- Beck-Rzikowsky, Friedrich
- (1830–1920)An Austrian military reformer, Count Friedrich Beck-Rzikowsky was born in March 1830 in Freiburg in southwestern Germany. He joined the Austrian army in 1846 and became the aide-de-champ (Generaladjutant) of Emperor Francis Joseph I and the head of the Emperor’s military chancellery. Beck won the trust and friendship of Frances Joseph. From 1881 to 1906, he served as Chief of the Austro-Hungarian general staff and laid the foundations for a more professional general staff officer corps, modernized war preparations, and planning procedures. With his opposite numbers in Berlin, Helmut von Moltke and Waldersee, Beck set up a plan for offensive coalition warfare in the East in the 1880s, but under Waldersee’s successor, Schlieffen, Germany’s commitment to a joint campaign against Russia was withdrawn. Beck was able to initiate the construction of new strategic railways in the Northeast, but by the late 1880s, with troop numbers stagnant, Austria-Hungary was falling behind her military rivals and allies. The heir to the throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, called for Beck’s resignation, because the septuagenarian general seemed to be an unsuitable choice for military leadership. Beck became commander of one of the Emperor’s Guards, a strictly ceremonial post. He died in Vienna in February 1920.See also <
>FURTHER READING:Lackey, Scott W. The Rebirth of the Habsburg Army: Friedrich Beck and the Rise of the General Staff . Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995.GUENTHER KRONENBITTER
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.