Theresian Military Academy

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Theresian Military Academy
motto AEIOU ; Faithful to the end!
founding December 14, 1751
Sponsorship BMLV (state)
place Wiener Neustadt , Austria
commander GenMjr Karl Pronhagl
Wiener Neustadt Castle
Theresian Military Academy before 1870
Theresian Military Academy, park view, before 1894

The Theresian Military Academy (in short: TherMilAk , English Theresan Military Academy , Latin Alma Mater Theresiana ) is the only training facility for military officers of the Austrian Armed Forces . It is located in the castle in Wiener Neustadt ( Lower Austria ).


The Theresian Military Academy was founded under Maria Theresa on December 14, 1751 with the mandate "Make me capable officers and righteous men out of it" to the first commandant Field Marshal Leopold Joseph von Daun and is thus the oldest active military academy of the World. It is noteworthy that the building has housed the military academy since 1752 - with the exception of the years of occupation, war and destruction as a result of the Third Reich - whereas the Royal Military Academy Woolwich, founded in 1741, was closed in 1939. The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , founded in 1947, continues the tradition of its predecessor academy only in an idealistic way. In Wiener Neustadt, on the other hand, 100 aristocrats and 100 commoners have been admitted almost continuously every year since 1752. The officers of the Austro-Hungarian Army were also trained here until 1918.

It has been called the military academy since it was merged with the nursery school for cadets in 1769. As early as 1771 a regulated curriculum was published by the local director, Lieutenant Field Marshal Johann Georg Carl von Hannig, and in 1775 the Academy Regulations sanctioned by Maria Theresia. At that time, the training period was eleven years and was gradually reduced to three years.

The famous Styrian Archduke Johann von Österreich was chief director of the Theresian Military Academy for 44 years (from 1805 to 1849).

In the first republic , training was carried out in Enns until 1934 and then again in Wiener Neustadt. A peculiarity in the period between Austrofascism and the Anschluss is the refusal of Major General Rudolf Towarek (1933–1938 Commander of the Military Academy) to hand over the castle to the German Armed Forces invading Austria . He had the guard deployed with the bayonet attached and thus denied the Wehrmacht access to the castle for several days. Apart from his retirement, this act had no negative effects on Major General Towarek; he was even given permission to continue wearing the Austrian uniform after his retirement.

Immediately after the Anschluss, Colonel Erwin Rommel , who later became Field Marshal General, set up a military school for officers' training, which he initially directed himself. The Daun barracks were added to the school.

Towards the end of the Second World War , the castle was almost completely destroyed by aerial bombs , fires and looting. In April and May 1945 it burned down completely within almost 14 days. The remaining ruins were restored to their historical form during the reconstruction between 1946 and 1959, but the interior was adapted to the requirements of the time. The military academy was able to resume operations in 1958.

Main portal of the Theresian Military Academy

After the founding of the armed forces in 1955, the military academy was again housed in Enns until 1958, from where it then moved back to the castle of Wiener Neustadt after the damage caused by the Second World War had been repaired.

In the Vienna Museum of Military History that's banner ribbon of the first flag of the Military Academy issued. It was donated by Maria Theresa just before her death in 1780 for the first flag, allegedly she is said to have embroidered it personally. Under the banner are two pictures ( gouaches ) by Bernhard Albrecht (1758–1822). Albrecht was a drawing teacher at the military academy and also described the pupils during their military and athletic exercises. The pictures show scenes such as “practice shooting with mortars” and “balancing exercises by the cadets on the high beam walkway” . The sheets were created between 1785 and 1793.

The current commanding officer is Major General Karl Pronhagl .


The TherMilAk serves several functions: the training for military officer training of suitable high school graduates , the military officer training, the officer training, the interdisciplinary training cooperation and various representational purposes of the armed forces and the city of Wiener Neustadt .

Military high school

The Daunkaserne, located on the grounds of the castle in Wiener Neustadt , was the home of the former federal high school for working people and the military high school . Between 1959 and 2012 there was the Bundesrealgymnasium for working people (BRGfB). Batches and NCOs should be given further qualifications in service and thus the opportunity to advance to an officer career in the sense of the second educational path . This educational path has become obsolete, especially through the introduction of the university entrance examination . The Bundesoberstufenrealgymnasium at the Theresian Military Academy "Military Realgymnasium" was a military-run educational institution with an attached boarding school that existed from September 1965 to 2017. To a certain extent it was in the tradition of the Austrian military school system and its cadet schools . Organizationally, the students were part of the school battalion. The planned Federal Trade Academy for Leadership and Security at the Theresian Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt is the successor institution .

