War and The Habsburg Monarchy: A Revisionist View

The next keynote during Conference will be Professor Pieter Judson from European University Institute. Please find the abstract for Professor Judson’s lecture below:

“War and The Habsburg Monarchy: A Revisionist View”

Official PortraitAlthough we commonly associate the First World War with the end of the Habsburg Monarchy, we rarely investigate on their own terms the specific reasons for that empire’s collapse and disappearance. In part this is because historians and propagandists of the successor states tended to frame the history of the empire in terms that justified its end as a necessary precondition to a new enlightened age of nation states. Moreover, the division of the historical profession in national schools all but guaranteed that the history of the Habsburg state (and of its end) would be written in terms of individual political nations rather than in terms of larger imperial institutions and societies.
In this talk I argue for a comparative Europeanization of the history of the Habsburg Monarchy, for its treatment by historians as a legitimate polity on its own terms, and for a comparison of its wartime strengths and weaknesses with those of other European Empires such as Britain, France, Italy, and Germany. Too often historians have treated Austria-Hungary as a political anachronism destined to fail (with or without the war), conveniently forgetting that other empires came close to collapse as well in 1917 and 1918, also Continue reading

“Going All the Way” for the People? Changes in Thought and Action Concerning Governance in World War I Germany

One of the keynote speaker during Conference will be Professor Belinda Davis, Rutgers University.

“‘Going All the Way’ for the People? Changes in Thought and Action Concerning Governance in World War I Germany”

Davis Head Shot EUIHow did the conditions of the war in Germany transform notions of “serving the country” for those already charged as servants of the state, as civil servants or mid- and low- level political office holders? What were the ramifications of these individuals’ wartime struggles with their positions and attendant commitments, in terms of their views of governance and governmentality, and how in turn did transformations in their thinking affect their actions in and out of service, during the war and then after the November 1918 revolution? This conference offers the opportunity to think broadly about the notion of “intellectuals”, a very fruitful approach permitting exploration of changing thought among highly educated individuals in influential positions in and also outside of universities.This presentation pursues this approach, using archival and especially diary and memoir sources to trace the highly ambivalent and often contradictory stances these “intellectuals of government” took in the course of the war, and to consider how their attendant actions helped and hindered popular support for the war Continue reading