As the war increasingly made its presence felt in children’s everyday life, it also began to appear in the games they played. The general militarization of society also took hold in the nation’s nurseries. Role-play strengthened emotional ties with the aims of the war, while board and card games conveyed propaganda messages.
Mobilization of children for the war effort started as early as summer 1914. Boys and girls alike were expected to make a contribution to the ‘achievement of war aims’. In addition activities were also propagated that were specifically assigned to the female sex, such as the making of so-called Liebesgaben (lit.: gifts of love) and Kälteschutz (cold-weather protection) for soldiers at the front.
Propaganda was also used to recruit children as a labour force. Numerous appeals, proclamations and posters exhorted children to place their labour, time and energy at the disposal of the war effort and thus make their contribution to winning the war.
During the First World War, schools constituted a central plank in the campaign of mobilization. As early as the summer of 1914 the war was comprehensively integrated into the timetable as a subject of study, with droves of educational experts, schoolteachers and nursery school staff placing themselves at the service of war propaganda.
All the belligerent states made children and teenagers the target of intensive propaganda with the aim of integrating them into the conflict. Parents, schools and clubs as well as books, songs and games were the main vehicles of this mobilization. The aim of this ideologization was to convey the concept of a ‘just war’, to evoke enthusiasm in the children and to recruit them for activities that supported the war effort.
The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was regarded by many Habsburg Jews with concern. They welcomed democracy but feared an increase in anti-Semitism. By now they were all too familiar with how rapidly blame could be laid on "the Jews".
When in winter 1915 over 130,000 persons sought refuge in Vienna from the Tsarist army, the initial reaction was one of sympathy. However, the mood rapidly swung against the mostly Jewish migrants from the Galician "shtetls", and anti-Semites began to prepare their weapons.
The overwhelming majority of the Jewish population in the western half of the monarchy reacted with enthusiasm to the start of the war. They saw it as an opportunity to exhibit their patriotism and counter anti-Semitic prejudices. Behind this lay the desire to earn membership and respect by demonstrating Jewish commitment.
For Austrian Jews, the Habsburg Monarchy as a supranational entity meant the possibility of developing an identity that was not based solely on membership of a national, ethnic or religious body. They saw themselves as the backbone of an integrative force loyal to the Imperial family within the multiethnic state, and advocated multinationalism up to the end of the war.
In the Habsburg Empire, the anti-Semitic movement was strongly concentrated on Vienna. Student and craftmen's movements assumed opinion leadership and carried anti-Semitism into the public.