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Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, circa 1880.
Archduke Albrecht's family tree.

Erzherzog Albrecht Friedrich Rudolf Dominik, Duke of Teschen (3 August 1817 - 18 February 1895) was an Austrian Habsburg general. Inspector General for 36 years, he was honored with the rank of Field Marshal in the armies of Austria-Hungary (1888) and Germany (1893).

Contents

Early life

He was the eldest son of Archduke Charles of Austria, who defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at Aspern (1809), and Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg. Born in Vienna, from an early age he had a military disposition, which his father encouraged. Albrecht was subject to a mild form of epilepsy, according to report, but this did not visibly interfere with his military career.

He entered the Austrian Army in 1837 with Feldmarshal Joseph Radetzky as his military governor. Having received a thorough military education, Albrecht was named a Generalmajor in 1840 and promoted to Feldmarschall-leutnant in 1843.

Statue of Archduke Albrecht outside the Albertina, Vienna.

Military campaigns

Promoted to General der Kavallerie in 1845, Albert was given command of Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Salzburg. Upon the death of his father in 1847, he inherited the Palais Weilburg in Baden bei Wien, which became the family's summer home. In the winter the family lived in Vienna in the Palais Erzherzog Albrecht, today the Albertina Museum.

Wounded in the street fighting in Vienna on 13 March 1848 at the start of the revolutionary disturbances, Albrecht was sent south to command a division under Radetzky, who faced a coalition of states of the Italian peninsula led by King Charles Albert of Sardinia. Albrecht personally supervised the crossing of the Ticino and by the handling of his division ensuring victory at Novara on 23 March 1849.

He became civil and military governor of Hungary in 1851, serving until his recall in 1860. When Archduchess Hildegard went to Munich in March 1864 for the funeral of her brother, King Maximilian II, she became ill with a lung inflammation and pleurisy. She died in Vienna on 2 April 1864, two months short of her 38th birthday.

At the outbreak of the Seven Weeks' War in June 1866, Albrecht was named commander of the southern army facing the Italian forces of King Victor Emmanuel II. Albrecht was decisively victorious in the battle of Custoza (24 June 1866), but any advantages for the Austrians were canceled out by the crushing defeat on 3 July at Königgrätz, where Ludwig von Benedek was surprised by the speed of Helmuth von Moltke's concentric advance into Bohemia.

Albrecht was named Oberkommandier (Commander-in-Chief) on 10 July 1866. Benedek's defeat made any further action against Prussia impossible, however, and peace was shortly concluded with both Prussia and Italy. Besides the loss of Holstein to Prussia and Venetia to Italy in 1866, the war resulted in the transformation of the Austrian realm in 1867 as the Dual Monarchy - the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Inspector General

Albrecht remained Oberkommandier until 1869; when Kaiser Franz Josef I assumed the title that year, Albrecht became Generalinspekteur (Inspector General), the post he occupied until his death. In 1869 he published Über die Verantwortlichkeit im Kriege ("On Responsibility in War"). His reform of the Austro-Hungarian Army was based on the Prussian model: development of railways and manufacturing, adoption of short-service conscription, procurement of modern weapons and reform of the General Staff. Albrecht's program gave Austria-Hungary the best army that a multinational empire could field at the time; his later clashes with liberals (including Crown Prince Rudolf) may have resulted at least in part from his ability to see all too clearly the limitations imposed by the empire's finite resources.

In public affairs, Albrecht obstinately opposed the ministry of Ferdinand Graf Beust at every point, expressing the most inexorably reactionary views. He was somewhat more courteous to Beust's successors, though he remained given to bombastic pronouncements that may not have reflected his actual sentiments. He was widely thought, for instance, to be antipathetic toward Prussia after 1866, yet he modeled his military reforms on those of Prussia and even attended a parade of the Prussian Royal Guard in Berlin at the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Reputed to be the wealthiest of the Habsburgs, Albrecht owned some 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) in Hungary. He also owned a fine collection of paintings and engravings, later the nucleus of the Albertina museum. His popularity was profound, for his generosity to the poor was genuine and unfeigned; he was widely known as Engelsherz (Angel's-heart).

When Albrecht was made a Feldmarschall in March 1888, Crown Prince Rudolf was appointed his subordinate as Generalinspekteur der Infanterie (Inspector General of Infantry). The new Inspector found any move toward liberal reform blocked by the War Minister, Feldzeugmeister Ferdinand Freiherr von Bauer, the Chief of the General Staff, Feldzeugmeister Friedrich Graf Beck-Rzikowsky - and by Albrecht himself. Senior officers deferred to Albrecht who, after all, had laboriously modernized the Army after the disaster of 1866. However, the anomalous situation in the military administration was undoubtedly only one of many factors that contributed to Rudolf's suicide at Mayerling on 30 January 1889.

Later life

Having been made a Feldmarschall in his own army in 1888, Albrecht was the recipient of the equivalent rank of Generalfeldmarschall in the German Army in 1893, Kaiser Wilhelm II sending General Walther von Loë to deliver the baton to Albrecht.

