The keynote lecture of our seminar series National Histories, Imperial Memories: Representing the Past in Interwar Central Europe will take place at
18.00 CET on 5 October 2021
Nancy Wingfield (Northern Illinois University)
Remembering the World War: The Battle of Zborov, the Czechs, and their Two-Tailed Lion
A great period of memorial construction followed in the wake of the First World War. In a ‘democracy of death,’ most erstwhile belligerents sought to honor all their war dead. Not so the successive governments of the nascent Czechoslovakia, which would govern the multinational state as a nation state, and propagated a sort of culture of victory. When local Czech monuments memorialized the ‘victims of the war,’ they often gave pride of place to the Czech Legionnaires, soldiers who had fought with the Allied forces across three fronts. Some Czech public memorials employed iconography of victory, including the Legionnaire victory at the Battle of Zborov over the Habsburg Monarchy. Other monuments featured the Bohemian lion with his paw weighing heavily on the neck of the dying two-headed Austrian eagle. Such imagery served to divide the citizens of Czechoslovakia rather than unite them between the wars.
Nancy M. Wingfield is a cultural and gender historian of Habsburg Central Europe. The author of numerous books and articles, her research has had support from Fulbright, the Czech and the Slovenian Granting Agencies, and, most recently, the Botstiber Foundation. Her monograph, The World of Prostitution in Late Imperial Austria (Oxford, 2017), won the Center for Austrian Studies’ 2018 Biennial Book Prize. She addresses the politics of memory in her book, Flag Wars and Stone Saints: How the Bohemian Lands Became Czech (2006), as well as in articles and book chapters, including ‘National Commemorations of the Battle of Zborov in a Multinational State,’ in Sacrifice and Rebirth: The Legacy of the Habsburg Empire’s Great War, ed. by Mark Cornwall and John Paul Newman (2016) and ‘The Sommersonnenwende: From Traditional German Folk Festival to Radical Right-Wing Mobilizing Ritual along Austria’s Language Frontiers,’ in Sites of Memory; Sites of Border, ed. by Borut Klabjan (2019). She is currently working on a history of Vienna.
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The lecture is organised as part of a project that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 786314).