Images and Languages of Despair and Violence. Representations of Eastern Europe after the Great War

Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies, IOS Regensburg; Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe – Institute of the Leibniz Association, Marburg; Collegium Carolinum, Munich
11.10.2018 - 12.10.2018
Ulf Brunnbauer

When armistices were concluded in 1918, the Great War was not over in Eastern Europe: in some of its parts, armed conflict continued until the early 1920s; in newly occupied territories, armed bands would fight the new rulers; and all over the region, the rearranged political landscape amidst a landscape of social despair and humanitarian crisis. Millions of veterans, of war invalids, of orphans and widows, and of refugees had to be provided for by feeble states. The Bolshevik revolution added a further dose of fear – but for many, also of hopes for a new world.

The first conference will discuss, which images of despair and misery, of violence and political disruption were produced and disseminated after the collapse of empire and the formal end of war. We are interested in the dynamics of media events and their patterns of production as well as reception – in national and in transnational contexts. Which iconographies of political turmoil and revolution were produced? How did different actors use evocative images in order to rally support for their agendas, targeting domestic but also international audiences? The conference employs a broad understanding of image and language in order to capture the full range of representational techniques, and a variety of actors.

It appears that post-war Eastern Europe was not only the “crisis zone of Europe” (Ivan Berend) but also an area where new modes and practices of representing postwar conditions and their multifold disruptions emerged. Post-imperial, national, and international actors produced images and languages of political rupture, of misery and violence that would shape patterns of representation throughout the 20th century.

A second conference, to take place in Marburg in 2019, will look into representations of crisis during the Depression in Eastern Europe after 1929.


Thursday, October 11

15.00-16.30 Opening and First Keynote
Ulf Brunnbauer (IOS Regensburg), Peter Haslinger (Herder-Institute, Marburg): Opening words
Heidemarie Uhl (Austrian Academy of Sciences), title t.b.c.

16.45 18.45 Representations of Violence and Despair
Mariy Zoryk (Bamberg): Fotografische Darstellungen des Ukraine-Konflikts in den deutschen Printmedien: ein Vergleich mit den visuellen Narrativen der Oktoberrevolution 1917
Karl Kaser (University of Graz): The wars from 1912 to 1922 and the first visual revolution in the Balkans
Elisabeth Haid (University of Vienna): "Der polnische Pogromorkan": Representations of anti- Jewish violence 1918

Friday, October 12
9-10 Keynote 2
Friederike Kind-Kovács (Hannah Arendt Institute, Dresden): Picturing the Postwar: Children’s Destitution and Humanitarian Relief in Budapest

10.15-12.15 Navigating the Post-War
Anca Cretu (Graduate Institute, Geneva): “Politics of Vulnerability” and Humanitarian Assistance in Romania during the Great War
Tamara Scheer (University of Vienna): If there is no homecoming: return experience of Austro-Hungarian soldiers from the First World War Theaters
Jeremias Schmidt (IOS Regensburg): Between continuity, myth and denial: Remembrance of violence in the German post-war Literature on the Eastern Front

13.00-15.00 The Power of the Visual for and Propaganda
Peter Haslinger (Herder-Institute, Marburg): Representations of Utopia and Anxiety. Maps as Political Tools 1918/19-1925
Robert Born (GWZO, Leipzig): Between floral embroidery and mutilation. Visual strategies in the campaigns for the revision of Trianon
Rudolf Jaworski (Kiel): Deutsche und polnische Propagandapostkarten Anfang der 1920er Jahre zu den Abstimmungskämpfen in Oberschlesien

15.15-17.00 Propaganda in the Russian Civil War
Presentation of Digitized Pictures from Gen. Wrangel’s Legacy, by the Bavarian State Library (Gudrun Wirtz)
Contextualization: Guido Hausmann (IOS, Regensburg)

Final Discussion



Images and Languages of Despair and Violence. Representations of Eastern Europe after the Great War, 11.10.2018 – 12.10.2018 Regensburg, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 14.09.2018, <>.
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