Military Veterans and Popular Patriotism in Imperial Austria, 1870–1914

TitleMilitary Veterans and Popular Patriotism in Imperial Austria, 1870–1914
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsCole, Laurence
EditorCole, Laurence, and Daniel L. Unowsky
Book TitleThe Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances, and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy
PublisherBerghahn Books

This article investigates a subject which has attracted merely sporadic attention hitherto, namely that of military veteran associations in the Austrian half of the Habsburg Monarchy. The history of these groups, which became increasingly popular after 1870, provides important insights into the place of the army in Habsburg society and its ability to foster imperial loyalty, for it highlights a key area where military and civilian spheres intersect. Analysis of the veterans’ movement shows that the Habsburg authorities actively intervened in civil society in order to foster a sense of loyalty to the dynasty and state. Indeed, the Habsburg authorities sought to project the military as a model for the behavior of all the state’s citizens. In exploring these issues, the concern here is exclusively with the Austrian half of the imperial state with close attention paid to the south-western periphery of imperial Austria, namely the Italian-speaking part of Tyrol (Trentino). A detailed case study of this area enables the reader to observe how a “community of loyalty” was established at the level of local society. [Author]

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