Andreas Steiger

 

On 29th August 1934 the cadre, the cadets and the officer candidates, who until then had been educated at the Army’s School in Enns, disembarked from train in Wiener Neustadt in order to move into their “new lodgings” – the Neustadt Castle”. This had considerable military-historical relevance. With the decree number 19.000 from 1934 by the Ministry of Defence (at that time abbreviated BMfLV), the establishment of the Theresian Military Academy (TherMilAk) in Wiener Neustadt had been mandated. The population cheering, the band of the Infantry Regiment No. 1 playing, the members of the Military Academy marched in formation from the railway station along the Bahnstraße, which had been decorated with flags, and finally took their line-up on the parade ground of the Theresian Military Academy, the Maria Theresienplatz. From 1757 to 1918, 10.966 second lieutenants had been taken into service on this site. From 1934 until March 1938 the officer’s training continued in this former castle of the Babenbergs, which had appeared to have been stopped at this place as a consequence of the First World War in 1918. From 1st September 1934 onwards, the academy was called “Theresian Military Academy” again. On the occasion of the taking into service, the federal chancellor Dr. Kurt Schuschnigg attended the celebrations, and in his speech the best candidate of the course, Sergeant Erwin Starkl, expressed his gratitude for the fact that “... young officers receive their golden port epées at this vintage place again.” Apart from the already existing basic structures of the buildings of the Military Academy, extensive constructional adaptations had to be made. In 1935, halls for cars, for artillery, for exercises with aeroplanes, and for cannons were built. In 1936, the already existing stable building was raised, and the small Theresian indoor rising arena was adapted to become a dormitory building, in order to host the following courses adequately. Likewise, a provisional shooting stand was constructed in the academy parks. Around the park, the historical moat was reconstructed, and in the castle the audience hall (“Hall of the Four Seasons”) as well as the Maria-Theresian Knights’ Hall was newly refurbished. On the 20th March 1937, the „last“ taking into service of the 1st Republic with 147 cadets of the III. Course and with ten officer candidates took place. Apart from the federal president Wilhelm Miklas, the federal ministers Odo Neustädter-Stürmer and Edmund Glaise von Horstenau attended the celebrations. Although now 157 officers reached the troops, the planned deployment of two officers in every subdivision by 1st April 1937 only was realized in the motorized formations and in the branches air-raid protection, cavalry, and engineers. Not until on the occasion of the re-opening of the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt, during an act of state in the 2nd Republic on the 14th December 1958, a foundation ceremony in the Babenberg Castle took place again.