UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Landscapes after the battle

03 March 2022, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

A collage of images related to conflicts of Carinthia, Eastern Hungary, and Burgenland

Veterans in the post-Habsburg borderland conflicts of Carinthia, Eastern Hungary, and Burgenland, 1918-1921. A SSEES Study of Central Europe Seminar with Dr Tamás Révész (UCL SSEES)

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During the last decade, there is a growing academic interest in the immediate post-First World War period. Scholars have highlighted the key role of this period in the brutalization of war veterans in East-Central Europe. The lecture contributes to this literature by investigating the demobilization and remobilization of the returning Austro-Hungarian veterans in the contested borderlands of Carinthia, Eastern-Hungary and Burgenland. These regions witnessed intense fighting during the immediate post-war years between the different successor states of the Habsburg Empire. The traditional national historiographies portrayed these wars – including the struggles of the Hungarian Soviet Republic – as national conflicts, where soldiers were primarily motivated to fight for their “ancient” national territories. This lecture challenges this narrative and presents these conflicts from the perspective of the common veterans. It analyses the demobilization of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers, then examines how they were remobilized to fight in these borderland wars. It aims to shed light on the common characteristics of the veterans’ experiences during these conflicts and present how they developed similar mythologies in the interwar period. By comparing the three borderlands, the lecture intends to identify the key factors which contributed to veterans’ brutalization in the region.

Image credit: 
Left image - Published by Gutenberghaus, copy from Dr. Franc Sušnik's central library of Carinthia (Slovenia) digitized by Digital Library of Slovenia, unknown author, Wikimedia.
Middle image - Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum, Europeana.
Right image - Volksabstimmung 1921, unknown author, Wikimedia.