László Szőgyény-Marich, Jr.

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Count László Szőgyény-Marich de Magyar-Szőgyén et Szolgaegyháza
Szőgyény-Marich László 1890-52.JPG
Second Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
In office
15 June 1882 – 2 May 1883
Preceded by Ladislaus Graf von Hoyos-Sprinzenstein
Succeeded by Marius Freiherr Pasetti-Angeli von Friedenburg
First Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
In office
2 May 1883 – 24 December 1890
Preceded by Ladislaus Graf von Hoyos-Sprinzenstein
Succeeded by Marius Freiherr Pasetti-Angeli von Friedenburg
Minister besides the King of Hungary
In office
24 December 1890 – 24 October 1892
Preceded by Béla Baron Orczy de Orczi
Succeeded by Géza Baron Fejérváry de Komlós-Keresztes
Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Germany
In office
24 October 1892 – 4 August 1914
Preceded by Emmerich Graf Széchényi von Sárvár und Felsövidék
Succeeded by Gottfried Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingfürst, Ratibor und Corvey
Personal details
Born (1841-11-12)12 November 1841
Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
Died 11 June 1916(1916-06-11) (aged 74)
Csór, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Spouse(s) Irma, née Freiherrin von Geramb (1850–1926)
The native form of this personal name is gróf magyar-szőgyéni és szolgaegyházi ifjabb Szőgyény-Marich László. This article uses the Western name order.

Count László Szőgyény-Marich de Magyar-Szőgyén et Szolgaegyháza (German: Ladislaus Freiherr (from 1910, Graf) von Szögyény-Marich von Magyar-Szögyén und Szolgaegyháza) (12 November 1841 – 11 June 1916), was an Austro-Hungarian diplomat of Hungarian origin who was a long serving Ambassador at Berlin.

Life[edit]

Born in Vienna on 12 November 1841 into an old Hungarian noble family as son of László, a former judex curiae (chief justice) of Hungary.

After studies in Vienna, Baron Szőgyény-Marich entered the civil service and was elected to the Hungarian parliament in 1869 where he represented the Deák Party, then the Liberal Party. In 1883, he left the parliament to enter the Foreign Ministry of Austria-Hungary as Second Section Chief and was later promoted to First Section Chief. On 24 December 1890, he was appointed to serve as Minister besides the King of Hungary and was made a member of the Upper House.[1]

On 24 October 1892, Emperor Franz Joseph I appointed him ambassador to Germany and he presented his credentials to the Kaiser at Berlin on 12 November. He would hold on to this position for twenty-two years, an extraordinarily long tenure even by the standards of the time. He owed his position due to his close connections, in particular Franz Joseph's protection – he had been a close confidant and friend of Crown Prince Rudolf and dealt with the latter's papers following the Mayerling incident –, and not even Count Lexa von Aehrenthal could have him replaced.[2]

Considered shrewd and calculating but also unimaginative,[3] he was a personal friend of the Kaiser and the most senior Habsburg ambassador. On 17 April 1910, he was elevated to the rank of a Count.

In the summer of 1914, he was still Ambassador at Berlin despite his advanced age and being partly deaf.[4] In order to bypass him, Foreign Minister Count von Berchtold dispatched his chef de cabinet Count von Hoyos on 4 July as a special envoy to Berlin to request support from the Kaiser for the Austro-Hungarian plans for action against Serbia.[5] Count von Hoyos arrived the following day from Vienna and reviewed the documents with Count Szőgyény-Marich before the latter met with the Kaiser at Potsdam for lunch. In the evening he cabled Count von Berchtold that he had received "full German backing" in any action that Vienna decided to take, even if "serious European complications" resulted, requesting only that it would be done speedily. The Kaiser's pledge was confirmed the following day by Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg and Zimmermann, the Under Secretary of State. Austria-Hungary had received the so-called 'blank check' promising German support for an Austro-Hungarian attack on Serbia.[6] Count Szőgyény-Marich's action during this critical month has been much debated by historians, some arguing that he did not fully grasp all the intrinsic details in the conversations he entertained with German leaders, in particular that he exaggerated the German support,[7] and that his reports to Vienna therefore were misleading.

Strained by the burdens of the July Crisis, Count Szőgyény-Marich was succeeded as Ambassador by Prince von Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst on 4 August, his replacement having been discussed long before the advent of war but blocked by his alleged refusal to make a graceful exit.[8]

Count Szőgyény-Marich retired to his estate in Csór where he died two years later on 11 June 1916. He had been invested as a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1900.[9]

Notes[edit]

Regarding personal names: Graf is a title, translated as Count, not a first or middle name. The female form is Gräfin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'Szögyény-Marich László, gróf', Magyar Életrajzi Lexikon
  2. ^ 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. 167.
  3. ^ Godsey, op. cit., p. 190.
  4. ^ Godsey, op. cit., p. 143.
  5. ^ Graydon A. Tunstall, Jr, 'Austria-Hungary', in Richard F. Hamilton & Holger H. Herwig (eds.), The Origins of World War I, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 135.
  6. ^ Tunstall, op. cit., p. 175f.
  7. ^ For example, he wrote on 25 July to Count von Berchtold that Germany saw danger in delay and therefore advised Vienna "to press forward immediately [with war against Serbia] and to confront the world with a fait accompli" (Tunstall, op. cit., p. 178).
  8. ^ Godsey, op. cit., p. 74.
  9. ^ Chevaliers de la Toison d'Or

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Béla Baron Orczy de Orczi
Minister besides the King
1890–1892
Succeeded by
Géza Baron Fejérváry de Komlós-Keresztes
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Ladislaus Graf von Hoyos-Sprinzenstein
Second Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
1882–1883
Succeeded by
Marius Freiherr Pasetti-Angeli von Friedenburg
Preceded by
Ladislaus Graf von Hoyos-Sprinzenstein
First Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
1883–1890
Succeeded by
Marius Freiherr Pasetti-Angeli von Friedenburg
Preceded by
Emmerich Graf Széchényi von Sárvár und Felsövidék
Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Germany
1892–1914
Succeeded by
Gottfried Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingfürst, Ratibor und Corvey