War propaganda


Italy, a former ally of the Monarchy, entered the Great War in 1915 alongside the entente. The Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria, Italy) had been abandoned several years earlier. The Italians got what they wanted in the West, but they also wanted to integrate the Italian-speaking population of the Monarchy into their country. Many Italian-speaking inhabitants lived in the Monarchy,  mainly in Tirol and the Adriatic Seaside (i.e. along the lower Isonzo valley and on the Istrian peninsula) and Dalmatia. The city of Triest was also a prime target for Italian conquest efforts.

Tirol enjoyed a very special status in the Monarchy, which was reflected even in the strange military organization of the province. During the Italian attack in May 1915, Tirol was initially protected only by the local area protection units (Standschützen). Of course, regular units arrived soon. But they were also largely locally recruited Tiroler Kaiserjäger, and provincial rifle units (Landesschützen). The matter of home defense provided very much motivation for these units. Not without success: the Italian attacks have achieved little territorial gains on the Tirolean front.

Although Tirolean troops did not need to be fired on very much, Tirol’s defense was displayed in a lot of propaganda material. In this post, a Tirolean “Standschütze” from the older generation is the focus. The badge and postcard show a striking kinship, although the representation of the figure is mirror-like. The shape, the movement is very similar. The badge’s inscription in Tirolean dialect reads: “None of you will set foot in here!” The post on the field post card reads: “Tyrol is ours, and it must remain so forever!”

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