In November 1918, the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was unstoppable. Following the recommendation of government, Emperor Karl I decided to give up his reign. He signed a declaration to this effect on 11 November 1918.
In this waiver Karl I stressed that he would not stand in the way of national development and thus relinquished his participation in its administration. Consequently, he released members of the Austrian government from their offices.
Since Karl I had not formally abdicated the throne, he had to leave Austria. On 12 November 1918 German-Austria was proclaimed as a republic.
TranscriptSince I came to the throne I have ceaselessly strived to lead my people out of the horrors of war, for whose outbreak I bear no blame.
I have not hesitated to rebuild the constitutional life and have opened the way for the people to develop their own national identity.
Now as before filled with unwavering love for all my people, I do not wish to be a barrier to the freedom of their development.
I acknowledge in advance the decision that Germany-Austria is making about its future system of government.
The people have through their representatives taken over the government. I hereby renounce any part in state affairs.
At the same time I relieve my Austrian government of its office.
May the people of Germany-Austria create and consolidate the reorganisation in the spirit of harmony and forgiveness. The happiness of my people was my most cherished goal from the beginning.
Only inner peace can heal the wounds of this war.