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From Empire to Republic

Peter Berger
Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser

II. Costs of War: Social/Mental/Cultural Legacies

Government Care of War Widows and Disabled Veterans after World War I

Verena Pawlowsky and Harald Wendelin

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World War I has repeatedly been described in terms of significance. The “Great War” and “the great seminal catastrophe of this century”1 are well-known expressions used to meet the scale and totality of this exceptional war waged at the beginning of the twentieth century.2 Not only did this war involve more states in warfare than any other had done, it was new also with regard to the destructive weapons coming into operation, with regard to the masses of soldiers sent to the battlefields and, of course, with regard to the great numbers of victims. As for the Habsburg Monarchy, due to compulsory military service — introduced in 1868 — about 7.8 million men were torn away from their families and civilian occupations to serve as soldiers. Thousands were wounded or infected by illness, and 1.5 million of them were killed. And so, one of the consequences of World War I — besides the collapse of empires and the emerging of new political concepts, besides ruined economies and huge unemploy...

© innsbruck university press, 2010

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