Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Festsaal
Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2, 1010 Wien
Australian War Memorial (AWM)
Bildarchiv Austria, ÖNB: #1086367 Inv. Nr. 5646/71
European Film Gateway, Allgemein und Sammlung 1. Weltkrieg
Samstag, 3. November 2018
We have been endlessly told that the First World War ended on 11 November 1918. It was then that the fighting between the major powers on the various fronts of the Great War finally terminated and the real story transferred to the Peace Conference in Paris. While not denying that reality, this paper puts forward a different argument. The war did not end in November 1918 but nearly a year earlier in the east, with Russia’s exit from the war and the Bolshevik Revolution. It also ended much later in much of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Ireland. This was the ‘Greater War’, which had begun in 1911-12 (with the Italian invasion of Ottoman Libya and the Balkan Wars) and of which 1914-18 was epicentre. How this ‘Greater War’ unfolded from 1919 to 1923 (when it was finally over), with multiple forms of violence and conflict, shows that the First World War unleashed far more than it could resolve. The ‘Greater War’ shaped the First World War’s legacy in the longer term.
Sonntag, 4. November 2018, Vormittag (09:00-12:30)
In the years prior to 1914, Hans Delbrück criticized the German military leadership for its pursuit of a strategy of annihilation, what Clausewitz called Niederwerfungsstrategie. Delbrück believed that the Germans had become too fixated on winning the next war as they had won the wars of unification, by winning one decisive campaign, then dictating the conditions of peace to a defeated foe. He argued that the conditions for a Niederwerfungsstrategie, and the decisive campaign upon which it depended, might not exist in a future war.
This paper takes an intellectual and transnational approach. The fixation on Niederwerfungsstrategie was certainly not just German, nor was it restricted to 1914. Erich Ludendorff’s thinking for the spring offensive of 1918 remained deeply rooted in the search for Niederwerfungsstrategie. So, too, did the thinking of American General John Pershing and Italian General Armando Diaz (among many others) in the fall of 1918.
The problem was less one of national character than a shared intellectual inability to merge the military and the political realms. Most generals could conceive of war-ending campaigns but they could not conceive of ways to end the war on any terms but complete military victory. They could think operationally, but had a much more difficult time thinking strategically. This limitation came in part from the nature of contemporary civil-military relations, which sharply divided the military and political spheres.
Allied Generalissimo Ferdinand Foch won the war by reversing the Niederwerfungsstrategie mindset. In October 1918 he laid out the strategic conditions for victory first, then stopped military operations when he thought he could achieve them. This way of thinking made possible the armistice of November 11, but also laid the groundwork for tensions at the highest civil-military levels and contributed to the failures of the Paris Peace Conference to translate the Allied military victory into a durable peace.
The military and arguably political situation of the Habsburg Monarchy had improved in the beginning of 1918 not least due to the military success in the Battle of Caporetto. This fulminant operational victory had resulted in the overcoming of the military crisis on the Italian theatre of operations and in an – albeit short-lived – improvement of the general mood in the population due to the propagandistic utilization of this event. Only in the course of 1918 it became apparent that this success had only been possible because of the substantial involvement of German forces and that it had caused the declaration of war on part of the USA and had had significant implications for the supply condition of the civilian population in the winter of 1917/18. The first manifestations of this could not be neglected any longer. Among them were the so-called January Strike at the end of January 1918 that was caused by massive cuts in rations and implied the walkout of 370,000 workers and the sailor’s mutiny in Cattaro that was motivated by a mix of social, political and national claims and involved 5,000 sailors. At the bottom of both events was the desire for peace caused by the length of the war. The peace treaties of Brest-Litovsk with Soviet-Russia and Bucharest with Romania seemed to satisfy these demands. They also enabled the Austro-Hungarian army command to concentrate its military means on the Italian theatre of operations, although it was expected that the war would be decided on the Western front. The failure of the German spring offensive and the frustration of the Austro-Hungarian attack at the Piave in June 1918 – that had been demanded by the German ally – showed very clearly that there was no more any prospect to win the war with military means. Apart from that, due to the lack of raw materials, the armaments industry was in the second half of 1918 in any case no more able to cover the needs of the fighting forces. The breakdown of Bulgaria at the end of September caused a dramatic worsening of the operational situation. The desire for peace negotiations with the Entente powers and the unilateral realization of the Fourteen Points of the US-president Woodrow Wilson resulted in the Völkermanifest (peoples manifesto) on 16 October 1918. This in the end accelerated the internal disintegration of the Habsburg Monarchy, which was followed by the military collapse on 3 November 1918.
In 1914 much of the vocabulary anticipating war suggested total war – Weltkrieg; Existenzkampf
But much initial policy sought to limit war: Austria-Hungary proposed a limited war against Serbia; Bethmann-Hollweg hoped for a Kabinettskrieg (see Zechlin and Jarausch – in contrast to Fischer); Sir Edward Grey told the House of Commons that Britain’s war would only be maritime.
Historians writing about the origins of the First World War, influenced by hindsight, over-emphasise the literature evoking apocalyptical visions of war and under-play the evidence for thinking about limited war before 1914. It includes: the growth of international law from 1856 onwards, with its stress on non-combatant immunity, the rights of prisoners of war, etc; the distinctions made by colonial powers between what they called ‘savage’ war fought in their empires and ‘civilised’ war waged within Europe.
The trend to limit war did not simply evaporate in 1914. Debates over international law intensified (see Hull); the accusations that the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian armies committed atrocities in 1914 reflected an expectation that they would not (Reiss, Horne and Kramer, Watson, et al); the war aims used to woo later entrants to the war reflected their geographical ambitions and so also set constraints on their reach; and even a major battle in 1916, Verdun, was waged by both sides in ways chosen to contain it in terms of length of front and of manpower.
However, the argument that the belligerents wanted to limit the war in 1916 is in danger of becoming a reductio ad absurdum. The war by then had passed a point of no return: the idea of limited war had little purchase. What caused this shift?
First, the reintegration of revolution within war. In 1815, Metternich and others attributed 20 years of European war to the French Revolution, and so sought to curb revolution to prevent war. In 1848 revolutions did not precipitate war (except for Hungary), and therefore the fear of revolution declined. Wars associated with revolution were given separate labels to remove them from mainstream, inter-state war, most obviously the American Civil War. In 1871 and 1905 revolution in France and Russia followed war, rather than precipitated it, and even then these were more exceptions than rules. The defeat of 1866 prompted the Ausgleich, not a revolution.
As a result, although the views of some statesmen in July 1914 recognised the dangers of revolution (Tsar Nicholas, Bethmann Hollweg), they disregarded them in the rush to war. The commitment and relief surrounding national unit, the union sacré or the Burgfrieden, showed the awareness that the opposite might have happened, that peoples and nations might have been divided by the war. Governments responded to this recognition by immediately trying to foment revolution in their opponents. The Kaiser led the call to promote revolution within the British Empire, and Germany supported insurgency in Ireland in 1916 and Russia in 1917. The Royal Navy thought blockade could cause revolution within Germany and the British government promoted an Arab revolt in the Ottoman Empire from 1914. By 1918 Britain was ready to follow the US in recognising the national aspirations of many of the nationalities of the Habsburg Empire, so promoting its collapse from within.
Revolution spawned fear of the enemy at home. It reintroduced the practices of guerrilla war to major war, in the Balkans and further east. It destroyed any hope that, as in 1815, the old world could be ‘restored’; the peace settlement of 1919 had to embrace dramatic change not just to prevent a recurrence of war but also to take back the moral high-ground from the Bolsheviks. Woodrow Wilson was fighting to make the world safe for democracy: that was an aim that could not permit compromise.
Total war might seem to have arisen from the combination of scientific and technological innovation with industrialisation, and disseminated by industrialisation and economic mobilisation. And so in some ways it did. The use of gas and heavy artillery at the front; the bombing of cities from the air: these were developments anticipated in the pre-1914 literature of warning. However, the principal drivers of total war were political and ideological. Although in France the rhetoric of total war harked back to the terror of the French revolution, its proponents now lay more on the radical right than on the left, as both Léon Daudet’s La guerre totale (1918) and Erich Ludendorff’s Der Totale Krieg (1935) suggested.
The paper examines the long term economic consequences of the First World War in a comparative and global way. The Great War of 1914−1918 constituted a major rupture for the economies of Europe in several respects. It marked the end of almost a century of uninterrupted economic growth. It ended a long period of near-universal currency stability based on the international gold standard and the processes of globalisation unfolding buoyantly since the 19th century. According to the calculations of Albrecht Ritschl and Tobias Straumann, the interwar period had brought about a long-term recession from European historical productivity trends. This downward deviation began during the First World War and continued until the end of the Second.
Enemy countries interrupted their commercial and financial transactions with each other already in the summer of 1914 and introduced several restrictions concerning foreign trade and capital movements. European exporters had disappeared from the world markets for nearly a decade. Economic warfare was launched to debilitate and starve the enemies. The Entente countries initiated a commercial blockade to defeat the Central Powers which started a submarine war against the Entente. Both measures, however, had only limited results, and the war dragged on for years.
The former settings of the world economy were never re-established after the war. Neither the declared war aims of the belligerents, nor the peace terms that were ultimately imposed were calculated to restore international economic links; rather, both in theory and practice they tended even more towards autarky In both belligerent camps efforts were made to replace the multilateral world economy of the pre-war period with large economic groupings having a structure determined by power politics. The world economy suffered long-term damages due to the war, the volume of foreign trade diminished significantly; its volume did not reach the 1913 value even in 1929.
The war left a massive economic legacy which consisted of war debts and reparations causing fierce internal and international political conflicts, the hyperinflations of the early 1920s, a deep economic recession and further world cataclysms in the 1930s and 1940s.
During the First World War the population of Austria and of Hungary faced very different living conditions. Hungary, with its strong agricultural production, could supply its population with the highest nourishment rations – especially of grain and flour – of the central powers throughout the war. But due to its inefficient administration it was unable to contribute more agricultural fruits than needed by itself. Hungary could not supply its allies, neither Germany nor even its partner in the Double Monarchy, Austria.
Austria was left behind, caught in a trap. Civil supply was reduced to the most important necessities: food and heating material. The countryside was giving food; the cities were the distribution centres for all other goods, especially coal. But mid of 1916 to January 1917 – Brussilov-Offensive to the end of the Central Powers’ offensive against Rumania – the cities were not supplied with coal due to a lack of transportation capacities. During the coldest month of war, February 1917, there was much too less coal for civil supply. This was the beginning of the failure of the Austro-Hungarian war economy. From now on money lost its worth as a medium for exchange, especially for the countryside. Much more than before country people tried to hide the harvest from the eyes of the state, to barter it for goods of their need.
The more the country people could hide, the less the Austrian administration had to contribute. The less Austria could contribute the more the citizens had to barter from the countryside and the more they had to barter, the more they needed goods in exchange for their nourishment. As there was not enough to be bought legally, citizens had to appropriate the exchange-goods in other ways. In Austria the percentage of thefts – done by civilians – out of all judged crimes rose from 40 % in 1913 to more than 80 % in 1918. In numbers they tripled during war.
The administration had to keep citizens from appropriating goods and the country people from hiding their harvest. This made the administration to an enemy for the total civil society in their struggle for life. The reduction of the flour rations on 16 January 1918 forced the Austrian population even more in opposition to the state. However, the state hadn’t the power to suppress the illicit trade. This fight against its own population Austria lost during 1918. The result was the dissolution of Austria, pulling down Hungary too.
