Conference Program

85th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History

 Landscapes of War and Peace

April 5 - 8, 2018, Louisville, Kentucky

Title: Young Scholars Panel - Sowing Unity and Discord: Rhetoric, Sport, and Institutions
Joshua Haynes, University of Southern Mississippi
Van Knopf, Indiana University Southeast
Participant's Paper Title: A Force for Unity: The Austro-Hungarian Army from 1867 to 1914
Participant's Paper Abstract: This project examines the Austro-Hungarian army as a state institution from 1867 to 1914. I argue that the army was a flawed but ultimately effective organization for stabilizing the Austro-Hungarian Empire after its creation in 1867. Research is drawn from Austrian military-themed newspapers and military journals, which show the institutional identity of the army. The army was a politically stabilizing institution along ethnic lines within the multi-national empire. This was not a chance development, but rather a conscious effort. This research shows the importance of strong state institutions as uniting forces within a multi-ethnic conglomerate such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Jeremy Fay, Texas A&M - Central Texas
Participant's Paper Title: "Every Czech a Sokol!": The Influence of the Sokol on the Czechoslovak Legions
Participant's Paper Abstract: Recent explorations into the Sokol (Czechoslovak nationalistic gymnastics association) and the Czechoslovak Legions have highlighted the Sokol's impact on the Czech national rebirth and thus raised public awareness to the Legion's incredible story in Russia. Despite these inquiries into both the Sokol and the Legions, historians have not addressed the enormous influence the Sokol had on the Legions. This paper will demonstrate how the Sokol's influence on the formation of the Legions was so integral that without the Sokol movement, the Legions may have never existed. The Sokol's impact is evidenced through its philosophy, physical training regimen, and the notion of Pan-Slavism within the Legions. The Sokol was a vehicle of nationalism that helped build a Czech national identity, inspiring a spirit of volunteerism amongst Sokol members who seem to have constituted a large majority of volunteers to the Legions. The Sokol's physical training regimen forged its members into tough men, capable of enduring war's horrors. The Sokol's gymnastic routine was so effective as a tool for physical preparation that its usage continued and permeated daily life during service in the Legions. Sokol leaders positioned themselves at the forefront of Pan-Slavism, advancing the Pan-Slavic message to the extent that many Slavs refused to fight for Austro-Hungarian interests, and opted instead for defection to Russian lines to join the Legion. Understanding the continuity between the Sokol and the Legions advances the historical narrative of the Legions, and in the broader sense, the overall Czechoslovak nationalist movement leading up to the First World War.
Sarah McCoy, University of Louisville
Participant's Paper Title: Realizing the Patriot Cause: The Religious Rhetoric of Common Sense
Participant's Paper Abstract: Nearly nine months after the first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord, and after attempting to invade British Canada, Patriots were still unsure of what outcome they desired from the ongoing conflict with Britain. Without a clear, defined purpose, Patriot support staggered among the colonists. However, Common Sense, a pamphlet published in January 1776, changed the tides of the war and revolution. Written by Thomas Paine, Common Sense motivated Patriots to declare independence from Britain and engage in a war for total political autonomy. Though the importance of Common Sense cannot be denied, what about it made it so special? Many historians note that the pamphlet stands apart from other contemporary writings because of its use of the Bible and religious rhetoric, but to what effect did this play in its influence? Thomas Paine clearly used religious rhetoric in his writing in order to appeal to the common man - and soldier - in the American colonies, so to look at whether Paine used this technique or how often he used it would not be beneficial, especially in understanding the impact of Common Sense. Instead, by analyzing when Paine used religious rhetoric, the influence of the pamphlet can be greater understood. Specifically looking at the second section of Common Sense, "On Monarchy and Hereditary Succession," Paine's religious rhetoric and Bible-based passages allowed the audience to believe that monarchy was evil and sinful, and something to stand against. Furthermore, his techniques clearly had the ability to motivate unsure colonists and Patriots alike to fight against the greatest military force in the world for the revolutionary ideas of independence and liberty.
Donald Wright, Army Combat Studies Institute

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