Outbreak of the war
End of the war

Ines Rebhan-Glück


‘I am healthy and doing well.’

During the First World War correspondence between the front line and the home front became a mass cultural phenomenon encompassing all levels of society.



The dialogue between the front line and the home front

For the eight to nine million soldiers called up in the Habsburg Monarchy during the course of the First World War and their families, friends and acquaintances, the military postal system often provided the only form of contact. Receiving a sign of life in the shape of a letter or postcard was essential both for the soldiers at the front as well as their families at home.


How did a letter get from A to B?

Each item sent from the home front by the Imperial and Royal postal system started its journey in the Monarchy at a post office. From there it made its way to the postal collection points where post for the front was sorted according to formation and troop unit. So-called ‘travelling Feldpost collection points’, as Paul Höger has called them, even performed this operation while trains were in transit on central railway lines.


Feldpost as an instrument of warfare

In the age of universal conscription and the modern mass army the existence of a military postal service came to have a special importance. The increasing totalization of warfare demanded a high degree of social control and the wholesale psychological mobilization of the belligerent nations. Private correspondence was intended to bolster and support the mental health of troops at the front confronted with ‘modern’ industrialized warfare.