#KU_WWI #BlankCheck Mini Reenactment

In the #KU_WWI Twitter Project‘s #BlankCheck mini reenactment, @GenHotzendorf  tweets about war with Serbia 25 different times. These tweets represent the 25 official requests made by Count Franz Xaver Josef Graf Conrad von Hötzendorf, Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces of the Austro-Hungarian army, for a preventative war against Serbia between January 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014.

Check out the #Blank Check mini reenactment here: https://storify.com/KU_WWI/ku-wwi-blankcheck

In 1906, Archduke Franz Ferdinand strongly advocated for General Hötzendorf’s promotion to Chief of the General Staff of the Austro-Hungarian army, and for this reason public opinion often assumed the two shared militaristic views. But the reality was that General Hötzendorf’s obsession with a preventative war against Serbia was a major source of tension between the two. In General Hötzendorf’s mind, a war with Serbia and/or Russia was vital for the protection of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. From Archduke Ferdinand’s perspective, the very idea was lunacy and would lead to immeasurable, unforeseen European destruction.

The tweet responses made by @ArchdukeFranzi in the #BlankCheck mini reenactment are direct quotes Archduke Franz Ferdinand made to various contemporaries about General Hötzendorf’s advocacy for war (see Greg King and Sue Woolman’s The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 158-162).

Public commentary made by @KingofCevapi Dmitrije Stefanovic, a fictional baker in Sarajevo, reflects the tone of public opinion as leaders hashed out the ideas and views that would eventually lead to the first world war.

Historical narratives about World War I often focus on assigning blame. Who was responsible for the death of 15 million people? Some historians accuse Germany and its issuance of a “blank check” for war. Even more point the accusatory historical finger at Serbia and its support of the assassins who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But the #KU_WWI Twitter Project wonders…when it comes to such utter devastation, can one person, country, event, or decision every be singularly responsible? The #BlankCheck mini reenactment is representative of the idea that many were to blame — aggressive nationalist groups existed throughout Europe as did the political leaders who supported and opposed them, and this was just one of many reasons that led to such a war.

#KU_WWI project staff chose Twitter as the forum for a WWI related reenactment because of the shared belief that whatever their political views, and whatever the consequences of their actions — those involved in the creation of this war were just people, each with their own unique narrative, perspective and voice. To learn more about General Hötzendorf and his very human love affair, check out this recent article by Franz-Stefan Gady in The National Interest: The Scandalous Love Affair that Started World War I





#KU_WWI #All4USophie Mini Reenactment

The #KU_WWI Twitter Project mini reenactment #All4USophie features an exchange between heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Duchess of Hohenberg Sophie Chotek.

Considered by many of his contemporaries to be brusque, ill-natured and bad tempered, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was also known for one of the greatest romances of the 20th century. In 1900, much to the scandal of Viennese society and the Austro-Hungarian imperial court, Archduke Franz Ferdinand married Sophie Chotek, a lady-in-waiting with no fortune and what many considered inferior connections. The couple had been secretly courting since meeting at a ball in 1894, and their love affair shocked the royal families of Europe.

Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I was so against the marriage that it took intervention from Pope Leo XIII, German Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Russian Tsar Nicholas II before he’d allow it to take place, and even then only with certain conditions.

In order to marry, the couple accepted their marital classification as morganatic, meaning that Sophie would never be afforded the rights and privileges as usually befits the wife of the heir to the throne, and any children born of the marriage would not inherit privileges or titles. Their eldest son Max would never inherit the throne, and he and his siblings, Sophie and Ernst, would never be accepted as equals by the imperial court.

Even after signing an official, legally binding document renouncing his children’s right to the throne, enduring 14 years of imperial protocol and social slights designed to embarrass the couple, and publicly embracing his nephew as his future heir, many still suspected that Archduke Franz Ferdinand would go back on his word and crown his wife upon accession to the throne. For this as well as his various political views, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was unpopular garnering little public sentiment or support.

There were varying opinions on Sophie Chotek — some thought her dangerously ambitious and strategically manipulative. Others admired her quiet resolve and piety. Few, however, could argue that she was not entirely devoted to her husband and children. After a previous assassination attempt, Sophie insisted on accompanying her husband even (and maybe especially) when warned it was too dangerous. Most of the time she was forced to ride in separate carriages and use an alias, as her inferior status would not allow her to officially accompany her husband on imperial trips.  But an exception was made for the couple’s visit to Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. As a 14th anniversary present and also because the Austro-Hungarian imperial court condescendingly considered Bosnia somewhat of an unimportant backwater, Sophie Chotek was given official permission to accompany Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo and even allowed to ride with him in the same car…

Check out the #KU_WWI #All4USophie Mini Reenactment in 2 different languages:

#All4USophie was translated into German by Lawrence-native Lea Greenberg who recently graduated with a major in German and concentration in Russian and East European Studies from Grinnell College. Lea also translated the #WhySarajevo mini reenactment.

