The Rise of a National Army or a Colonial One? Albanian Troops in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I

Anastas Bezha
Doctoral School of History, University of Szeged
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 1  (2022):141-168 DOI 10.38145/2022.1.141

The article discusses the under-researched topic of the Albanian troops in the Austro-Hungarian military during World War One. The topic represents a forgotten moment in World War One Balkan historiography, and it is also an unstudied colonial example. Based on English, Hungarian, and German archival and secondary sources, the article first provides a short historical description of the Albanian fighting units under the Ottoman Empire, their organization, and their infamously bellicose nature, up until the independence of the country. The paper then analyzes how these units became part of the Great War (despite the fact that the country itself remained neutral) under the Austro-Hungarian Army; first, as irregular fighting troops (Freischärler Albanien) between 1914 and 1916 and later as ethnical regimental units (Albanisches Korps or Albanische Abteilungen) between 1916 and 1918. Finally, the article compares the Albanian troops to other colonial forces of the time, including how these Albanian units were recruited, trained, and used in the battlefields with the purpose of creating a sense of loyalty to the Habsburg Monarchy. The case study of the Albanian Corps is a prime example of how the inability to ensure safety by force in a newly created state met with the geo-strategic and war necessities of a Great Power through colonial martial practices disguised as transnational help.
Keywords: World War I, Austria-Hungary, Albania, national and transnational army, colonial army, colonial practices

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Nationalizing Habsburg Regimental Tradition in Interwar Czechoslovakia

Kevin J. Hoeper
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 1  (2022):169-204 DOI 10.38145/2022.1.169

In interwar Czechoslovakia, the construction of a well-founded military establishment was a core component of the state building process. Reflecting broader trends across the post-imperial, particularly post-Habsburg space, Czechoslovak state builders deployed a rhetoric of radical military transformation predicated in part on a rejection of the imperial military legacy. As this article shows, however, certain elements of Habsburg military tradition survived the transition from empire to nation-state. Focusing on the legacy of Bohemia’s old Habsburg regiments, I argue that “imperial” military tradition could be adapted for use in the new republic through a process of selective reimagining. During the interwar period, regimental groups consisting of Czech-speaking Habsburg veterans dedicated considerable time and energy to the project of “nationalizing” Habsburg regimental tradition. By emphasizing the historically Czech character of their former regiments within the broader Habsburg military establishment, these veterans’ groups provided a means by which Bohemia’s old imperial regiments could be incorporated, conceptually, into prevailing interwar narratives of Czech military heritage.
Keywords: Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia, military tradition, veterans, regiment

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Patriotism, Nation, and Masculinity in the Official Propaganda of the Hungarian Insurrectio during the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809)

Ágoston Nagy
University of Public Service, Budapest
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 1  (2022):3-43 DOI 10.38145/2022.1.3

During the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809), the idea of “national war” was put into practice in the Austrian Empire. Not only the Habsburg military system was reformed, but the war was accompanied by an extensive propaganda campaign, implemented by intellectuals in the service of the Viennese Court. In Hungary, the palatine, Archduke Joseph was responsible for harmonizing the military innovations with the constitutional traditions of the country. The mobilization was carried out mainly by the partly modernized insurrectio, which obliged the masses of nobility to do personal military service in exchange for their privileges. This anachronistic means of defense tried to satisfy, lopsidedly, the demand of manpower in an age of mass warfare. Consequently, the imperial propaganda also had to be adapted to the particular Hungarian situation. This paper investigates this unique Hungarian situation, through analysing the relationship between the military mobilization of the nobility by the insurrectio and the efforts of the official propaganda to construct a valorous and patriotic self-image of the Hungarian nation. First, the study analyses the limited reforms concerning the traditional system of defence of the estates. Second, it presents how the official propaganda of the insurrectio shaped the ideal image of the “noble warrior” on national level in the periods of mobilization, war and demobilization. Third, it discusses the cult of heroes and the fallen of the insurrectio both on national and local (county) level. It argues that this cult proved short-lived in the long run because of the defeat of Austria, the shortness of the war, the uneven involvement of the counties in fighting, and so forth. The paper concludes that the insurrectio of 1809, which was the last great moment of the military mobilization and the valorous patriotic-national ideology of the nobility, did not fit the modern nation-building process and therefore has never incorporated into the Hungarian nationalism as a true “national war.”

Keywords: Patriotism, nation-building, nobility, Napoleonic wars, propaganda, Kingdom of Hungary, Austrian Empire, cult of heroes, mobilization

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The Austro-Sardinian War (1859) and the Seven Weeks’ War (1866) in Habsburg Schoolbooks

Yulia But
Ural Federal University
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 1  (2022):44-70 DOI 10.38145/2022.1.44

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Habsburg government had a very complicated task of inventing some form of supranational identity as an alternative to nationalist programs in Cisleithania. It sought to craft this supranational identity first and foremost as part of the self-images of schoolchildren as future citizens. One of the major ways to create and solidify a notion of a common “Austrian” identity in school history classes was to highlight the Habsburg wars, triumphal and bloody battles, and military heroes as reminders of an integrated supranational past. Official instructions obliged teachers to emphasize the “heroic times of Austria,” its “glorious battles,” and its “valiant wars,” as emphasis on these episodes of the past, it was hoped, would further the development of “the idea of the integrated statehood in Austria.” In this article, I offer an example of this cult of the Austrian wars in school education by the ways in which the wars fought during the early period of Francis Joseph’s rule, namely, the Sardinian war of 1859 and the Seven Weeks’ War of 1866, were taught to later generations of schoolchildren. Ironically, the fact that Austria lost these wars was humiliating. Nevertheless, during the late period of Francis Joseph’s rule, narratives and visual depictions of the events of these wars in schoolbooks strongly contributed to the formation of a heroic image of the Austrian army and to the idea of just Habsburg rule. I focus in my discussion first on how the accounts of the wars in schoolbooks deviated from the historical facts and, second, on how these accounts nonetheless furthered the emergence of the “Austrian” identity.

