What is the Theresian Military Academy?

Introduction

The Theresian Military Academy (German: Theresianische Militärakademie, TherMilAk) is a military academy in Austria, where the Austrian Armed Forces train their officers. Founded in 1751, the academy is located in the castle of Wiener Neustadt in Lower Austria.

History

The Theresian Military Academy (known as the Theresianum) is one of the oldest military academies in the world (the oldest is the Military Academy of Modena). It was founded on 14 December 1751 by Maria Theresa of Austria, who gave the first commander of the Academy, Field marshal Leopold Joseph von Daun (Count Daun), the order Mach er mir tüchtige Officier und rechtschaffene Männer daraus (“Make me hard working officers and honest men”).

Per year, the Academy accepted 100 noblemen and 100 commoners to start their education there. In 1771, Fieldmarshal Lieutenant Hannig published the official studying plan, and in 1775, Maria Theresa published the Academy Rules. At this time, it took 11 years to complete the Academy, but step by step, it was shortened to 3 years.

The Styrian Prince Erzherzog Johann (Archduke John) was the principal headmaster of the academy for 44 years (1805-1849).

During the First Republic (1918-1938), the academy was located in Enns until 1934, and then again in the castle of Wiener Neustadt. A very remarkable event in the time between Austrofascism and the Anschluss (Occupation of Austria by Nazi Germany) was that Lieutenant General Rudolf Towarek (Commander of the TherMilAk between 1933 and 1938) prevented the Wehrmacht from entering the castle for several days. This was the only military resistance made by Austrians against the occupation by Nazi Germany. Towarek was not punished for this action; he was, however, retired while retaining the right to wear the Austrian uniform after his retirement, which was highly unusual in those days.

After the Anschluss, the Wehrmacht installed a war school for non-commissioned officers at the castle of Wiener Neustadt. The first commander of this school was Erwin Rommel. At this time, the Germans erected a new building next to the castle, which is now known as Fort Daun, in which the Military High School of Austria is located.

After World War II and the Austrian State Treaty which was signed in 1955, the demolished castle was rebuilt. In 1958, the military academy was again located in Wiener Neustadt after a short intermezzo (1955-1958) in Enns.

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