The World at War



1699January 18 The Count Jacob Hannibal von Hohenems sells the Fiefdom of Schellenberg to cover his debts. Johann Adam Andreas von Liechtenstein becomes Lord of Schellenberg.
1712February 22 Count Jacob Hannibal von Hohenems’ continuing financial difficulties force the sale of the County of Vaduz to the Liechtenstein family for the sum of 290,000 florins. Johann Adam Andreas von Liechtenstein becomes Count of Vaduz and Lord of Schellenberg.  
1718March 12 Anton Florian von Liechtenstein becomes Count of Vaduz and lord of Schellenberg.
1719January 23 Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI raises the status of the Liechtenstein family acquisitions to that of a principality. Anton Florian von Liechtenstein becomes the first Prince of Liechtenstein.
1792Prince Aloys I sends fifteen infantrymen and two cavalrymen to stand guard with Swabian League forces defending right bank of the Rhine against possible invasion by the French troops in Switzerland. 
1793Prince Aloys I sends eight men to reinforce Liechtenstein’s Swabian League contingent. A militia composed of all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 50 is formed to defend the principality.
1794Austrian troops occupy Liechtenstein as a precaution against invasion by French forces Switzerland.
1796The Swabian League surrenders following the French occupation of Vorarlberg, an Austrian county bordering the principality. Liechtenstein’s participation in the war ends.
1799March 4 Austria stations a small garrison in Vaduz Castle and prepares for another invasion of Vorarlberg by French troops coming from Switzerland.
March 6 French troops occupy Schellenberg and position their cannons on the Gantenstein to fire at the Austrian fortifications outside Feldkirch.
March 7 Outnumbered Austrians attempt to drive the French from their newly won positions in Schellenberg but their attack fails. The Austrians are on the defensive and saved only by a heavy snowfall that forces the French to hold up. Around noon, the French attack the flank of the retreating Austrians taking 675 prisoners.
Another French attack at Mauser Wiese drives the Austrians back to the Letzebühel just east of the road to Liechtenstein.
The French execute a flanking movement in order to attack Feldkirch from the rear but are stopped along the main road from Liechtenstein to Tisis by a concentrated Austrian artillery barrage. General Mueller, the French commander, is killed as his troops reach the last Austrian trench. The French withdraw to the Liechtenstein border in disarray and regroup at their headquarters in Nendeln.
The Austrians take advantage of the lull in battle to strengthen their defenses on the Letzebühel, a hill above the Tisis Road to Liechtenstein. The Austrians anticipate a two pronged French attack, one to the east towards Frastanz by way of the Letzebühel and the other along the Schellenberg to the Ill River.  
March 9 French troops plunder occupied Liechtenstein. Numerous atrocities are reported including the nailing of an elderly man to a barn door in Eschen and the shooting of four farmers in Mauren. Food and livestock is requisitioned from the village of Ruggell, first by the French and later by Austrian and Russian troops.
March 22 French troops advance on Feldkirch through in the country between Nendeln and Tisis. An Austrian rifle unit is sent to hold the village of Mauren and another to Schellenberg.  The Austrians in Mauren hold off the French until 2 p.m. when they forced to retreat to the edge of Feldkirch to avoid being cut off.
Austrian militiamen defending Schellenberg hold off a French force ten times their size until the French bring up two cannons forcing their slow retreat. The battle continues between Tisis and Nendeln until evening with neither side giving ground before a temporary truce is arranged.
March 23 General Massena’s 18,000 French troops advance through Schellenberg and launch a series of attacks on Feldkirch but are driven back through Liechtenstein and into Switzerland.
April A corps of anti-French Swiss guards under Friedrich von Hotze stands watch along the Rhine in Liechtenstein.
1801February 9 The Treaty of Luneville defines the borders of Liechtenstein with Switzerland. “The towing path of the Rhine will henceforth be the limit between the French Republic and the Germanic Empire; that is to say, from the place where the Rhine leaves the Helvetic territory, to that where it enters the Batavian territory.”
1806July 12 Napoleon forms the Confederation of the Rhine. Liechtenstein is admitted as a member. Prince Johann I abdicates in favor of his 3 year old son Karl in order to fight for Austria.
