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 Home > About IHS > Imprints > Gates of Vienna Books
About Gates of Vienna Books

Gates of Vienna Books: the historical imprint of IHS Press.

IHS Press launched Gates of Vienna Books to concentrate on works of history or historical biography which are essential for the formation of a correct understanding of history. Establishment "history" has to a large degree seriously misrepresented numerous events and persons – some relatively recent, others not so – in an attempt to downplay the central historical truth that European civilization excelled and succeeded to the extent that it was informed with Catholic values.

The imprint will concentrate in particular on those texts which provide an analysis of key periods or figures of modern history from a standpoint which recognizes not only the existence of religious truth but of its active and substantial role in human history. One series, for instance, that GOV Books plans to present to the reading public is the collection of historical biographies written by Hilaire Belloc. (For details

Jan Sobieski

The Battle of Vienna, 1683

   Following their conquest of Constantinople, the Ottoman Turks, in time, went on to take the Balkans. By the spring of 1683, their ruthless Grand Vizier, Kara Mustafa, decided to launch a major campaign to seize the rest of Hungary and advance into Central Europe. The Turks’ main rival in the region was Austria, whose monarch, Leopold I, was both the King of Austria, Bohemia and Habsburg Hungary, and Holy Roman Emperor (of a collection of feudal German states and independent cities).
   On March 30, 1683, the Turks’ vanguard of Janissaries set out from Belgrade. By May, a host estimated at over 100,000 Europeans, Asians, and Africans was heading toward Vienna. The Habsburg commander-in-chief, Charles V of Lorraine, could muster only 33,000. Leopold fled his capital, and Vienna was placed under siege on July 16.

Bl. Marco of Aviano

   Pope Innocent XI called for a Holy Alliance of Christian princes to resist the Muslim horde. Innocent was a true Defender of the West who, according to John Stoye’s The Siege of Vienna, “never slackened since the day of his election” (in 1676) to organize a Crusade against the Sultan. Innocent pledged the revenues of the Church to help raise an army.
   King John Sobieski III of Poland, a veteran of the wars against the Turks, was willing to lead a contingent in support of the Habsburgs. But he had to have the unanimous approval of the Polish Diet. Louis XIV’s agents tried to bribe key members into vetoing the proposal. The papal nuncio, Pallavicini, was ordered by Innocent XI to use his powers, including those of his purse, to outbid the French. This they managed, though just barely. King John then set about to raise an army of 40,000.
   While Kara Mustafa’s savage Tartar allies pillaged the surrounding countryside, the Turkish engineers went about the business of constructing siege lines and undermining the city’s defenses. Mustafa’s great gamble nearly succeeded. Dysentery, considered by Stoye to be “the Turks’ strongest ally,” spread fast among the soldiers and remaining civil population of Vienna. The Muslims were on the verge of breaching the last defensive works, when, on September 9, it was announced that a relief force was assembling nearby.

King Jan III at Vienna
Jan Matejko, 1883
   Commanded by King John Sobieski, and including valuable reinforcements from Bavaria, Franconia, Thuringia, and Saxony, the allies attacked the Turks on September 12, a Sunday. Writes Stoye: “At last the hour was reached when the Christian army, to use the emphatic language of a contemporary Turkish writer, became a flood of black pitch coming down the mountain, consuming everything it touched.” The next day, Sobieski made his victorious entry into Vienna, in advance of Emperor Leopold, to the acclamation of the grateful Viennese public.
   In what has been dubbed the Last of the Crusades (from 1683-1699), Poland, Hungary, Austria, the Papal States, and such Mediterranean powers as Savoy continued to exert military pressure against the Turks. At Zenta on September 11, 1697, Prince Eugene of Savoy caught the Ottoman army as it was trying to cross the River Tisza in Serbia, inflicting 30,000 casualties at a cost of only 300. The sultan then sued for peace, which was signed at Karlowitz in 1699. Austria gained Transylvania and most of Hungary. While the Turks retained the Banat of Temesvar, they ceded most of the Morea to Venice. Following a series of military reforms, the Turks renewed the war in 1716 but were again defeated by Prince Eugene at Peterwardein on August 5, 1716, before finally being thrown out of Belgrade on August 22, 1717.
Adapted from a review by Dr. Wayne Lutton of John Stoye's Siege of Vienna, for The Occidental Quarterly. Reprinted with permission.
on the first two volumes in the series, click here.)

