#KU_WWI Sentiments: the Good, the Bad & the Retweeted

When it comes to using social media to explore historical topics, one is never quite sure how it’s going to turn out. The crowd sourcing aspect of Twitter is by nature unpredictable — and once it’s out on the internet, it’s out there for good.

It was just a few months ago that #KU_WWI staff sat down to talk about these issues. Our anxieties ranged from, “What if the technology doesn’t work?” to “What if we incite an international incident by inadvertently offending an eastern european country?” But our biggest concerns were, “Would anyone take notice?” and “Would they find it informative and useful?”

Rather than guess, we thought we’d just go ahead and ask.

Over the past few months we’ve been collecting your feedback into what we like to call, #Sentiments: The Good, The Bad & The Retweeted — thoughts and opinions from the twitterverse. And in this blog post, we thought we’d share a summary.

Read the complete archive of #KU_WWI Sentiments on Storify.

Almost from the beginning, the project had a faithful following who helped spread the word.

Your promotion caught the eye of local media and resulted in our first press coverage.

By the end of the project, we were featured on Kansas Public Radio’s KPR Presents, Channel6 News, and had been the subject of 18 online and print articles including in the Associated Press and The Washington Post.

The project reached a global audience who tweeted about #KU_WWI in multiple languages — Spanish, French, Bosnian, Serbian, Chinese, Russian and Czech.

As the LIVE Tweetenactment unfolded, quite a few of you stayed with us and watched as history happened as if LIVE on twitter.

That said, not everyone enjoyed the LIVE Tweetenactment. Negative feedback ranged from dubious to overtly offended by the project concept.

And a few good samaritans helped with grammar tips.

Some of your comments after the LIVE Tweetenactment were particularly poignant and insightful.

And by and large, your response to the #KU_WWI Twitter Project was overwhelmingly positive.

Preliminary reports indicate that the #KU_WWI Twitter Project had 456 contributors, generated 4,600 tweets, reached 623,900 unique twitter accounts, and created 3.4 million impressions throughout the entire twitterverse.

Thank you to everyone who made this project such a success!

The #KU_WWI Twitter 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, 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.

The University of Kansas Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies is designated a Title VI National Resource Center for the study of Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia by the U.S. Department of Education.

This project is part of the University of Kansas centennial commemoration of World War I, coordinated by the European Studies Program. Learn more about participating units and upcoming programs at KUWWI.com.

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#KU_WWI @GSoldierSvejk Literary Tweetenactment

Since 1923, The Fateful Adventures of The Good Soldier Švejk during the World War, or more commonly known as The Good Soldier Švejk, has been delighting audiences around the world with its dark comedy and biting anti-war themes.

 

Considered the grandfather of satirical anti-war novels like Catch-22, The Good Soldier Švejk is a hilarious yet scathing commentary on the ludicrous absurdity of 20th century Austro-Hungarian bureaucracy. The novel has been translated into over 58 languages and many acknowledge it as one of the greatest masterpieces of satirical writing ever written.

 

For the purposes of the #KU_WWI Twitter Project, we present an abbreviated first chapter of The Good Soldier Švejk in which Švejk (@GSoldierSvejk) learns about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (@ArchdukeFranzi) from his cleaning lady, Mrs. Müller (@CharwomanMuller). What is striking about their discussion is its seeming irrelevance to their everyday lives — they are interested in the event, but only in so much as people are when it comes to royalty and scandal.

 

The literary tweetenactment tries to be as true to the English translation of the novel as possible, with abbreviation and some artistic license for the 140-character tweet limitation.

Read the @GSoldierSvejk Tweetenactment here.

The @GoodSoldierSvejk Tweetenactment is meant to represent the greater body of WWI literature, music, and art that would come out of the early part of the 20th century. It is our opinion that history is best understood by exposure to the humanities, and it is our hope that you will be inspired to seek your own copy of The Good Soldier Švejk as a means of better understanding the First World War.

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

Did you know that the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas now hosts one of the largest collection of WWI art in the United States? Click here to read an article about the collection.

#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.

 

#KU_WWI #Sarajevo Tweetenactment

In the bigger picture of World War I history, what happened in Sarajevo following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie is often lost. Focus tends to gravitate towards the diplomatic quagmire that would follow in July 1914 eventually leading to a declaration of war that would consume the globe for the next four years (look for #TheWorldReacts blog post next week).

