With the focus of commemorating the First World War on the Western front, not only the fighting of the Russian Tsar's army in the East was overshadowed, also the armed conflict in Southeast Europe. The same has long held true for writing the war’s history, which is increasingly starting to turn towards the war in the Balkans.
In the countries of Southeast Europe, the events that occurred between 1914 and 1918 were perceived somewhat selectively. From a more or less nationalist point of view, the Central Powers’ behaviour was reduced to repression, exploitation and revenge, whilst from an Austrian perspective the Habsburg Army’s actions were judged positively, with dark sides often overlooked.
Although more critical observations have gradually gained traction in the recent military history of Austria since the 1980s, ultimately it was an international trend that drew more attention to the First World War, previously consigned to the ‘antiquarian nook of historiography’.
Given this situation, many fields of research from the cultural, social and economic spheres were developed only recently. Interest was thus inevitably awakened in whether and in what way certain aspects – not least of all everyday life and the ‘civilian side’ of the war – encroached upon environments and regions hitherto unconsidered, at least not in this respect. Precisely the chance to gather these days more detailed information – not confined to the Western front – has led to a search for other battlefields and for a ‘war as yet untold’, in Poland, the bordering Western territories of the Tsarist Empire, the Middle East or in colonial regions overseas, among other places. With this in mind, the ‘International Society for First World War Studies’ held its conference in Innsbruck in 2011 under the heading of ‘Other Fronts’.
Within this framework, greater attention to the ‘First World War in the Balkans’ had already been called for previously. Congresses dealt with this topic from the year 2000, as did collective volumes and monographs that not least of all addressed the Danube Monarchy’s occupation policy and the situation of civilians during military campaigns or under the occupying regimes.
Angelow, Jürgen/Gahlen, Gundula (Hrsg.): Der Erste Weltkrieg auf dem Balkan. Perspektiven der Forschung, Berlin 2011
Gumz, Jonathan E.: The Resurrection and Collapse of Empire in Habsburg Serbia, 1914–1918, Cambridge 2009
- The Fading-Out of the Balkan Front
- The War before the War
- Sarajevo and the July Crisis
- Ethnic Conflicts and the Brutalisation of the Battles
- Disillusionment for the Army – The Failed ‘Punitive Expedition’
- ‘The Allies’ Successes’
- The Occupying Regime in Different Regions
- Romania's Entry into the War and Defeat by the Central Powers
- Greece on the Side of the Entente
- 1918 – Peace between Romania and the Central Powers
- Consequences of the War on the Balkans