August 6 Franz II of Austria resigns his old title, Holy Roman Emperor. Liechtenstein gains sovereign status for a brief period following the collapse of the Empire.
1808October 1 Joseph Schuppler is appointed Landvögte, i.e. the Prince’s resident administrator. Schuppler attempts to modernize the principality against the will of the people. He redistributes land into larger plots and prohibits their subdivision, abolishes the Landammaner and makes the counties and parishes subject to princely agent with limited powers who replaces the judges and parish advisors. 1813
October 19 Prince Johann I reclaims his throne of Liechtenstein following Napoleon’s defeat in Russia the break of the Rhine Confederation.
1815Liechtenstein sends 100 men to fight Napoleon as part of the Army of Baden.
April 27 The Congress of Vienna creates a new German Confederation. Most of the pre-Napoleonic German principalities are suppressed but Liechtenstein’s sovereignty is upheld.
1817Liechtenstein falls victim to a severe famine and can longer meet its military obligations to the German Confederation. The Prince accepts demands for tax relief and agrees to assume the burden of financing the 80 man army. Liechtensteiners are still required to serve in the army but the Prince hires foreign contingents to take the place of the regular Liechtenstein Army on occasion.
1818November 9 Prince Johann I introduces an absolutist constitution. The County of Vaduz and the Fiefdom of Schellenberg are abolished in favor of a unitary state. A Parliament of the Estates representing the clergy and the towns is created to be convened once a year by the reigning prince for the sole purpose of assenting to the annual demand for tax revenue.            
1842August 1 The Liechtenstein Family Treaty is signed by the reigning prince, his brothers and other male relatives. The crown is made hereditary through the male line on the basis of primogeniture.
1843Liechtenstein’s regulations prohibiting emigration are slightly relaxed. Emigrants are required to obtain a permit, pay a departure tax of 15% on their property and relinquish their citizenship.
1846Famine strikes the principality after the Rhine floods and devastates the best agricultural lands.
1848The departure tax is abolished. About 3% of the population leaves Liechtenstein for America over the next 7 years.
1849May Liechtenstein’s army participates in the crushing of a populist uprising in Baden.  
During the Year A fire in the village of Schaan uncovers the walls of a Roman outpost near the Chapel of Saint Peter.
1851April 7 The steamer Lexington docks at New Orleans with the first large party of emigrants from Liechtenstein.
1852Liechtenstein enters a customs union with Austria-Hungary under which it is required to contribute at least 40,000 crown per annum to the administration. The union facilitates the emergence of a small textile industry in the principality.
May 7 The steamer Jersey docks in New Orleans with a party of 50 Liechtensteiners most of whom intend to settle in the Dubuque, Iowa region.
1862September 26 Prince Johann II grants a new constitution establishing a 15 member diet consisting of 3 members appointed by the Prince and 12 members chosen by electors who in turn are chosen by males over the age of 24 on the basis of 2 electors for every 100 inhabitants of their district. The Diet is granted rights to debate legislation, ratify international treaties, approve taxation, supervise the state administration and participate in military recruitment.    
During the Year Liechtensteiner Volksblatt the principality’s first newspaper begins publication.
1866June 15 Prussia and Italy declare war on Austria and the German Confederation. Prince Johann II refuses to fight other Germans but places his soldiers at the disposal of the Confederation to, “defend the German territory of Tyrol”. The troops take up a position on the Stilfse Joch in the south of the country to defend the border against Italian attacks. A 20 man reserve force remains in Liechtenstein. July 22
The Armistice of Nicholsburg ends the Austro-Prussian War. Liechtenstein’s army returns to a ceremonial welcome in Vaduz. An Austrian liaison officer joins them so it appears that, while 80 men had gone to war, 81 had returned. August 23
The Treaty of Prague ends the Austro-Prussian War. The German Confederation collapses. Liechtenstein retains its sovereignty.
1868Liechtenstein declares neutrality, ends compulsory military service and disbands its 91 man army.
The first bridges connecting Liechtenstein to Switzerland across the Rhine are built along with roads leading to the mountain villages of Triesenberg, Schellenberg and Planken.
