The Hofkriegsrat (or Aulic War Council, sometimes Imperial War Council) established in 1556 was the central military administrative authority of the Habsburg Monarchy until 1848 and the predecessor of the Austro-Hungarian Ministry of War. The agency was directly subordinated to the Habsburg emperors with its seat in Vienna.
Permanent councils of war had already been summoned by the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I about 1500. The council was initially called a regiment, and later a secret body, state government, court council or state council. In 1529 it was considered necessary to establish an independent war council but the negotiations remained unsuccessful for a long time. On February 25, 1531, Ferdinand I issued an instruction in Linz, which ordered the compilation of an independent war council consisting of four war councilors.
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