Military Order of Maria Theresa
The Military Maria Theresa Order (also Military Maria Theresa Order or Austrian Military Maria Theresa Order ) was the highest military decoration of the Habsburg Monarchy . The Order of Merit , donated by Maria Theresa in 1757 , was only awarded to officers in the form of a multi-level knightly order (most recently as Grand Cross , Commander's Cross , Knight's Cross ) .
The order was founded on June 22nd, 1757, a few days after the victorious Battle of Kolin , by Empress Maria Theresa . The order for outstanding merits by officers in the war was the first visible Austrian military award. The order was initially donated in two classes. Maria Theresa's husband, the Roman-German Emperor Franz I Stephan , acted as the first order grandmaster . The first solemn award of the order (doctorate) took place on March 7, 1758 in the presence of the founder, the first to be awarded was Karl Alexander von Lothringen .
The appointment of new members was decided by a chapter of the order consisting of members of the order and high officers , which had to deliberate on new admissions at regular meetings and submitted its proposals to the Grand Master . The ruling monarch acted as Grand Master of the Military Maria Theresa Order.
On October 15, 1765, Emperor Joseph II added the class of commanders and introduced a breast star , the “Star of the Grand Cross”, to the previous medal for the holders of the Grand Cross .
In the course of time the statutes were changed several times. An amendment to the statutes on March 8, 1895 (see below) extended the granting of the baron status to all members of the order.
Before the First World War there were plans in Vienna to create a common resting place for the knights of the Maria Theresa Order , but this was ultimately not realized.
After the end of the First World War, Emperor Karl I confirmed that the chapter had sole authority to appoint new members. This was to ensure that excellent achievements by officers of the First World War would be recognized accordingly even after the end of the monarchy.
The last session of the Chapter (out of a total of 50) took place in 1931; the resolution was also passed that there should be no further meetings and awards of the order afterwards. The medal was awarded only 1,243 times from 1757 to this point in time. Of these, 61 were grand crosses, 140 commanders and 1042 knights.
The Hungarian Reich Administrator Admiral Nikolaus von Horthy tried, contrary to the statutes, to renew the order in 1931 and 1938, although this was reserved for the "Governor of the Austrian Archaeological House ". However, the order from this title was awarded only once, in January 1944 to Major General Kornél Oszlányi .
The last holder of the order, Gottfried Freiherr von Banfield , a naval aviator of the First World War, died in 1986. On August 17, 1917, he had received the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order from Emperor Karl I.
Today the Military Maria Theresa Order is a central element of the symbolism of the Theresian Military Academy of the Austrian Armed Forces in Wiener Neustadt.
The Military Maria Theresa Order was awarded to officers “for acts of arms undertaken on their own initiative, successful and significantly influencing a campaign, which an officer of honor could have omitted without blame” .
In awarding the order, it was not a question of rank, religion or descent, but only of military merit, especially in the sense of personal initiative. Crews and NCOs could not receive the Military Maria Theresa Order; in 1789 the medal of honor for bravery was created for them.
The religious chapter examined the deeds of the candidates and the award was very cautious. The medal was also awarded when success was achieved by deliberately ignoring an order; that “successful insubordination” (i.e., indiscriminately every form of refusal to obey) was rewarded by him, is a legend. In Austria, the phrase arose from this that someone “deserves a Maria Theresa Order” or “wants to earn” who acts beyond their own competence limits or against instructions to the contrary.
Appearance and wearing style
The insignia of the Military Maria Theresa Order was a curly, white, gold-rimmed cross, the front center shield of which
FORTITUDINIdepicts the Austrian coat of arms with the inscription (Der Bravehole). The reverse bears the entwined letters
M T F(Maria Theresia Franciscus).
The ribbon was striped red-white-red.
Simple knights of the order originally wore the insignia on a narrow ribbon at the buttonhole, later mostly on a triangular folded ribbon on the left side of the chest, commanders on the ribbon around their necks. Holders of the Grand Cross wore the insignia on a wide shoulder band from the right shoulder to the left hip, as well as the breast star described. The star of the order of the Grand Cross, introduced in 1765, was silver and had a laurel wreath in its corners . It could be sewn on as colored fabric embroidery, later there were also versions made of metal.
Like most of the other high orders of merit of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Military Maria Theresa Order did not have its own costume; the military uniform was rated as “regalia”.
The following belt buckles were common for military uniforms:
The individual levels of the Maria Theresa Order could also be awarded with diamonds. Grand crosses with diamonds were awarded several times to particularly deserving generals, while knight crosses with diamonds were presented to medal winners on the occasion of their 40th (or more) anniversary of admission.
The Maria Theresa Order was always carried first after the Order of the Golden Fleece , so it was ranked above the other Orders of Merit.
Nobility and privileges
For subjects of the countries ruled by the Habsburgs, the award of the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order until 1895 was associated with the automatic elevation to the knighthood (with the title "Knight of"), and medal holders had the right to be raised in the hereditary lordship (in Austria as a baron , in Hungary as a baron ) to the exclusion of the usual fees and taxes. Until 1895, the award of the Grand Cross brought the claim to the hereditary baron status as well as the privy council title with the salutation "excellence" and membership in the court . The statutes of the order were changed by an imperial ordinance of March 8, 1895, so that domestic citizens were automatically only entitled to the simple nobility from admission to the order; The tax-free collection of hereditary Austrian barons or Hungarian barons, however, could claim until 1918.
All members of the Maria Theresa Order were generally acceptable . The respective “supreme warlord”, i.e. the ruling monarch, acted as grand master of the order .
