The Military order of Maria Theresa is an order of the Austrian Empire founded on June 18, 1757, the day of the Battle of Kolin, by the Empress Maria Theresa to reward especially meritorious and valorous acts by commisioned officers. It is considered to be the highest Honour for a soldier in the Austrian Imperial-Royal Armed Forces.
The order has three classes: Knight's Cross, Commanders Cross and Grand Cross.
An awardee is considered only in regards to their military service record, his ethnicity, birth, rank, etc was irrelevant as long as he was an commisioned officer. Knight's Cross reciepients are ennobled with the title of Ritter for life. And upon a further petition, a claim to the rank of Baron(Freiherr).