habsburg myth – the dynasty before and after 1918
The Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty formed the ideological basis for the Habsburg Monarchy, since the existence of the multi-ethnic state was primarily a product of the dynastic history of this ruling house.
In the latter days of the Habsburg Monarchy, Emperor Franz Joseph personified the imperial idea, although towards the end of his sixty-eight-year reign he was reduced more and more to an abstract symbol, a kind of father figure. His death in November 1916 left a vacuum at the head of the dynasty, which his successor Karl could no longer fill.
After the decline of the Monarchy, the successor states had problems dealing with the former dynasty and its symbols. It is interesting that the view of the “imperial times” becomes rosier as time goes on. In this way the Habsburg myth has survived despite the disappearance of the real empire of the Habsburgs.