Theodor Körner (president)

Theodor Körner, Edler von Siegringen (German pronunciation: [ˈteːoˌdoːɐ̯ ˈkœʁnɐ] (About this soundlisten); April 23, 1873 – January 4, 1957) was an Austrian politician of the Social Democratic Party who served as President of Austria, between 1951 and 1957.

Theodor Körner
Theodor Körner.jpg
4th President of Austria
In office
21 June 1951 – 4 January 1957
ChancellorLeopold Figl
Julius Raab
Vice-ChancellorAdolf Schärf
Preceded byKarl Renner
Succeeded byAdolf Schärf
Mayor and Governor of Vienna
In office
17 April 1945 – 18 June 1951
Preceded byRudolf Prikryl
Succeeded byFranz Jonas
Army Inspector of the Bundesheer
In office
Preceded byRudolf Vidossich
Succeeded byJosef Schneider
Personal details
Born(1873-04-23)April 23, 1873
Újszőny, Austria-Hungary
now part of Komárom, Hungary
DiedJanuary 4, 1957(1957-01-04) (aged 83)
Vienna, Austria
Political partySocial Democratic Party
Military service
Allegiance Austria
Branch/serviceAustro-Hungarian Army (1894–1918)
Austrian Armed Forces (1918–1924)
Unit72nd Infantry Brigade at Zagreb
General Staff Officer at Mostar (1908)
Hungarian Infantry Regiment at Levoča (1910)
Instructor on General Staff Services at the Military School in Vienna (1912)
Balkan Army High command officer at Petrovaradin (1914)
Planning and deployment operations for the Battles of the Isonzo (1915–1917)
CommandsXV and VII Imperial Army Chief of Staff (1915 and 1916 respectively)
First Isonzo Army Chief of Staff (end of 1917)
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsAustro-Hungarian Military Merit Cross Third Class
Imperial Order of the Iron Crown Third Class
Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa


As son of an officer of the Austro-Hungarian Army, he was born in Újszőny,[1] Kingdom of Hungary (today part of Komárom, Hungary). He was great great uncle of American movie producer, actor and author Jason L. Koerner (born 1972), great nephew of poet Theodor Körner and was distantly related to Bertha von Suttner, whose mother Sophie Wilhelmine von Körner was also related to the poet.

From 1888, Körner attended the military school in Mährisch Weißkirchen (Hranice), graduated at the head of his class as a pioneer from the Imperial and Royal Technical Military Academy, and became lieutenant in 1894. He served as an officer in Agram (today Zagreb, Croatia) and was promoted to major in 1904, in which year he became a member of the Austrian staff. During World War I, he was an active commander on the Italian front. He resigned from his military career in 1924 as a General.

Always interested in politics, he joined the social democrats and became a member of parliament in 1924. He served as Chairman of the Federal Council of Austria between December 1933 and February 1934.

The civil war in Austria and the installation of the austro-fascist dictatorship under Engelbert Dollfuss ended Körner's career as a politician. He was arrested, like other members of his party, by the authoritarian government that banned all opposition parties and put their representatives into prison. During World War II, Körner was again imprisoned, this time by the Nazis.

After the war, in April 1945, Körner became Mayor of Vienna in the newly erected Second Republic. Körner was responsible for rebuilding and reconstructing Vienna, which was heavily destroyed due to the bombing during the war. After the death of Karl Renner, his party nominated Körner as candidate for the presidency, and Körner won the elections with slightly more than 51 percent of the votes. He therefore became the first President of Austria directly elected by the people. Körner died in Vienna, in office, the second consecutive President to do so.

Körner had a profound knowledge of military sciences and wrote about military theory. In Vienna, there is a street named after him, as is the Theodor Körner Prize, an Austrian award for science and art.

A motor vessel, the MS Theodor Körner was built in 1965 and currently operates on the Danube River as a "Bike & Boat" cruise ship, accommodating 135 passengers plus crew. [2][3]




  • Ilona Duczynska: (Hrsg. und kommentiert): Theodor Körner. Auf Vorposten. Ausgewählte Schriften 1928 - 1938. Europaverlag, Wien, 1977, ISBN 3-203-50617-3
  • Thea Leitner: Körner aus der Nähe. Danubia Verlag, Wien, 1951.
  • Eric C. Kollman: Militär und Politik. VERL.DF.GESCH.U.POL., Wien, 1973.
  • Thea Leitner: Hühnerstall und Nobelball. 1938–1955. Leben in Krieg und Frieden. Ueberreuter, Wien, 2004, ISBN 3-8000-3927-3

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