Archduke Albrecht continued to serve as Generalinspekteur until his death in Arco on 18 February 1895. Receiving a state funeral, he was buried in tomb 128 of the Imperial crypt in Vienna. His fortune and his title of Duke of Teschen were inherited by his nephew, Archduke Friedrich, who served as Oberkommandier in 1914-17.

Today, an equestrian statue of Archduke Albrecht stands near the entrance to the Albertina museum, his former city residence in Vienna.

Family and children

On 1 May 1844 Albrecht married in Munich Princess Hildegard of Bavaria, daughter of King Louis I and Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Albrecht and Hildegard had 3 children:

  • Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Teschen (b. Vienna 15 July 1845 - d. Tübingen, 8 October 1927), married at Vienna on 18 January 1865 Duke Philipp of Württemberg (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1838 - d. Stuttgart, 1917) and had five children:
    • Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (1865-1939), commander on the Western Front of the German Fourth Army, 1914-17, and Army Group Duke Albrecht, 1917-18; like his grandfather, he was made a German Field Marshal in 1916.
    • Marie Amelie of Württemberg (1865-1883)
    • Isabelle of Württemberg (1871-1904)
    • Robert of Württemberg (1873-1947)
    • Ulrich of Württemberg (1877-1944)
  • Archduke Karl of Austria-Teschen (b. Vienna, 3 January 1847 - d. 19 July 1848), died of smallpox and buried in tomb 131 of the Imperial Crypt.
  • Archduchess Mathilde of Austria-Teschen (b. Vienna, 25 January 1849 - d. Schloss Hetzendorf, near Vienna, 6 June 1867), buried in tomb 130 of the Imperial Crypt.

Namesake

Albrecht's name was given to a Panzerschiff (armorclad - later battleship) launched in 1872 as Erzherzog Albrecht. Renamed Feuerspeier in 1908, she was ceded to Italy in 1920 and renamed Buttafuoco. The old ironclad survived as a hulk until she was scrapped in 1947.

Ancestry

References

  • "Death of Archduke Albrecht", The New York Times, 19 February 1895
  • Robert Gardiner (editorial director), Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5
  • Robert A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.
  • George R. Marek, The Eagles Die. Franz Joseph, Elisabeth, and their Austria. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.
  • Frederic Morton, A Nervous Splendour. Vienna 1888-1889. London: The Folio Society, 2006 (first published in 1979).
  • Alan Palmer, Twilight of the Habsburgs. The life and times of the Emperor Francis Joseph. New York: Grove Press, 1994.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Karl Ludwig
Duke of Teschen
1847-1895
Succeeded by
Friedrich
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Template:Otherpeople

Erzherzog Albrecht Friedrich Rudolf Dominik, Duke of Teschen (3 August 1817 - 18 February 1895) was an Austrian Habsburg general. Inspector General for 36 years, he was honored with the rank of Field Marshal in the armies of Austria-Hungary (1888) and Germany (1893).

Contents

Early life

He was the eldest son of Archduke Charles of Austria, who defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at Aspern (1809), and Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg. Born in Vienna, from an early age he had a military disposition, which his father encouraged. Albert was subject to a mild form of epilepsy, according to report, but this did not visibly interfere with his military career.

He entered the Austrian Army in 1837 with Feldmarshal Joseph Radetzky as his military governor. Having received a thorough military education, Albert was named a Generalmajor in 1840 and promoted to Feldmarschall-leutnant in 1843.

, Vienna.]]

Military campaigns

Promoted to General der Kavallerie in 1845, Albert was given command of Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Salzburg. Upon the death of his father in 1847, he inherited the Palais Weilburg in Baden bei Wien, which became the family's summer home. In the winter the family lived in Vienna in the Palais Erzherzog Albrecht, today the Albertina Museum.

Wounded in the street fighting in Vienna on 13 March 1848 at the start of the revolutionary disturbances, Albert was sent south to command a division under Radetzky, who faced a coalition of states of the Italian peninsula led by King Charles Albert of Sardinia . Albert personally supervised the crossing of the Ticino and by the handling of his division ensuring victory at Novara on 23 March 1849.

He became civil and military governor of Hungary in 1851, serving until his recall in 1860. When Archduchess Hildegard went to Munich in March 1864 for the funeral of her brother, King Maximilian II, she became ill with a lung inflammation and pleurisy. She died in Vienna on 2 April 1864, two months short of her 38th birthday.

At the outbreak of the Seven Weeks' War in June 1866, Albert was named commander of the southern army facing the Italian forces of King Victor Emmanuel II. Albert was decisively victorious in the battle of Custoza (24 June 1866), but any advantages for the Austrians were canceled out by the crushing defeat on 3 July at Königgrätz, where Ludwig von Benedek was surprised by the speed of Helmuth von Moltke's concentric advance into Bohemia.

