Beyond Nationalism: A Social and Political History of the Habsburg Officer Corps, 1848-1918

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In the last seventy years of its long and distinguished existence, the Habsburg monarchy was plagued by the forces of rising nationalism. Still, it preserved domestic peace and provided the conditions for social, economic, and cultural progress in a vast area inhabited by eleven major nationalities and almost as many confessional groups. This study investigates the social origin, education, training, code of honor, lifestyle, and political role of the Habsburg officers. Simultaneously conservative and liberal, the officer corps, originally composed mainly of noblemen, willingly coopted thousands of commoners—among them an extraordinary number of Jews. Even during World War I, the army and its officers endured, surviving the dissolution of the state in October 1918, if only by a few days. The end of the multinational Habsburg army also marked the end of confessional and ethnic tolerance in Central and East Central Europe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A pioneering study of the social history of a military elite. The subject is much neglected....Enthralling."—R.J.W. Evans, New York Review of Books

"A superior work by a distinguished scholar....Not just the best book about the Habsburg army available, but a work that affords readers marvelously illuminating glimpses into the true nature of the whole monarchy."—Choice

"This innovative study of the habburg army officer corps reflects the author's exhaustive research of memoirs and personnel files....Deak's study will be welcomed by military historyians and by all students of the habsburg Monarchy and Central European hopes that Beyond Nationalism will provide a model for similar social histories of the military elites of other countries."—The Journal of Military History

"A pioneering work written with Deák's customary precision, verve, and elegance, this book makes a most important contribution to Habsburg studies, military history, and the question of nationalism."—Piotr Wandycz, Yale University

"Written sympathetically and the vast amount of evidence employed is compressed into an easy narrative....More than just a good read, for it makes important revisionist points....An excellent book which every military, social, and political historian of Central Europe will find a joy to read."—Times Higher Education Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195045055
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1989
  • Edition description: FACSIMILE
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1. From the Turkish Wars to the Revolutions of 1848: An Early History 25
2. Absolutism, Liberal Reform, and the Ideology of Preventive War: The Army Between 1850 and 1914 43
3. The Making of Future Officers 78
4. Life in the Regiment 95
5. From Payday to Payday 114
6. Latter-Day Knights 126
7. Marriage, Family, Sexual Ethics, and Crime 139
8. Pensioners, Widows, and Orphans 149
9. Nobles and Near-Nobles in the Officer Corps 156
10. Religion, Nationality, Advanced Training, and Career 165
11. The Officers in the Great War 190
Epilogue Habsburg Officers in the Successor States and in the Second World War 205
Appendix I On Belles-Lettres, Memoirs, and Histories 213
Appendix II Place Names 225
Notes 227
Index 261
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