Schönaich, Franz von

BORN 27 Feb 1844, Wien - DIED 26 Jan 1916, Wien
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Hietzinger Friedhof, Maxingstraße 15, Hietzing (Gruppe 16, Nummer 19B )

Son of Franz Xavier Schönach, Austrian Minister of Education. After his father's early death he grew up in the house of his stepfather, the famous society doctor and mecen of arts Josef Starnhartner who had married his mother in 1856.

He was educated at the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt and became and saw action against Denmark (1864) and near Königgrätz. After many positions in the army he became substitute for the Minister in the Reichskriegsministerium in 1899. In 1905 he was appointed Minister of Defense of Cisleithan (the Western part of the austrian empire). In 1906 he became Minister of War (Reichskriegsminister) of the entire empire and soon clashed over budgets with the new chief of the General Staff Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf, who demanded modernization of the army.

He was helped to his position by heir to the throne Franz Ferdinand, but once remarked of him that he would make more concessions in twenty-four hours than emperor Franz Jozef had made in twenty-four years. His problems with Franz Ferdinand and with the press led to his resignation in 1911. From then he was actively involved in social reform and became the president of a fund for widows and orphans that he founded on 10 Aug 1914.

In 1908 he had married Mathilde Ludovika Karoline, the widow of Albrecht Hiller, vice-president of the Allgemeine Depositenbank. Her son inherited his knighthood. Von Schönaich was an admirer of Richard Wagner, whom he had met in his youth in his stepfather's house.

Related persons
• was criticized by Conrad von Hötzendorff, Franz
• knew Wagner, Richard


The grave of Franz von Schönaich at the Hietzing Friedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (26 Aug 2014)



Schönauer, Marianne

Published: 08 Feb 2022
Last update: 03 Apr 2022