Military Culture and the Limits of Patriotic Mobilization
This chapter reflects on the role of military culture in imperial Austria and considers continuities between the militarizing drive evident before 1914 and government policies during the First World War. It argues that, rather than seeing the multinational army as a ‘bulwark of the state’, scholars need to locate the military more firmly within the political, social, and cultural context of late imperial Austria, wherein the meaning and import of the army was open to negotiation and contestation. There were potentially integrative aspects of the military, as the spread of the Radetzky hero cult and the military veterans’ movement show. Yet, this success had certain social and ideological limits and instances of opposition or indifference counterbalanced, while not outweighing, the integrative aspects. In sum, the army became an increasingly polarizing force, albeit one that worked unevenly across social and ethnic cleavages.
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