Persons, Places


In this short article about Stefan ZWEIG I mentioned that he served during WWI in the Kriegspressequartier:

He served voluntarily in the “Kriegsarchiv“, what was part of the “Kriegspressequartier” – a kind of early propaganda service, Austrian edition. Here writers like GINZKEY (Eng.), CSOKOR (Eng.), Paul STEFAN (Eng.), POLGAR (Eng.),  EHRENSTEIN (Eng.), TREBITSCH  served, later joined by a certain RILKE (Eng.). In the end they had to tell lies and to produce two patriotic journals (“Österreich-Ungarn in Waffen” and “Donauland“) and hated it.

Meanwhile someone wrote a small article about the “k.u.k. Kriegspressequartier” (KPQ) on Wikipedia (Ger. only). This institution was founded in July 1914 and concentrated all press and propaganda efforts in the double-monarchy throughout WWI. For this purpose it used all media channels of the time, of course the written word but also war painting, photography and film. More than 33.000 photographs taken at the behest of the KPQ are stored in the Austrian National Library (ÖNB, Ger., Eng.). Known to have worked for the KPQ is the photograph Hugo EYWO (Ger.). In command of the film departement was Sascha KOLOWRAT-KRAKOWSKY (Ger., Eng.), the founder of the Austrian film industry. The article focuses on the painting departement, but mentions the following writers as connected with the KPQ:

Albert Paris GÜTERSLOH (Eng.), Alfred KUBIN (Eng.), Egon Erwin KISCH (Eng.),  Robert MUSIL (Eng.), Leo PERUTZ (Eng.), Alice SCHALEK, Hugo von HOFMANNSTHAL (Eng.), RODA RODA (Eng.), Ferenc MOLNÁR (Eng.), Robert MICHEL und Franz WERFEL (Eng.).

Alice SCHALEK was the only female war correspondent of the Great War. A search for “Kriegspressequartier” in the English Wikipedia brings up the painter Alfred BASEL (Ger., Eng.) and the already mentioned KOLOWRAT. The Adalbert-Stifter-Verein had a touring exhibition about “writers and artists in propaganda 1914-1918” in 2003 (35 panels, 80×60 cm) and there exists an accompanying publication in two volumes, but this is hardly a profound essay about the history and relevance of  the first modern propaganda instrument. As I understand actually exist only two works about the KPQ, a dissertation from 1963 by Klaus MAYER about the organizational structure and one by Hildegund SCHMÖLZER about the propaganda of saied institution, from 1965.

It would be worth the effort to write and research the history of the KPQ on various levels, especially in respect of the year 2014 and the centenary of the Great War. Seemingly anybody in the Habsburg Empire who could hold a brush, use a photograph and write a clear sentence (and did not run away in August ’14) was sooner or later in some way connected with the KPQ, and what a bunch they were. For ZWEIG it was a turning point, for others maybe not. So the intellectual implications would be worth a look, and mundane things too: Where do these people gather? What is daily routine?
Two and a half years left – a stipendium should be thrown out, someone should start to search for records and source materials.