Troop officer training

A total of 3,576 troop officers have been trained at the Theresian Military Academy since it reopened in 1958. In the final year 2003, the first four women successfully completed their training at the military academy. Their only female predecessor was Francesca Scanagatta in 1797 .

After the Second World War , troop officer training was exclusively reserved for the next generation of officers. In addition to the troop officer course, the following technical college courses have been in existence since 1997, and civilians also attend. During their training, the officer candidates have the rank of ensign, but are also referred to as "military academics" or "MAk". After passing this degree, he is retired from the troops as a lieutenant .

Conditions for registration

In order to be admitted to the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt, in addition to the university entrance qualification, you must also pass the selection and admission procedure. This consists of the participation in the cadre candidate training 2 / hunter / career officer candidate as well as the admission procedure in the university bachelor's degree in military leadership.

FH bachelor's degree in military leadership

The three-year intensive study program, which (with the degree Bachelor of Arts from the military leadership English BA Military Leadership ) concludes, is to teach the skills as a military officer in general. This includes national and international military internships, but also semesters abroad at West Point , Saint-Cyr or at the Army Officers School in Dresden are planned.

There are two student associations as house associations at TherMilAk: The Austrian Catholic academic association THERESIANA (Ö.kaV THERESIANA) and the Academic Round Table WIKING (Akad. TR! WIKING). Graduates of the Theresian Military Academy can also join the Alt-Neustadt Graduate Association.

Troop officer course

The troop officer course takes place before and between the individual semesters of the University of Applied Sciences bachelor's degree in military command. It serves to impart the necessary skills as a platoon commander , both with basic knowledge of infantry operations management and with specialist knowledge in the field of the self-selected type of weapon . These include a. a demanding sporting performance promotion, driving school training and mountain training.

Organizationally, the officer candidates are part of the academics battalion, which is divided into the individual years. Maintaining the cohesion of the age groups is of particular importance. They name themselves after memorable battles and exemplary officers, preferably bearers of the Military Maria Theresa Order , who are represented in the year badges and thus classify the future officers in a tradition continuum with the Austrian ( kuk ) military past.

Officer training

The TherMilAk is used in a separate institute for the further training of officers of the armed forces below the trained management levels of the National Defense Academy . Also, militia officers and civilian employees of the armed forces are trained here.

Interdisciplinary training cooperation

Every year TherMilAk is the venue for various interdisciplinary training measures in cooperation with the police, disaster control, rescue and the Wiener Neustadt University of Applied Sciences.


TherMilAk regularly serves as the venue for international equestrian tournaments . The events are organized by the Heeresreitsportverein Theresianische Military Academy.

Every year in January, the ball in the castle is a central event in the city of Wiener Neustadt .

Concerts and cultural events take place in the castle several times a year.

The open day is for numerous interested people in the area, v. a. School classes, an important event on the calendar.

Furthermore, castle tours are offered by army employees.


The central elements of TherMilAk are the slogans AEIOU and Treu bis die Tod !, the Military Maria Theresa Order, and the annual retirement.


The academy's coat of arms and seal - or ring for graduates - was created in 1957 on behalf of the academy commandant, Obst dhmD Ing. Josef Heck, after a competition among academy members. The design of the coat of arms selected by a jury came from the then captain Adolf Polivka, the ring was made according to the design by captain Paul Wimmer. A detailed explanation can be found in the yearbook Alma Mater Theresiana , born 1956, p. 64 ff. The A.EIOU insignia are based on the motto of Frederick III. back.

Military Order of Maria Theresa

The Military Maria Theresa Order is of central importance for the philosophy of training for troop officers at TherMilAk . The lending criteria underlying it are also combined with initiative, independence and, subsequently, order tactics. The order is depicted in the seal ring, in the academy's coat of arms and in the badges of the graduates. Reference is made to it in numerous public events.

In connection with the basic idea of Inner Leadership , the Theresian leadership model was designed around 2014 under the leadership of the course director, Brigadier Karl Pichlkastner, as a guideline for military officer training based on the philosophy of the Military Maria Theresa Order.

Faithful to the end!

In addition to AEIOU, the motto of the Austrian officers “Faithful to death!” Is the motto of the Theresian Military Academy. It is traditionally engraved on the badges of the graduates and is in addition to the soldiers' vows refreshed during the annual retirement of the troop officers .


As a solemn endpoint of the troop officer training, the annual retirement of troop officers is the highlight of the year at TherMilAk.

