Valerian Ritter von Mikulicz-Radecki

Valerian Bartholomaeus Mikulicz was born at Czernowitz on the 18th of May 1855. His father, Andreas Mikulicz, was the secretary of the Bukowinaer Handels- und Gewerbekammer there . After the Militär-Collegium at St.Pölten he attended the military academy at Wiener Neustadt, in the same age class as the later Generaloberst Tersztyánszky von Nádas, from where he was commissioned as a Leutnant in infantry regiment number 20 on the 1st of November 1877. In this regiment he received his promotion to Oberleutnant on the 1st of May 1882 and after successfully graduating from the Kriegsschule at Vienna he was transferred to the general staff corps on the 1st of November 1883. After an appointment at the headquarter of the 17th infantry brigade he was promoted to Hauptmann 1st class on the 1st of May 1887 followed by his transfer to the 12th infantry division and finally in October of the same year to the general staff of the1st corps command at Craców. During the following years Valerian Mikulicz, who spoke Polish as his mother's tongue, wrote a remarkable book about the Polish-Russian War of 1830/31 in three volumes. This family background led to his his transfer to the Evidenzbureau (military intelligence) as an expert for the so-called "Polish Question" on the 16th of April 1890. For his excellent service with the general staff corps, especially at the Evidenzbureau, Valerian Mikulicz was honored with the award of the Military Merit Cross on the 27th of April 1893.

On the 1st of November 1893 he was appointed chief of the general staff of the 24th infantry division at Przemysl with the additional promotion to Major. At this post he received his promotion to Oberstleutnant on the 1st of May 1896. On the 22nd of October 1896 he was transferred for duty with the troops to infantry regiment number 67 at Eperjes just north of Kassa - now called Prešov in present day Slovakia. On the 14th of December 1897, after twenty years of service as an officer, his Polish nobility and coat of arms was accepted in the status of an Austrian knighthood with the predicate "Radecki" and so from then on his correct name was Valerian Mikulicz Ritter von Radecki. It appears that some misunderstandings occurred with the family of the famous Field Marshall Radetzky von Radetz - different spelling, same pronunciation. To avoid such mix-ups he asked for the permission to call himself henceforth "Valerian Ritter von Mikulicz-Radecki" which was granted on the 10th of October 1901. On the 1st of May 1899 he was promoted to Oberst with seniority from the 5th of July of the same year. On the 25th of August 1901 Oberst von Mikulicz-Radecki took over command of infantry regiment number 67 at Eperjes.

It was normal for a senior officer to command a regiment for four full years and then receive the Order of the Iron Crown 3rd Class, however Oberst von Mikulicz-Radecki did not complete a full tour and assumed command of the 57th infantry brigade at Theresienstadt on the 19th of April 1905 shortly followed by his promotion to Generalmajor on the 1st of May 1905 with seniority from the 3rd of June 1905. Valerian Ritter von Mikulicz-Radecki was now 50 years old, ambitious, often seen on horseback and could look back on a remarkable, rapid career. For instance his class mate, the later Generaloberst Tersztyánszky, received his promotion to Generalmajor in November 1904! Mikulicz-Radecki had now reached the first step for an excellent general's career, there was no question that he would have received the rank of full general and - looking on history through today's eyes - he was destined to became one of the important generals of the First World War - but his fate has other plans.

During the year 1907 he started to suffer from a severe illness and after some medical examinations he had ask for his relief in April 1908. In May 1908 he was sent for a full year on half pay status to recover his health, settling down in Vienna where the medical facilities were better than in Theresienstadt, but his health could not be salvaged. After more medical examinations he was retired as an invalid from any further service on the 24th of February 1910. For his excellent and faithful service he was honored with the award of the knight's cross of the Order of Leopold and the promotion to Feldmarschall-Leutnant ad honores on the 1st of March 1910. The photo attached to this article shows him shortly after this date and if one looks closely at the original photo one could see that the photographer had retouched the dark rings under his eyes. It was probably his last photo - Feldmarschall-Leutnant Valerian Ritter von Mikulicz-Radecki died in Vienna on the 24th of December 1910.

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