Anton Haus
Anton Haus was an Austrian naval officer. Despite his German surname, he was born to a Slovenian-speaking family in Tolmein (now Tolmin
Tolmin is a small town and municipality in the Littoral region of Slovenia.-Geography:Tolmin, the old town that gave the name to the entire area , is the largest settlement in the Upper Soča Valley , as well as its economic, cultural and administrative centre. It is located on a terrace above the...

, Slovenia). Haus was fleet commander of the Austro-Hungarian Navy
Austro-Hungarian Navy
The Austro-Hungarian Navy was the naval force of Austria-Hungary. Its official name in German was Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine , abbreviated as k.u.k. Kriegsmarine....

 in World War I and was the Navy's Grand Admiral
Grand Admiral
Grand admiral is a historic naval rank, generally being the highest such rank present in any particular country. Its most notable use was in Germany — the German word is Großadmiral.-France:...

 from 1916 until his death.


Haus entered the Navy in 1869. He distinguished himself as an instructor at the Imperial and Royal Naval Academy in Fiume (now Rijeka
Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third largest city in Croatia . It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,735 inhabitants...

); a product of his academic study was Oceanography and Maritime Meteorology (1891). Returning to a seagoing command, Haus was commander of a corvette during the multinational intervention in the Boxer Rebellion
Boxer Rebellion
The Boxer Rebellion, also called the Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" , or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" , in China between...

 in China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in 1900/01. After the suppression of the insurrection Haus remained in Peking (now Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

) until 1902.

Promoted to Vizeadmiral in 1907, Haus was Austro-Hungarian envoy to the second Hague Peace Conference
Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
The Hague Conventions were two international treaties negotiated at international peace conferences at The Hague in the Netherlands: The First Hague Conference in 1899 and the Second Hague Conference in 1907...

 from May to October of that year. Appointed Flotteninspekteur (Fleet Inspector) in 1912, Haus succeeded Rudolf Montecuccoli
Rudolf Montecuccoli
Rudolf, graf Montecuccoli degli Erri was chief of the Austro-Hungarian Navy from 1904 to 1913 and largely responsible for the modernization of the fleet before the First World War.- Overview :...

 as Marinekommandant (Navy Commander) and Chef der Marinesektion (Chief of the Naval Section of the War Ministry) on 24 February 1913.

Perhaps unaware of the gravity of the situation, Haus was notably absent during the July Crisis of 1914. At the crucial crown council of 7 July 1914, where drastic action against Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 was decided upon, Karl Kailer von Kaltenfels stood in for his chief. Upon the outbreak of war, Haus was named Flottenkommandant (Fleet Commander). When Italy entered the war, Haus sent the battle fleet to bombard Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

 and other Italian Adriatic ports on the night of 23/24 May 1915, but for the most part he left the active fighting to the light forces—fast cruisers, destroyers and submarines.

A shrewd naval strategist, Haus recognized that the real value of his battle fleet lay in maintaining its existence as a 'fleet in being' to counter the threat of the Allied powers. His strategy received severe German criticism, but he was strongly supported by his own high command, including the Marineinspekteur, Erzherzog Karl Stephan (Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria
Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria
Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria was a member of the House of Habsburg and a Grand Admiral in the Austro-Hungarian Navy.-Family:Charles Stephen was born in Židlochovice the son of Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria and of his wife Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria...

). Like his German counterpart, Alfred von Tirpitz
Alfred von Tirpitz
Alfred von Tirpitz was a German Admiral, Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, the powerful administrative branch of the German Imperial Navy from 1897 until 1916. Prussia never had a major navy, nor did the other German states before the German Empire was formed in 1871...

, Haus favored unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare
Unrestricted submarine warfare is a type of naval warfare in which submarines sink merchantmen without warning, as opposed to attacks per prize rules...


In 1916 Haus became the only active-duty Austro-Hungarian naval officer (aside from members of the Imperial house) to be promoted to Grossadmiral (Grand Admiral
Grand Admiral
Grand admiral is a historic naval rank, generally being the highest such rank present in any particular country. Its most notable use was in Germany — the German word is Großadmiral.-France:...

). (His immediate successor, Maximilian Njegovan
Maximilian Njegovan
Maksimilijan Njegovan was a Croatian admiral in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. He was the Navy's senior administrator as well as its fleet commander in 1917-18.-Background:Njegovan was born in 1858 in Agram...

, was named a Grossadmiral in 1918, but on the retired list.)

Haus died of pneumonia in Pola (now Pula
Pula is the largest city in Istria County, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, with a population of 62,080 .Like the rest of the region, it is known for its mild climate, smooth sea, and unspoiled nature. The city has a long tradition of winemaking, fishing,...

) on 2 February 1917 and was buried at the naval military cemetery
A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. The term "cemetery" implies that the land is specifically designated as a burying ground. Cemeteries in the Western world are where the final ceremonies of death are observed...

 (k.u.k. Marinefriedhof). Emperor Karl I attended the funeral and later conferred upon him the posthumous honour of Commander of the Military Order of Maria Theresa
Military Order of Maria Theresa
The Military Order of Maria Theresa was an Order of the Austro-Hungarian Empire founded on June 18, 1757, the day of the Battle of Kolin, by the Empress...

. With Pula under Italian sovereignty postwar, Haus's remains were transferred to Vienna in 1925.

Haus was succeeded as Marinekommandant and Flottenkommandant by Maximilian Njegovan and as Chef der Marinesektion by Karl Kailer von Kagenfels; Njegovan was appointed to the latter post in April 1917. The fleet that Haus had so scrupulously maintained as a 'fleet in being' was parcelled out among the victorious powers after 1918.

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