Prof. John Deak: A Death in Davos. Austro-Hungarian Military Culture and Honor on Trial in Switzerland, 1909

A lecture of the Prager Vorträge series

Datum konání
15. 5. 2023, 17:00 – 15. 5. 2023, 18:30
Místo konání
Prague, Valentinská 91/1, 3rd Floor, Lecture Room

We would like to invite you to the next lecture of the Prager Vorträge series co-organized by German Historical Institute Warsaw, Collegium Carolinum and Leibniz-Institute for History and Culture in Eastern Europe. This time in cooperation with the Masaryk Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

The lecture will take place in the lecture room in Prague, Valentinská 91/1, 3rd Floor.

It will be possible to join via Zoom - please contact Florian Ruttner: to send the link.


davos_eisenlohr.jpg?itok=9oEHbOzE 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. Deak's more recent work is within twentieth-century history, researching topics that include political Catholicism and Fascism, the First World War, civil-military relations, and authority and power associated with states and bureaucratic organizations. 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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