Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Alexander Mionskowski - Authorities at War. The Public Opinion in Germany as a Major Concern of Austrian Poets between 1914 and 1916
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Authorities at War. The Public Opinion in Germany as a Major Concern of Austrian Poets between 1914 and 1916
Abstract: The chapter analyses the Austrian strategy of influencing public opinion in Germany as an attempt to establish a cultural dimension of the Dual Alliance (Zweibund) which was militarily dominated by the German Empire. Hermann Bahr and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who were concerned with the ideal of the Kulturnation and the narrative of its Austrian design, became acquainted with many members of the cultural and functional elites in the German Empire. They were concentrated in clubs such as one of the biggest modern think-tanks on economic warfare, Deutsche Gesellschaft 1914 (German Society of 1914). The poets’ mission in Berlin was to represent Austria and make the Germans aware of its worth as a mediating cultural power – and to reconcile an old dynastic authority over the ‘new’ economic and military potential of the German Empire led by Prussia. This strategy, though generally well received by German Liberals like Friedrich Naumann, Alfred and Max Weber, ultimately failed when the German Empire turned out to be a military dictatorship under Supreme Army Command (OHL). Nevertheless, due to its political mysticism of nation and community, it became, to some extent, the blueprint for later national and socialist movements.
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