Still, the events in Sarajevo immediately following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand may be the key to understanding the Balkans in the 20th century. Occurring later in the evening after the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment on 28 June 2014, the #Sarajevo Tweetenactment explores what happened from the perspectives of Governor of Bosnia Oskar Potiorek (@GovPotiorek1914), Sarajevo city officials Mayor Fehim Effendi Čurčić (@SarajevoMayor) and Police Commissioner Dr. Edmund Gerde (@CommishGerde), and fictional character Dmitrije Stefanovic (@KingofCevapi).

Read the #Sarajevo Tweetenactment here. 

The #Sarajevo Tweetenactment begins with Police Commissioner Gerde describing the anti-Serb violence that had erupted in Sarajevo after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His tweets include actual archival photographs of the destruction.

 

Word of the assassination spread quickly and violent demonstrations broke out across the Austro-Hungarian empire. Some newspapers would later describe these demonstrations as ethnically based “pogroms.”

 

The attack on Hotel Evropa, now known as Hotel Europe, occurred as Police Commissioner Gerde describes. The tweetenactment includes this anecdote because the luxurious hotel represented the crème-de-la-crème of Serb-owned businesses in Sarajevo, yet its cultural and economic importance was not enough to keep it safe from anti-Serb violence that day.

 

As a witness to and innocent bystander in these events, fictional pastry chef Dmitrije Stefanovic references the Schutzkorps in one of his tweets:

 

The Schutzkorps was a volunteer militia established by Austro-Hungarian authorities from 1908-1918. Primarily composed of Bosnjaks, the militia’s purpose was to track down pro-Serb opposition within the newly annexed province of Bosnia. The Schutzkorps became synonymous with ethnically based persecution of Serbs in Austria-Hungary, and was said to have been very active during the violence that occurred in Sarajevo after the assassination.

Governor Potiorek ordered hundreds of troops into the streets of Sarajevo, although not necessarily to stop the violence.

 

Some have argued that Governor Potiorek actively encouraged the violence. But as the demonstrations became even more aggressive on June 29-30, it was Governor Potiorek who declared a state of emergency in Bosnia and finally took back control of Sarajevo.

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 1.10.40 PM

By some accounts, hundreds of Serb business owners were imprisoned, many of them died in prison or were executed by the Schutzkorps (graphic photograph), and about 5,000 Serb families were expelled from Bosnia.

#KU_WWI character Dmitrije Stefanovic’s last three tweets represent the betrayal and alienation many Serbs felt as they lost their livelihoods and homes in this violence.

 

What is somewhat unique about the #Sarajevo Tweetenactment is that it explores the victimization of Serbs in these events rather than portraying them as WWI aggressors. This is a departure from other #KU_WWI Tweetenactments like #Conspiracy, #IheartBosnia, or the LIVE Tweetenactment in which pro-Serb nationalists conspire and then execute their plan to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In doing so, the project presents a more complicated portrait of the nations and nationalities who took part in this war where an individual could be a hero, terrorist, victim, culprit, and victor, all at the same time.

The “fictionality” of the #KU_WWI character Dmitrije Stefanovic also allows us an opportunity to speculate – how do you think these events changed Dima?

For much of the #KU_WWI Tweetenactments, @KingofCevapi has been a politically ambivalent local business owner who seems more interested in creating playlists and talking about his Turkish friend Sulejman.

Was the loss and betrayal experienced by Dima during this violence enough for him to change from a simple shopkeeper into a radicalized nationalist? Did Gavrilo Princip undergo a similar transformation?

Whatever you decide, there is little doubt that the events in Sarajevo on June 28th-30th, both the assassination and the rioting afterwards, contributed to and perpetuated the history of ethnically based violence that would come to dominate the Balkans in the 20th century – just one more legacy of the First World War.

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

Check out these other #KU_WWI Tweetenactments: #SafetyFirst#Conspiracy, #WhySarajevo, #All4USophie, #BlankCheck, #IheartBosnia, LIVE Tweetenactment, LIVE Tweetenactment Deconstructed, #KU_WWI Characters Revealed.

No Twitter? No problem! Anyone can follow #KU_WWI

Interested in following the #KU_WWI Tweetenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand but don’t have access to Twitter? No problem! You can still watch the reenactment online. #KU_WWI twitter feeds are now embedded on the CREES and European Studies websites. Go to one of these websites and look for the right sidebar. Follow the action as the tweetenactment unfolds from 9:30am – 12:30pm on Saturday, June 28th.

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 12.06.00 PM

Miss one of the mini reenactments? Click on the links below:

#SafetyFirstEnglishBosnianGerman
In the first of several promotional mini reenactments leading up to the reenactment of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 2014, #SafetyFirst featured an exchange between Governor of Bosnia Oskar Potiorek and Sarajevo Police Commissioner Dr. Edmond Gerde as they discussed the Archduke’s visit. 24 May 2014.

