Europe as we know and love it, in all its beauty, diversity – being the Europe of Nations – and rich history, stood on the brink of extinction almost 335 years ago. Defend Europa remembers this historical event which took place in Vienna, the imperial capital, in 1683, also known as “Zweite Türkenbelagerung” or “Second Turkish Siege”.
The Ottoman Empire during this period was trying to expand and it did this with great success. When they decided not to extend the peace treaty with the Holy Roman Empire in 1682, emperor Leopold I. was forced to prepare for Ottoman invasion and revenge for the first time they failed to invade Europe in 1529 (“Erste Türkenbelagerung”, “First Turkish Siege”).
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In 1683, when the army of the Ottoman Empire marched towards and through big parts of Europe, the Imperial Army of 30,000 men was faced with the task of defending their homeland against 120,000 invaders. In preparation of this, the pope, Innocent XI., had successfully convinced the Emperor Leopold I. and the Polish King to form an alliance. The contract that sealed this ruled, amongst other things, that both armies had to help defend Krakow or Vienna if they were to be attacked. This was the origin of the famous „Entsatzheer“ (relief force) that later helped decide the war and the fate of Europe.
On the 7th July, the Emperor and his allegiance had to flee from Vienna. What followed was a siege that devastated big parts of Vienna and other parts of Austria as well. The Austrians soon saw themselves battling not only against the Turkish invaders, but also against hunger, trying to hold back the Ottoman forces as long as they could in the hope of speedy arrival of the relief forces.
In early September of 1683, the relief forces, consisting of troops from Venice, Bavaria, Saxony, Franconia, Swabia, Baden, Upper Hesse and Poland, amounting to about 60,000 men, arrived. Luckily for the Christian Allies, Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa failed to conquer Klosterneuburg, which gave them the chance to rally before they could attack. On the morning of 12th September they stepped down the Kahlengebirge for the Battle of Vienna. The heroic commitment of the European forces then caused the Ottoman Army to retreat once and for all to save Vienna and Europe.
In case one has not heard about the battle that saved Europe, it reminds one that the EU not only doesn’t celebrate this very crucial event, but also seems to try and label the, albeit very little, active remembrance of it as unpleasant. The „Battle of Vienna“ should serve as a positive memory of a Europe that stood up against its aggressor, that held up a positive self-image and paid for it with the blood of many honorable Europeans.
They gave their lives to defend Europe.