#KU_WWI #TheWorldReacts Tweetenactment

As a follow-up to the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, #TheWorldReacts features a collection of tweets from leaders around the world as they learned of what happened in Sarajevo on June 28th, 1914.

Read #TheWorldReacts Tweetenactment here.

Summer 1914 would eventually lead these political leaders to war, a war that would shape the 20th Century. Therefore it may come as a surprise that for many of these leaders, the events seemed relatively insignificant at the time. Few had any foresight as to how what happened in Sarajevo would result in a global war, and most had what they thought were more pressing, local issues in mind.

When he learned of the assassination in Sarajevo, British Prime Minister (@PM_Asquith) dismissed it as one of many. His main preoccupation was with the Irish independence movement (see Sean McMeekin’s July 1914: Countdown to War, pg. 70 – 72). The character’s response also indicates a general disengagement between Great Britain and continental Europe.

 

In June 1914, politicians in France were dealing with their own assassination scandal. A mistress of the French finance minister had recently murdered the editor of the French paper Le Figaro for launching a smear campaign against her lover. French President Raymond Poincaré (@Prez_Poincare) was at the Longchamp horse races when he received a telegram about the assassination and his reaction was dismissive – he stayed at the races and continued to place bets (see Sean McMeekin’s July 1914: Countdown to War, pg. 62 – 68 and Margaret MacMillan’s The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, pg. 544).

 

Kaiser Wilhelm II (@Wilhelm_II) was attending the Kiel Regatta Gala when he heard the news of Archduke Ferdinand’s death. A close, personal friend of the Archduke, Kaiser Wilhelm II was one of the few heads of state who saw the assassination as a war-provoking event (see Sean McMeekin’s July 1914: Countdown to War, pg. 78 – 80 and Margaret MacMillan’s The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, pg. 544).

 

Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I (@Franz_Joseph_I) was in the town Ischl when he heard the news and to some seemed almost relieved. Upon receiving the telegram from his adjutant the emperor was quoted as saying that, “A higher power has restored the old order that I unfortunately was unable to uphold.” Future statements would be more publically acceptable and grief-stricken, but his initial reaction was telling and further exemplified in the imperial court’s continued humiliation of the Archduke and Duchess Sophie in their funeral proceedings (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 212-213) — stay turned for our post about #FirstWorldWarOrphans later this week.

 

The first half of #TheWorldReacts represents the concept that while the assassination in Sarajevo is often described as the spark that ignited World War I, a more nuanced view of history shows how the event created a path to war – one of many paths they could have been taken that summer – a path these leaders had a month to turn back from.

The second half of #TheWorldReacts presents the two very different perspectives of political leaders in Serbia represented by the #KU_WWI characters King Peter I (@PeterI_Serbia) and the Serbian Chief of Intelligence Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrjević (@BlackHandApis).

King Peter I personifies the old-world monarchist view while the other represents more of a radical, nationalist agenda that would reappear again and again throughout the 20th century in the Balkans and also throughout Europe.

One hundred years later, the role of Serbia in the assassination plot continues to be controversial. While the Belgrade-based Black Hand terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assassination after the fact, it has never been clear how much support they provided the Young Bosnia conspirators. Was Serbia the culprit, the victim, or the victor? As in many historical events, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle of all three. The misinformation and confusion between the two characters represents how the assassination plot’s threads may have extended to Belgrade, but it was unlikely the conspiracy was “well organized” as would later be suggested by Austria-Hungary.

 

In #TheWorldReacts, the two Serbian characters argue about the assassination’s legacy. Should the assassins be celebrated as heroes and martyrs or should they be regarded as disenfranchised youths or terrorists? The dialogue between the two characters represents the divisive way in which Gavrilo Princip and his actions are remembered even to this day. As fate would have it, both character’s predictions for the future eventually came to pass.

A legacy of World War I was the 1918 formation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 and eventually the communist country of Yugoslavia after World War II. “One nation, one king, one country” was the motto of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia which the character tweets in both a cyrillic and latin script, indicating his hopes for unity in Southeast Europe.