Another period of special emphasis will be the pre- and post-World War II eras, with a view towards making Catholics and others acquainted with the lives and actions of Catholic statesmen, such as Dollfuss and Salazar, who lived during those periods but whose example has been largely neglected, or whose legacy has been grossly misrepresented, by modern historians.

IHS Press found the "Gates of Vienna" to be a most fitting name for an imprint dealing with historical books that base themselves upon a true understanding of both the Catholic Faith and Catholic Social Doctrine. The 1683 Battle of Vienna (see inset) is of obvious importance in the history of Christian civilization. What is not as obvious, however, is the role of the leading players in the battle as exemplars of a correct understanding of the Social Teaching of the Church.

King John Sobieski of Poland, who reigned as king of that country from 1674 until his death, led the military effort against the Turks from well before 1683 until his death. The morning of his effort to lift the siege of Vienna, September 12, 1683, he assisted at the Mass celebrated in the church of Kalenberg by the Papal Legate of Blessed Innocent XI, Padre Marco of Aviano.

Having made his peace with God, King John then took to the field and, in spite of being heavily outnumbered, won a miraculous victory against the Turks. During the battle Padre Marco remained mounted on horseback carrying the Crucifix, and when the Turks attacked he would cry, "Behold the cross of the Lord! Begone, enemy troops."

Following upon the miraculous raising of the siege of Vienna, King John sent his famous message to Pope Innocent via his secretary , Talenti, and Padre Marco. The secretary was shown into the Holy Father on September 26, 1683, and in the words of greeting addressed to His Holiness was the statement of King John, alluding to (and improving upon) Caesar's: "I came, I saw, God conquered."

There can be no more fitting expression not only of pious trust and gratitude towards Providence, but, what's more, of a correct understanding of the submission of political, social, and economic life – of the life of nations, states, and peoples – to the sovereignty of Almighty God. It is for this crucial reason that IHS Press chose to link the name of its historical imprint not only to the famous battle of Vienna but more importantly to the name of a temporal ruler who understood in such exemplary fashion that politics, to be successful, must be submitted to God.

Sobieski assisting at Mass
September 12, 1683

In his own right the papal legate was an example of a cleric who understood the need to battle the enemies of Christ in the temporal as well as spiritual worlds. Not content to confine his activity to the "spiritual" realm alone, Padre Marco – having been appointed before the Battle of Vienna representative of Emperor Leopold I – acted in exemplary fashion as a participant in the war councils which led up to the great Vienna battle. He provided the temporal as well as spiritual motivation to the leaders of the soldiers assembled outside of Vienna, urging them to make reparation to God for their sins, implore His help, and then attack the Turks with impunity. Years after the Vienna victory, Padre Marco still struggled to inspire the laity under his influence with the right attitude. During subsequent efforts to liberate Europe from the remaining threat that the Turks posed, in response to a suggestion made to the Austrian Emperor that he make a peaceful arrangement with them, Padre Marco countered: "God desires war and not peace. Let us first deliver the Christian territories, then we can negotiate."

With these examples of fervent and frankly militant Christianity inspiring the new "Gates of Vienna Books" imprint of IHS Press, it is our fervent hope that readers of titles issued under this new imprint may absorb some of the spirit which motivated Bl. Marco of Aviano and King John Sobieski. And that such a spirit may in some small way contribute to the long-hoped-for restoration of Christendom.

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