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|Eduard Graf von Paar|
|Eduard Graf von Paar was born in Vienna on 5 December 1837. The following timeline summarizes the military career of von Paar:
Apr 1874 Commands Dragoons Regiment 4 until Apr 1879
Nov 1874 Promoted to Oberst
Apr 1879 Commands 4. Cavalry Brigade until Apr 1887
Nov 1879 Promoted to Generalmajor
Nov 1884 Promoted to Feldmarschalleutnant
Apr 1887 General-Adjutant to the Kaiser until Jan 1917
Nov 1891 Promoted to General der Kavallerie
Feb 1916 Promoted to Generaloberst
Jan 1917 Retired
Eduard von Paar's was a noble family, originally from Italy. The Paar family gradually acquired big estates in Styria and in Bohemia. Their fame began as Postmasters for Styria in 1596, and from 1624 court postmasters for the hereditary Habsburg crownlands. Their position was similar to the more famous Princes von Thurn und Taxis, who handled the post for much of central Germany from the sixteenth century all the way to 1866. The senior Paars kept the title of Obersthofgeneralerbland-Postmeister and received a pension for this important position until the mid-nineteenth century, when the civil government took over the task of mail delivery. The Paars were mediatized and became imperial princes in 1769.
Eduard Graf von Paar was Kaiser Franz Josef's first Adjutant-General. He had held this position for many years, and of all the members of His Majesty's staff was no doubt the one who stood closest to him. In fact, he was probably the Kaiser's closest friend and confidant, especially following the death of Franz Josef's cousin, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Although Paar joined the Kaiser on many hunting expeditions and was privy to the most intimate details of the Kaiser's life, Franz Josef never allowed Paar or anyone else to breach the royal barrier that separated Kaiser from servant or commoner. Paar was first and foremost chief aide-de-camp, and he never relaxed his posture before his master. Still, his company was well-liked by Franz Josef, especially during the hunt both in the Alps and at Gödöllö in Hungary.
Miklos Horthy, who was an adjutant beneath Paar for several years, described one particular hunting expedition in the Salzkammergut with the Kaiser and the "Archduke of Tuscany" (who was most likely one of Grand Duke Franz's sons): "At one chamois shoot, the first shot was fired from the covert next to Count Paar, and he guessed that it was his neighbour the Archduke of Tuscany. There was a ridge in the terrain immediately in front of him at a distance of just over a hundred yards, and after a few minutes the head of a chamois popped up above it, disappearing again at once. Count Paar decided that it was a buck and fired. After a few moments, during which the Archduke fired again, another chamois head appeared at approximately the same place, and again Count Paar fired. The same sequence was repeated for a third time.
"Count Paar had no idea what he had hit, if anything, and the gamekeeper who had been assigned to him offered to go and investigate. It was, of course, strictly forbidden to leave the covert, but curiosity proved too strong. After some time, the gamekeeper returned looking very upset and reported, "Three kids, Your Excellency." Count Paar was in despair, but refused the offer of the well-meaning gamekeeper that he should quickly bury the kids. When the shoot was over, he went to make his report with a very guilty conscience, which was in no way relieved when he saw that His Majesty was considerably perturbed by something the Archduke was saying to him. As he drew nearer, he could hear the Archduke being rebuked for having shot three female chamois that had kids. When his turn came, Count Paar declared that he had disposed of the kids which had lost their mothers. This luckily won the Emperor's approval."
Horthy also described the mannerisms of Paar: "Count Paar was renowned for his ability to relate interesting occurrences and anecdotes. He used to make time seem fleeting when we came on duty in the early morning and had to wait for the clock to strike nine. He almost invariably began with "Have I told you this before?" and I invariably answered, "I don't think so," so that over the years, as is often the case with old gentlemen, I heard his stories time and time again."
Paar's perhaps most dramatic and well-documented act as chief aide-de-camp came on 28 June 1914, when he hand-delivered to the Kaiser a telegram that announced the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The Kaiser read the telegram in silence in his summer villa at Ischl. As Paar said, "The Kaiser did not say very much about today's dreadful news. He was deeply shaken in the first moment and seemed to be moved by the blow; he closed his eyes for several minutes and stayed wholly lost in thought. Then, however, he spoke--not really to me, but to himself--the words seem to burst from his breast: "Horrible! The Almighty permits no challenge! ...A higher Power has restored the order that I was unhappily unable to maintain..." Finally, the Kaiser, with every sign of profound emotion, turned to me and commanded our return to Vienna for the morrow. Otherwise, not a word more."
This was Paar's recollection of the incident, and one that sparked many psychological studies of the Kaiser's words. Perhaps Paar did not intend this, but it certainly calls into question the Kaiser's deepest feelings of the Archduke and his morganatic marriage, something the Kaiser could not prevent but thought he could compromise. Did Paar intend this side of his master and friend to be witnessed? Maybe he was simply amazed by the Kaiser's honest reaction to the news and nothing more.
Paar remained Franz Josef's chief aide-de-camp until the Kaiser's death in November 1916. In early 1917, he retired as Kaiser Karl chose new and younger adjutants to replace the old and loyal servants of his predecessor.
Eduard Graf von Paar died in Vienna in February 1919.