In the course of the First World War the big three empires of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia occupied vast territories of each other. This presentation seeks to compare the occupation regimes in general terms and tries to assess them against the regulations of the Hague Convention.
The paper will first look at the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and to a lesser degree German armies in their respective application of violence against civilians in the first military encounters during the opening stages of the Great War. Secondly, the presentation will then move on to analyse the administration of the occupied territories in the longer term. The main focus will lay here on central Poland, Lithuania and Galicia. Thirdly, the rise of Bolshevism to power in Russia obviously led to a radicalisation of the German and Austro-Hungarian occupation in the last year of the war, namely in Ukraine. This radicalisation can be analysed in a comparative perspective between the two Central Powers. Finally, the case of Germany and Austria-Hungary as occupiers also offers the possibility to compare their occupation policy in a wider sense. Was the occupation in Eastern Europe harsher than the one exercised in other parts of Europe, particularly in Belgium, France, Italy and the Balkans?
By comparing the three empires the paper also wants to examine whether there was a ‘German Way of War’ in Imperial Germany. Did German military culture fundamentally differ from other armies of the time in its excessive use of violence against civilians? Was the German occupation in Eastern Europe in the First World War a precursor or a pointer to genocidal warfare and occupation in the Second World War?
Im Zuge der am 18. Februar 1918 beginnenden „Operation Faustschlag“ eroberten deutsche und k.u.k.-Truppen bis zum 8. Mai das gesamte Territorium der heutigen Ukraine. Aufgrund eines Hilfegesuchs der durch die bolschewistische Charkower Gegenregierung militärisch bedrängten Rada-Regierung formal als befreundete Einheiten einmarschiert, griffen die Mittelmächte bald massiv in innerukrainische Angelegenheiten ein. Jedoch stellten diese Maßnahmen nicht die Umsetzung einer militärisch-politischen Strategie, sondern vielmehr kontextabhängiger ad-hoc-Entscheidungen dar.
Die schwachen Besatzungstruppen waren mit den Auswirkungen des zerfallenden Romanow-Imperiums konfrontiert. Innere Unruhen, die im Sommer 1918 in einen großen Aufstand in der Zentralukraine mündeten, sowie äußere Eingriffsversuche, etwa die Landung rotgardistischer Einheiten nahe Taganrog, stellten die Besatzungstruppen immer wieder vor große Herausforderungen, auch wenn diese Ereignisse die militärische Vormacht insbesondere der deutschen Truppen niemals wirklich gefährdeten. Zudem fehlten auf politischer Ebene Zielsetzungen, die über die in dem Begriff „Brotfrieden“ zusammengefasste Erwartung des Zugriffs auf unermessliche Ressourcen ernsthaft hinausgingen.
In dieser Situation wurde die Besatzungspolitik mehrheitlich von den einzelnen, im Gebiet stationierten Divisionen gestaltet. In dem weiten Raum mit großer Autonomie ausgestattet, legten sie die von höheren Stellen erteilten Befehle oftmals nach eigenem Ermessen aus. Sie entschieden über die Härte oder Zurückhaltung bei der Verfolgung aufständischer Personen und Gruppierungen, über das Ausmaß der Kooperation mit ukrainischen Stellen und waren gleichzeitig durch ein detailliertes System von Kontributionen ein wichtiger Faktor bei der Aufbringung von Ressourcen.
Diese drei Elemente des Besatzungsregimes in der Ukraine – Repression, Kooperation und Kontribution – werden anhand der bayerischen 4. Kavalleriebrigade exemplarisch beleuchtet.
In the course of the “Operation Faustschlag” offensive, which began on 18th February 1918, German and Austro-Hungarian troops conquered the entire territory of modern-day Ukraine by 8th May. Having formally entered the country as friendly troops in response to a call for help from the Central Rada, which was being hard-pressed militarily by the rival Bolshevik government in Kharkov, the Central Powers soon began to intervene significantly in Ukraine's internal affairs. But these measures did not constitute implementation of a military political strategy, but were rather context-dependent, ad-hoc decisions.
The weak occupying troops were faced with the consequences of the collapsing Romanov Empire. Internal unrest, which resulted in a major uprising in central Ukraine in the summer of 1918, and outside attempts to intervene, such as the landing of Red Army troops near Taganrog, meant that the occupying troops were constantly being presented with major challenges, even if these events never really threatened the military supremacy, especially that of the German troops. On top of this, at the political level there was a lack of aims which went much further than the expectation of access to vast resources summarised in the term “Brotfrieden” (peace for bread).
In view of this situation, the occupation policy was mostly determined by the individual divisions stationed within the region. Granted a high level of autonomy throughout the region, they frequently interpreted the orders handed down from on high as they saw fit. They decided whether to pursue seditious persons and groups rigorously or with restraint and to what extent they would cooperate with the Ukrainian authorities, whilst at the same time, thanks to a detailed system of contributions, being a significant factor in the mobilisation of resources.
These three elements of the occupation of Ukraine – repression, cooperation and contribution – will be presented using the 4th Bavarian Cavalry Division as an example.
Sonntag, 4. November 2018, Nachmittag (14:00-17:30)
Was the First World War a conflict over the breakup of multinational empires? The claim seems to be valid in the long term perspective. But it is also true in the short term and contemporary view. The war started mainly because the Austro Hungarian leadership thought that they had to stabilize their multinational Empire by waging war against Serbia, as the embodiment of aggressive nationalism. Germany lend Austria Hungary its assistance believing that the Habsburg monarchy, as its most important ally, was close to internal collapse and that they had to help to stabilize it against undermining nationalisms, even if this meant to risk a world war.
The question of disintegration was therefore a central and dominant question already at the very beginning of the war. The interpretation of events in June 1914 could not be more different, as the works of Luigi Albertini, Fritz Fischer, Christopher Clark and John Zametica may demonstrate. All of them see the responsibilities in a different light, blaming Germany, the Entente, Serbia, or Austria Hungary as the main culprits.
The war itself took a paradoxical course. The initial problem – the survival of the Austro Hungarian Empire and the Serbian question – disappeared into the background and the German question became dominant to an extent that the First World War could be called “The First German War”.
But the question of the future of Germany as a national state was not at stake, as the various statements by Lloyd George and other Allied war time leaders may demonstrate. That was true also for the Habsburg Empire – at least in the first years of the war. Germany wanted to safeguard its influence in Vienna, but it did not favor a breakup of the multinational empire. Also the Allied powers, including Italy, wanted to preserve a, maybe smaller and reformed, Danube monarchy.
This changed with the increasing radicalization of the war. A turning point was the opening of the national question in Eastern Europe which started at the latest with the rebirth of Poland in autumn 1916, founded by the Central Powers as a puppet state on Russian expense. It continued with the breakup of the Russian Empire in Brest Litowsk. German politicians like Karl Helfferich asked how the Habsburg leadership could believe that the national principle that they helped to imply on the multinational Russian Empire would stop at the boundaries of Austria Hungary. Indeed, it did not. The Allied powers decided to change their strategy and they assisted in 1918 the dissenting nationalities of the Habsburg Empire, instead of supposing that a modified Empire may survive the war.
The Habsburg leadership knew, as Foreign Minister Graf Czernin said, that its only chance to survive the war was a German victory. Also internally there were dramatic shifts. The Habsburg leadership lost the loyalties not only of the dissenting nationalities, but also of its leading people, the Hungarians and the Austro-Germans. The latter saw themselves in front of the alternative or dynasty or alliance with Germany, and in 1918 they were drifting increasingly towards the second.
At the end of the war, the Habsburg Empire broke apart, and the Austro Germans tried to become a part of the German Empire. This was not encouraged by Germany which had in this moment other problems and a surprisingly low interest to realize the “greater German” solution. Up to the very end the German leadership wanted to preserve the Habsburg Empire, instead of trying to annex the Austro German territories.
The Austro-Germans had tried to recover “under the wings of the German Empire”. The same was true for the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans entered the war in November 1914 exactly with the same agenda: to preserve their multinational empire by an alliance with Gemrany, even if the prize was the participation in a world war.
The war brought for the Central Powers therefore the opposite of the desired result: Instead of a preservation the breakup of multinational empires in central and eastern Europe.
“The circumstance being stressed by the public speakers that we are children of Žižka is quite insignificant in the light of the particular and sensational circumstance that we are children of upright citizens from the times of Franz Joseph.” (F. Peroutka, Jací jsme, 1922)
The emergence of Czechoslovakia in the autumn of 1918 was the result of a complex historical development for which the Great War had created favourable conditions, and in which the breakup of Austria-Hungary intersected with the national and social radicalisation of the population of Central Europe. Most scholars, including Richard Georg Plaschka and Zdeněk Kárník, concur that this process was revolutionary by nature. However, the ‘revolutionary’ notion did not necessarily mean severing all the ties between the new state and its social order and the ancient ‘pre-October’ regime. And precisely, it is a stricter definition of the elements of continuity and discontinuity with the previous state that this supplementary paper proposes.
The basic discontinuity element is the new geopolitical situation of the new state, the change of the ruling elite and the completion of the process of democratisation of a liberal society, plus the new ownership structure (land reform).
By contrast, we can look for distinct elements of continuity in the party-political system, in the legal, personnel and institutional (with certain exceptions) areas, as well as in the sphere of mental and cultural civilization.
It can be therefore inferred that the Czechoslovak Revolution of 1918 was one of the types of revolution which, as opposed to, for example, the French and the Russian Revolution, had a relatively high degree of continuity.
However, it is a continuity that was under the control of a new power establishment and in the end achieved positive results. This is probably the biggest difference compared with the situation after 1989, where the continuous processes unfolded under the surface or even against the will of the new power.
The paper focuses on the attitude of the UK ruling elites towards Russia’s geopolitical position in 1918. The author aims to consider the transformation of these evaluations, which took place in the period of revolutionary turmoil and the aggravation of situation on the fronts of the First World War. Based upon recently declassified Russian and British archival records along with less known memoirs and personal correspondence by some prominent politicians, diplomats and public figures, it revises previously understudied and disputable geopolitical strategies envisaged by Britain with regard to Soviet Russia. As the author concludes, the collapse of the Russian Empire had caught Whitehall unawares, while simultaneously causing the vacillations of the British government between assistance for the Whites, formation of buffer states in the Russian borderlands or attempts to friendly cooperate with the Bolshevik regime. One should point out to a noticeable lack of unanimity among British politicians with regard to political course towards the Soviet republic as well as to whole Central and Eastern Europe. In the author’s view, this absence of persistency in the definition of aims and methods made the Versailles world order instable and, therefore, comparatively short in existence. The failure to settle the “Russian question” in the aftermath of the First World War became a major reason for the vacuum of power in the mentioned regions, leading finally to the outburst of a new global catastrophe in the late 1930s.
At the end of World War I, upon the ruins of the Russian, Habsburg, German, and Ottoman Empires more than a dozen of new nation-states were created: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, an enlarged Romania, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, an enlarged Greece, Turkey, Hejaz, and Iraq, temporarily also Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Armenia. Most of them contained any number of national and religious minorities, altogether some 25 million people: six million Germans, 5.5 million Ukrainians, five million Jews, more than three million Magyars, almost two million Belarusians, one million Turks, 0.7 million Russians, 0.7 million South Slavs, 0.5 million Albanians, 0.5 million Gypsies, 400,000 Bulgarians, etc.
