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Charles Alexander, Duke of Württemberg

Duke of Württemberg
The basics
AKA Karl Alexander, Duke of Württemberg, Karl Alexander
Date of birth Stuttgart
Date of death Mar 12, 1737 Ludwigsburg
Mother: Eleonore Juliane of Brandenburg-Ansbach
Father: Frederick Charles Duke of Württemberg-Winnental
Spouse: Princess Marie Auguste of Thurn and Taxis
Brother(s): Henry Frederick of Württemberg-Winnental Frederick Louis of Württemberg-Winnental Maximilian Emanuel of Württemberg-Winnental
Children: Charles Eugene Duke of Württemberg Louis Eugene Duke of Württemberg Frederick II Eugene Duke of Württemberg Duchess Auguste of Württemberg
Authority Library of congress id ISNI id VIAF id
The details

Charles Alexander of Württemberg (24 May 1684 – 12 March 1737) was a Württemberg noble from 1698 who governed the Kingdom of Serbia as regent from 1720 until 1733, when he assumed the position of Duke of Württemberg, which he had held until his death.


Born in Stuttgart, he was the eldest son of Frederick Charles, Duke of Württemberg-Winnental, and Eleonore Juliane of Brandenburg-Ansbach.

He succeeded his father as Duke of Württemberg-Winnental in 1698. As a successful army-commander in service of the Holy Roman Emperor, he had converted to Roman Catholicism in 1712. He was militarily successful under Prince Eugene of Savoy in the Spanish War of Succession as well as in the war against the Turks. In 1719 he was appointed imperial governor of Belgrade.

In 1720 Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI appointed him governor of the Kingdom of Serbia in Belgrade. After 13 years of autocratic reigning over Serbia, in 1733 Charles Alexander inherited the Duchy of Württemberg centered around Stuttgart from his cousin, Eberhard Louis. As Duke of Württemberg he moved the court back from Ludwigsburg to Stuttgart. He ruled over the duchy until his sudden death in 1737, and was succeeded by his nine-year-old son, Charles Eugene.

During his reign, he employed as his financier the ill-fated Joseph Süss Oppenheimer, who was executed in 1738 for abuse of office during the reign of the duke.

He married Maria Augusta Anna of Thurn and Taxis (11 August 1706 – 1 February 1756).

In literature and film

Although the story of Duke Karl Alexander and Joseph Süß Oppenheimer constituted a relatively obscure episode in German history, it became the subject of a number of literary and dramatic treatments over the course of more than a century; the earliest of these having been Wilhelm Hauff's 1827 novella, titled Jud Süß. The most successful literary adaptation was Lion Feuchtwanger's 1925 novel titled Jud Süß based on a play that he had written in 1916 but subsequently withdrew.

Ashley Dukes and Paul Kornfeld also wrote dramatic adaptations of the Feuchtwanger novel. In 1934, Lothar Mendes directed "Jew Süss", a film adaptation of the novel.

Charles Alexander and his relationship with Oppenheimer is fictionally portrayed in Veit Harlan's 1940 Nazi propaganda film titled Jud Süß.

Although inspired by the historical details of Süß's life, Hauff's novella, Feuchtwanger's novel, and Harlan's film only loosely correspond to the historical sources available at the Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg.


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