Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Calamitous Methods of Compulsion: Labor, War, and Revolution in a Habsburg Industrial District, 1906-1919

This investigation re-centers violence in the domestic experience of the First World War in order to explain the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy, arguing that the First World War revolutionized the experience of Habsburg governance in the Ostrava-Karviná industrial district. Before the outbreak of war, the state acted as judge and arbiter; afterwards it acted as tyrant, according to plans laid out before the war. The tyrannical character of war-time Habsburg governance as it sought to mobilize and coerce industrial labor hollowed out the state, as deprivation and violence drove desperation and resistance. Ultimately by the summer of 1918 the Habsburg state had become disposable, shattering Habsburg authority long before the formal end of Habsburg rule in the Bohemian lands. The end of the war and the dissolution of the Habsburg state opened up a moment of broad political and social possibilities, in which the ethno-nationalist and class politics suppressed by the war re-emerged as competing power centers. Though there were many claimants for legitimacy and loyalty in Ostrava-Karviná, the iron fist of the Czech Legion led to the establishment of a new multi-ethnic empire in Ostrava-Karviná - Czecho-Slovakia.