1869Vaduz is connected with the Austrian telegraph system.
1870January 13 The Diet approves a concession allowing Austria to extend its railway through the principality to Switzerland.
1872October 24 The first train crosses Liechtenstein with stops at Schaanwald, Schaan and Nendeln.
1877The coinage crisis rouses opposition to the introduction of the gold standard and calls for a return to old division of the principality into upper and lower counties from inhabitants of the later.
1878The principality is divided into two electoral districts based on the earlier judicial districts. Seven Members of the Diet are now elected from the Upper Country and five from the Lower Country. The Reigning Prince appoints two members from the Upper Country and one from the Lower Country.
1884Liechtensteiners are granted the right to appeal judicial decisions of the resident administrator to the supreme district court at Innsbruck.
1893 - 1896 Administrator Friedrich Stellwag von Carion leads the first scientific archeological excavation in Liechtenstein in the area of the Roman villa in Nendeln.
1896Liechtenstein is connected with the Austrian telephone system.
1911The population increases for the first time since 1852. Total inhabitants number 8,693. Resident foreigners make up 15.5% of the population.
1912February 1 The first Liechtenstein postage stamps are issued under the auspices of the Austrian run postal administration. The sale of stamps to overseas collectors quickly becomes a major source of foreign exchange for the principality.
1914 – 1918 World War I - Liechtenstein remains neutral but because of the customs, postal and monetary union with Austria the Principality is seriously hurt by the Allied economic measures adopted against its partner. There is hunger amongst the population. The textile industry comes to a complete standstill. Inflation of the Austrian currency destroys savings.
1918Czechoslovakia expropriates estates totaling 1,600 square kilometers from the House of Liechtenstein for land redistribution.
November The first political parties, the Christian Social Nation’s Party “Volkspartei” and the Progressive Citizen’s Party, are established. Volkspartei membership is recruited primarily from the ranks of seasonal workers employed in Switzerland, trade unionists for the most part. The Progressives draw support from the middle class and farmers.Secret and direct elections are introduced for selection of members of the Diet.
November 7 Martin Ritter replaces Leopold Freiheer von Imhof as Landesverweser (Prince’s resident administrator).
December 13 A Provisional Executive Committee is formed in response to demands for a more democratic constitution. The Landesverweser, Martin Ritter, cedes authority to the Committee’s president Prince Karl.
1919August 2 The 1852 Customs Treaty with Austria is abrogated by unanimous vote of the Liechtenstein Diet.
1920March 1 Liechtenstein assumes responsibility for operation of its postal administration.
May Joseph Peer succeeds Prince Karl Alois as President of the Provisional Executive Committee.
1921February A postal treaty is signed with Switzerland. Liechtenstein becomes an independent administration within Swiss postal territory issuing its own stamps in accordance with Swiss regulations.
October 5 Prince Johann II grants a new constitution and gives up his right to name 3 members to the Diet. Henceforth, the Head of Government is required to be a native born Liechtensteiner, all proceedings of the Princely court are required to be conducted in Liechtenstein, popular initiative and referendum are introduced.
Joseph Ospelt is named Head of Government.
The population numbers 8,841. The percentage of resident foreigners drops to 11.3%.
1922April 26 Alfons Feger is named acting Head of Government.
June 1 Felix Gubelmann is named acting Head of Government.
June 6 Gustav Shadler is named Head of Government.
1923A treaty is signed establishing a customs union with Switzerland.
1924January The customs union with Switzerland takes effect. Liechtenstein adopts the Swiss franc as its official currency. Switzerland assumes responsibility for diplomatic protection of Liechtenstein’s interests.
1927September 26 Flood waters inundate the Rhine valley from Schaan to Bangs. The railroad bridge at Schaan is swept away. The entire country from Trosters to Vorarlberg becomes a lake. Austrian and Swiss troops aid in rescue of victims.
1928August 4 Franz Josef Hoop is appointed Head of Government.
During the Year Prince Johann II celebrates 70 years on the throne of Liechtenstein.