Although President Wilson combined with the new term “national self-determination” the interest and the benefit of “the populations concerned” and the British strategy supported the democratization of Central and Eastern Europe as the best way to ensure regional stability, all “nationalities” of the former empires hoped for decisions of the Paris Peace Conference in their favor. But comparing all border demands between the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, only the core regions of the Baltic countries, Poland, the Ukraine, the Bohemian lands, the Austrian lands, the Hungarian lands, the Romanian lands, the South Slavic lands, the Albanian lands, the Greek lands and the Turkish lands were undisputed, all “borderlands” stood in discussion.
The disintegration of the empires unleashed new forces of extreme nationalism and socialism. The combination of ethnic nationalism, territorial conflicts, and class hatred would prove highly explosive. Immediately after the war, latent nationalist tensions expressed themselves in bitter disputes over contested borders and trade barriers. Class conflict overlaid ethnic and territorial clashes “to produce a boiling cauldron of violent animosity.” (Ian Kershaw) New forms of popular violence emerged. Demonstrations against high prices and shortage of food degenerated in plundering and looting of shops and magazines in the most regions of Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the new nation-states suffered from disrupted industrial production and lack of food and/or coal.
Herbert Hoover’s food-relief organization operated across all of war-torn Europe, between Belgium, Finland and Bulgaria. Because the catastrophic harvests of 1918-21 in Central and Eastern Europe yielded grain crops of only 60 to 70 percent of the prewar figures, famine threatened a high percentage of the population, particularly in the larger cities like Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and Warsaw. As Hoover had sent flour via Trieste to Vienna, the Austrian Section Chief Richard Schüller stated: “During our initial most difficult time Americans – the Hoover Mission and the Quakers – were our only friends and made a deep impression on the minds of our people.” On 22 April 1919, the Supreme Council passed the resolution to charge Hoover with the endeavor to increase the coal production and its proper distribution in the former Habsburg Empire and in Poland. He appointed Colonel Goodyear President of the Coal Commission for Central Europe with seat in Moravská Ostrava in order to obtain a better coal supply between Czechoslovakia, German-Austria, Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia. After negotiations in Prague and Vienna, Goodyear concluded an agreement to furnish Vienna Gas Works with a minimum of 1,100 tons of gas coal daily from the Ostrau-Karwin field. Goodyear also signed a protocol with Austrian, Czechoslovak and Polish representatives concerning the distribution of coal in Central Europe upon the figures for consumption in 1913. However, Goodyear warned: With the arrival of the 1919 harvest, the problem of coal came to the front “as the greatest menace to the stability and live” in East-Central Europe.
In the light of 20th century European history one could talk about of two basic models of empire dissolution: The Haburg model och the Romanov model.
Austria-Hungary suffered a breakdown and dissolution at the beginning of November 1918. In the peace treaty seven states partitioned the empire. The dissolution was a mainly peaceful and negotiated process, even if there were armed conflicts in several areas. The exception to this peaceful pattern was Hungary which had border conflicts with all its neigbours and experienced revolution, civil war and foreign intervention.
The dissolution of the Habsburg Empire become an international issue trough the work of the International Liquidation Commission 1919 and the peace conference in Paris 1920. The treaties of Versailles , St, Germain and Trianon has been strongly critized, but one has to admit that the peace-makers made some efforts to created a stable post-war order by regulating questions that might become sources of new conflicts.
The dissolution of the Russian empire was a long and painful process from the abdication of Nicholas II 1917 to the peace of Riga between Poland and Russia 1922. The foundation of the Soviet Union 1922 signified the birth of a new empire – the Soviet Union was both a successor state and a new empire. The process saw several consecutive regimes in Russia, civil wars, revolutions and interventions in the central regions and borderlands. The process was more violent than the dissolution of the Habsburg empire.
Another important difference was that Russia did not fall apart as totally as Austria- Hungary. In the Russian case the emergence of new states meant a severance of border areas from a dimished center, not a dissolution of the whole empire. The victors would have been pleaed to steer the dissolution of the Russian empire but the Bolsheviks were ultimately successful. The victors and the successor states had to deal with them bilaterally.
There are many differences between the successor states but also similarities because being a successor statete implies state-making processes.
Liquidation: settling of acounts
Nostrifiication: following-- up of liquidation
The number of countries introducing electoral reform or entering Europe as new states around 1918 is striking. Monarchs were deposed, elected legislative assemblies were introduced, suffrage was expanded to include the entire adult male population and often women as well, and methods of voting were modernized. In Europe, Russia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Romania, Belgium, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Sweden experienced democratization in some form, and many of the newly emerging states, such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, introduced a republican form of government with universal suffrage for women and men. While contemporary observers and early historiography have often perceived these changes as a supposedly inevitable outcome of the great crisis of the War, as a “law of human development” (a statement made in the Provisional Austrian parliament in late 1918), historians have meanwhile taken note of the fact that fundamental change could occur "partly independent of war and partly conditioned and accelerated by the war" (Tim B. Müller and Adam Tooze). Generally, these developments have been and are perceived as a “radical discontinuity” (again Tim B. Müller and Adam Tooze) in relation to pre-War contexts.
This paper plans to underline the differentiated approach to the relationship between World War I and democratization. However, it will also discuss the issue of discontinuity in light of Peter Judson’s criticism of the covering up of continuities between the new, supposedly progressive nation states succeeding an allegedly regressive Habsburg Empire. It will do so focusing on electoral reform in a comparative perspective. A particular question to address will be why enfranchisement, especially for women, was extended in some European countries in the period 1918-1920, and not in others. Another main topic will touch on the modernization of electoral procedures, referring to a few examples as thorough research on this topic is still lacking.
In his war message of April 2, 1917, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson famously proclaimed that “the world must be made safe for democracy.” For many decades, Wilson’s public image has been shaped by the notion that he conceived of American belligerency in the Great War as a “crusade for democracy.” According to his admirers, Wilson’s noble dream of creating a peaceful world of democratic nation states ran afoul of both European power politics at the Paris Peace Conference and wrong-headed “isolationism” at home. In contrast, critics have rebuked the president for what they see as ill-conceived missionary zeal that evoked unrealistic expectations of a “Wilsonian Peace” and contributed to chaos and confusion after the end of World War I.
In my brief presentation, I will probe Wilson’s ideas of democratization. What did he mean when he called for making the world safe for democracy? Did he really wage a crusade for democracy? And how did the president react to demands by woman suffragists and racial minorities that making the world safe for democracy must begin at home? The thrust of my argument will be that Wilson’s ideas of democracy and democratization were closely tied to an intrinsically conservative concept of social and political change. Against this backdrop, Wilson eagerly embraced voting rights for white American women as a war measure but remained notoriously indifferent toward African Americans’ demands for equal citizenship. His pursuit of democracy as a war aim was predicated on American national interests rather than a desire to spread the blessings of democracy worldwide. Due to time constraints, I will have to paint with a broad brush and privilege argument over empirical detail.
Montag, 5. November 2018, Vormittag (09:00-12:30)
Anfänglich wurde die Pariser Friedenskonferenz nach zwei verschiedenen Richtungen geplant. Paris, als Gastland, schlug zunächst den Alliierten vor, den Prozeduren des Wienerkongresses 1814 zu folgen. Nach einem verhältnismäßigen kurzen Verfahren würden die wichtigsten Klauseln unter den großen Alliierten verhandelt und rasch den Besiegten als Friedenspräliminarien aufgezwungen. Danach aber würde in Ruhe sämtliche Aspekte der endgültigen Verträge sowohl mit den Gegnern wie mit den kleineren Alliierten wirklich verhandelt werden.
Präsident Wilson hatte aber andere Vorstellungen. Alle möglichen Bestimmungen, teils sehr verwickelt, wurden fast gleichzeitig verhandelt, auf Grund der in der Tat eingehender Arbeit von 58 Expertenausschüssen. Das führte zu zwei Folgen: die Experten bestimmten weitgehend den Verhandlungsprozess, zum Teil auf Kosten der Wahrnehmung der politischen Prioritäten. Und es gab keine Präliminarien: am 7. Mai bekamen die Deutschen den ganzen Vertragstext, ohne eigentlichen Verhandlungsspielraum. Daher der verhängnisvolle Ausdruck „Diktat“.
Zweifelsohne prägte Wilson weitgehend den Frieden: Errichtung eines „Völkerbundes“; Anerkennung des Prinzips der Selbstbestimmung (durch viele Plebiszite); Anerkennung der Reparationspflicht, aber Ablehnung der Aufbürdung der Kriegskosten auf die Besiegten; Pflichten der Kolonialmächte ihren Kolonien gegenüber.
Aber viele Züge des herkömmlichen europäischen Systems wurden erhalten: die großen Alliierten waren maßgebend, die kleineren Länder wurden nur für ihre speziellen Interessen an den Verhandlungen eingeladen.
Im Detail wurden die neuen Grenzen nicht nur nach Nationalitätslinien oder durch die Selbstbestimmung der Bevölkerung festgesetzt, sondern auch nach strategischen oder wirtschaftlichen Gegebenheiten oder Interessen der Sieger.
Kurzum wurden die neuen Prinzipien nicht rein angewandt. Oft aber basierten die neuen Züge der Verträge auf einer Weiterentwicklung von Bestimmungen von früheren europäischen Kongressen: als Beweis die sogenannten Minderheitsverträge, die den „Nachfolgestaaten“ aufgezwungen wurden, waren im Prinzip eine Weiterentwicklung der Pariser (1856) und Berliner (1878) Kongresse Klausel über die religiösen Minderheiten. Als Fazit darf man doch, trotz der vielen Mängel der Pariser Konferenz, in ihren Bestimmungen eine wichtige Etappe in der Entwicklung der Internationalen Ordnung sehen.
Originally the Paris Peace Conference was planned to take two directions. As the host country, Paris initially proposed that the Allies follow the procedures adopted in the Vienna Congress in 1814. Following a relatively short process, the most important clauses would be agreed among the major allies and quickly imposed upon the vanquished parties as the preliminaries for peace. Thereafter, time would be taken to negotiate all aspects of the final treaty with both the vanquished parties and the smaller allies.
President Wilson, however, had other ideas. Every possible provision, some of which were very complex, would be negotiated simultaneously based on detailed input from 58 expert committees. This had two consequences: the experts largely dictated the negotiation process, sometimes meaning that political priories were overlooked. On top of this, there were no preliminaries: the Germans were presented with the entire text of the treaty on 7th May with no real room to negotiate, hence the ominous term “Diktat”.
There is no doubt that President Wilson largely shaped the peace: the founding of the “League of Nations”; recognition of the principle of self-determination (though many plebiscites); recognition of the right to reparations, but a refusal to encumber the vanquished with the costs of the war; the duties of the colonial powers to their colonies.
However, many features of the existing European system were retained: the major Allies had control, with the smaller countries only invited to the negotiations regarding their particular interests.
In concrete terms, the new borders were set not only on the basis of nationality or self-determination by the population, but also according to strategic or economic factors or the interests of the victors.
