Berchtold, Leopold, Graf von (lāˈōpôlt gräf fən bĕrkhˈtôlt) [key], 1863–1942, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (1912–15). During the Balkan Wars he successfully worked for the creation of an independent Albania to block Serbian access to the Adriatic Sea. After the assassination (June 28, 1914) of Archduke Francis Ferdinand at Sarajevo, he directed the reckless policy that precipitated World War I. Although Serbia made a conciliatory reply to his harsh ultimatum, Berchtold pressed for full acceptance; he probably even magnified a border incident in order to secure Emperor Francis Joseph's signature to the declaration of war on Serbia.
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