||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (January 2013)|
The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (English: Military History Museum) is a military history museum located in Vienna, Austria. It claims to be the oldest and largest purpose-built military history museum in the world. Its collection includes one of the world's largest collections of bronze cannons and focuses on Austrian military history from the 16th century to 1945.
The museum is located in Vienna's Arsenal, in the Landstraße district, not far from the Belvedere palace. It was constructed between 1850 and 1856 at the behest of Emperor Franz Joseph I as the new city garrison, after the old one was destroyed in the 1848 revolution. The museum, at the Arsenal's center, was part of the original design and was to serve as both a historical museum and a shrine to the Empire's military victories and leaders. (According to the museum's official website, it is the oldest museum in Vienna.) It consists of five major parts: a main entrance hall containing the tomb-like Hall of Generals, and four large exhibit halls, in which the collections are kept. The bronze cannon are arranged outside the museum, on the Arsenal grounds.
Each of the four exhibit halls is devoted to a segment of Austrian history, beginning with the Thirty Years' War and the Ottoman Turks, continuing through the Napoleonic Wars, World War I, and World War II. There is also a small special exhibition hall where the contents are changed regularly. One of the most notable parts of the museum's collection is located in the World War I hall, and pertains to the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand. On display are the automobile in which the Archduke and his wife were riding when they were assassinated, the uniform he was wearing, the pistol used by Gavrilo Princip to shoot him, and the chaise lounge on which he was declared dead.
Other notable exhibits include the medieval giant bombard Pumhart von Steyr, the original shipbuilder's model of the battleship SMS Viribus Unitis, flagship of the Austro-Hungarian naval fleet during World War I, the French observation balloon and oldest preserved European aircraft L'Intrépide, and the remains of SM U-20, an Austro-Hungarian Navy submarine sunk in combat in 1918.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum|
- Museum of Military History official website
- Austro-Hungarian Navy in WWI See item 24 for information on the U.20, the submarine on display in the museum.