Members of the K.u.K. HRM:
- On this November 12th (Old Imperial Day), it is especially fitting that we, the Knights, Canons, and members of the Restoration Movement commemorate those who in the last days of the Second War of Austrian Succession (the Great War), served loyally and with distinction to the end.
- Therefore, we honor in particular on this day, Walter von Schuschnigg (cousin of Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg and supporter of HI&RM Otto in the United States during the Third War of Austrian Succession), and the Cadets of the Maria Theresian Military Academy and the Traiskirchen Artillery Academy under his command.
- In the November of 1918 when the armies of the Empire were on all fronts defeated, our Emperor and King Karl was abandoned by the Imperial-Royal Guard save for a few officers who would not break their oaths of loyalty, and left practically defenseless in the Schönbrunn Palace:
Then something extraordinary happened. Out of the blue, and without being summoned, the young cadets from the military academies of Wiener Neustadt and Traiskirchen appeared, immaculate in full kit, to guard their sovereign. For Otto and his siblings, these boys, many of whom were barely in their teens, were not seen as new guards so much as new playmates. “We were delighted about the young people from the Academies who, after all, were relatively closer to our own age. We played games with them in the gardens around the palace and it was all happy-spirited.*”
- However, the cadets were in a very real danger from the “Red Guard” Socialist Militia, prowling and plundering in the Kaiserstadt. On November 11th after constant pressure from the Social Democrats, Emperor Karl issued a proclamation relinquishing active participation in state affairs, in which he did not abdicate, and which he later rendered null and void. Because of the growing danger, the Imperial Family retreated to the more remote Schloss Eckartsau;
So, in great secrecy, a convoy of motor cars was assembled for the journey. This proved no easy task and it was not until 6.30 in the evening, an hour and a half after the appointed time, that the vehicles appeared in the small inner court. For the family and, above all, for Otto and the elder children, there was another heart-rending moment of leave-taking. Lining the sides of the arcades, drawn up in two perfect ranks, were their hide-and-seek playmates, the young cadets of the military academies, stiffly at attention but some with tears rolling down their cheeks. They, at least, had lived up to the motto their founder, Empress Maria Theresia, had bestowed on them:
Allzeit Getreu (‘Forever Loyal’)*
-Ritter von Donau, Knight Commander HRM
(*All excerpts taken from Gordon Brook-Shepherd’s The Uncrowned Emperor)