In short, the new principles were not applied unadulteratedly. In many cases the new features of the treaties were based on further developments of provisions agreed at earlier European congresses. Evidence of this is the fact that the so-called minority rights treaties forced on the “successor states” were, in principle, simply a further development of the clauses on religious minorities from the Paris (1856) and Berlin (1878) Congresses. In conclusion, despite the many failings of the Paris Conference, one can nonetheless see in its provisions an important stage in the development of the international order.
For many years historians have assumed that the prospect for a League or Society of Nations was a throwaway element of French policy at the Paris Peace Conference. They have focused on the power political aspects of the security programme pursued by the government of Premier Georges Clemenceau. This paper will argue that the French delegation came to the League of Nations Commission with a well developed blueprint for a Society of Nations. This programme rested on a coherent vision of the future of international relations based on the rule of law backed up by multilateral force whose origins and evolution can be traced clearly and in detail to pre-1914 thinking about this topic among French internationalists such as Leon Bourgeois, Fernand Larnaude and others.
Als sich die Siegermächte Anfang 1919 in Paris trafen, um den Frieden zu gestalten, war ihnen klar, dass ein Weltkrieg liquidiert werden musste und dass deshalb auch globale Lösungen notwendig waren. Ein junger britischer Diplomat äußerte die Hoffnung, dass nun die Periode eines ewigen Friedens eingeläutet werden könnte. Diese Einschätzung war falsch, weil zahlreiche militärische Konflikte mehrere Jahre weiter ausgetragen wurden und die Pariser Verträge diese nicht beenden konnten. Auch war diese bei weitem nicht so stabil wie erhofft; von Anfang an wurde die Legitimität der neuen Ordnung von mehreren Seiten in Frage gestellt.
Die Forschung der letzten Jahre hat hervorgehoben, dass die objektiven Kategorien von Sieg und Niederlage nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg die subjektiven Stimmungen in vielen europäischen Völkern nicht präzise trafen. Objektiv lässt sich die Zahl der Siegermächte anhand der Unterzeichnerstaaten der fünf Verträge leicht bestimmen, subjektiv sieht die Situation aus der Sicht der Beteiligten aber ganz anders aus. Dies soll durch einige Beispiele illustriert werden. Mit den Ausnahmen von Großbritannien und der Tschechoslowakei gab es in allen Staaten einflussreiche Eliten, die mit den Ergebnissen der Pariser Konferenzen nicht zufrieden waren und die in den folgenden Jahren auf eine Revision hinarbeiteten. Nur in Österreich hielt sich der Revisionismus in Grenzen, weil allzu klar war, dass sich das k.u.k. Imperium in keiner denkbaren Konstellation würde wiederherstellen lassen. In den anderen eigentlichen Verliererstaaten Deutschland, Ungarn, Bulgarien und der Türkei waren zentrale Akteure auf keinen Fall bereit, sich mit den Ergebnissen von Paris abzufinden. Der türkische Sieg gegen Griechenland, der 1922/23 in Lausanne zu dem Preis von großen ethnischen Säuberungen von den Westmächten akzeptiert wurde, zeigte ferner, dass eine aggressive militärische Revisionspolitik erfolgreich sein konnte. Außerdem fanden sich in Ost- und in Ostmitteleuropa Völker auf der Seite der Sieger wieder, die zuvor gegen die Entente gekämpft hatten. Tschechen, Slowaken, Slowenen, Kroaten und auch Polen hatten erhebliche Mühe, konsistente Narrative zu konstruieren, die eine integrative nationale Erinnerungskultur an den Krieg herstellten.
Im hier verfolgten Kontext ist zentral, dass sich auch bei den „Siegern“ teilweise ein extremer Revisionismus entwickelte. In Italien machte das Schlagwort von dem „verstümmelten Sieg“ die Runde. 1915 hatte die Regierung in der Hoffnung auf leichte Beute Italien in den Krieg hineingetrieben, aber 1919 stand das Land vor einem Desaster. In Paris war es nicht einmal gelungen, die vertraglich fest zugesicherten Territorien zu sichern. Objektiv gehörte auch Griechenland zu den Siegerstaaten, doch zettelte die Regierung das militärische Abenteuer gegen das Osmanische Reich an. Die Folgen waren bekannterweise katastrophal, und Griechenland gehörte nach 1923 eindeutig zu den großen Verlierern in Europa. Sieht man von dem Sonderfall des russischen Bürgerkrieges ab, gab es selbst in Frankreich Vorstellungen, dass Versailles nicht ausreiche, die Sicherheit im Nachkriegseuropa zu gewährleisten. In der Forschung ist umstritten, ob die Ruhrbesetzung von 1923 den Versuch darstellte, Versailles doch noch zu revidieren, aber zumindest ist diese Meinung vertreten worden.
Diese Beispiele ließen sich mühelos erweitern, wenn die außereuropäische Welt (z.B. China oder viele europäische Kolonien) mit einbezogen wurde. Sie zeigen, dass die klassischen Kategorien von Sieg und Niederlage paradoxerweise verschwimmen, wenn man sich mit den fünf Pariser Verträgen und der sogenannten Nachkriegsordnung befasst.
When the victorious powers met in Paris at the start of 1919 to draw up a peace treaty, it was evident to them that a World War needed to be wound up and that global solutions were therefore required. A young British diplomat expressed the hope that they could now ring in a period of lasting peace. This estimation proved false, as many military conflicts continued for years and the Paris Treaties were not able to bring them to an end. Nor was this anything like as stable as hoped: right from the outset the legitimacy of the new order was challenged from many sides.
Research in recent years has shown that after the First World War the objective categories of victory and defeat did not correspond exactly to the subjective mood among many of the peoples of Europe. Objectively the number of victorious powers is easy to determine by the states which signed the five treaties, but subjectively, the situation looked quite different from the point of view of those involved. This will be demonstrated by means of examples. With the exception of Great Britain and Czechoslovakia, all nations had influential elites that were unhappy with the results of the Paris Conference and which strove for revision in the following years. Only in Austria was revisionism held in check as it was all too evident that restoring the dual monarchy was not possible in any conceivable constellation. In the other defeated nations, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey, central actors were determined not to accept the results that came out of Paris. The Turkish victory over Greece, which was accepted by the Western powers in Lausanne in 1922/23 at the cost of serious ethnic cleansing, further demonstrated that an aggressive, military, revisionist policy could be successful. On top of this, people in Eastern and East-Central Europe who had previously fought against the Entente, now found themselves on the side of the victors. Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Poland found it extremely difficult to construct consistent narratives which created an integrative national culture of remembrance in respect of the war.
In the context being considered here, a key factor is that extreme revisionism also developed to some extent among the “victors”. In Italy the phrase the “mutilated war” did the rounds. In 1915 the government had taken Italy into the war in the hope of easy gains, but in 1919 the country was facing disaster. In Paris they had not even succeeded in acquiring the lands they had been promised in a treaty. From the objective point of view, Greece also numbered among the victorious nations, but the government embarked upon its military adventure against the Ottoman Empire. As we know, the results were catastrophic and by 1923 Greece was indisputably one of the major losers in Europe. Setting aside the special case of the Russian Revolution, even in France there was a perception that the Treaty of Versailles was not sufficient to ensure security in postwar Europe. The suggestion that the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 was an attempt to revoke the treaty of Versailles is disputed in the existing research, but this opinion has at least been put forward.
If we were to include the non-European world (e.g. China or many European colonies) we could easily add to these examples. They show that when you look at the five Paris Treaties and the so-called postwar order, the classic categories of victor and vanquished blur paradoxically.
Die Teilnahme an der Pariser Friedenskonferenz nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg gilt als erster organisierter diplomatischer Auftritt der Slowenen in der Geschichte. Sie verhandelten zwar im Rahmen einer breiteren Delegation des noch nicht international anerkannten Königreiches der Serben, Kroaten und Slowenen. Außer drei Serben und zwei Kroaten waren zwei Slowenen in der engeren Delegation: der ehemalige k. k. Minister Dr. Ivan Žolger sowie auch der ehemalige Triester Abgeordnete Dr. Otokar Rybář. Dazu wurden nach Paris auch mehrere slowenische Experten einberufen, die Žolger wie „ein Büro nach Wiener Vorbild“ organisierte. Weder Žolger noch seine slowenischen Mitarbeiter besaßen aber keine diplomatischen Erfahrungen. Mit Ausnahme von Dr. Bogumil Vošnjak, der während des Ersten Weltkrieges im Rahmen des Südslawischen Ausschusses bei der Entente und in den Vereinigten Staaten gegen die Habsburgermonarchie agitierte, konnte nur noch ein slowenischer Vertreter in Paris seine internationale Erfahrung beweisen: Dr. Ivan Švegel (Hans Schwegel), der letzte k. u. k. Konsul in St. Louis. Die Slowenen rechneten nach der Vereinigung des SHS-Staates mit dem Königreich Serbien am 1. Dezember 1918 damit, dass sie auf der Friedenskonferenz ihre nationalen Forderungen auf der Grundlage des Ansehens, das Serbien als verbündeter Staat der Entente genoss, durchsetzen würden. Außerdem glaubten sie, dass die Friedenskonferenz auch im slowenischen Fall die Grundsätze von Woodrow Wilson, der als Verteidiger der Rechte der Völker auf Selbstbestimmung auftrat, berücksichtigen würde. Allerdings stellte sich bald heraus, dass der geheime Londoner Pakt mit Italien aus dem Jahre 1915 viel mehr Geltung als die Prinzipien der „Neuen Diplomatie“ hatte. Die italienischen Vertreter versuchten den jungen jugoslawischen Staat möglichst zu schwächen, wobei sie bei den Grenzfragen die Nachbarn des SHS-Königreiches unterstützten. Allerdings zeigten bei der Aufstellung ihrer Territorialforderungen gegenüber Italien, Österreich und Ungarn die slowenischen Delegierten und Experten ziemlich große Ambitionen, wobei sie generell von den serbischen und kroatischen Kollegen meistens unterstützt wurden. Dank Švegel und seiner guten US-Verbindungen konnten die Slowenen sogar zweimal Audienz bei Wilson persönlich bekommen, wurden aber dann gerade vom amerikanischen Präsidenten mehrmals enttäuscht. Während Wilson in Bezug auf Kärnten trotz der slowenischen Bedenken der stärkste Befürworter des Plebiszites blieb, wollte er eine ähnliche slowenische Forderung für die Volksabstimmung im Küstenland nicht unterstützen. Allerdings wurde das SHS-Königreich trotz der erwähnten diplomatischen Niederlagen eines der stärksten Unterstützer des „Versailles-Systems“.