 

In 1930, a plaque commemorating Gavrilo Princip was erected at the corner of Appel Quay and Franz Josef Strasse in Sarajevo. It read in Serbian, “Na ovom istorijskom mjestu Gavrilo Princip Navijesti slobodu na Vidov-Dan 15. [28.] Juna 1914.” Translation: “At this historical place, Gavrilo Princip proclaimed freedom on Vidovdan 15. Juna 1914” [St. Vitus Day, June 28th 1914 – Gregorian Calendar]. This plaque was stolen by Nazi troops in 1941 and given as a present to Adolf Hitler. A second plaque was erected in 1945 and Gavrilo Princip was declared a “national hero” of Yugoslavia. In 1953, another plaque was erected, this time with footprints encased in cement indicating the exact spot where Gavrilo Princip stood when he assassinated the Archduke. This plaque and memorial were destroyed by bombs during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992. Gavrilo Princip’s cement footprints were never replaced, but the Bosnian government did choose to erect a more neutral plaque that stands to this day. In Bosnian and English it reads: “From this place on 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sofia.”

plaque

 

If you would like to read an eye-witness account of WWI centennial commemoration activities in Bosnia, check out National World War I Museum Archivist Jonathan Casey’s blog: https://theworldwar.org/eyewitness.

Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project. 

Check out these other #KU_WWI Tweetenactments: #SafetyFirst#Conspiracy,#WhySarajevo#All4USophie#BlankCheck#IheartBosniaLIVE TweetenactmentLIVE Tweetenactment Deconstructed, #Sarajevo#KU_WWI Characters Revealed.

 

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#KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment

On 28 June 2014, #KU_WWI Twitter Project staff and 8 members from the Lawrence community met at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City to LIVE Tweetenact the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand exactly 100 years after his death.

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University of Kansas faculty, students, and members of the local community learned about the historical event and wrote many of the tweets for the reenactment during Spring 2014. These contributions were formed into a Master Script that was uploaded into an automated system that began tweeting out using the hashtag #KU_WWI at 9:30 am on June 28th, exactly 100 years to the minute (not counting the time difference) that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess Sophie, left Hotel Bosna to begin their fateful visit to Sarajevo.

The 8 LIVE tweeters had advanced copies of this script, and were tasked with researching, adding, embellishing, explaining, retweeting and responding to the automated script in the voice of the character or characters they represented.

The end result was, as one #KU_WWI staff member likes to describe it, a “historically-inspired, humanities-driven improvisational social media jazz piece” that gave voice, agency and narrative to the persons involved in this event often perceived as the starting point for a war that would result in the death of 17 million people.

#KU_WWI Project staff would like to thank the National World War I Museum for hosting us on June 28th. And we would especially like to express our gratitude to the smart, witty, creative, history-loving and community-driven LIVE tweeters who took time out of their busy lives to research these events and share their unique perspectives. Thank you, tweeps!

#KU_WWI Live Tweet pic 3

While the assassination occurred on June 28th, it wasn’t until one month later, on July 28th, 1914, that Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and the First World War officially began. In remembrance of this momentous day in history, #KU_WWI staff have waited until exactly 100 years later, 28 July 2014, to release the Storify of the LIVE Tweetenactment of the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The month long delay in releasing the LIVE Tweetenactment has somewhat disrupted the project’s historical timeline – the follow-up mini tweetenactments of what occurred in Sarajevo after the assassination, the reaction of leaders from around the world, and the experience of the couple’s children will be somewhat out of time and place when we release them in August. But we still felt the wait was symbolically worthwhile. As the WWI centennial commemoration progresses over the month of August and we learn more about how this conflict shaped the 20th century, we hope these #KU_WWI Storifies are small reminders of the human side of these events, and make us think back to what occurred just one month earlier in Sarajevo.

May these events always be remembered, and the people never forgotten.

Click here to learn more about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project.

Click here to read about the #KU_WWI Twitter Project in the Washington Post.

#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

Sincerely,
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:

 

 

Medicine in the First World War

The University of Kansas Medical Center in collaboration with the National World War I Museum has created a website dedicated to Medicine in the First World War.  The website features primary sources and essays about Base Hospital #28, the unit where most of the physicians, surgeons, and nurses who left Kansas City for France in 1918 worked.

Since 2009, KUMC and the Department of History and Philosophy and Medicine have supported a First World War Medicine Study Group.  Comprised of faculty, support staff, and many others, this group has been examining hospitals and medical practice on the Western Front, 1914-1918.  The principal aim of the First World War Medicine Study Group is to increase and expand the study of regional primary source materials with presentations and publications. The group has already given 35 presentations and lectures, developed 5 posters, and published 2 articles in scholarly journals. And this is just the beginning! Stay tuned for updates about upcoming lectures over the centennial period, 2014-2018.

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