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Sacrifice and Rebirth: The Legacy of the Last Habsburg War

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Volume 18

Austrian and Habsburg Studies

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Sacrifice and Rebirth

The Legacy of the Last Habsburg War

Edited by Mark Cornwall and John Paul Newman

306 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-848-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78533-835-9 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (March 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78238-849-4 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“…a welcome addition to the literature on the memory politics of the Great War. It offers an important contribution to a growing scholarship on interpretations of the war in Central and Eastern Europe, an area that has largely been neglected…The geographical spread of the chapters highlights important continuities that went beyond the Habsburg Empire. The volume’s innovative aspect is further assisted by the themes and topics that are covered within the chapters.” • European Review of History

“Cornwall and Newman have produced an important work on postwar memories. This volume serves as a solid first step into deeper works on the individual experiences and constructed memories of the successor states and their populations.” • Austrian History Yearbook

“…a crucial addition to the growing field of post-Habsburg studies…While other scholars and politicians shaped the broad memory of the Habsburg Empire, the veterans, commemorative committees, and memorial organizations in Sacrifice and Rebirth defined the fresher and deeper wounds of war. This book is highly recommended.” • Journal of Austrian Studies

“Both the editors and Berghahn books are to be congratulated on having produced an exceptional collection of essays for three reasons in particular. First, these essays address common questions in a highly coherent fashion. Secondly, despite their common focus, the essays offer a range of creative and sometimes new approaches to a difficult set of questions that are only now beginning to be addressed by historians. Third, this collection offers an excellent attempt to go beyond the imperial fragmentation of 1918 that created several often mutually antagonistic historiographies, and to relativize the meaning of 1918 for the region. Thus the volume helps the reader to understand several critical and influential continuities that survived the official end of empire.” • Central Europe

“By following the many ways in which the Great War was framed and interpreted all over the former Habsburg Monarchy, this collection provides a fantastic foundation for fresh and thought-provoking comparisons throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and makes a strong argument for overcoming the hitherto prevailing focus on single successor states.” H-Soz-Kult

“This volume of fascinating chapters will be welcomed by scholars and students of East Central Europe as well as by those interested in the legacy and memory of the Great War. Far too little scholarly work has engaged questions about war veterans, public grappling with the meaning of wartime sacrifice, and the memorialization of the dead in the new states that arose from the ashes of the Habsburg Monarchy.” Daniel Unowsky, University of Memphis

“This is a strong collection that fills an important gap. Though memory and memorials of the Great War have become a fashionable subject... the Habsburg lands have been largely neglected hitherto.” Robert Evans, University of Oxford


When Austria-Hungary broke up at the end of the First World War, the sacrifice of one million men who had died fighting for the Habsburg monarchy now seemed to be in vain. This book is the first of its kind to analyze how the Great War was interpreted, commemorated, or forgotten across all the ex-Habsburg territories. Each of the book’s twelve chapters focuses on a separate region, studying how the transition to peacetime was managed either by the state, by war veterans, or by national minorities. This “splintered war memory,” where some posed as victors and some as losers, does much to explain the fractious character of interwar Eastern Europe.

Mark Cornwall is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton. He is author of The Undermining of Austria-Hungary. The Battle for Hearts and Minds (2000) and The Devil’s Wall: The Nationalist Youth Mission of Heinz Rutha (2012).

John Paul Newman is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century European History at Maynooth University. He is author of Yugoslavia in the Shadow of War: Veterans and the Limits of State Building 1903-1945 (2015) and coeditor, with Julia Eichenberg, of The Great War and Veterans’ Internationalism (2013).

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


List of Illustrations
Map of Ex-Habsburg Europe in the Interwar Period

Introduction: A Conflicted and Divided Habsburg Memory
Mark Cornwall


Chapter 1. Competing Interpretations of Sacrifice in the Postwar Austrian Republic
Catherine Edgecombe and Maureen Healy

Chapter 2. “War in Peace”: Remobilization and “National Rebirth” in Austria and Hungary
Robert Gerwarth

Chapter 3. Apocalypse and the Quest for a Sudeten German Männerbund in Czechoslovakia
Mark Cornwall

Chapter 4. The Divided War Remembrance of Transylvanian Magyars
Franz Sz. Horváth


Chapter 5. Framing the Hero: Photographic Narratives of War in the Inter-War Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes
Melissa Bokovoy

Chapter 6. National Sacrifice and Regeneration: Commemorations of the Battle of Zborov in Multinational Czechoslovakia
Nancy M. Wingfield

Chapter 7. “In the Spirit of Brotherhood, United We Remain!”: The Independent Union of Czechoslovak Legionaries and the Militarist State
Katya Kocourek

Chapter 8. “Saving Greater Romania”: The Romanian Legionary Movement and the “New Man”
Rebecca Haynes


Chapter 9. Silent Liquidation? Croatian Veterans and the Margins of War Memory in Interwar Yugoslavia
John Paul Newman

Chapter 10. The Sacrificed Slovenian Memory of the Great War
Petra Svoljšak

Chapter 11. The Dead and the Living: War Veterans and Memorial Culture in Inter-War Polish Galicia
Christoph Mick

Chapter 12. Divided Land, Diverging Narratives: Memory Cultures of the Great War in the Successor Regions of Tyrol
Laurence Cole

Notes on Contributors
Select Bibliography

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