Court War Council

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The Court War Council ( called Steter Kriegsrat until 1564 ) was the military administrative authority for the Habsburg Monarchy from 1556 to 1848 , the forerunner of the later kk or (since 1867) kuk war ministry . The court war council had its seat in Vienna , temporarily also in Graz , and was directly subordinate to the respective Habsburg monarch.

Predecessor institutions

Until 1556, military and political affairs were directed by an authority with different names. Under Emperor Maximilian I , the authority, which was founded between 1500 and 1512, was called a regiment, later also a secret office, state government, court councilor or council of state.

As early as 1529 it was deemed necessary to establish an independent council of war. However, the negotiations remained unsuccessful for a long time. On February 25, 1531, Ferdinand I issued instructions in Linz that ordered the formation of an independent war council made up of four councils of war.


On November 17th, 1556 a steady council of war was established. King Ferdinand I appointed five councils of war and transferred the presidium to one of the five, the Ehrenreich von Khungsperg. The councils of war were mostly active or former high-ranking military officers. The college oversaw the entire Habsburg defense system in war and peace. It decided on the construction of the fortress, the army equipment, issues of salaries and the purchase of supplies, as well as the planning and implementation of wars. All military authorities were ordered on December 31, 1556 to submit to the council of war. The title Hofkriegsrat was only used in a chancellery regulation from 1564.

Even during the war, all generals had to have their decisions approved in advance by the court war council in distant Vienna, the only exception being the generalissimo authorized to act autonomously . This rule was intended to ensure coordinated military action in all theaters of war, but could mean a disadvantage in campaigns against independently decisive generals (for example in Austria's wars against the aggression of Frederick the Great ).

The Court War Council was in direct contact with the Court Chamber as the financial authority and the Court Chancellery as the political coordination point. After the second international division of Austria in 1565 was in Graz , a second, of Vienna independent Hofkriegsrat built, the first under Empress Maria Theresa (r. 1740-1780) was dissolved and until then the military affairs of Inner Austria and defending to the Ottoman Empire adjacent provinces headed .

In 1615, Emperor Matthias changed the scope of the Court War Council with the so-called New Instruction . Under Ferdinand III. the position of the Vice-President of the Court War Council arose. Even Leopold I and Maria Theresa changed the organization of Hofkriegsrats. Emperor Joseph II introduced a centralization of all branches of military administration under the Court War Council.

When Archduke Karl was entrusted with the agendas of the Court War Council by Emperor Franz II in 1801 , he first introduced the title of War Minister and divided the Court War Council into three departments (for military, judicial and administrative matters ). The administrative body was headed by a court war council president.

In 1848 the court war council was converted into the kk war ministry. From 1853 to 1860, the War Ministry was again given command by Emperor Franz Joseph I and the authority was designated as Army High Command , but renamed the War Ministry again in 1860.

In the settlement of 1867, with which Hungary became politically independent, the emperor agreed with Hungary that the army and the navy belonged to the "common affairs" of Austria and Hungary, that is, that they were not subject to either of the two governments, but only to the monarch personally and the one appointed by him Minister of War. The kuk war ministry , the army (from 1889) and the navy were therefore called kuk , imperial and royal until October 31, 1918, when Hungary terminated this real union . In addition to these institutions of the entire dual monarchy, the kk Landwehr for Cisleithanien and the ku Honvéd for Transleithanien under ministers from both halves of the empire .

Since Emperor Franz Joseph I was personally in command of the army and the chief of staff (in peacetime subordinate to the Minister of War) was responsible for strategic matters, the Ministry of War only had to deal with the administrative matters of the army and the navy .


The court war council building in 1775

The court war council building was located in Vienna at Am Hof 17 (after a change of address today Am Hof ​​2), Bognergasse 4-6 and Seitzergasse 1-3 in Vienna.

After the abolition of the Jesuit order , the house fell to the state and was declared the seat of the court war council. According to plans by Franz Anton Hillebrand , the building was rebuilt in 1774 and 1775 and partially increased. From 1776 to 1848 the court war council was based here, from 1848 to 1853 the war ministry, 1853 to 1860 the army high command, 1860 to 1867 again the war ministry and from 1867 to 1912 the Reich war ministry .

On October 6, 1848, War Minister Count Baillet von Latour was murdered by revolutionaries in front of the building.

In 1892 the Radetzky memorial designed by Caspar Zumbusch was erected in front of the court war council building Am Hof.