The collapse of the Sparkasse (savings bank) “Sparkasse” wipes out the State Treasury reserves. Liechtenstein is financially ruined and heavily indebted to Switzerland. Legislation is passed allowing formation of secret trusts and bank accounts. “Liechtenstein : A vast rather suspect private concern The period of euphoria, then uncertainty that characterizes the post-war period gives birth to broad range of adventurers and swindlers some of whom see the principality as easy pickings. Liechtenstein grants the most extravagant of requests like those of the “Globocapital Association” which in addition to a comfortable subsidy requires no less than a cession of property in which it will exercise full international sovereignty for a trust intending to circulate an international currency, the “globo”, to be backed by gold and foreign currency holdings. The Vaduz government approves despite the scheme’s obvious inefficiencies. The ruling Volkspartei also engages the country in a National Lottery organized by New York financiers. From this period,  emerges a faint impression, the principality takes the form of a vast rather suspect private company that misuses its international status to grow rich, or rather to recover from the ruin caused by the collapse of the Austrian currency.” Translated from: Pierre Raton, Liechtenstein, Sirey 1949 as quoted in a report to the French National Assembly on money laundering, 2000.
1929February 11 Prince Johann II dies at age 89. The Prince visited the country on several occasions, granted its first constitution in 1862, abolished the army in 1868, granted the second and current constitution in 1921, restored the Castle of Vaduz and donated numerous works of art to the princely collections during his 71 year reign. Johann the Good dies without having fathered an heir. The throne passes to his brother Franz who directed restoration of the Vaduz castle between 1905 and 1912 following retirement from the Austro-Hungarian diplomatic service.
February 11 Prince Franz begins his reign at age 76
July 22 Prince Franz I marries Baroness Elsa Guttmann.
1930The population increases to 9,948. The percentage of resident foreigners climbs to 17%.
1931June Airship LZ-127 the Graf Zeppelin makes a flight from Vaduz to Lausanne, Switzerland.
1932June 28 Airship LZ127, the Graf Zeppelin, carries 36 passengers on a tour of the Alps. The 8 hour roundtrip flight originates in Friedrichshafen, Germany. It includes stops to pickup and deliver airmail at Vaduz and Schaan, Liechtenstein.
1933A seven member State Police force is established and given sole responsibility for public safety in the Principality. Note: Liechtenstein’s army was disbanded in 1868.
1935The Liechtenstein Olympic Organizing Committee is established.
1936February Liechtenstein appears for the first time in an Olympiad at the Winter Games in Garmisch- Partenkirchen. Baron von Falz-Fein and Eugen Buechel compete in bobsledding and Hubert Negele and Franz Schaedler in alpine skiing.
1937June 24 A yellow crown is added to the blue upper stripe of the national flag in response to confusion with the flag of Haiti at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
July 22 The Order of Merit of the Principality of Liechtenstein is established by Prince Franz Josef I.
During the Year A series of public works projects undertaken for the relief of unemployment are completed. They include bridges at Malbun and Planken, a road to Triesenberg and an inland canal along the Rhine.
1938March 30 Prince Franz appoints Prince Franz Josef II at act as Regent of Liechtenstein. The Prince cites advancing age and agitation by the pro-Nazi German National Movement over his 1929 marriage to Baroness Elsa Guttmann who is of Jewish extraction as reasons for his step down.
March The main political parties agree to set aside their differences and form a coalition government following the German annexation of Austria. Prince Franz Josef II appoints several members of the pro-Nazi German National Movement to cabinet portfolios but pledges to preserve the independence of Liechtenstein.  
An unknown numbers of refugees are turned away from Liechtenstein ’s Swiss controlled border with Austria following the anschluss and throughout the Second World War. Liechtenstein passports are sold to total of 144 Jewish refugees for fees of up to 50,000 Swiss francs. Another 400 refugees are required to deposit up to 30,000 Swiss francs in local banks to guarantee that they will not burden the principality.
July 25 Prince Franz dies at the family estate in Feldsberg, Czechoslovakia, age 85, having reigned for 9 years. Prince Franz dies without issue. The crown passes to his nephew Prince Franz Josef II.
Prince Franz Josef II begins 50 year reign and takes up residence in Vaduz Castle as the first Prince of Liechtenstein to establish permanent residence in Liechtenstein.  
