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|Dr. Heinrich Lammasch was the last Imperial Chancellor for Austria. He was born on 21 May 1853 in Seitenstetten, Upper Austria. Lammasch was a professor at the university in Innsbruck in 1885 and by 1899 he was teaching at the university of Vienna. He was also an astute politician, and took seat as a minister in the Reichsrat.
Dr. Lammasch was a good friend and advisor to Kaiser Karl, who in February 1918 sent the Doctor on an important mission of peace. This was following the embarrassing debacle of the "Sixtus Affair," where peace-seeking Kaiser Karl dispatched his wife's brother Prince Sixte di Borbon-Parma to negotiate an armistice with the Entente, only to have the French betray the efforts and spurn the attempt at peace. One might think that the Kaiser was dissuaded from treating with such treacherous opponents, but Karl made another, and final, attempt.
On 3 February 1918, Dr. Lammasch left the Austrian embassy in Bern, Switzerland and met special envoy George Herron from President Wilson at a nearby hotel. There, they discussed Kaiser Karl's proposals for a general peace. Herron at first seemed impressed by Lammasch's offer, and asked to "sleep on the matter," and continue discussions the next morning. However, when the two met again on 4 February, Herron had a change of heart. Herron left Lammasch a book he wrote denouncing the Central Powers. Whether it was "Germanism and the American crusade" which was printed in 1918, "Menace of Peace" or even "Woodrow Wilson and World Peace" from 1917 is not known. However, Dr. Lammasch returned to Vienna a day later completely certain of the mission's failure.
On 27 October 1918, Lammasch was appointed by Kaiser Karl to be the Imperial Chancellor, replacing Ernst Ritter Seidler von Feuchtenegg. Lammasch held this difficult position as the Empire crumbled.
The revolution swirled around him and he was forced to declare Austria a republic, but he could no longer withstand the political atmosphere and he resigned on 11 November 1918. He later joined his successor, Dr. Karl Renner, at the St. Germain delegation where the Entente forced their peace treaty on the German Austrian Republic (one of the clauses, for one, forced them to ceased referring to themselves as the German Austrian Republic).
Dr. Heinrich Lammasch died in Salzburg on 6 January 1920.
GWS, 7/01 [rev. 2/05]