Journal of Ethnology 2014/4 is devoted to World War I as an interdisciplinary theme. In his study, Slovakian historian Ferdinand Vrabel pays attention to the first historical and philosophical analyses of this historic event (The First Czech and Slovakian Analyses of “The Great War” from 1914–1915: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Fedor Ruppeldt). Cultural historians Jiří Hanuš and Petr Husák deal with the theme of how important the reminiscences of a particular war reality are for the society (The Picture of the Great War: the Anniversary as an Occasion to Review the Historical Consciousness?). Austrian researchers Verena Moritz and Julia Walleczek-Fritz open the theme of prisoners of war (Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary 1914 – 1918). Ethnologist Petr Janeček deals with folkloristic research that reflects the theme of war as well as the structure of oral folklore genres at that time (Prosaic Folkloristics and the World War I Phenomenon). Dialectologist Marie Krčmová writes about crucial social aspects in connection with the development of language (Bohemian, Moravian, and Silesian Dialects in Transformations of Time). Stopping with Photo column remembers mass production of postcards depicting the themes of war, as well as aestheticization of the phenomenon of war (Promotional Graphics in the Employ of War, author Hana Dvořáková). Review Section publishes the contribution The Great War in the Eye of Ethnography (author Hana Dvořáková), the profile Jan Tomeček, a fiddler from Horňácko (author Judita Kučerová) and the essay by writer Josef Holcman aimed at the folklore movement in Moravia – The Beginning of Infinity (not only about this year’s rides of the kings, Strážnice festival, Horňácko festival and feast in Skoronice). Social Chronicle remembers anniversaries of Slovakian ethnologist Kornélia Jakubíková (born 1944), Czech ethnographer Zuzana Malcová (born 1954), historian Jan Rychlík (born 1954), and philologist Rudolf Šrámek (born 1934). Other regular columns publish reports from exhibitions, conferences, festivals, and review of new books.
The First Czech and Slovakian Analyses of “The Great War” from 1914–1915: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk and Fedor Ruppeldt
The author devotes himself to two analyses from the first period of the War – the Czech one by T. G. Masaryk, and the Slovak one written by Fedor Ruppeldt. Both analyses constitute an important historical document about how the contemporaries felt the initial stage of the War; they show many similarities but also differences. The authors partially are in agreement about their views, assessments, and conclusions; however, they partially differ from each other. They analyse the issue of the outbreak of the War, they partially even reflect on the responsibility for the outbreak of the War – to the extent allowed by limited possibilities given by the cautiousness because of the war censorship – and they try to come to conclusions as to its next development. Differences between the Masaryk’s and the Ruppeldt´s view of the War arise both from the differences in their professional specialization, life practice and opportunities to be in contact with politicians and representatives of foreign countries, and from the possibilities to travel; in the case of Ruppeldt also from the absence of his long-time stay abroad.
The Picture of the Great War: the Anniversary as an Occasion to Review the Historical Consciousness?
The anniversary of the outbreak of First World War in 1914 brought a plethora of articles, books, radio and television programmes, professional and popularizing events, profane and religious meetings. It is impossible not to ask a question why this particular anniversary was and still is remembered by such a powerful polyphony; in fact whether a certain historicizing of our consciousness, the causes of which are worth researching, is not a “sign of our time”. After a short introduction into the theoretical frame of the problem, the authors research this issue on the following levels: European discussion and its responses within the Czech environment (novel Náměsíčníci / The Sleepwalkers); new Czech interpretations and the breach of “taboo subjects” (thinking and acts of Tomáš Garrique Masaryk); return of “old Austria” with its institutions into public discussions (Jiří Rak phenomenon); activation of the wide public by means of events, including the religious ones; formation of new collective identities. In the conclusion, the authors express a thesis about the interconnection of historiographic, media and political production as well as about a real shift in the historical memory of the Czech public in view of the Habsburg Empire history.
Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary 1914 - 1918
The following article offers an overview of the central fields of research concerning Prisoners of War (POWs) in the Habsburg Empire during World War One, including living conditions in war camps, propaganda campaigns, forced labour and repatriation. The text also shows the discrepancy between the principles of Austro-Hungarian authorities relating to POW politics and an often harsh reality: All POWs were affected by the supply shortages which began in 1916 or even earlier: Thousands of POWs died from disease, exhaustion and undernourishment. In addition, soon after their capture POWs were confronted with the introduction of a new dimension of captivity: forced labour. The majority of prisoners were used for several work projects in the hinterland, behind the Austro-Hungarian front lines and even in the combat zones. The article also illustrates how the Russian Revolutions in 1917 influenced the fate of POWs in the Habsburg Monarchy.
Prosaic Folkloristics and the World War I
The contribution deals with the overview of more significant literary-folkloristic studies that paid their attention to the analysis of prosaic folklore phenomena developed and/or spread during World War I both in the battlefields and in the hinterland zones. While some texts of folklore nature drew researchers´ attention nearly immediately (prophecy, folk beliefs), the analyses of some others began several years later (demonogical legends, jokes, folk graffiti) – a part thereof came to a more thorough analysis only at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries (rumours and contemporary legends). Within European folkloristics, World War I proves to be a period that drew researchers´ attention mainly because of an unexpected increase in “irrationality” in both rural and urban environment. At that time, this phenomenon was most often interpreted as “tradition revival” and welcomed as a mean for revitalization and legitimacy of a discipline focused on the documentation of ostensibly disappearing folk culture associated with traditional rural areas. Although this concerned quite isolated partial studies in the most cases, yet as a whole these helped increase the interest of European folkloristics in the texts circulating in the current oral tradition. The texts of that time devoted to the interpretation of World War I paved the way for the later researches into contemporary folklore to a certain extent. This research direction was made more topical again at the end of the 20th century as it served as an inspiration for the contemporary study of the World War I folklore, which was based on the exploration of more types of source materials.
Bohemian, Moravian, and Silesian Dialects in Transformations of Time
Historical milestones are not projected immediately to the set of language means typical for a particular dialect, because the dialect is a private manner of speech actively acquired in childhood and passed down in a natural way by generations between which the continuity survives. It is necessary not to look for the causes of dialect transformations in the language itself, but in changed condition under which the dialect as means of communication is used. In our territory, such means are influenced mainly by the industrialization, which causes the migration of inhabitants and forms new communication communities in which a common usual language is created. Such a process was running in Bohemia in the entire 19th century, resulting in a quite stabilized general colloquial Czech; in Moravia and Silesia, however, we can notice it much later and the traditional dialect survived until recently. Unfortunately, because of the lack of older relevant authentic language material ,we are not able to show any concrete data about the rate of transformations, and the results of the contemporary development of general manner of speech will be obvious in some tens of years.