Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cinema Royals

In "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Adventures in the Secret Service" there is an appearance by Patrick Ryecart and Jennifer Ehle as Emperor Charles and Empress Zita of Austria. For those unfamiliar with the series, Sean Patrick Flannery plays a young Indiana Jones who joins the Belgian army during World War I. At one point he becomes a spy with the secret service and is given the task of escorting Prince Xavier and Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma to meet with the Emperor of Austria in the hope of bringing a peaceful end to the First World War. I am glad to say that the Imperial couple are portrayed sympathetically as people who sincerely want peace and know better than to trust their scheming ministers to carry it out. Sci-fi fans will also recognize Christopher Lee as Graf von Czernin, a typically villainous part for him. This part of the Young Indiana Jones saga was last released in 1999.


  1. I am glad that the Imperial couple are portrayed sympathetically; it is only a pity that the peace efforts were unsuccessful.

    Incredibly, some authors try to use even the Emperor's peace efforts against him, portraying them as a sign of cowardice or weakness of will, or as an underhand betrayal of Germany.

    But why should he have continued to support the war if he disapproved of it? And if there had been a general negotiated peace (which was his ultimate wish, even if he was also willing to contemplate a separate peace with the Allies) it would have been better for everyone involved, including Germany. Better, at any rate, than what happened at the Treaty of Versailles.

  2. Even a separate peace between Austria-Hungary and the Allies would probably have led to a general peace, as it would have been hard to Germany to carry on the war alone.

  3. So true. I think Empress Zita opposed the war because the family divisions hurt her so much, she really disliked the attitude of the Germans and she had a very compassionate woman's heart. For Emperor Charles I think it mattered that he had served at the front, saw the destruction first hand and I think he knew old Europe was destroying itself. He would have rather seen Austria reduced than destroyed and, as you say, Germany would have been better off with a negotiated peace too. Unfortunately they still clung to the hope of total victory over the Allies and would settle for nothing less -at least until it was too late. In any event, the great betrayal of the effort must fall on the shoulders of the Allies. The French totally betrayed the good intentions of the Emperor and it seemed clear that King Albert was the only Allied leader who sincerely wanted peace rather than selfish gain and the destruction of others. Which is in itself quite commendable that he could take such an attitude given that his country was one of the few truly innocent powers involved.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...