#KU and #WWI Commemoration

One of the ongoing themes of this season’s Downtown Abbey has been how to commemorate and memorialize casualties from World War I. Should there be a stone commemorating the dead in the city square? A park where villagers can sit and quietly reflect? When we have experienced so much loss, how is it that we’ll best remember? After WWI, this commemorative soul searching occurred in almost every community and town around the world — even right here at home at the University of Kansas.

On January 9th, 2015, the Lawrence Journal World‘s Sara Shepherd interviewed William Towns, former union operations manager and KU history scholar, about KU’s Memorial Stadium and Student Union, commemorative WWI buildings on the KU campus. In the article we learn how decisions made about WWI commemoration affected decisions regarding WWII memorials and the construction of our much-recognized Campanile.

Read the article.

KU History website.

Bruce Menning #WW1 lecture available online

Did you miss the Tuesday, September 9th CREES Brownbag lecture with military historian Bruce Menning on “Russia and the Outbreak of the Great War”? No problem! A video of the lecture is available on the CREES YouTube channel!

 

Upcoming #KU lecture on Russia and #WWI

The KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies is proud to present Military Historian Professor Bruce W. Menning for a CREES brownbag lecture on “Russia and the Outbreak of the Great War.”

Professor Menning is the well known author and editor of:
Bayonets Before Bullets: The Imperial Russian Army, 1861-1914
Reforming the Tsar’s Army: Military Innovation in Imperial
Russia from Peter the Great to the Revolution
World War Zero: The Russo-Japanese War in Global Context

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, September 9th at 12pm in 318 Bailey Hall on the University of Kansas campus. The event is free and open to the public.

BB_Great War Flier (2)

Peggy Hull Deull, America’s first female war correspondent

There’s a new post on the University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library‘s blog about a 2014 Summer Conservation Intern’s experience working on items related to Peggy Hull Deull, America’s first female war correspondent.

Born in 1889 in Bennington, KS, Peggy Hull Deull was inspired to become a journalist during the First World War. As a war correspondent, she traveled from the US to Mexico, Paris, London, Siberia, and Shanghai. 

Peggy Hull [Deuell] in WWI uniform, 1917. Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130.

Peggy Hull [Deuell] in WWI uniform, 1917. Kansas Collection, Call Number RH MS 130.

“Peggy’s collection is also one of the many fantastic features that facilitates our study of war history, and in particular, helps to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I,” said Amber Van Wychen, 2014 Summer Conservation Intern.

To read Amber’s full post, go to: http://blogs.lib.ku.edu/spencer/peggy-hull-deuell-a-conservation-internship/

#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.

#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 #FirstWorldWarOrphans Tweetenactment

 

If Archduke Franz Ferdinand (@ArchdukeFranzi) and Duchess Sophie (@Duchess_Sophie) were the first casualties of World War I, then their three children were its first orphans. As a follow-up to the #KU_WWI LIVE Tweetenactment of the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, #FirstWorldWarOrphans features a collection of tweets from the perspectives of the Archduke’s daughter, Sophie Von Hohenberg (@Little_Zofie), and her tutor, Otto Lev Stanovsky (@Fr_Stanovsky), as they live through the aftermath of the assassination. The tweetenactment humanizes Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie as people and parents – through the eyes of their children we see their humanity rather than just their place in history.

Read the complete #FirstWorldWarOrphans Tweetenactment here.

#FirstWorldWarOrphans begins a couple of days before the June 28th assassination. It begins with the innocent perspective of a 12-year-old girl, the Archduke’s oldest child, Sophie Von Hohenberg, or as her family affectionately called her, Little Zophie.

 

Little Zophie’s tweets give us insight into the Archduke’s family life as well as highlight his passion for travel and hunting. By the time of his death, he had successfully hunted 274,889 animals and was widely considered one of the best shots in the empire.

 

Accurately illustrating the Archduke’s personality has been a challenge for #KU_WWI staff and tweetenactors. Publically he was known for being introverted and aloof, but more commonly he was described as brusque, arrogant, and even hot-tempered. He was also an avid art collector, had a sincere passion for architectural preservation, and traveled widely – even as far as America (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 121-125). For the #KU_WWI Twitter Project we focused on the Archduke as a husband and father — while his public persona may remain controversial, there is little doubt as to his sincere adoration and devotion to his wife and children in his private life.

