In 1914 enthusiastic crowds of people at railway stations waved farewell to the volunteers who had cheerfully signed up for military service. Not very much later, trains arrived back at the same stations from the opposite direction, full of the war-injured being brought back from the front. During the war, the Austrian-Hungarian Army was to mobilise around 8 million soldiers. About 1.2 million of them died. How many came back wounded and ill from the war was still unknown years after the war. In 1922, probably around 143,000 war invalids were living in the new, small country of Austria. One of the central aspects of the war and post-war history is how these men were cared for, how they were re-integrated into the working world, the impact they made on public life, what they suffered, and why they organised themselves after the war into powerful associations.
Translation: Abigail Prohaska