The Austrian National Library is worthy of a visit even in the absence of a special exhibit. The State Hall, a little like our Library of Congress, was built from the collections of notable families and scholars.
The purpose of my visit was not just to admire the building, however; though I do that whenever I get the opportunity. Another in the series of WWI centenary exhibitions recently opened, this one from the collections of photos, maps, war diaries and other items amassed by the Imperial Court Library, now the Austrian National Library. Keeping the people of the empire informed was no easy task; tens of thousands of documents were accumulated during the war, yet somehow little was reported about the horrid fatalities of the war.
Maps were common, be they propaganda or informational.
That this map contained so much English language was interesting to me.
Families were expected to collect monies for the war efforts, naturlich.
Special wartime music was composed, too. Who wouldn’t feel patriotic humming along to, “I Gave Gold for Iron?”
How about the Christmas cards? Nothing spreads holiday cheer like dead soldiers beneath a Tannenbaum.
During the war women were called upon to fill in for the men as “Letter Pigeons” and “Pretty Girls.”
As well as being a “Powerful Force” and (my favorite), “Ice Princess.”
Many proclamations were issued to the people throughout the course of the war. This was the final proclamation, issued by Charles I in 1918 (Franz Josef had died in 1916), “relinquish(ing) every participation in the administration of the State.”