Its participation at the Paris Peace Conference after the First World War is considered Slovenia's first organised diplomatic appearance in history, even though it was acting as part of a broader delegation alongside the as yet not internationally recognised kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia). Alongside three Serbs and two Croats the small delegation included two Slovenes: the former Austro-Hungarian Minister Dr. Ivan Žolger and the former Trieste deputy Dr. Otokar Rybář. In addition, several Slovenian experts had been summoned to Paris, whom Žolger organised as an “office in the Viennese manner”. However, neither Žolger nor his Slovenian colleagues had any diplomatic experience. With the exception of Dr. Bogumil Vošnjak, who, as part of the Yugoslav Committee, had made representations against the Habsburg monarchy to the Entente and in the United States during the First World War, only one of the Slovenian representatives in Paris had any international experience to draw on: Dr. Ivan Švegel (Hans Schwegel), the last Austro-Hungarian Consul in St. Louis. Following the unification of the Yugoslav state with the Kingdom of Serbia on 1st December 1918, the Slovenes expected that they would be able to push their national demands through at the Peace Conference on the basis of the recognition that Serbia enjoyed as an ally of the Entente. They also believed that in the Slovenian case, the Peace Conference would follow the principles set out by Woodrow Wilson, who defended the right of people to self-determination. However, it soon became clear that the secret “Treaty of London” entered into with Italy in 1915 was to be given precedence over the principles of the “New Diplomacy”. The Italian representatives sought to weaken the young Yugoslavian state as far as possible, on issues of borders supporting the neighbouring states of the Serb, Croat and Slovene kingdom. Furthermore, in setting out their territorial demands in respect of Italy, Austria and Hungary, the Slovenian delegates and experts were rather ambitious, in which they were, for the most part, supported by their Serbian and Croatian colleagues. Thanks to Švegel and his good connections in the US, the Slovenes even succeeded in obtaining two audiences with Wilson in person, but were then disappointed repeatedly by the very same American President. Whilst Wilson remained the strongest proponent of a plebiscite for Carinthia despite Slovenian reservations, he was not willing to support similar Slovenian demands for a referendum in the coastal region. Nonetheless, despite the diplomatic defeats mentioned above, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia remained one of the strongest supporters of the “Versailles System”.
In October 1923, Count Albert Apponyi, the former leader of the Hungarian Peace Delegation, gave a lecture at the Metropolitan Club in New York. Apponyi thereby criticised the Peace Treaty which in his opinion had not ended the war. He therefore demanded the revision of the Treaty of Trianon. The following day, the New York Times, by hinting at Apponyis call for a revision of the Treaty declared: „… it is not from America that the Messiah will come for whom Count Apponyi looks with an almost Isaian yearning. Europe must produce him, if possible, from herself“. Five years before, in December 1918, the American President Woodrow Wilson, upon his arrival in Europe, was welcomed by the public with almost messianic adoration in Paris and in London as well.
Wilsonʼs „Peace without victory“ address to Congress on 22 January 1917, which was according to Thomas Knock „the first […] comprehensive synthesis of progressive internationalism“ – called for a „New Diplomacy“ based, amongst other things, upon the principle of the equality of nations, self-determination, the peaceful settlement of disputes as well as collective security. Besides self-determination and democracy, the „keystone“ of this New Diplomacy was the League of Nations. It was intended to operate as „the organized moral force of men throughout the world...“ to resolve future international conflicts.
Closely connected with this was the call for a replacement of the Balance of Power-System. The tenets of balance-of-power politics, which had been at the core of prewar diplomacy, „were widely discredited“ (P. O. Cohrs). The judgement that the Balance of Power-System had to be overcome was mainly held by liberals and left-wing circles in Great Britain and the United States. However, it was not supported by all European politicians, particularly not by Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. The French Premier was primarily committed to France’s securité and thus struggled to get Anglo-American guarantees in the event of future German aggression. Clemenceau stated that the Balance of Power-System „will be my guiding thought at the Peace conference“.
As will be shown, France’s need for security as well as the competing political and economic interests of the governments, time and again, challenged and thwarted the moral claims and requirements developed during World War I.
In November 1917, once in power, Lenin proclaimed not only the distribution of land to the peasants, but also the immediate end of war operations, the start of negotiations with the Central Powers (in the hope that they would be carried out on the basis of a peace without compensation and reparation and the right to self-determination for the people of Czarist Russia extended even to the right to secede from the common state. Moreover, to emphasize their break with the traditional diplomacy the Bolsheviks made public the secret treaties concluded within the Entente-alliance, based on traditional power policy and the acquisition of foreign territories. Such measures, pursued with the utmost determination, brought into effect a radical transformation in the rules of foreign policy. American President Woodrow Wilson reacted to the Bolshevik initiative with the proclamation of similar “universal” principles, such as the end of secret diplomacy, the peaceful settling of international tensions, free trade and free navigation and the implementation of governments based on the “will of the people”. Originally Wilson did not intend for this formula to include the right of secession from an existing state but rather had in mind the spread of democracy all over Europe. Nevertheless, under the pressure of circumstances, Wilson was forced to guarantee self-determination (i.e. the right to secession) to several national committees, representing national groups of Austria-Hungary, thus decidedly contributing to the final collapse of this state. As is well known, Wilson’s dream of a war to end all wars, aimed to make the world “safe for democracy,” soon turned into a nightmare. Its failure was evident already in 1921, when the United States refused to enter the League of Nations. But, the “right of self-determination” survived the fiasco of the ambitious Wilsonian visions, and was coherently claimed by the defeated states pursuing revisionist aims. The most prominent advocate of self-determination was not surprisingly Germany. To conclude, a principle formulated with the aim of spreading democracy all over the old Continent, contributed, in the end, to the outbreak of the most appalling conflict the world has hitherto experienced.
1914 bezeichnete der deutsche Altphilologe Hermann Diels den Beginn des Ersten Weltkrieges als eine „Katastrophe für die Wissenschaft“. Tatsächlich beendete der Weltenbrand eine langjährige Zusammenarbeit von Rechtswissenschaftlern, die das Ziel verfolgt hatte, internationale Konflikte rechtlich zu normieren. An deren Stelle trat für die meisten der Männer eine mehr oder weniger aktive Beteiligung an den jeweiligen nationalen Kriegsanstrengungen, meist in Form von Beiträgen in Zeitungen und Zeitschriften, in welchen die Rechtmässigkeit des eigenen und die Unrechtmässigkeit des gegnerischen Standpunktes betont wurde. Der vorliegende Beitrag fragt nun nach der Rolle von Rechtsstaat und Vergeltung am Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges in der an dessen Ende wieder aufflammenden rechtswissenschaftlichen Debatte und thematisiert, wie diese Debatte die Diskussionen um mögliche Strafartikel in den Pariser Friedensverträgen beeinflusste. In transnationaler Perspektive sollen dabei Entwicklungen in Grossbritannien, Frankreich, den USA sowie dem Deutschen und dem Osmanischen Reich in den Fokus genommen werden.
In 1914 German classical philologist Hermann Diels called the beginning of the First World War „a catastrophe for scholarship”. Sure enough, this global conflict in most cases formed the end of a long-time collaboration of legal scholars, who had tried to create international norms for transnational disputes. Contributing articles to newspapers and journals most of the men involved joined their national war efforts claiming that their country was legally right, while the enemy was at fault. The presentation at hand will deal with the issues of the rule of law and retribution in the debate amongst legal scholars that resumed at the end of the First World War. It furthermore wonders to what extent this debate influenced the discussions on penalties at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. In a transnational perspective the focus will be on developments in Great Britain, France, the United States as well as the German and Ottoman Empire.
Austria´s debate about war atrocities in international context (1918 to 1922)
Taking up Daniel Marc Segesser´s presentation the second part of this thematic focus turns to the Alpine republic. First this contribution wonders, whether there was any international or transnational background to the respective discussions in the crisis-ridden post-imperial Austrian society. From this perspective two specific time periods leading up to the early 1930s can be identified. The first was characterised by endeavours of the Allied Powers to take former German and Austrian elites to court for triggering the armed confrontation of 1914-1918 and for war crimes of that period. At the same time, controversies surrounding the so called `Commission for Inquiries about Breaches of (Military) Duty` (Pflichtverletzungskommission) mirrored political antagonisms and irreconcilable cultures of remembrance at the national level. Thus, the situation up to the mid-1920ties will be at the centre of the considerations, while the second phase, starting with a gradually prevailing pro-Habsburg discourse, after that left hardly any room for differentiated or critical approaches to the theme.
Montag, 5. November 2018, Nachmittag (14:00-17:30)
As the military war drew to a close in November 1918, Austrians continued to feel the presence of war in their everyday lives. The end of war marked not an end to suffering but its persistence. This paper argues that as a lived experience, the period after 1918 was, for the majority of the population of the capital city (those who had not been expelled), a period of remarkable continuity. Central features of everyday life closely resembled those of the later war years. Many of Vienna’s wartime conflicts were woven, unresolved, into the fabric of political life in the postwar period. The paper examines four realms of everyday life where clear continuities span pre and post 1918: food provisioning; creation of community – insiders/outsiders; street violence; and citizens’ expectations of what the new state could and should do for them. Using press reports and citizens’ letters to state authorities, the paper is attuned to the ways people used a language of war—a war vocabulary—to express their degrees of suffering.
In the postwar years it was not up for discussion among Austrian demographers, that the Republic of Austria was an overpopulated new state. At the end of World War I. Austria was more or less totally cut off from its most important “granaries”, from Hungary, Southern Bohemia and Moravia. The domestic Austrian food production that continued to shrink till 1918 was sufficient for only 25% of the urgent needs of bread and flour, one fifth of potatoes and one third of meat. Moreover the effects of the “hunger blockade” which was not lifted until March 1919 lasted, beside the fact that hunger relief from Switzland and later on the Allied powers reached Vienna since the end of December 1918. Shortcomings of transport exacerbated by lack of coal and blockade politics implemented by the governments of the successor states further hampered the situation.
In newspapers allover the world Vienna was called a moribund metropolis. But malnutrition and hunger was far from being a specific problem of Austria’s capital. Allover the urban and mountainous regions the lack of food was tremendous. Adults showed a weight loss of 10-20 kilograms after WWI, 15-year-olds an average under-weight of 10 kilograms, the average body size of Viennese children during the post-war period was reduced to the dimensions of their late 18th century contemporaries. But the shares of severe malnourished children in Wiener Neustadt, Klagenfurt and Salzburg recorded by the American Relief Administration were even higher than in Vienna.
It was mostly the chronically ill who made up the growing number of deaths among the civilian population. In the years 1912-14, 25% of TBC patients died within a year, in 1919 59%. Therefore the peak in mortality caused by the Spanish flu was less significant than in other countries. It seemed an Austrian miracle, that a famine in Winter 1918/19 could be prevented.
Obwohl Italien zu den Siegermächten des Weltkriegs gehörte, verschärften sich seine Probleme in der Nachkriegskrise aus äusseren (vermeintliche „vittoria mutilata“) und inneren Gründen massiv. Zu letzteren gehörte der rabiate Gewalteinsatz der faschistischen Squadre gegen die vorgeblich bolschewistischen Sozialisten. Wegen einer Reihe falscher Entscheide der verschiedenen Regierungen seit Kriegsende und unter Beihilfe des Königs kam es Ende Oktober 1922 zur Berufung Mussolinis zum Ministerpräsidenten und - nach einer spektakulären Regimekrise in der 2. Hälfte 1924 - ab 1925 zum Aufbau der faschistischen Diktatur. Die Errichtung des totalitären Staates war 1929 im Wesentlichen abgeschlossen, worauf in den 1930erjahren der Weg zu einem Mittelmeer-Imperium eingeschlagen wurde und in der Katastrophe des 2. Weltkriegs endete.