In 1913 the Reich Ministry of War moved to the new building on Stubenring . The Radetzky Monument followed the War Ministry to its new location on Vienna's Ringstrasse, as did the interior furnishings of the representative rooms.

Despite numerous protests, the Am Hof ​​building was torn down immediately after the Ministry had moved. Adolf Loos , for example, described the threatened demolition in 1906 as “sacrilege”, the War Ministry as “the most beautiful dying building” in Vienna, there is the “basic chord for the square” and the like. From 1915, the Niederösterreichische Escompte-Gesellschaft , later the Österreichische Länderbank, had their headquarters in the office building built in its place . In 1990 this merged with today's Bank Austria , which sold the house in 2008. The re-use by a hotel was announced. In 2011 there was a fire in the building, presumably due to construction work, in the course of which the building was completely destroyed inside. The building was renovated by the Hyatt hotel chain and reopened as a luxury hotel in July 2014.


Hans Christoph Freiherr von Löbl, President of the Court War Council 1630–1632

(Many presidents were field marshals.)

  1. Knight Ehrenreich von Königsberg 1556–1560
  2. Gebhard Freiherr von Welzer 1560–1566
  3. Georg Teufel Freiherr von Guntersdorf 1566–1578
  4. Wilhelm Freiherr von Hofkirchen 1578–1583
  5. David Ungnad Freiherr von Weißenwolf 1584–1599
  6. Melchior Freiherr von Redern 1599–1600
  7. Karl Ludwig zu Sulz 1600–1610
  8. Hans Freiherr von Mollard 1610–1619
  9. Knight Johann Kaspar von Stadion 1619–1624
  10. Count Rambold Collalto 1624-1630
  11. Hans Christoph Freiherr von Löbl 1630–1632
  12. Heinrich Schlik zu Bassano and Weißkirchen 1632–1649
  13. Wenceslaus Eusebius von Lobkowicz 1649–1665
  14. Annibale (Hannibal) Prince Gonzaga 1665–1668
  15. Raimondo Montecuccoli 1668–1681
  16. Hermann of Baden-Baden 1681–1691
  17. Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg 1692–1701
  18. Heinrich Franz von Mansfeld 1701–1703
  19. Prince Eugene of Savoy 1703–1736 (the noble knight)
  20. Dominik von Königsegg-Rothenfels 1736–1738
  21. Johann Philipp Count Harrach 1738–1762
  22. Leopold Count Daun 1762–1766
  23. Count Franz Moritz Lacy 1766–1774
  24. Andreas Graf Hadik von Futak 1774–1790
  25. Michael Johann von Wallis 1791–1796
  26. Friedrich Moritz von Nostitz-Rieneck 1796
  27. Ferdinand Graf Tige 1796–1801
  28. Archduke Karl of Austria (the victor of Aspern ) (between 1804 and 1805, as Minister of War and the Navy, he also combined the qualities of a Court War Council President, between 1805 and 1809 Minister of War and Navy, and the Supreme Head of the Court War Council and direct head of the military department)
  29. Maximilian Baillet von Latour 1805–1806 (with the title of Court War Council President, head of the economic section)
  30. Wenzel Joseph von Colloredo 1806–1809 (with the title of Court War Council President, head of the economic section)
  31. Heinrich Graf Bellegarde 1809–1813
  32. Prince Karl Philipp zu Schwarzenberg 1814–1820
  33. Heinrich Graf Bellegarde 1820–1825
  34. Friedrich Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen 1825–1830
  35. Ignaz Graf Gyulay 1830-1831
  36. Johann Maria Philipp Frimont from Palota 1831
  37. Ignaz Graf Hardegg 1831–1848
  38. Karl Ludwig von Ficquelmont 1848


  • Oskar Regele : The Austrian Court War Council 1556-1848 (= communications from the Austrian State Archives, Erg.-Bd. 1, H. 1), Vienna 1949 ( online )
  • The Hofkriegsraths-Presidents and War Ministers of the Imperial and Royal Austrian Army Publishing house of the military-scientific association, Vienna 1874
  • Sources and research on patriotic history, literature and art , ed. by Wilhelm Braumüller, Vienna 1849
  • Schematism for the imperial and royal army and for the imperial and royal navy for 1902. Vienna, 1902 p. 1239

Individual evidence

  1. a b c The court war council presidents and war ministers of the kk Austrian army. Page 1–5
  2. ^ Adolf Loos: Nevertheless . Innsbruck 1931, p. 61

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 38 ″  N , 16 ° 22 ′ 6 ″  E