Friday, July 25, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
To be concluded in Part III...
To be concluded in Part III...
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Continued in Part II
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
During this interlude, Radetzky studied and served as a military instructor while also spending time with his family. In 1798 he had married Countess Francisca von Strassoldo Grafenberg with whom he had eight children. The peace, however, was short-lived and soon Radetzky was back in the field leading a brigade at the Battle of Eckmuhl in 1809 and then a division at the Battle of Wagram following his promotion to lieutenant field marshal. In 1810, along with further decorations, he was given the position of colonel-in-chief of the Fifth Hussars, thereafter known as the Radetzky Hussars. Also during that time and until 1812 he was chief of the general staff and in that position should have finally been able to make the changes to the organization and tactics of the Austrian Imperial Army that he had so long pushed for. However, in what had been, was and would be in the future a major problem for the Austrian armed forces, the government refused to allocate the funds necessary to implement these changes. Eventually, Radetzky resigned in disgust and returned to the field. In 1813 he served as chief of staff to Field Marshal Karl Philipp, Prince of Schwarzenberg and proved so capable that he quickly became extremely influential, not only in the Austrian army but amongst the other Allied powers as well.
Because of his impressive record, he could not simply be dismissed but he was pushed out of the way; promoted to General of the Cavalry and placed in command of a fortress. Most were content to ignore him but when the specter of revolution rose up again, Graf Radetzky was called upon to save the monarchy. When rebellion broke out in the Papal States, he was part of the Austrian army that suppressed it and in 1834 he was placed in command of the Austrian Imperial troops in Italy. Two years later, at the age of 70, he was promoted to Field Marshal. He ensured that his troops were the best trained and most disciplined force in the Austrian Empire and, back in a position of prominence again, he resumed his call for improvements to the military. But, yet again, the government refused to spend the money necessary to implement the changes he wanted and to modernize the army. It was a dangerous mistake as was proven when the Revolutions of 1848 began to break out and Radetzky had a major problem on his hands in Italy with large-scale rebellions in the Austrian-ruled territories and a war being waged by King Carlo Alberto of Piedmont-Sardinia. Despite the fact that the Austrian Empire was by far the strongest power in the region, the failure to adopt Radetzky’s policies meant that the Piedmontese were actually the more modern force and posed a considerable threat.
Still, while perfectly willing to tolerate those who opposed Austrian rule peacefully, when it came to those who took up arms against the crown he did not spare the whip. Oddly enough, some chose to take exception with the method of execution he employed, hanging ringleaders as criminals rather than having them shot by firing squad as soldiers. Hungarians who fought alongside the Italian rebels objected to this, somehow thinking that their treason should not count since they were in the Italian portion of the Austrian Empire rather than the Hungarian portion. In any event, even his enemies could not accuse him of being especially harsh. He applied justice evenly and was honest in all his dealings. When it came to politics he had earlier favored the “Greater Germany” school of thought somewhat but for Radetzky he was always a soldier and avoided the political arena. It was enough for him to be a stalwart defender of his Emperor and that he certainly was, from the start of his career until his death on January 5, 1858 in Milan at the age of 91.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
That was the end of the war and the end of the alliance between the Emperor of Austria-Apostolic King of Hungary and the Sultan, Caliph of Islam. Strange it may seem for the House that defended Christendom from the Muslim Turks for centuries to end up, in their very last battle, fighting to defend that same Muslim empire from the advancing forces of Christian Britain, France and Italy (among others) the leadership in Vienna considered it palatable. Still, some do doubt regarded it as a sign of the depths Austria-Hungary had been reduced to. It does make the point that most wars are not clean-cut affairs and one can say, as distasteful as many Catholic fans of Austria-Hungary would find it, looking at the state of the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, helping to defend it may not have been an unworthy effort.
|Austro-Hungarian troops in Palestine, 1916|
|Bl. Emperor Charles I talking with his Turkish allies|
|Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman officers in Turkey|
|Austro-Hungarian troops entering Jerusalem in 1916|