 

As stated in the #WhySarajevo and #All4USophie Tweetenactments Archduke Ferdinand’s marriage to Duchess Sophie was deemed morganatic, which meant that their children were barred from imperial succession. One of the benefits of this status was that they could raise their children however they saw fit, without the pressures and protocols of court. By all accounts, the couple were informal, loving and engaged – somewhat out of the norm for upper class Edwardian families in which nannies and private schools parented more than parents.

The tone of the tweetenactment changes abruptly when Zophie’s tutor, Otto Lev Stanovsky, receives a phone call informing him of the deaths of Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo.

 

What follows over the next few days is an account of the children trying to fully understand the death of their parents and the horrible treatment they continued to receive from the imperial court.

 

Usually when an heir to a European monarchy dies, all the imperial houses of Europe go into official mourning and gather to attend the state funeral. For Archduke Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie, however, foreign representatives were not only not invited, but also actively turned back from the border (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 224).

 

Otto Lev Stanovsky’s tweets specifically calls out Prince Alfred de Montenuovo, Lord Chamberlain, for the bizarre and bureaucratically petty funeral proceedings. Responsible for court protocol, Montenuovo had made a point of humiliating the morganatic couple in life and refused to let up after their death.

 

Originally, Montenouvo only made plans for the funeral and burial of Archduke Ferdinand, refusing to acknowledge Duchess Sophie even in death. But in his will, the Archduke had laid out his wishes to be interred with his wife at their family home in Artstetten, rather than in Vienna where they would have been surely separated by protocol.

The official, imperial funeral in Vienna continued to be problematic, however. When the bodies of the Archduke and his wife arrived in Vienna on July 2, 1914, the imperial family was ordered not to greet the train as was the usual custom. Even though the bodies could have been switched to more imperially appropriate, matching coffins, the bodies were kept in the original coffins provided in Sarajevo. Archduke Ferdinand’s was large and ornate, while Duchess Sophie’s was simple and modest. While finally being allowed to lay in state beside her husband only after multiple family members directly appealed to the emperor, Duchess Sophie’s coffin was kept 18 inches lower than the Archduke’s – a visual reminder of her unequal status. For imperial funerals, it was not uncommon for viewings to last several days. In the case of the Archduke and Duchess Sophie, viewing was kept to just 4 hours and tens of thousands of mourners were turned away (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 227-228).

 

The couple’s three children were not allowed to attend the funeral in Vienna – as products of a morganatic marriage it was deemed inappropriate for them to mourn next to the imperial family (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 230-231). It was only after all the official mourners had left, that the children were allowed into the chapel to pay their respects during which their daughter privately eulogized:

 

After the funeral, the couple were taken by carriage to a train. This procession was kept private, no bells tolled, and no military escort was provided.

 

Even though the Archduke was the Inspector General of the Austro-Hungarian army, Montenouvo denied military honors for the funeral proceedings because they were deemed unworthy of Duchess Sophie. A hundred aristocrats defied imperial protocol by spontaneously following behind the hearses to the train station – a public rebuke of the court’s treatment of the heir and his wife (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 232).

The coffins were unceremoniously loaded onto the train to Artstetten – no mourning carriage was provided, they were placed in a freight car. Upon arrival to their home, the couple finally began to receive the mourning they deserved as family and staff gathered to greet the royal couple and grieve together in a private ceremony.

 

Specifically to keep other aristocrats in Vienna from attending these private ceremonies, Montenouvo ordered a longer than normal requiem at mass that Sunday, keeping them in church rather than allowing them to go to Arstetten. A few openly rebelled against this order, defied the court, and went to the funerals in Artstetten anyway. One of these was Franz Ferdinand’s exiled brother, who had also been striped of his titles and land for entering into a morganatic marriage (King and Woolmans, The Assassination of the Archduke, pg 237).

 

The couple were finally laid to rest in matching white tombs with the inscription, Joined in marriage, they were joined by the same fate.

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#KU_WWI Project staff would like to extend a big thank you to KU Slavic Department alumna Courtney Shipley for bringing these characters to life.

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

Click here to read about Duchess Sophie and the #KU_WWI Twitter Project in a She The People Washington Post blog by Diana Reese.

#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.