Die Nachkriegskrise des besiegten Österreich war wohl dramatischer, aber der Weg in eine eigene, an die faschistisch-italienische angelehnte Diktatur dauerte länger und bog 1938 abrupt zur Nazi-Diktatur ab. Das Elend der österreichischen Nachkriegs-Gesellschaft dürfte nach einem langen und verlorenen Krieg primär grösser gewesen sein als das der italienischen, zumal der Absturz von alter Grösse in die krisenhafte Bedeutungslosigkeit einer Republik, der man die Lebensfähigkeit absprach, traumatischer erschien. In Wahrheit befand sich aber auch das durch die Rückständigkeit des Mezzogiorno zusätzlich belastete Italien wegen der politischen Unrast der von der Kriegsbeute enttäuschten bürgerlichen Schichten und der von der Kriegsführung missbrauchten Bauern sofort in einem die Vorkriegskrise fortsetzenden Krisenmodus, aus dem einzig die starke Hand des „Duce“ herauszuführen schien, sofern man sich ins System einfügte. Vergleichsweise gelang die spätere österreichische Variante, ihrerseits aus bürgerkriegsähnlichen Auseinandersetzungen hervorgegangen, nur unvollständig.
Although Italy was one of the victors of the World War, during the postwar crisis its problems intensified for external (the putative “vittoria mutilata”) and internal reasons. The latter included the brutal use of force by the fascist squadre against those they accused of being Bolshevik socialists. A series of wrong decisions by the various governments after the end of the war and the support of the King resulted in Mussolini being appointed prime minister at the end of October 1922 and, following a spectacular crisis for the regime in the 2nd half of 1924, the subsequent development of the fascist dictatorship from 1925 on. By 1929 the founding of the totalitarian state was essentially compete, whereupon, during the 1930s, it embarked upon its campaign to create a Mediterranean empire, which ended in the catastrophe of the 2nd World War.
The postwar crisis in the defeated Austria may have been more dramatic, but the development of its own dictatorship, modelled on the Italian fascist dictatorship, took somewhat longer and in 1938 took an abrupt turn towards the Nazi dictatorship. After a long and unsuccessful war, the misery of the postwar society in Austria should have been more extreme than that in Italy, especially since the decline from being a great power to the calamitous insignificance of a republic which was not even considered viable seemed more traumatic. In reality, however, thanks to the political unrest of the middle classes, disappointed with the spoils of war, and the farmers who had been ill-used by the authorities during the war, Italy, burdened still further by the backward nature of the Mezzogiorno, immediately found itself back in the same crisis mode that had prevailed in the pre-war era, from which only the strong hand of the “Duce” seemed able to extricate it, provided one integrated into the system. By comparison, the later Austrian version, itself the result of civil war style conflicts, seems less than complete.
Das 1918 aus dem verlorenen Krieg und dem Zusammenbruch der Habsburgermonarchie hervorgegangene Österreich war zweifellos der Hauptverlierer des Ersten Weltkriegs, obwohl die Republik (Deutsch)Österreich den statistischen Kennzahlen zufolge der reichste Erbe des Habsburgerreiches hätte sein können, mit dem, nach Vorkriegsdaten gerechnet, höchsten Pro-Kopf-Einkommen und Volksvermögen pro Kopf, und sicher auch mit dem höchsten Sozialkapital, dem besten Bildungsniveau, dem besten Verwaltungsapparat, den meisten Universitätsprofessoren und den ausgezeichnetsten kulturellen Kapazitäten.
Aber anders als Deutschland war Österreich wirklich nur ein kleiner Rest früherer Größe. Während Deutschland, obwohl besiegt, ein Großstaat geblieben war und nur ein Achtel seines Gebietes und noch deutlich weniger seiner Wirtschaftskraft verloren hatte, war Österreich auf etwa ein Achtel seiner ursprünglichen Fläche und Bevölkerungszahl reduziert und wurde die Habsburgermonarchie unter sechs Nachfolgestaaten zerstückelt. Das musste für alle Nachfolgestaaten dramatische Auswirkungen auf das Sozialprodukt, die Infrastruktur, den Handelsverkehr und den generellen Lebensstandard haben. Bei Österreich fehlten aber im Unterschied zur Tschechoslowakei oder zu Polen auch das Gefühl einer Befreiung und die Euphorie einer Staatsgründung. Auch bei Ungarn wurde der Verlust eines Großteils seines Territoriums durch das Gefühl nun völliger Unabhängigkeit von Österreich zumindest ein bisschen wettgemacht.
Österreichs Wirtschaft in der Zwischenkriegszeit war keine Erfolgsgeschichte. Das war wahrscheinlich gar nicht zu erwarten. Aber man kann besondere Problemzonen benennen. Den Ausweg in einer Hyperinflation zu suchen, mag solch ein Fehler gewesen sein, auch wenn er dem Land wahrscheinlich den Aufstand der Arbeiterschaft ersparte. Andererseits wurde damit die Entwurzelung des Kleinbürgertums grundgelegt und der Aufstieg eines unheilvollen Finanzabenteurertums möglich. Das förderte Großmannssucht, nicht nur bei kleinen Provinzbanken und schnellen Spekulanten, sondern auch bei den alten Bankinstituten. Eine nicht enden wollende Kette von Finanzkollapsen entzog dem produzierenden, durchaus produktiven Sektor die finanzielle Basis, begünstigte den Antisemitismus, führte zum Vertrauensverlust in die Demokratie und zur Förderung antidemokratischer Kräfte, auch durch jüdische Großkapitalisten wie Rudolf Sieghart oder Louis Rothschild.
Die neue Republik (Deutsch)Österreich wurde, wie Lothar Höbelt in seinem neuen Buch zutreffend festgestellt hat, als Provisorium empfunden, auch wenn er es als guter Deutschliberaler offen lässt, wann aus dem Provisorium ein Definitivum geworden sei. Österreich war ein Provisorium: mit umstrittenen Grenzen, umstrittener Lebensfähigkeit, umstrittener Verfassung, umstrittener Hymne und umstrittener Identität.
Insofern ist es, verglichen zu den Entwicklungen in den Nachbarstaaten, eher überraschend, wie lange sich in Österreich die Demokratie behaupten konnte, angesichts der faschistischen Machtübernahme in Italien, dem Bolschewismus in Russland, den autoritären Diktaturen in Ungarn, Polen, Jugoslawien, Rumänien und dem Aufstieg der Nationalsozialisten und Hitlers in Deutschland.
The Austria which emerged in 1918 from defeat in the war and the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy was undoubtedly the biggest loser of the First World War, despite the fact that, based on the statistical key performance indicators, the (German) Austrian Republic could have been the richest heir of the Habsburg Empire, with, according to the pre-war data, the highest per capita income, the highest level of national wealth per capita, the highest level of social capital, the highest level of education, the best administrative apparatus, the highest number of university professors and the best cultural resources.
However, unlike Germany, Austria was really only a small remnant of a former great nation. Whilst, despite being defeated, Germany remained a great nation and lost only an eighth of its territory and much less of its economic strength, Austria was reduced to around one eighth of its original area and population and the Habsburg Empire was divided up into six successor states. This must have had dramatic consequences for the national product, the infrastructure, trade and general living standards for all of the successor states. In contrast to Czechoslovakia and Poland, however, in Austria the sense of being liberated and the euphoria of founding a nation were missing. Even in Hungary, the loss of a large proportion of its territory was at least somewhat mitigated by the sensation of now being completely independent from Austria.
Austria's economy during the interwar era was no success story. This was probably quite unexpected, but certain problem areas can be identified. Seeking a way out through hyperinflation may have been one such error, even if it almost certainly spared the country an uprising by the workers. On the other hand, it laid the foundations for the uprooting of the petty bourgeois and paved the way for an ominous financial adventurism. This encouraged a craving for greatness, not only among provincial banks and speculators looking for a quick profit, but also amongst established banks. A series of financial collapses to which there seemed no end pulled the financial rug out from under the highly productive manufacturing sector, fostering anti-Semitism, and giving rise to a loss of faith in democracy and support for anti-democratic powers, including from major Jewish capitalists such as Rudolf Sieghart and Louis Rothschild.
The new Republic of (German) Austria was felt to be a temporary measure, as Lothar Höbelt correctly states in his book, even if he, as a good German liberal, leaves the matter of when the temporary became permanent open. Austria was a temporary measure, whose borders, viability, constitution, anthem and identity were all controversial.
From this point of view, when compared to developments in the neighbouring states, it is surprising how long democracy was able to prevail in Austria in view of the fascist takeover of power in Italy, Bolshevism in Russia, the authoritarian dictatorships in Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia and Romania and the rise of the National Socialists and Hitler in Germany.
Das ‚Traumland‘ der unmittelbaren Nachkriegszeit war von einer utopischen Denkweise geprägt. Diese konnte entweder die Form einer verschärften Nostalgie für eine verklärte Vorkriegszeit annehmen, oder richtete sich nach vorwärts, getragen vom Wunsch nach einer transformieren Gesellschaftsordnung. Diese Widersprüche führten zu Spannungen, die im umkämpften Bereich Geschlechterbeziehungen und -normen besonders deutlich zu erkennen sind. Auf der einen Seite wurde eine Wiederherstellung und Verfestigung traditioneller Geschlechterrollen angestrebt, während auf der anderen Seite eine Verwandlung der Geschlechternormen als wesentlichen Teil der gesellschaftlichen Erneuerung wünschenswert schien. Auch fortschrittliche Gruppen, die in vielerlei Hinsicht eine radikale Umwandlung der Gesellschaft erstrebten, konnten gleichzeitig an traditionellen, ‚natürlichen‘ Geschlechternormen festhalten. Besonders nationalistische Frauengruppen sahen auch in festgelegten naturbedingten Geschlechterrollen eine Gewähr für ihre Sicherheit und Autonomie in Haushalt und Familie.
In diesem Vortrag werden jene Aspekte der Nachkriegszeit erörtert, bei denen transformatives auf traditionelles Denken traf, beziehungsweise der Versuch, eine neue gesellschaftliche Normalität ohne Geschlechterhierarchien zu erschaffen, sich an Praktiken stieß (insb. bei Demobilmachung und Heimkehr der Soldaten), die genau diese Hierarchien bestätigten. Den Versuchen, das Neue zu normalisieren, wurde Normalisierung als Wiederherstellung eines alten Systems entgegengesetzt. Das bedeutete Tendenzen zur Verdrängung von Frauen aus ihren erst zögerlich eroberten Plätzen in der Politik, im Erwerbsleben und der Gesellschaft. Wo ein völliges Verdrängen der Frauen aus dem öffentlichen Leben nicht mehr möglich war, sollten sie durch eine Zurückweisung in angeblich frauengerechte Bereiche politisch harmlos gemacht werden.
Als potenziell transformative Elemente gelten die revolutionären Umbrüche und gesellschaftlichen Umwälzungen, die in vielen Ländern das Kriegsende prägten; sowie die erweiterten Möglichkeiten einer Frauenbeteiligung an der nationalen sowie internationalen Politik durch das Frauenwahlrecht, die internationalen Frauen- und Friedensbewegungen und den Völkerbund.
Wie haben die Frauenorganisationen auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene auf diese Widersprüche reagiert und inwiefern konnten sie neue Freiräume für Frauen verteidigen und gerechtere Geschlechterverhältnisse normalisieren? Dem soll in meinem Vortrag nachgegangen werden.
The ‘Dreamland’ of the immediate postwar period was characterised by a utopian way of thinking. This either took the form of an increased nostalgia for a romanticised pre-war era or became forward looking, borne aloft by a desire for a new social order. These contradictions resulted in tensions, which were particularly evident in the controversial field of gender relations and norms. On the one hand, there was an attempt to restore and cement traditional gender roles, whilst on the other, a change in gender norms was considered a desirable and essential element of social renewal. Even progressive groups, which in many respects strove to achieve radical social change, concurrently espoused traditional, ‘natural’ gender norms. Nationalistic women’s groups in particular saw clearly defined, natural gender roles as a guarantee of their security and autonomy within their household and family.