The award of the Maria Theresa Order was connected with a pension, whereby the widows of the order bearers received half of the original amount for life. The 20 oldest Grand Crosses received 1,500 guilders each, the commanders 600 guilders each, the knights the 100 oldest 600 guilders each, and the 100 second oldest 400 guilders each. Even after the end of the monarchy in Austria, pensions continued to be paid by both the 1st and 2nd republic. The paying agency in the 2nd Republic was the Federal Ministry for National Defense.
With the death of the owner, the insignia had to be returned and is kept in the Imperial and Royal Army Museum in Vienna in accordance with the Supreme Order of February 11, 1886 .
In the event of a court-ordered dismissal from the officer corps, the order member was forfeited both the order membership and the associated pension.
- Knight of the Military Order of Maria Theresa
- List of winners of the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order of the First World War
- Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen
- Austrian-Imperial Leopold Order
- Order of the Iron Crown
- Franz Joseph Order
- List of Austrian orders and decorations (ranking of awards)
- Franz I : Statutes of the laudable military order of Maria Theresa . kk Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1811. - Full text online .
- Jaromir Hirtenfeld : The Military Maria Theresa Order and its members; according to authentic sources; for the first secular celebration. 4 volumes. KK Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1857, OBV .
- Jan Lukeš: Military Order of Maria Theresa. Authorized by the Order based on authentic sources. (Continuation of: Jaromir Hirtenfeld: The Military Maria Theresa Order and its members ) KK Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1890, OBV .
- Henrik Marczali : A katonai Mária Terézia-rend körül. (Cover title: About the military Maria Theresa Order ). (Hungarian). Ertekezesek a törteneti tudomanyok köreböl, Volume 25.2. M. tud. Akad., Budapest 1934, OBV .
- Oskar von Hofmann, Gustav von Hubka: The Military Maria Theresa Order: The Awards in World War 1914–1918 . By order and under the direction of the General of the Infantry z. V. Carl Frh. Von Bardolff and edited with the support of the Army Museum in Vienna and based on official sources. Publishing house military science reports, Vienna 1943, OBV .
- Václav Měřička : Orders and decorations of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy . (Translated from the Czech). Schroll, Vienna (amongst others) 1974, ISBN 3-7031-0356-6 .
- Václav Měřička (text), Jindřich Marco (photo), Robert Fenzl (transl.): The book of orders and awards . Second edition. Dausien, Hanau 1990, ISBN 3-7684-1680-1 .
- Christian Ortner , Georg Ludwigstorff: Austria's medals and decorations. Part I: The imperial-royal orders until 1918 , Verlag Militaria , Vienna 2017, ISBN 978-3-902526-81-6
- Entry on the Military Maria Theresa Order in the Austria Forum (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon )
- NOTA sources
- ↑ Peter Broucek: The birthday of the monarchy . Österreichischer Bundesverlag, Vienna 1982, p. 135.
- ^ Josef Mündl: The military Maria Theresa order. In: Streffleur's military paper. Feldzeitung (weekly edition) , No. 34/1917 (4th year), August 25, 1917, pp. 1–4, 24 f. (Online at ANNO ). .
- ↑ Johann Christoph Allmayer-Beck : The Army History Museum Vienna. Guide to the museum. Volume 3: Hall II - The 18th Century to 1790. Kiesel, Salzburg 1983, ISBN 3-7023-4012-2 , p. 32.
- ^ Měřička: Orders and decorations . P.56.
- ^ Měřička: Orders and decorations . P. 51. According to Arno Kerschbaumer, Nobilitations under the reign of Emperor Karl I / IV. Károly király (1916-1921) , Graz 2016 ( ISBN 978-3-9504153-1-5 ), p. 43 said § 36 of the statutes of the order until the amendment of the statutes of March 8, 1895, that every holder of the order (if he was subject to the countries ruled by the Habsburgs) "eo ipso" - d. H. automatically as a result of the award of the medal - should be raised to the Austrian knighthood, if he did not already have it. Ibid. Pp. 44–48, however, it is pointed out that the Habsburg authorities were often undecided as to whether an Austrian knighthood acquired due to the award of the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order should be considered a hereditary or a personal title, which in practice led to all sorts of confusions and inconsistent applications of this passage.
- ↑ a b Měřička: Orders and decorations . P. 51.
- ↑ The right of the knights of the Military Maria Theresa Order to apply for the hereditary Austrian baron status or the hereditary Hungarian barony was laid down in Section 37 of the Order's statutes. See Arno Kerschbaumer, Nobilitierungen under the reign of Emperor Karl I / IV. Károly király (1916-1921) , Graz 2016 ( ISBN 978-3-9504153-1-5 ), p. 43.
- ↑ This happened in the context of equality with the Kingdom of Hungary, since no knighthood was awarded there. Since 1895, a knight of the Military Maria Theresa Order no longer has "eo ipso" the Austrian knighthood, but the simple Austrian or Hungarian nobility, depending on his nationality. See Kerschbaumer, Nobilitierungen under the reign of Emperor Karl I / IV. Károly király (1916-1921) , Graz 2016 ( ISBN 978-3-9504153-1-5 ), p. 43. On the question that is also controversial within the Habsburg authorities However, the amendment to the statutes of March 8, 1895 did not change anything about whether the nobility acquired due to the award of the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresa Order should be considered a hereditary or a personal title, so that on this point until the end of the monarchy in 1918 there was a certain legal uncertainty (see ibid. pp. 44–48).
- ↑ Peter Wiesflecker: ennobling Emperor Charles I of Austria - Studies on the Austrian nobility at the end of the Danube Monarchy . Vienna (Univ. Diss.) 1992, pp. 26-30.