In a joint academic and military celebration, the academic degree "Bachelor of Arts in Military Leadership" is awarded and the promotion decree to lieutenant is presented. The lieutenants also receive the academy ring. The lieutenants are bid farewell to the military academy in an evening ceremony. At the same time, the academy flag from the decommissioned year will be handed over to the new lords of the castle and the Great Austrian Zapfenstreich will be performed . A firework display paid for by the decommissioning year marks the end of the impressive ceremony. The younger age groups pay their respects to the retired age group as an honorary formation in parade adjustment.

The following day, a Saturday, is called "Lieutenant's Day". The new lieutenants will be accepted into the army with a large ceremony on Maria-Theresien-Platz in front of the castle, including a speech by the Federal President as the highest military employer and the introduction of the prospective troop officers and the newly appointed militia officers to the Federal President.

In honor of the new officers, a parade takes place on Grazerstrasse in front of the castle.


Well-known graduates of the military academy

Plaque of honor in the MilAk dining room in honor of Friedrich Hensel and Johann Hermann von Hermannsdorf on the occasion of the defense of Fort Malborghet on the Predil Pass against Napoleonic troops , 1809

Graduates before 1918 (year of retirement)

Graduates after 1918 (year of retirement)

MilAk commanders (selection)

Second republic

Rank, name period of service comment
Major Erwin Starkl 1955-1956 35th Kdt
Colonel Josef Heck 1957-1959 Colonel dhmD ; 36th Kdt
Major General Erich Watzek 1959-1971 37th Kdt
Major General Alois Nitsch 1972-1980 38th Kdt
Major Johann Philipp 1980-1984 39. Kdt
Major Adolf-Erwin Felber 1985-1999 40th Kdt
Major Karl-Heinz Fitzal 1999-2003 41. Kdt
Major General Norbert Sinn 2003-2013 42nd Kdt
Brigadier Gerhard Herke 2013-2016 43. Kdt
Major General Karl Pronhagl 2016 –.... 44th Kdt

Special persons associated with the building of the Theresian Military Academy

  • The painter Oskar Kokoschka learned in 1915 at the k. and k. Theresian Military Academy trained as a dragoon during World War I. In order to acquire a horse and uniform, he sold “The Bride of the Wind”, today his most famous work, depicting the artist with Alma Mahler-Werfel .
  • Before the Second World War, Colonel Erwin Rommel , who later became General Field Marshal, was in command of a "war school" (officers' school) in Wiener Neustadt from November 10, 1938 to August 22, 1939 . It was housed in the building of the Theresian Military Academy, which was dissolved immediately after the occupation of Austria. He also returned briefly to Wiener Neustadt after the campaign in Africa .
  • The future Federal President Rudolf Kirchschläger was a training officer towards the end of the war. As a commander on April 1, 1945, he led a squad unit against the Soviet troops. Profil magazine reported in its April 21, 2005 issue that 200 cadets were killed and several hundred wounded within a few hours. He himself suffered a serious leg injury.
  • The historian Friedrich Hausmann was awarded the gold academy ring in 1962 for setting up the in-house museum.

See also


  • Johann Christoph Allmayer-Beck : Military Academy - War School - Fahnenjunker School. Wiener Neustadt 1938–1945 . Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2010, ISBN 978-3-205-78459-3 .
  • Alfred Hrubant: officer training. The decommissioned years of the 2nd republic. Festschrift . Edited by the Theresian Military Academy, Vienna 2008.
  • Hubert Zeinar : The Theresian Military Academy. From the "Cadettenhaus" to the university of applied sciences . In: Wolfgang Etschmann , Hubert Speckner (Ed.): To protect the Republic of Austria…. [Contributions to the history of the Austrian Armed Forces] (= writings on the history of the Austrian Armed Forces . Special volume). Gra & Wis, Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-902455-03-9 , pp. 333-348.

Web links

Commons : Theresianische Military Academy  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Theresian Military Academy  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ History of TherMilAk at the WIKING academic round table in Wiener Neustadt, accessed on February 1, 2010.
  2. Virtual castle tour on the study portal of the Theresian Military Academy ( memento of the original from June 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ Liselotte Popelka: Army History Museum Vienna . Graz, Cologne, 1988 p. 32.
  4. Johann Christoph Allmayer-Beck: The Army History Museum Vienna. Hall II - The 18th Century to 1790 . Kiesel Verlag, Salzburg 1983, p. 86 f.
  5. Federal Army: Brigadier Karl Pronhagl becomes the commandant of the Military Academy APA / OTS report from June 14, 2016, accessed on June 16, 2016
  6. Removed without replacement from the School Organization Act, Federal Law Gazette I No. 48/2014 .
  7. Security school should start in autumn . Article dated June 14, 2019, accessed June 14, 2019.

Coordinates: 47 ° 48 ′ 34.7 "  N , 16 ° 14 ′ 43.5"  E