This lecture will explore those aspects of the postwar era where transformative and traditional ways of thinking clashed and where the attempt to create a new social norm without gender hierarchies ran up against standard practices (particularly in connection with demobilisation and the return of the soldiers) which confirmed precisely these hierarchies. The attempt to normalise the new was opposed by normalisation as the restoration of the old system. This meant a tendency to oust women from the positions they had initially assumed only hesitantly in politics, in employment and in society. Where women could not be entirely deposed from public life, they were to be rendered politically harmless by being pushed back into what were considered proper spheres for women.
A potentially transformative element was the revolutionary upheavals and the societal changes which characterised the end of the war in many countries, as well as the greater opportunities for women to get involved in national and international politics due to women’s suffrage, the international women's and peace movements and the League of Nations.
How did women's organisations react to these contradictions on the national and international level and to what extent were they able to defend the new freedoms enjoyed by women and normalise a more equitable balance between the genders? This is what I intend to explore in my lecture.
Against the background of what Ingrid Sharp develops in her presentation, this part of the panel will elaborate the topic of male and female war returnees by focusing on the example of the First Austrian Republic: How were the surviving former soldiers, including those who came home as life-long invalids, as well as the non-combatants who had also participated in war, such as the many war nurses or members of the Women´s Auxiliary Labor Force, demobilized and integrated into the postwar society here? Did this really work, which limits, problems, mental or psychological long-term consequences of the war experience acted as barriers? And which gendered concepts of de-militarization and normalization were at the basis of related measures, for example at the level of the job market, social legislation, the fast-growing invalid or war victim associations? How did the dis/integration of war returnees work on a more individual, emotional level, what can we learn from autobiographical texts in this regard?
As different as these various fields of the post-war process of normalization may be: what seems to connect them is the continued centrality and power of the traditional hierarchical and polarized bourgeois family model, with the male bread winner and head of the household on the one hand, and the loving and caring wife and mother more or less confined to the private sphere on the other. This model massively influenced attempts to integrate war returnees, or measures to establish a new postwar-order on this basis – and disregarded the many women who had lost their husbands during the war, or who worked and lived as single women for other reasons, regardless too of the female suffrage introduced in November 1918 and the model of the “New Women”, which had gained ground/traction in at least some sections of society.
The signing of the armistices in November 1918 did not end war in Europe. As proved by recent scholarship, the conclusion of the Great War actually unleashed unprecedented levels of political violence, civil conflicts and actual wars, in which militias, paramilitary groups and private armies played a crucial role. At the same time, the forms of post-war violence were not the same everywhere. Significant divides emerged between Western and Central-Eastern Europe. The devastating impact of defeat produced not only the collapse of multi-national empires but also atrocious internal conflicts in vast zones of the former Tsarist Empire and civil wars in former Imperial German and Austro-Hungarian lands. However, the fracture was not simply between victorious and defeated powers. While most of the victorious powers apparently did not suffer much from the aftermath of the War, in Western Europe we find two major exceptions: Italy (a victorious country) and Spain (a neutral country). Victory in the War or even neutrality did not prevent the two countries from experiencing high levels of political violence and forms of paramilitarism, followed by the establishment of dictatorial regimes. The Italian case is particularly interesting and central, of course, because of Fascism, which was surely the product of the conflict but also a response to enduring conflicts. In both cases, the war experience froze or even fueled social conflicts and forms of political violence while militias and vigilante groups, which were already present before the outbreak of the conflict, were reactivated.
This paper argues that in order to explain the vast phenomenon of post-WWI political radicalization some distinctions should be adopted. While it is crucial and unavoidable to look at the impact of the conflict, and its consequences, the processes of militarization, political and national radicalization that characterized post-WWI Europe can be explained only by looking back also to the shining years of the Belle Époque.
The paper will complement Matteo Milan´s contribution with a look at the connection between war victory and post-war violence in East-Central Europe. Here, as elsewhere in Europe, some of the interwar states emerged from the destructive conflict as losers, while others drew their legitimacy from their status of war winners. Recent scholarship has already elaborated in detail on the level and meanings of paramilitary violence in the losing states, but we know less about its role in the winning states. Hence, the paper will aim to analyze the interplay between the official “culture of victory” with the regionalized cases of the “culture of defeat.” It will look at how war victory, rather than resolving divisions in post-war states and societies in the region, actually inflamed them: creating an impetus towards further violence and social disintegration. Its chief contention is that cultures of a war victory, although asserted as powerful factors of cultural and societal integration (especially by state-builders in the interwar period), are also divisive and unsettling forces in post-war societies.
6. November 2018, Vormittag (09:00-13:00)
The opposition between an emergent European memory culture centered around the Holocaust and postcommunist mnemonic practices has animated discussions of remembrance and memorialization for well over a decade in the European Union and beyond. Reflections about this “fault line” of collective memory highlight the divergent histories and reflexive practices on the two sides of the former Iron Curtain, focusing on the “memory competition” between a culture of contrition and a culture of victimhood, seen as prevailing in countries of the “West” and the “East”, respectively. While aspects of the “Gulag versus Holocaust” discourse can and should be critiqued, there can be no denying of the productivity the idea within the rapidly expanding field of memory studies.
Compared to the lively discussion about the memorialization of totalitarian pasts, World War I has received comparatively less attention despite the centennial anniversary – if not in academic production, certainly in broader debates shaped by public intellectuals and memory entrepreneurs. The Great War figures as an important, yet not entirely autonomous component in the frequently quoted thesis about the “seven circles” of European memory (C. Leggewie), where it functions as a synecdoche referencing the experience of modern warfare and mass casualties in the vortices of general mobilizations in industrial societies going to war. This reading, however, reflects almost exclusively on warfare (often from a sociological perspective) and not on political outcomes, which constitutes an important aspect of the cleavage between “Western front” and “Eastern theater” in canons of memory.
The broadly “Western” and transnational memory of the Great War has preserved the experiences of the frontlines, the mass mobilizations and their impact on the home front, as well as the experiences of the losses. These have been buttressed by national mnemonic practices, including the theorizing about the supposed “Republican consent” in France (extended by soldiers and their families to the nation), the myth of transcending class divisions through camaraderie in the UK and the fate suffered by the Belgian population, recounted in the mode of a passion play, inter alia. Even German interwar memory included strong emancipatory components and a spirit of a new community of equals, of brothers in arms tested in the hell of the trenches, was often incorporated into Weimar-era conservative revolutionary reflections.
In this presentation, I first survey the Western European canons of memory. The survey underpins the argument according to which west of the river Elbe the modern-age process of state-formation had largely taken place before the Great War and the memory of the war was therefore first embedded into thinking about how these national societies were to constitute themselves after the era of 19th century elitist liberal hegemony. Later, especially in the post-1945 liberal democratic era this reflection shifted and was reconstituted to fit the dual themes of building peaceful democracies in domestic politics and a transnational solidarity of European nations that have all suffered horrendously in war. Throughout these subsequent processes, the experience of war was more constitutive than the stock-taking related to its international political outcome.
The second movement of the presentation contrasts the above constellation of emergent memory canons with the situation of new or newly enlarged countries after 1918 in the “East”. There, state formation received a decisive push with (and not before) the conclusion of World War I. The peoples of the “Lands in Between” or “Zwischeneuropa” were led by their élites in the years 198-1920, if not in deed at least in word, towards the aim of achieving an “ordered” political existence grounded in states upheld by titular nations – political orders that Western nations had carved out for themselves in the preceding centuries. As a result, both the multitude of “victors” and the few “losers” – made up of rump Austria and Hungary, as well as Bulgaria – saw the War gain significance and meaning first and foremost by virtue of the political outcomes and awards of territory it produced.
The processes of belated state formation in the “East” sustained and occasionally even reinforced narratives built on masculine languages of heroic sacrifice and risk-taking for the nation. It was these mythologies that were becoming subverted, at least in part and in some contexts, by various popular memories of the war in the “old” half of the continent. The “new half”, of course, carried the same layers of subversive memory in its fabric, as for instance peasants recalled amongst themselves the horrors of the trenches (most apparent perhaps in the refusal by Bulgarian agrarian populists to glorify wartime efforts), but the ascendant élites proved highly successful in muting grass roots memory and disseminating the heroic narrative in the course of subsequent decades. The relative weakness of civil society in the new nation-states – with the exception perhaps of Austria and the Czecho-Moravian lands of Czechoslovakia – facilitated the organization of memory in a far more top-down fashion. This is illustrated in the presentation especially with regard to Hungary’s dismemberment myths and the memorialization of the war in the Horthy era and through the Romanian mythology of the Great Union of 1918, leading to the formation of Greater Romania.
The final movement of the presentation focuses on post-1945 mnemonic practices. It highlights how the memory of WWI became the European testing ground for novel modes of transnational remembering at a time when World War II canons of memory had not yet been sufficiently consolidated. Positioning the Great War as the moment of the continental “suicide” and ushering in the age of extremes, it gained a special position in transnational European memory culture as the symbolic lapsus of modernity and of the nation-state during the post-1945 decades. It was this special position that marked out the place of the Great War as a counterpoint to the process of integration in the romance-type emplotment of modernity that has become the semi-official reading of European history through both key speeches (such as EC President Van Rompuy accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the European Union) and the opening of the House of European History.
During these crucial and transformative decades for memory work in the democratic half of Europe, the memory of the Great War existed in limbo in the Soviet bloc. Officially sidelined in the master narrative of dialectical progress and historical materialism, it figured in interpretations as a bourgeois conflict that had its world historical significance in the crisis it brought about and which created the preconditions for the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. At the same time, the nationalization of communist rule, a creeping ideological transformation in several of the small nation states in Soviet orbit, commenced the resuscitation of the nationalist heroic narratives of the interwar period especially through the medium of popular culture. This process culminated in the post-1989 memory landscape of postcommunist Europe, where the re-confirmation of sovereignty and statehood became the central goal of various state-sponsored and also societal mnemonic practices.
Due to the different historical constellations and the divergent political history of the hundred years after the Great War, a silent cleavage about the character and significance of World War I persists in Europe. Less immediately relevant to the current discussions about illiberalism and populism and consequently less prominent in our understanding of the fault lines dissecting a nominally united Europe, it nevertheless animates thinking about state and nation, as well as the relationship between the individual and political collectivities. While European academics have been largely successful in adopting a shared language to present research and findings about the effect of modernity on people during a time of systemic conflict, the production of popular culture and the memory industry have not been “united” in a similar fashion. Whereas in Western European memory canons the place of the war is marked out clearly as a signifier referencing the universality of suffering in the era of technology and mass mobilization as well as the disastrous consequences of unconditional national allegiance, the memory of the same historical event functions as the foundational event for political communities (or their current geographical and political iteration) in the East. The latter implies that the memory of the war has not become productive as a warning against communitarian excess and the destructive potential of the modern, cohesive nation state in many strands of remembrance entrenched in former socialist countries. The divergent canons, while not (currently) in open conflict, burden discussions both about a European past and a European future, rendering the alignment of thinking about state, nation and a supranational political community even more difficult.