If you are interested in studying German at the University of Kansas, contact the KU Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures.

To lean more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, go to: https://european.ku.edu/wwi-twitter-project


#KU_WWI in the News

The #KU_WWI Twitter Project made the news again!  Check out the article “Twitter Project revisits pre-WWI event” in KU Today.

In other #KU_WWI related news, European Studies has a newly redesigned website for the project, which includes links to the mini reenactments in multiple languages. To learn more, go to: https://european.ku.edu/wwi-twitter-project

#KU_WWI #WhySarajevo Mini Reenactment

The #KU_WWI #WhySarajevo mini reenactment features a dialogue between Archduke Franz Ferdinand (@ArchdukeFranzi) and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I (@Franz_Joseph_I) about the Archduke’s visit to Bosnia in late June 1914.

Check out the #KU_WWI #WhySarajevo Mini Reenactment in 2 different languages:

According to historians, Archduke Franz Ferdinand attempted to cancel his trip to Sarajevo multiple times. Many of the concerns he mentions in the reenactment were actual excuses he used – summer heat, his lungs, the Emperor’s poor health, etc. It seems, however, that the primary concern was security – the province of Bosnia seemed increasingly hostile towards Hapsburgs. The #WhySarajevo mini reenactment was posted on June 7th, 2014 exactly 100 years after the Archduke’s last formal request to Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I to cancel the trip.

The mini reenactment’s exchange about Duchess Sophie (@Duchess_Sophie) recreates a possible theory about why the Archduke agreed to the trip. As a morganatic spouse, Duchess Sophie was rarely allowed to accompany her husband on official state visits and was more often snubbed than given the royal treatment due the wife of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. Since the purpose of the trip to Bosnia was to simply observe and inspect the Bosnian army in the field, Duchess Sophie was given permission by the Emperor to accompany Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo – and this rare opportunity to travel together may have convinced the Archduke to go.

The #WhySarajevo transcript was translated into German by Lawrence-native Lea Greenberg who recently graduated with a major in German and concentration in Russian and East European Studies from Grinnell College. Thanks, Lea!!

If you are interested in studying German at the University of Kansas, contact the KU Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures.

To lean more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, go to: https://european.ku.edu/wwi-twitter-project


Gavrilo Princip, Sarajevski Atentat

Want to learn more about Gavrilo Princip? As a Spring 2014 class project, student’s in KU BCRS 208: Intermediate Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian translated the above video, adding Serbian and English subtitles for a greater audience. Access the subtitled versions here and select the language of the subtitles underneath the video.

By translating the video, students and community members participating in the #KU_WWI Twitter Project now have a non-English, regional perspective of events, providing a glimpse of how different historical narratives can be understood and interpreted.

“I like to include content-based and project-based learning into my language classes,” said BCS Instructor Marta Pirnat-Greenberg, “it motivates students and makes language learning more relevant to the them.”

Ms. Pirnat-Greenberg teaches Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian and Slovene at KU — click here to find out more about the South Slavic program in the KU Slavic Department.

#KU_WWI #Conspiracy Mini Reenactment

In the latest installment of the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, assassin Gavrilo Princip (@G_Princip1914) and his friend Nedeljko Čabrinović (@N_Cabrinovic) discuss the plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand (@ArchdukeFranzi) with fellow co-conspirator Trifko Grabež (@T_Grabez) and leader of the Black Hand terrorist group and Serbian Chief of Intelligence Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrjević (@BlackHandApis).

One would think after 100 years of study, this part of history would be figured out. But for many, the conspirators and their assassination plot remains controversial. Even though many have strong opinions, there seems to be more questions than answers: How big of a role did the Black Hand play? And what was the role of Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrjević, Serbia’s Chief of Intelligence? Who were the conspirators? Were they patriots? Terrorists? Bungling school boys? Committed freedom fighters? Did they have any concept of what their actions might cause?

Princip, Čabrinović, and Grabež were all born in Bosnia, and at 19-years-old, shared a deep-seated hatred for the Austro-Hungarian empire that had annexed Bosnia in 1908. All three identified themselves as members of Mlada Bosna, the Young Bosnia Movement, which fought for a unification of South Slavs. What is less certain is their relationship with the serb-nationalist terrorist group, the Black Hand, which claimed credit for the plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand after the fact.

Princip was the acknowledged leader of the assassination plot, but his friend Čabrinović was the more charismatic member who, as the #KU_WWI #conspiracy mini reenactment illustrates, had a bad habit of speaking a little too freely at times. At his court trial, Princip claimed that he learned about Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s visit to Sarajevo while reading the newspaper, and sent clippings to Čabrinović to convince him to join plot. It has us wondering… if Gavrilo Princip were alive today, would he have sent his “clippings” via twitter?

