Baron Karl von Macchio

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Karl Freiherr von Macchio
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Montenegro
In office
3 February 1899 – 6 November 1903
Preceded byEugen Ritter von Kuczyński
Succeeded byOtto Freiherr Kuhn von Kuhnenfeldtytngnrnhgnuhv
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Greece
In office
6 November 1903 – 18 November 1908
Preceded byStephan Freiherr Burián von Rajecz
Succeeded byKarl Freiherr von Braun
Second Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
In office
10 January 1909 – 30 March 1912
Preceded byLadislaus Müller von Szentgyörgy
Succeeded byFriedrich Graf Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget und Szapár
First Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
In office
30 March 1912 – 4 January 1917
Preceded byBaron Ladislaus Müller von Szentgyörgy
Succeeded byBaron Ladislaus Müller von Szentgyörgy
Personal details
Born(1859-02-23)23 February 1859
Hermannstadt, Austria-Hungary (now Romania)
Died1 April 1945(1945-04-01) (aged 86)
Vienna, Austria

Karl Freiherr von Macchio (23 February 1859 – 1 April 1945), was an Austro-Hungarian diplomat active before and during World War I.


Born in Hermannstadt (now Sibiu) on 23 February 1859 into a noble family originating from Lombardy. After studies in law, he joined the Austro-Hungarian foreign service in 1881 and served in Constantinople, Bucharest, St. Petersburg and Belgrade.[1]

In 1899, he was appointed to serve as minister at Cetinje and then from 1903 in Athens succeeding Baron Burián von Rajecz, the future Foreign Minister. In 1907, he was a member of the Austro-Hungarian delegation to the Second Hague Peace Conference. In 1908, he was appointed a Privy Councillor (Geheimer Rat).[2]

In January 1909, Baron von Macchio was appointed by Count Lexa von Aehrenthal, who considered him an "expert in Balkan questions",[3] to serve as Second Section Chief (equivalent to a Head of Political Section) at the Ballhausplatz. He succeeded Baron Müller von Szentgyörgy who had been promoted to First Section Chief (equivalent to an Undersecretary) and would in March 1912 succeed him also in that position. During the July Crisis in 1914, he was therefore one of the closest collaborators of Foreign Minister Count von Berchtold but played a much more marginal role than the chef de cabinet Count von Hoyos and the Second Section Chief Count von Forgách

After the outbreak of war, Baron von Macchio was sent to Rome on 11 August 1914 on a special mission ("in außerordenlicher Mission") to support the embassy as the ambassador, Mérey, was ill. As such he was de facto ambassador with the title "außerordentlicher und bevollmächtigter Botschafter mit Titel und Charakter", although Mérey remained officially in charge. His mission in Rome was to prevent Italy from entering the war on the side of the Entente, but as the autumn passed it became increasingly clear that it was rather a question about delaying than preventing an Italian declaration of war against Austria-Hungary.[4]

In January 1915, Baron von Macchio, supported by the German ambassador at Rome, the former Chancellor Prince von Bülow, sought to persuade Foreign Minister Count Leopold Berchtold|Count Berchtold to cede the Trentino to Italy. As pressure mounted on Count Berchtold to accede in this direction, he was forced by the Hungarian Minister-President Count Tisza and the Chief of the General Staff General Conrad von Hötzendorf to resign.[5]

Following Italy's declaration of war on 23 May 1915, Baron von Macchio returned to Vienna, where he continued in his function as First Section Chief until January 1917. After the war, he worked as a staff member of the Neue Freie Presse, a Viennese newspaper, covering international affairs.[6]

Prince von Bülow and Matthias Erzberger blamed Baron von Macchio for the failure of the negotiations to prevent the entry of Italy into the war, but Baron von Macchio vehemently denied this in his memoirs, basing himself on Italian sources to justify his course of action.

Baron von Macchio died in Vienna on 1 April 1945.


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.


  • Wahrheit! Fürst Bülow und ich in Rom, 1914/1915, Vienna, Jung Österreich verlag, 1931.
  • 'Momentbilder aus der Julikrise 1914', Berliner Monatshefte, no. 14, 1936, pp. 763–788.


  1. ^ 'Macchio Karl Frh. von', Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815-1950, vol. 5, Vienna, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1957, p. 387.
  2. ^ 'Macchio Karl Frh. von', op. cit.
  3. ^ William D. Godsey, Aristocratic Redoubt: The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office on the Eve of the First World War, West Lafayette, Purdue University Press, 1999, p. 83.
  4. ^ 'Karl Macchio', Solving Problems Through Force
  5. ^ Holger H. Herwig & Neil M. Heyman, Biographical Dictionary of World War I, London, Greenwood Press, 1982, p. 84.
  6. ^ 'Macchio Karl Frh. von', op. cit.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Eugen Ritter von Kuczyński
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Montenegro
Succeeded by
Otto Freiherr Kuhn von Kuhnenfeld
Preceded by
Stephan Freiherr Burián von Rajecz
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Greece
Succeeded by
Karl Freiherr von Braun
Preceded by
Baron Ladislaus Müller von Szentgyörgy
Second Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
Succeeded by
Friedrich Graf Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget und Szapár
Preceded by
Baron Ladislaus Müller von Szentgyörgy
First Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
Succeeded by
Baron Ladislaus Müller von Szentgyörgy