Die Gründung der demokratischen Republik Österreich im November 1918 beruhte auf einem parteienübergreifenden Konsens. Ein Jahr später wurde der 12. November, der Tag der Ausrufung der Republik vor dem Parlament, zum Staatsfeiertag bestimmt. Mit dem Ende der Koalition von Christlichsozialen und Sozialdemokraten 1920 zerfiel auch der Konsens über die Republikgründung.– die Konservativen trauerten dem Zerfall der Monarchie nach, die Sozialdemokratien reklamierten die Erringung von Demokratie und Republik für sich.
Die konträren Positionen setzen sich nach 1945 fort – der 12. November blieb weiterhin Konfliktgenerator und wurde wohl deshalb nicht zum Staatsfeiertag der Zweiten Republik. Erst im Jahre 1968, 50 Jahre danach, fanden die großen politischen Lager zu einem positiven Konsens über das Gründungsdatum von Republik und Demokratie. Mit dem Streitwert verblasste aber auch die Aufmerksamkeit für den 12. November, das Datum wurde friktionsfrei in das Kalendarium patriotischer-nationaler Sinnstiftung integriert.
Im Gedenk- und Jubiläumsjahr 2018 gewinnt der 12. November neue Relevanz jenseits des Nationalen: Angesichts der zunehmenden Bedrohung durch autoritärer Tendenzen in EU-Europa verbindet sich das Gedenken an die Republikgründung mit dem Appell für die Verteidigung und Stärkung demokratisch-rechtsstaatlicher Grundwerte.
The founding of the democratic Republic of Austria in November 1918 rested on a cross-party consensus. A year later, the 12 November, the day of the republic’s official proclamation, was made a national holiday.
When the coalition between the Christian Social and Social Democratic Parties ended in 1920, the consensus concerning the establishment of the republic also disintegrated. Conservatives now lamented the demise of the monarchy while the Social Democrats laid claim to the achievement of having brought democracy and a republican constitution to Austria.
These contradictory assessments survived beyond 1945. The 12 November continued to generate controversy and, presumably for this reason, was not made a national holiday in the Second Republic.
Only in 1968, fifty years after the fact, did the main political camps achieve a new consensus regarding the date on which Austria had become a democratic republic. Yet as the potential for conflict faded, so too did interest in the day itself and the date was seamlessly integrated into the diary of events facilitating the creation of patriotic-national meaning.
In the year of the centenary of the events of 1918, the date 12 November gains new relevance, not only in a national perspective but also against the backdrop of the rise of authoritarian tendencies in the EU. Hence, the commemoration of the establishment of the republic also serves as a call for the strengthening of democratic values and the rule of law.
Der Ausgang des Ersten Weltkriegs überraschte die Bewohner Ostmitteleuropas möglicherweise noch mehr als dessen Ausbruch. Keines der Imperien, die den Konflikt begonnen hatten, zählte zu den Gewinnern, mehr noch, sie hörten auf zu existieren. An ihrer Stelle entstanden neue Staaten, die sich in den meisten Fällen als Nationalstaaten verstanden, obwohl sie ihrer ethnischen Zusammensetzung nach fast genauso multinational waren wie ihre Vorgänger. Dies blieb nicht ohne Folgen für die Erinnerungskulturen Ostmitteleuropas, die breite Gesellschaftsgruppen ausgrenzten oder marginalisierten. Neben oder gegen die offiziellen Feierlichkeiten, Symbole und Rituale entwickelten sich in der Zwischenkriegszeit Gruppen- und individuelle und Gegennarrative der Kriegsverlierer. Diese Erzählungen sowie die Konflikte zwischen den privilegierten und subalternen Erinnerungsgemeinschaften werden das Thema meines Beitrags sein.
The end of the First World War may have been even more of a surprise for the people of East-Central Europe than the outbreak of war. Not only did none of the empires that had started the conflict emerge as winners, but they even ceased to exist. In their place new states emerged, most of which considered themselves nation states, even though, in terms of their ethnic composition, they were just as multinational as their predecessors. This was not without consequences for the cultures of remembrance of East-Central Europe, which excluded or marginalised broad social groups. In the interwar period, alongside or in protest at the official celebrations, symbols and rituals, group, individual and counter narratives developed among the vanquished parties. These accounts and the conflicts between the privileged and the subordinate communities of remembrance will be the topic of my contribution.
Zeitgenössischen Quellen folgend kämpften im Ersten Weltkrieg an die 1,5 Million jüdische Soldaten in allen kriegführenden Armeen. Die meisten von ihnen waren Teil der russländischen, österreichischen und deutschen Armeen und verrichteten ihren Dienst an der sogenannten Ostfront. Jenen Gebieten, in denen zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts auch der Großteil der jüdischen Bevölkerung Europas lebte, weshalb Jüdinnen und Juden nicht nur als Soldaten, sondern auch als Zivilist/inn/en unmittelbar vom Krieg und seinen Zerstörungen betroffen waren.
Ausgehend davon wird dieser Beitrag der Frage nachgehen, inwieweit Jüdinnen und Juden in Zentraleuropa spezifische Kriegserfahrungen machten und ob diese wiederum in eine spezifische jüdische Kriegserinnerung nach 1918 mündeten. Diesen Fragestellungen liegt die Überlegung zu Grunde, dass Erfahrungen ebenso wie Erinnerungen als Sinnbildungsprozesse zu verstehen sind, in denen sich Erwartungen, Wahrnehmungen und Deutungen der Kriegserlebnisse widerspiegeln. Vor diesem Hintergrund ist die jüdische Kriegserfahrung und Kriegserinnerung stets eingebettet in die jüdische Emanzipationsgeschichte und die allgemeine Geschichte Zentraleuropas des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts zu betrachten.
According to contemporary sources, around 1.5 million Jewish soldiers fought in the First World War across all participating armies. Most of them were in the Russian, Austrian and German armies, serving on the so-called Eastern Front. In other words, serving in precisely those areas where the majority of Europe’s Jewish population lived at the start of the 20th century, which is why Jews were directly affected by the war and the destruction it wrought not only as soldiers, but also as civilians.
With this as the starting point, this contribution will explore the question of the extent to which Jews in Central Europe experienced war in a particular way and whether this also resulted in a specifically Jewish form of remembrance of the war after 1918. The underlying reason for asking these questions is the consideration that both experiences and remembrance should be seen as processes which enable us to make sense of things and which reflect our expectations, perceptions and interpretations of wartime experiences. Taken against this background, Jewish experiences and memories of war must always be considered within the context of the Jewish history of emancipation and the general history of Central Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
In this paper, I present a bifurcated interpretation of the history of the Great War, dividing it into two parts, the first lasting from 1914 to 1917, the second from 1918 to 1923. In this way, I want to take advantage of two major changes in historiography which have occurred in recent years: first, a shift of the geographical epicenter of the war from Paris to Warsaw, and secondly, a shift in the chronology of the war, one which recognizes its failure to end in 1918.
The interpretation I want to offer suggests that there was a crisis in 1917 which separates the first three years of the conflict from the years that followed and was largely the result of powerful economic and demographic pressures which destabilized all the combatants, though the Central powers more than the Allies. This crisis abated somewhat in the west in 1918 but continued in the east in an exacerbated form for the following five years. My claim is that the passage from wartime crisis to post-imperial, sectarian, revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence was seamless, and part of one complex but distinctive phase of European history, starting in 1918 and terminating more or less in 1923.
The unity of the period is evident in many domains, demographic, economic, and military. It is also inscribed in cultural history. Those who lived through it were well aware of the inter-connectedness of the convulsions of the period 1918-23. From Isaac Babel to Isaac Bashevis Singer to Josef Roth to Paul Valéry to Sean O’Casey to Virginia Woolf to Anna Akhmatova, there is a wealth of literary reflection on the disasters of the years 1918-23. Some like Karl Barth saw an existential crisis in these events. He used the term ‘crisis’ to mean ‘judgment’, in the original Greek sense of the term. Others like Pasternak took it to mean a fever of violence. Whatever the inflection, the term had a taste of ashes to it. Together, these writers, among others, knit together a vocabulary of crisis to describe these years, a lexicon which has long outlived them, and which is one of the lasting monuments to what I term the Second Great War.
Die Geschichtsschreibung zum Ersten Weltkrieg hat in den letzten Jahrzehnten große Wandlungen durchlebt. Von einer primär politik-, diplomatie- und militärhistorisch verstandenen Geschichte des Krieges hat sich die WK-I-Forschung in den letzten Jahren vor allem mit der alltags-, mentalitäts- und kulturhistorischen Dimension des Großen Krieges beschäftigt. Fragen der Kriegserfahrungen sowie die globale Dimension und der in Zügen „totale“ Charakter des Krieges sind zuletzt in einer Vielzahl von Studien dargelegt und exemplifiziert worden – gerade im Rahmen der verstärkten wissenschaftlichen und öffentlichen Aufmerksamkeit, die der Geschichte des Kriegs im Rahmen des Centenaires von 2014 zuteilwurde.
In ähnlicher Weise wie der Ausbruch des Krieges 1914, der anlässlich des Centenaires rund um die Schlafwandler-These des Historikers Christopher Clark eine Art neue (Kriegsschuld-)Debatte ausgelöst hat, ist auch die geschichtswissenschaftliche Interpretation des Kriegsendes sowie der deutschen und österreichischen „Revolutionen“ durchaus umstritten. Der Vortrag versucht – schlaglichtartig und thesenhaft – die Interpretation des Umbruchs im November 1918 in der deutschen und österreichischen Geschichtsschreibung vergleichend darzustellen. Im Zentrum stehen dabei zum einen thematische und methodische Trends des historiographischen Blicks auf das Phänomen im Laufe der Zeit sowie daraus resultierende Desiderata und schwarze Flecken der bisherigen Aufarbeitung. Zum anderen gilt die Aufmerksamkeit den einordnenden ‚Zuschreibungen‘ des Kriegsendes zwischen Faktoren des Bruchs und Elementen der Kontinuität sowie der Auseinandersetzung mit dem in Bezug auf die Ereignisse von 1918/19 in unterschiedlicher Weise operationalisierten Revolutionsbegriff.
In recent decades the historiography of the First World War has been subjected to major changes. From a primarily politics, diplomacy and military history-based history of the war, in recent years research into World War I has mainly dealt with the day-to-day, mental and cultural historical aspects of the Great War. Questions of experiences of the war, the global dimension and the at times “total” nature of the war have recently been presented and exemplified in a number of studies as part of the increased attention paid to the history of the war by academia and the public in response to the 2014 centenary.
Just like the outbreak of war in 1914, the centenary of which launched something of a renewed debate (on blame) in connection with historian Christopher Clark’s Sleepwalker theory, the interpretation of the end of the war and of the German and Austrian “revolutions” by the historical sciences remains controversial. This lecture attempts, by means of highlighting and theorising, to present the interpretations of the collapse of November 1918 in German and Austrian historiography in a comparative manner. The focus on the one hand is on thematic and methodological trends in the historiographical perception of the phenomenon over time and on desiderata arising therefrom, as well as on black spots in the appraisal to date. On the other hand, attention should be paid to the classifying ‘attributions’ of the end of the war to factors resulting in a rupture and elements of continuity, as well as to getting to grips with the concept of revolution which, with regard to the events of 1918/19, is employed in a range of ways.