#ConspiracyEnglishBosnian
In #Conspiracy, assassin Gavrilo Princip and his friend Nedeljko Čabrinović discuss the plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand with fellow co-conspirator Trifko Grabež and leader of the Black Hand terrorist group and Serbian Chief of Intelligence Dragutin “Apis” Dimitrjević. 28 May 2014.

#WhySarajevoEnglishGerman 
#WhySarajevo mini reenactment features a dialog between Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef I about the Archduke’s visit to Bosnia in late June 1914. 7 June 2014.

#All4USophieEnglishGerman
In #All4USophie, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie Chotek discuss their life, love, and plans for celebrating their upcoming fourteenth wedding anniversary in Sarajevo. 19 June 2014.

#BlankCheck
​Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces of the Austro-Hungarian army advocates for war against Serbia which Archduke Franz Ferdinand strongly opposes. In the end, who was responsible for this decision? 20 June 2014.

Screen shot 2014-06-23 at 12.22.28 PM

 

#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:

 

 

Introducing the #KU_WWI Twitter Project

Image

The KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) announces a new educational outreach initiative utilizing KU students, resources, and social media to explore history related to World War I. The #KU_WWI Twitter Project is a Twitter-based e-reenactment of the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the historical incident often cited as the initial geopolitical event that resulted in the First World War.

KU history student, Sam Moore (BA ’13), has been hired by the KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) to serve as the #KU_WWI Twitter Project Leader.  Working closely with CREES Outreach Coordinator Adrienne Landry, Sam has developed a “#KU_WWI Guide” for understanding the historical event and the overall project.  The guide, along with supplemental imagery, web resources, and maps, will be used at two “Call for Tweeters” (April 9th and April 30th, see flyer for more details).

The Call for Tweeter events will be forums where KU students, faculty and staff can learn more about WWI and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and have an opportunity to become Twitter e-reenactors. They will use the “#KU_WWI Guide” to develop e-reenactment characters, twitter handles and hashtags, and 140-character tweets reenacting the assassination.

Tweets created by students, faculty and staff at the Call for Tweeter events will be selected by project staff to form a Master Script, which will tweet-out live on June 28, 2014, exactly 100 years after the event. The public will be able to follow along on the @KU_WWI Twitter site, through the hashtag #KU_WWI, or through Twitter feeds on the crees.ku.edu and european.ku.edu websites.

Project goals

Through this type of compelling storytelling and the interactive nature of Twitter, the project will: connect faculty and students on the KU campus with ideas, places, and history from across time and generations; engage students in discussions about this humanities theme and topic; integrate classroom learning with a campus-wide extracurricular activity; promote world languages and literatures taught at KU; offer multiple points of view for the general public to consider; and strengthen a sense of community for the KU WWI Centennial Commemoration 2014-18.

Integrating Classroom Learning

Slavic Languages and Literatures Instructor Marta Pirnat-Greenberg has dedicated a week of her class, BCRS 208: Intermediate Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian, to translating select tweets from the project’s Master Script.  By incorporating the project into her curriculum, BCRS 208 students will use their language skills, develop translation techniques, and learn about an historical event that affected the culture of the language they are studying. These translations will be incorporated into the overall Master Script.

While BCRS 208 is vital to the project (the event took place in Bosnia and the language of many of the main characters was Serbo-Croatian), other languages will be utilized as well.  Tweets will be translated into German, Russian, Czech, French, and many others – showcasing the many languages taught at KU.

Copies of the anti-WWI satirical novel, The Good Soldier Švejk will be on-hand at the Call for Tweeters. This work will be heavily referenced throughout the e-reenactment, adding a strong literary perspective. Copies of the work will be available in the original Czech as well as German, Russian, and English.  By using this novel to add a literary perspective to the e-reenactment, participants will enhance their world literature knowledge as well as engage their foreign language skills.

Interested in participating?

The first #KU_WWI Call for Tweeters will be on April 9 at 7 p.m. in the Malott Room of the Kansas Union (6th floor).  The second will be held on April 30 at 7 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union (4th floor).  KU students, faculty, staff and members of the local community are welcome to participate in one or both of these events. Participants are encouraged to bring laptops. Snacks and door prizes will be available for participants.

Have questions?

Email #KU_WWI Project Leader Sam Moore (KUWWI@ku.edu)

Project Sponsors
Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center
European Studies Program
Germanic Languages & Literatures Department
History Department
Slavic Languages & Literatures Department
University Honors Program

Co-sponsors
Center for Global & International Studies
Global Awareness Program
Hall Center for the Humanities
KU Libraries
KU Memorial Unions
Spencer Museum of Art