Count Johann von Forgách

Count Johann von Forgách
Johann Graf Forgách von Ghymes und Gács
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Brazil
In office
29 October 1905 – 19 June 1907
Preceded by Eugen Ritter von Kuczyński
Succeeded by Franz Freiherr Riedl von Riedenau
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Serbia
In office
19 June 1907 – 30 April 1911
Preceded by Moritz Freiherr Czikann von Wahlborn
Succeeded by Stephan von Ugron zu Ábránfalva
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Saxony
In office
30 April 1911 – 8 October 1913
Preceded by Karl Emil Prinz zu Fürstenberg
Succeeded by Karl Freiherr von Braun
Second Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
In office
8 October 1913 – 4 January 1917
Preceded by Friedrich Graf Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget und Szapár
Succeeded by Ludwig Freiherr von Flotow
Personal details
Born 24 October 1870(1870-10-24)
Gács, Austria-Hungary (now Slovakia)
Died 25 September 1935(1935-09-25) (aged 64)
Budapest, Hungary
Spouse(s) Gabriella, née Lovassy von Szakál (1889–1972)

Johann Graf Forgách von Ghymes und Gács (Hungarian: János gróf Forgách de Ghymes et Gács) (24 October 1870 – 25 September 1935), was an Austro-Hungarian diplomat of Hungarian origin who played a prominent role during World War I and in particular the July Crisis.



Born in Gács (now Halič) on 24 October 1870 into a prominent Hungarian noble family as son of Anton Graf Forgách von Ghymes und Gács (1819–1885), who had been of the few Hungarian magnates taking the side of Austria in 1848 and served as Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry in the 1850s. In 1908, he married Gabriella Lovassy von Szakál (1889–1972) in Budapest and the couple had three children.

In October 1905, Count Forgách received his first major posting as minister at Rio de Janeiro. In June 1907, he transferred to Belgrade where he played a significant role during the Bosnian crisis of 1908.[1] However, he discredited himself the following year during the so-called Friedjung Process which involved forgery of documents a highly publicised treason trial in Agram (now Zagreb) and was sent into professional exile in 1911 as minister at Dresden.[2]

With the appointment of Count Berchtold as Imperial Foreign Minister in 1912, Count Forgách made a comeback in the autumn of 1913 as Second Section Chief (equivalent to head of the Political Section) at the Ballhausplatz. A good friend of Count Berchtold from a young age, he became one of the Foreign Minister's closest advisors and confidants. Together with Count Hoyos, Berchtold's chef de cabinet, he was one of the so-called young rebels, a group of younger diplomats who favoured a more aggressive foreign policy of the Dual Monarchy. During the July Crisis of 1914, Count Forgách played a significant role in the preparations of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia and was a vocal advocate for war against Serbia.[3]

Considered talented and ambitious, Count Forgách remained in his post at the Ballhausplatz until January 1917.[4] In 1918, he was dispatched to Kiev as a representative of the Dual Monarchy. After the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in November 1917, Austria-Hungary had negotiated a separate peace treaty with the newly created Ukrainian People's Republic that was signed on 9 February 1918. The so-called Bread Peace was supposed to solve the Dual Monarchy's food supply problem, but as Count Forgách quickly discovered this proved to be an illusion. He remained in Kiev until November 1918 as the situation in Ukraine only became more and more chaotic.[5]

After the war, Count Forgách retired and spent his remaining years in Budapest where he died on 25 September 1935.


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


  1. ^ Richard F. Hamilton & Holger H. Herwig (eds.), The Origins of World War I, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 118.
  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. 187.
  3. ^ 'Janós Forgách Graf von Ghymes und Gács', Solving Problems Through Force
  4. ^ Godsey, op. cit., p. 182.
  5. ^ 'Janós Forgách Graf von Ghymes und Gács', op. cit.

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Eugen Ritter von Kuczyński
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Brazil
Succeeded by
Franz Freiherr Riedl von Riedenau
Preceded by
Moritz Freiherr Czikann von Wahlborn
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Serbia
Succeeded by
Stephan von Ugron zu Ábránfalva
Preceded by
Karl Emil Prinz zu Fürstenberg
Austro-Hungarian Minister to Saxony
Succeeded by
Karl Freiherr von Braun
Preceded by
Friedrich Graf Szapáry von Muraszombath, Széchysziget und Szapár
Second Section Chief in the Imperial Foreign Ministry
Succeeded by
Ludwig Freiherr von Flotow

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