The Museum of Military History, one of the most important history museums in the world, is situated right in the centre of the Arsenal...
The Military History Museum was built according to plans of Ludwig Foerster and Theophil Hansen from 1850 to 1856 and was thus the first Viennese museum. The styles of this town's oldest historic building range from Byzantine, Hispano-Moorish to Neo-Gothic.
In five major sections the museum shows the history of the Habsburg empire from the end of the 16th century until 1918 and Austria's fate after the dissolution of the monarchy up to the year 1945..
Thirty Years War
And only the memories remained. Armours, muskets, pikes and the uniforms of the soldiers cover the military aspect of this time. Apart from the military details the large paintings of battles by Peeter Snayers offer a variety of cultural and historical insights into this period.
Wars against the Turks
The centre piece of the room where wars against the Turks are presented is a showcase with Ottoman weaponry, turbans and symbols of rank. At the back of it a large painting shows the siege and liberation of Vienna in 1683.
Prince Eugene of Savoy
A whole room is dedicated to the memory of Prince Eugene. The pall and the funeral decoration which were used during one of the solemn funeral masses even today show the importance given to the "noble knight" by contemporaries and posterity.
The 18th Century (until 1790)
In three parts the visitors gain an insight into the periods of reign of Emperor Charles VI, Maria Theresa and Joseph II. The "mortar of Belgrade" played an important role during the siege of the town in 1717. In 1757 Maria Theresa donated the most popular military decoration, the Military Order of Maria Theresa.
The large paintings by Johann Peter Krafft, the showcases with uniforms and weapons of the imperial and French armies, the original model of the "Lion of Aspern", the French war balloon (the oldest still existing military aircraft in the world and the coat of the Russian general Schuwalow, in which Napoleon was secretly brought to Elba, are only some of the exhibits by means of which the period between 1789 and 1815 is presented.
The room is dedicated to the period in which the Hapsburg monarchy was some kind of "European policeman" and wanted to maintain law and order in its own territory and abroad. A unique document is the request for discharge of Field Marshal Radetzky. The large paintings by Vaclav Sochor give an impressive insight into the horrors of the war of 1866.
Emperor Francis Joseph and Sarajevo
From the most important exhibits, paintings and uniforms from the reign of Emperor Francis Joseph the ethnical and cultural variety of the meltingpot of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy becomes evident. Mementos of crown prince Rudolf are shown as well.
First World War
Via a room commemorating the 1914 assassination in Sarajevo of the heir apparent to the Austrian throne, Francis Ferdinand, the visistor will enter two rooms where he will gain an insight into the events of World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Sea forces Austria
The fifth section of the exhibition gives the visitor an insight into 200 years of Austrian naval history, from its beginnings until 1918, its expeditions and voyages of discovery until the dissolution of the Austrian navy.