Keywords: Habsburg Monarchy, Austria-Hungary, Francis Joseph, supranational identity, history of education, schoolbooks, history lessons

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Heroes of the Imagined Communities, Soldiers, and the Military: The Case of Montenegro, the Ottoman Empire, and Serbia before the Balkan Wars (1912–13)

Jovo Miladinović
University of Konstanz
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 1  (2022):105-140 DOI 10.38145/2022.1.105

The article illustrates the policy of wielding the hero as a symbolic political and nationalizing instrument in the Montenegrin, Ottoman, and Serbian armies before the Balkan Wars. The heroic became an integral part of other social disciplines (such as schools). Besides standing in a clear interdependent relationship, these social disciplines represented a necessary result of various centralizing processes of the governing elites. The primary efforts for the nationalization of the population were undertaken in the pre-/post-military life, in which the role of different state agents was equally important. Hence, the grid of the social disciplines became ever denser, which led to the uniformity of the heroic. This process enabled the legitimization of the ruling elites, subsequent actions in war, and heroization among recruits. The article argues that uniformity of the heroic is lacking in the Ottoman context. Given the ideological context and intellectual background of the preachers of nationalism, the consistency of the Ottoman heroic narrative before, during, and after military service is missing. The article shows that the so-called medievalism closely linked to the heroic offered a framework for constructing continuity between the immediate and distant past, providing meaning to someone’s death. A link between the past, the present, and the future was established, which constructed the nation’s primordial character and the feeling of ancient hatred towards an imaginary enemy.

Keywords: heroic, military, Montenegro, Ottoman Empire, Serbia, soldiers

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Military Veterans’ Associations in the Kingdom of Hungary (1868–1914)

Balázs Tangl
Savaria Museum, Szombathely
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 11 Issue 1  (2022):71-104 DOI 10.38145/2022.1.71

One of the typical social consequences of the introduction of compulsory conscription and mass politics in nineteenth century Europe was the emergence of veterans organizations. This study examines the veterans’ movement in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1867 and 1914. While in Europe and Imperial Austria the widespread military veterans’ organizations were important actors in the relationship between the military and the civilian sphere and also in state policy, in Hungary their spread remained limited. However, their operation, specific ideology and also their reception in local society can provide important lessons about the impact of the military on society, and the forms and workings of loyalty and nationalism in Hungary.
The study consists of two main parts. First, it examines the prevalence and main characteristics of the associations: where and when were they founded, for what purpose were they established, how the state treated them, what social groups did them consist of, and finally how did all this relate to the other half of the empire? The second part of the study presents the activities of veterans’ associations in Hungarian society by drawing on the example of town of Szombathely and Vas County in western Transdanubia. It analyses what activities did they perform in everyday life, what ideologies did they follow, how did they get involved in the life of the local society, and what was their reception in local civil society and administration?
Keywords: Austria-Hungary, Hungary, military veterans’ association, militarism, civil-military relation, veterans

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Foreign Investments and Socialist Enterprise in Slovenia (Yugoslavia): The Case of the Kolektor Company

Zarko Lazarevic
Institute of Contemporary History, Ljubljana / University of Primorska, Koper
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Hungarian Historical Review Volume 10 Issue 3  (2021):556-580 DOI 10.38145/2021.3.556

In this article, I examine foreign investment in the socialist enterprise in the former Yugoslavia based on the case study of Kolektor in the context of the liberalized communist social and economic order. Foreign investments were allowed in the form of joint ventures. I present these investments from the viewpoint of economic reforms, the concept of socialist enterprise, and the concept of economic development, which enabled foreign investments and shaped regulation and the structure of foreign investments in Yugoslavia. The history of the case of Kolektor began at a time when Slovenia still belonged to the former Yugoslavia, which was arguably a liberalized type of communist economic system. This was during the Cold War, when both Europe and the rest of the world were divided essentially along the lines of the communist east and the capitalist west. The Kolektor Company was established in 1963 as a state socialist enterprise for the manufacture of the rotary electrical switches known as commutators. From the outset, the company tried to establish international cooperation to acquire modern technology. In 1968, it reached an agreement with the West German Company Kautt & Bux, which at the time was the technological and market leader in the production of commutators. Kautt & Bux invested in Kolektor and became an owner of 49 percent of the company. The investment proved very profitable for both partners. The Slovenian side got access to modern technology and expertise, and the German side got additional production facilities, skilled workers, and low-cost production, which increased its competitiveness on international markets.

Keywords: Yugoslavia, Slovenia, communism, commutator economic reforms, socialist enterprise, joint ventures

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