Albert was named Oberkommandier (Commander-in-Chief) on 10 July 1866. Benedek's defeat made any further action against Prussia impossible, however, and peace was shortly concluded with both Prussia and Italy. Besides the loss of Holstein to Prussia and Venetia to Italy in 1866, the war resulted in the transformation of the Austrian realm in 1867 as the Dual Monarchy - the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Inspector General

Albert remained Oberkommandier until 1869; when Kaiser Franz Josef I assumed the title that year, Albrecht became Generalinspekteur (Inspector General), the post he occupied until his death. In 1869 he published Über die Verantwortlichkeit im Kriege ("On Responsibility in War"). His reform of the Austro-Hungarian Army was based on the Prussian model: development of railways and manufacturing, adoption of short-service conscription, procurement of modern weapons and reform of the General Staff. Albert's program gave Austria-Hungary the best army that a multinational empire could field at the time; his later clashes with liberals (including Crown Prince Rudolf) may have resulted at least in part from his ability to see all too clearly the limitations imposed by the empire's finite resources.

In public affairs, Albert obstinately opposed the ministry of Ferdinand Graf Beust at every point, expressing the most inexorably reactionary views. He was somewhat more courteous to Beust's successors, though he remained given to bombastic pronouncements that may not have reflected his actual sentiments. He was widely thought, for instance, to be antipathetic toward Prussia after 1866, yet he modeled his military reforms on those of Prussia and even attended a parade of the Prussian Royal Guard in Berlin at the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm I.

Reputed to be the wealthiest of the Habsburgs, Albert owned some Template:Convert/LoffAoffDbSoffNa in Hungary. He also owned a fine collection of paintings and engravings, later the nucleus of the Albertina museum. His popularity was profound, for his generosity to the poor was genuine and unfeigned; he was widely known as Engelsherz (Angel's-heart).

When Albert was made a Feldmarschall in March 1888, Crown Prince Rudolf was appointed his subordinate as Generalinspekteur der Infanterie (Inspector General of Infantry). The new Inspector found any move toward liberal reform blocked by the War Minister, Feldzeugmeister Ferdinand Freiherr von Bauer, the Chief of the General Staff, Feldzeugmeister Friedrich Graf Beck-Rzikowsky - and by Albert himself. Senior officers deferred to Albrecht who, after all, had laboriously modernized the Army after the disaster of 1866. However, the anomalous situation in the military administration was undoubtedly only one of many factors that contributed to Rudolf's suicide at Mayerling on 30 January 1889.

Later life

Having been made a Feldmarschall in his own army in 1888, Albert was the recipient of the equivalent rank of Generalfeldmarschall in the German Army in 1893, Kaiser Wilhelm II sending General Walther von Loë to deliver the baton to Albert.

Archduke Albert continued to serve as Generalinspekteur until his death in Arco on 18 February 1895. Receiving a state funeral, he was buried in tomb 128 of the Imperial crypt in Vienna. His fortune and his title of Duke of Teschen were inherited by his nephew, Archduke Friedrich, who served as Oberkommandier in 1914-17.

Today, an equestrian statue of Archduke Albrecht stands near the entrance to the Albertina museum, his former city residence in Vienna.

Family and children

On 1 May 1844 Albert married in Munich Princess Hildegard of Bavaria, daughter of King Louis I and Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Albert and Hildegard had 3 children:

  • Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria-Teschen (b. Vienna 15 July 1845 - d. Tübingen, 8 October 1927), married at Vienna on 18 January 1865 Duke Philipp of Württemberg (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1838 - d. Stuttgart, 1917) and had five children:
    • Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (1865-1939), commander on the Western Front of the German Fourth Army, 1914-17, and Army Group Duke Albrecht, 1917-18; like his grandfather, he was made a German Field Marshal in 1916.
    • Marie Amelie of Württemberg (1865-1883)
    • Isabelle of Württemberg (1871-1904)
    • Robert of Württemberg (1873-1947)
    • Ulrich of Württemberg (1877-1944)
  • Archduke Karl of Austria-Teschen (b. Vienna, 3 January 1847 - d. 19 July 1848), died of smallpox and buried in tomb 131 of the Imperial Crypt.
  • Archduchess Mathilde of Austria-Teschen (b. Vienna, 25 January 1849 - d. Schloss Hetzendorf, near Vienna, 6 June 1867), buried in tomb 130 of the Imperial Crypt.

Namesake

Albert's name was given to a Panzerschiff (armorclad - later battleship) launched in 1872 as Erzherzog Albrecht. Renamed Feuerspeier in 1908, she was ceded to Italy in 1920 and renamed Buttafuoco. The old ironclad survived as a hulk until she was scrapped in 1947.

Ancestry

References

  • "Death of Archduke Albrecht", The New York Times, 19 February 1895
  • Robert Gardiner (editorial director), Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906-1921. London: Conway Maritime Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85177-245-5
  • Robert A. Kann, A History of the Habsburg Empire 1526-1918. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974.
  • George R. Marek, The Eagles Die. Franz Joseph, Elisabeth, and their Austria. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.
  • Frederic Morton, A Nervous Splendour. Vienna 1888-1889. London: The Folio Society, 2006 (first published in 1979).
  • Alan Palmer, Twilight of the Habsburgs. The life and times of the Emperor Francis Joseph. New York: Grove Press, 1994.

Template:Commonscat

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Karl Ludwig
Duke of Teschen
1847-1895
Succeeded by
Friedrich


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