Heinrich Lammasch

Heinrich Lammasch (1853-1920) was the last Minister-President of the Austrian Empire in 1918.

He was born on May 21, 1853 in Seitenstetten. Lammasch was a teacher at the universities of Innsbruck and Vienna before getting into Austrian politics.

A committed pacifist Lammasch was also an ardent monarchist, an unusual political mixture. It was also a combination liable to result in his arrest in August 1914, save for the personal intervention of Emperor Franz Josef I who ensured his continuing liberty.

Lammasch’s views remained consistent throughout the war; he condemned German militarism and called for a peace without victory.

With Karl I’s arrival as new Emperor in December 1916 upon Franz Josef’s death, Lammasch found his views received with greater sympathy. Karl attempted to persuade Lammasch to accept office, but the latter declined, believing (almost certainly correctly) that his influence upon policy would have been slight.

However, he was prevailed upon to become Austrian Chancellor at the second attempt on 25 October 1918. His tenure was however brief, for once he understood that the Allies’ peace terms were effectively non-negotiable he resigned on 11 November – but not before he oversaw the creation of an Austrian republic.

Before retiring Lammasch represented the new republic as a signatory of the Treaty of St. Germain.

He died on 6 January 1920 at the age of 66, a pacifist to the end.