Like the #SafetyFirst script, the #Conspiracy mini reenactment was given to Slavic Languages and Literatures Instructor, Marta Pirnat-Greenberg, who incorporated it into the curriculum of her BCRS 208: Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian class. As a class project, the BCS students worked together to use their language skills in translating the script.

The #KU_WWI #Conspiracy mini reenactment is just one interpretation of what might have occurred between the conspirators and should by no means be taken as historical fact. If you’re looking for more information about Gavrilo Princip and the other conspirators, you might be interested in this article about Tim Butcher’s new book, Hunting the Assassin who Brought the World to War.

Check out the #KU_WWI #Conspiracy Mini Reenactment in 2 different languages:

#SafetyFirst Mini Reenactment in 3 Languages!

In the first of several promotional mini reenactments leading up to the #KU_WWI Twitter Project reenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 2014, #SafetyFirst featured an exchange between Governor of Bosnia Oskar Potiorek (@GovPotiorek1914) and Sarajevo Police Commissioner Dr. Edmond Gerde (@CommishGerde) as they discussed the Archduke’s upcoming visit.


What some may find surprising is that many of the tweets are actual direct quotes. #KU_WWI project staff referenced Greg King and Sue Woolman’s book, The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance that Changed the World (pg 168-170) when creating the script. “The primary purpose of this mini reenactment is to show our participants ways of being historical while also being creative,” said Project Leader Sam Moore.

The script was given to Slavic Languages and Literatures Instructor, Marta Pirnat-Greenberg, who incorporated it into the curriculum of her BCRS 208: Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian class. As a class project, the BCS students worked together to use their language skills in translating the script.

The #deutsch or German language translation was completed by German Languages and Literatures major Joshua McMullen.

“Language is an integral part to understanding culture,” said CREES Outreach Coordinator Adrienne Landry, “and we hope that the #KU_WWI Twitter Project showcases the many languages spoken by the characters involved in this historical event as well as the over 40 languages taught at KU.”

Check out the #KU_WWI #SafetyFirst Mini Reenactment in 3 different languages:

#KU_WWI Mini Reenactment: #SafetyFirst

Ever wonder who was responsible for security in Sarajevo when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 2014? Who was in charge and how much did they know about the plot beforehand? Was the success of the assassination simply gross negligence on the part of Bosnian authorities? Or was there a bigger conspiracy afoot? Starting at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, 21 May 2014, the #KU_WWI Twitter Project will feature a mini-reenactment between Governor of Bosnia Oskar Potiorek (@GovPotiorek1914) and Sarajevo Police Commissioner (@CommishGerde). Find out how much they knew, and what they did or didn’t do to provide security for Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his entourage.

The #KU_WWI Mini Reenactment: #SafetyFirst will begin at noon and will tweet out every 5 minutes. The tweets will be in English, German and Bosnian — translated by students from KU class BCRS 208 Intermediate Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian and the German Department.  Followers will be able to watch the reenactment via the hashtags #KU_WWI and #SafetyFirst.

#KU_WWI in the news

Today the Lawrence Journal World published a great article about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project:

KU World War I project will retell Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination in tweets – 
By Brian Unglesbee

Please join us this Wednesday, April 30th at 7pm in the Kansas Union Alderson Auditorium for the final #KU_WWI Call for Tweeters. Everyone and anyone is welcome!



#KU_WWI Twitter Project: Open Casting Call

Interested in the @KU_WWI Twitter Project? Want to participate? Throughout the month of April we’re having an open casting call where all tweeters are welcome!

Everything you need to participate is available to download on the #KU_WWI Twitter website.  You’ll find directions, how-to guides and more!

You can also access the #KU_WWI Tweeter Guide online. Try to view this guide as a place to start.  If there’s a particular character or element of the event that you find interesting, do a little more research online or with books we cite in the guide. The National World War I Museum is also an excellent resource.  We highly recommend you visit their new exhibit, On the Brink: A Month that Changed the World.

Send your contributions to KUWWI@ku.edu anytime before the script deadline:
May 9, 2014.

Work alone or work in groups, and just have fun! Pro-tip: use the skills you already have.  If you’re a theater person, add some theatricality to your tweets. If you’re good with geography and maps, tweet some good links. Know about East European culture? Fill us in! If you’re a history buff, a strong chronology of events would be appreciated. Know a foreign language? Translate the tweets for yourself and others! Think of this project as a performance piece using all the academic and creative skills you have to offer.

Do you have to be a member of the KU community? Absolutely not! Invite any and all who might be interested to participate — the more the merrier.

If you have any questions, send us an email: KUWWI@ku.edu

Adrienne and Sam
#KU_WWI Project Staff

The project is a collaboration among the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, European Studies Program, the departments of Germanic Languages & Literatures, History and Slavic Languages & Literatures, University Honors Program, Center for Global & International Studies, Global Awareness Program, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU Libraries, KU Memorial Unions and Spencer Museum of Art. This project is also sponsored by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City.

Contact #KU_WWI Project Staff: