1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Beck, Friedrich, Count

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BECK, FRIEDRICH, Count (1830-1920), Austrian general, was born at Freiburg im Breisgau, and entered the army in 1848. He distinguished himself as chief-of-staff of an infantry division at Magenta, and in 1863 was made personal aide-de-camp to the Emperor. He held this position, with that of adjutant-general and chief of the imperial military chancery until 1882, winning the Emperor's confidence and exercising the greatest influence on all military questions. In 1866 he acted as the Emperor's confidential agent at the headquarters of Field-Marshal Benedek, before and after the battle of Königgrätz, and his advice was of great importance, though it was not always followed. In 1878 he was entrusted with a similar mission to the commander-in-chief of the troops operating in Bosnia. In 1882 he was made chief of the general staff of the Imperial and Royal army, an exalted position which he occupied till 1906. Not only was his advice listened to in military affairs, but he frequently exercised great influence on important political and personal questions, gaining a great reputation throughout the monarchy as one of its most influential men. His clear judgment and practical common-sense enabled him to see and judge men and things from a purely objective standpoint. He was retired at the age of 77, with every possible sign of honour, and was appointed commander of the Imperial Guard. He took no part in the World War, and died in Feb. 1920. (A. K.)