During the Year Prince Franz Josef II begins to acquire some 270 art objects, mostly household furnishings, during a period that ends coincidentally with the end of the Second World War. A commission later finds that no looted are could be identified in the Liechtenstein collections though a number of items are found to be of “problematic origin” i.e. purchased from dealers and institutions known to have traded in looted assets. The Prince also buys factories and antiques stolen from their Jewish owners under the Third Reich's Aryaniszation program. After the war, the prince pays more money to the Jewish former owners of the factories, who survived the war.
1939March The President of the Diet, Anton Frommelt thwarts an attempt by a hundred members of the Nazi front German Nation Movement in Liechtenstein to march on Vaduz and overthrow the monarchy and being about an Anschluss.
Proportional representation is introduced in elections for the Diet. Political parties are required to garner at least 18% of the popular vote to win representation.
September World War II begins. Liechtenstein remains neutral. The Government is granted full powers and the Prince extends the mandate of the Diet for the duration of the conflict, "because of the need to ensure continuity in legislation and administration” and semi-officially because of fear that Nazi sympathizers will win the elections scheduled for 1943.
During the Year A proposal to join the German Reich is rejected by 95% of the voters in a national referendum.
Liechtenstein’s last soldier, a veteran of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, dies. The last vestiges of Liechtenstein’s military heritage disappear.
1941The population increases to 11,094. The percentage of resident foreigners drops to 16.1%.
1943March 5 Prince Franz Josef II is married to Countess Georgina von Wilczek in Vaduz.
1944July Three of Prince Franz Josef II’s farms near Austria begin to employ around 100 Hungarian Jewish inmates of the Strasshof concentration camp near Vienna without his knowledge. All those working on the prince's estates survive the war.
1945April American Office of Strategic Services counter-intelligence operatives in Switzerland provide Washington with an extensive summary of Nazi gold and currency transfers arranged by Swiss banks throughout the war including money and property held in Liechtenstein.
May Vichy French Premier Pierre Laval holds up at the Hotel zum Lowen in Feldkirch, Austria for 8 days while attempting to enter Liechtenstein as a political refugee. Liechtenstein’s Head of Government, Franz Josef Hoop, goes to the border and personally refuses him entry. A part of the Liechtenstein family archives are seized in Vienna by the Red Army and transferred to the Osobyi archives in Moscow. Russia returns the archives in exchange for the Sokolov notebooks in 1997. Note: Nikolai Sokolov was an officer of the White Government of Koltsjak who investigated the executions of the Romanov family. The notebooks are acquired by Prince Hans Adam II in an auction at Christie’s. Czechoslovakia seizes property belonging to German and Hungarian national located on its territory. The decrees are applied to other persons believed to be of German or Hungarian origin or ethnicity. Liechtenstein nationals are treated as German nationals despite the principality’s neutrality throughout the war.
May 2 A column of Russian soldiers who had collaborated with Germany and family members approaches Liechtenstein’s border with Austria seeking political asylum. Liechtenstein grants asylum to 462 men, 30 women and 2 children but refuses entry to a Russian Grand Duke and his staff.
August A delegation of Soviet Officers arrives in Vaduz to demand the hand over of Russian collaborators interned in Liechtenstein. The Prince and his government refuse the request. About 200 of the internees agree to return to Russia. Many are never heard from again.
September 3 Alexander Frick is appointed Head of Government.
During the Year The Liechtenstein Red Cross Organization is established.
7,000 refugees enter the principality claiming the right of asylum.
1946May 25 Switzerland signs the Washington Agreement on behalf of itself and Liechtenstein settling a dispute with the Allied Powers over the disposition of German assets.
During the Year Liechtenstein Nazis are tried in the common courts of the principality.
1947Autumn About 100 Russian refugees depart Liechtenstein for Argentina.
1948Liechtenstein sends two athletes to the Olympic summer games in London. Liechtenstein’s flag bearer in the opening ceremonies, a British sailor, faints in the intense heat at Wembley.
1950The population increases to 13,757. The percentage of resident foreigners climbs to 20%.

UP - Homepage - Timeline Index