Life in a Dictatorship

  

Sammelbehältnis in Form einer Granate der Škoda 30.5 cm Haubitze, Fa. Swoboda, 1914 - 1918, Blech, Salzburg Museum, , Inv.-Nr. K 4774-49
Sammelbehältnis in Form einer Granate der Škoda 30.5 cm Haubitze, Fa. Swoboda, 1914 - 1918, Blech, Salzburg Museum, , Inv.-Nr. K 4774-49Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern
Hungerdemonstration vor dem Regierungsgebäude auf dem Mozartplatz, 19. September 1918, 1. Weltkrieg, Karl H. Hintner (1862 – 1939), 1918, Papier, Fotoabzug SW, Salzburg Museum, , Inv.-Nr. F 20622
Hungerdemonstration vor dem Regierungsgebäude auf dem Mozartplatz, 19. September 1918, 1. Weltkrieg, Karl H. Hintner (1862 – 1939), 1918, Papier, Fotoabzug SW, Salzburg Museum, , Inv.-Nr. F 20622Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern
NUR DIGITAL: Krautacker im Mirabellgarten, 1914 - 1918, Sammlung Prof. Tristan Loidl, Salzburg
NUR DIGITAL: Krautacker im Mirabellgarten, 1914 - 1918, Sammlung Prof. Tristan Loidl, SalzburgKlicken um Bild zu vergrößern
Klicken um Bild zu vergrößern

The First Total War
The First World War directed its entire efforts into making all resources available and mobilising the entire population for military ends. Although the lack of raw materials and workforce caused the downfall of many industrial operations, the production of military supplies – like that of the copper company Mitterberger Kupfer AG – flourished. The military administration placed operations of military importance and their personnel under military management. This involved prohibitions against a free change of workplaces or disturbance of operations (e.g. through trade union activities). Moreover, half the soldiers were not deployed at the front line but had to track down deserters in the back-up regions and at the home front; they also had to put a stop to uprisings or guard and secure traffic junctions.

  
Let’s Play War!
Militarism was also reflected in children’s toys and games. The range was wide: the Matador company produced canon-building sets (Kanonenbaukasten), special children’s postcards were printed, and a military version of Ludo and other games were brought onto the market.

  
Life under Dictatorship
On 25 July 1914, emergency decrees came into force signed by Emperor Franz Joseph that massively restricted basic civil rights and, among other things, prohibited public gatherings and established the responsibility of the military courts for political offences (including criticism of the war and the monarchy, for instance). The Salzburg Diet no longer convened. Conjointly with the military authorities, the oppression of the population began; however, as the war continued, people rebelled against this more and more.

  
Protests
Distress and deprivations led to a politicisation and radicalisation of society, precipitating in spontaneous and organised protests and demonstrations. As early as November 1915, female workers in Hallein expressed their protest before the mayor. 1917 and 1918 were marked by major waves of protest and strikes in many Salzburg enterprises – also in solidarity with the revolutionaries in Russia.

  
No Front without the Home Front
Without the support of the home front, the war front would have rapidly collapsed. A major part of war costs was raised through war bonds, money collections and saving campaigns at home in the civil sphere. A policy of “slimming down” – “abhungern”, as the military authorities called it – on the home front was to secure the food supplies needed for military purposes. By 1918, around two million people had died of hunger in the territories of the Central Powers. So-called war kitchens were set up in cities and towns to maintain a minimum provision of food. Vegetable gardens were cultivated in communal allotments.

  
Corruption and Protest
Some starved, others got rich. The Salzburg government official Eduard Rambousek misappropriated support funds and also food intended for refugees and Salzburg families. Families of the aristocracy and haute bourgeoisie – among them the Salzburg government president Felix von Schmitt-Gasteiger – supplied Rambousek with gourmet delicacies. The population gave vent to their wrath in the “hunger demonstrations” of 19 September 1918.

 

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