From the French Wars until 1848 Towards the end of his reign, Joseph II waged another war against the Ottomans that again ended with the capture of Belgrade (1789). This victory was more important to Austria than the French Revolution that took place at the same time. In Paris, on 14 July 1789, an angry crowd stormed the Bastille, the state penitentiary, a symbol of the much-hated rule of King Louis XVI. In April 1792, France declared war upon Austria. The Habsburg Monarchy formed the so-called First Coalition with Prussia and England. The ensuing war lasted until 1797 and ended with the defeat of the allies; for Austria it meant the loss of its dominions in the west of Europe and of Lombardy. It gained Venetia, however. In this war, Napoleon Bonaparte had increasingly distinguished himself as a French general. Austria relied on the military talent of Archduke Charles, the brother of Emperor Francis II., who had achieved a number of victories, including that of Würzburg in 1796.
In 1799, the War of the Second Coalition broke out. It was conducted primarily by Austria and Russia against France. The Peace of Lunéville concluded this war. France under Napoleon, who had crowned himself Emperor of France in 1804, very clearly aimed at dominating Europe. As a consequence, Austria and Russia once again declared war on France in 1805. It ended with the battle of Austerlitz (Southern Bohemia) and the Peace of Pressburg (Bratislava). Austria had to cede the Tyrol to Bavaria, which was allied with France. In 1806, Francis II. (1768-1853) laid down the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor. He then ruled as Francis I. of Austria.
In 1809, the Habsburg monarchy attempted an independent initiative. In spite of the long-lasting conflict with France and its allies, Austria’s willingness to make sacrifices seemed undiminished. National enthusiasm steadily increased. Among other things, the establishment of the Landwehr, a kind of territorial reserve, was testimony to this. In the campaign, which lasted from April until July, Archduke Charles won the Battle of Aspern (21/22 May 1809), but lost the Battle of Deutsch-Wagram (5/6 July 1809), which decided the war. In the Peace of Schönbrunn, Austria again had to accept heavy territorial losses. Nevertheless, the Habsburg Monarchy joined a coalition of Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Great Britain. Napoleon’s fate was decided in the Battle of Leipzig between 16 October and 19 October 1813. At the end of March 1814, the allies arrived in Paris, and Napoleon abdicated. The Congress of Vienna, which took place between November 1814 and June 1815, served the purpose of reorganising Europe. Napoleon’s attempt at restoration, which ended with his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo and the exile of the French Emperor, was all but an entr’acte. On 20 November 1815, the Second Peace Treaty of Paris was signed. Only a few years after the Congress of Vienna, however, many European countries were troubled by revolutionary movements caused by major social and national problems.
On 13 March 1848, revolution finally broke out in the Austrian Empire as well. In Prague, the revolutionary movement was violently crushed. In Vienna, the rebels succeeded in forcing the Imperial and Royal troops stationed in the city to leave. It was not until October that the Imperial city was recaptured by Prince Alfred Windischgrätz and Lieutenant Field Marschal Count Joseph Jellacic, using enormous military means. In Hungary and Italy, however, the situation remained extremely tense.
Wall left and right of the entrance: portraits of the Emperors Joseph II and Leopold II as well as of Baron Ernst Gideon of Laudon.
Lateral showcase 1 left of the entrance: exhibits pertaining to Joseph II’s war against the Ottoman Empire, including, among others, uniforms, weapons (Girandoni repeating air rifle M1779), an Ottoman flag and a commemorative coin for bravery awarded by the Emperor in 1789.
War of the First Coalition:
Central showcases 1 and 2: porcelain busts of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, the private standard M1792 of what would later become the 3rd Imperial Hussar Regiment, two Jacobine liberty caps and voluntary donations of the Coalition War. Right side: French war balloon “L’Intrépide”, captured in the battle of Würzburg, Germany, in 1796. Two barrels of French one-pounder battalion artillery pieces. Lateral showcase 2 to the left: hussar of the Imperial Hussar Regiment Count Wurmser, four keys to the city of Mainz, melee weapons and firearms, uniforms and equipment (end of 18th, beginning of 19th centuries).
War of the Second Coalition:
Centre: Josef Hickl: Portraits of Emperor Francis II and Archduke Charles as Imperial Field Marshals.
War of the Third Coalition:
Centre: Andrea Appiani: portrait of Napoleon I as King of Italy. Lateral showcase 3 to the left: exhibits relating to the invasion of Vienna by French troops in 1805.
War of 1809:
Lateral Showcase 3 to the left: portraits of the leaders of the 1809 war in the Tyrol. Uniforms, headgear, weapons, decorations. Central showcase 3: exhibits pertaining to Field Marshal Prince John of Liechtenstein. Central showcase 4: mannequin of a corporal of the Imperial militia forces. Wall to the left and right: 3 paintings by Johann Peter Krafft: farewell to, and return of, the Imperial Militia soldier, Archduke Charles with his staff at the Battle of Aspern.
Liberation Wars and Congress of Vienna:
Central showcase 5: exhibits relating to Field Marshal Prince Charles of Schwarzenberg. Central showcase 6: cases with Army Crosses and Small Crosses of the Military Maria Theresa Order, worn by the Sovereigns of Austria, Russia and Prussia as well as the tunic of Emperor Francis I. Centre: painting by Johann Peter Krafft: Prince Charles of Schwarzenberg’s report of victory after the Battle of Nations at Leipzig in 1813. Lateral showcase 4: exhibits relating to the Battle of Nations at Leipzig. Count Shuvalov’s Russian officer’s overcoat, worn by Napoleon during his voyage to the island of Elba. Exhibits relating to the Congress of Vienna and the Battle of Waterloo.
The Biedermeier and Pre-March eras:
Central showcase 7: objects relating to Napoleon Francis Duke of Reichstadt, son of Napoleon and Marie Louise, the daughter of Emperor Francis I of Austria. Lateral showcase 5, centre, walls to the left and right: objects aiming at glorifying Archduke Charles, including, among others, the Lion of Aspern, various paintings and models of monuments. Centre: paintings depicting parades and manoeuvres of Austrian troops in Upper Italy.
Revolution of 1848:
Central showcase 8: exhibits relating to Emperor Ferdinand and the Imperial Household Guards. Centre and wall to the right: portraits of Emperor Ferdinand I and Prince Clemens Wenzel of Metternich. Lateral showcase: objects from the National Guard and the Academic Legion, as well as lithographs depicting the end of the Revolution in Vienna in October 1848. Wall to the right: posters of scenes of the Revolution of 1848 in Vienna: promulgations and proclamations, including Emperor Ferdinand I’s abdication on behalf of Archduke Francis.