John Deak (Notre Dame): A Death in Davos: Austro-Hungarian Military Culture and Honor on Trial in Switzerland, 1909


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pon. 15.05.2023 | 17:00

Wir laden herzlich zum öffentlichen Vortrag in unsere Außenstelle in Prag ein!

In March 1909, in a hotel in Davos, Switzerland, Oberleutant Josef Bartunek shot dead the Dutch composer Jules Mulder in front of all the other guests. What had happened was one of the last cases of Ehrennotwehr, or urgent-defense-of-honor, committed by a member of the Habsburg military before the First World War. But, unlike cases in Austria, where officers expected to receive a pardon, this event happened in the resort of Davos, in a foreign country, and against a non-Austrian citizen. It was a European event, one that exposed increasing fault lines in bourgeois and military culture, as well as ideas about honor and expectations of comportment. Most importantly, it exposed the Habsburg military to criticism about its own positioning vis-à-vis the rule of law. The presentation will discuss this case and, in the process, take on an exploration of the cult of honor and the peculiar world of Davos in Europe on the eve of the First World War.


John Deak is an associate professor of European history in the Department of History at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests lie in the history of European political culture from the Enlightenment to the twentieth century, particularly in the region broadly defined as Central Europe. His publications include: Forging a Multinational State: State Making in Imperial Austria from the Enlightenment to the First World War (Stanford 2015) and the edited volume The Central Powers in Russia’s Great War and Revolution (Slavica Publishers 2020), co-edited with Heather R. Perry and Emre Sencer.

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