Professor contrasts two WWI interpretations

first_imgJohn Deak, assistant professor of history at Notre Dame, gave a lecture Thursday on the divide between mainstream and revisionist interpretations of the Habsburg Empire’s downfall during World War I, as part of the Nanovic Institute World War I Lecture Series.“What I’ve seen in the last 30 years is a complete and utter gap between what World War I historians say about the Habsburg empire and what Habsburg scholars … say about the empire,” Deak said. “The problem is that we don’t talk to each other.”Deak said traditional scholarship views the Habsburg Empire as an outdated monarchy in decline even before the outbreak of World War I.“The Habsburg Empire is seen and written about as a weak political anachronism … that isn’t equipped to survive [after World War I],” Deak said. “It’s been cast as a historical breaking point when the golden epoch of the 19th century Europe crashes to an end.”Revisionists, on the other hand, view the Habsburg Empire as a functioning monarchy and seek alternative explanations for its collapse, he said.“The Habsburg Monarchy was vibrant: it was a functioning state under the rule of law,” Deak said. “I think [World War I] killed the empire in a dramatic way, but since the 1920’s … this idea has been completely downplayed.”Despite Austria-Hungary’s best efforts, World War I destroyed many years of political and infrastructural improvement, Deak said.“This bureaucratic state of trying to manage democracy and build infrastructure was completely thrown out the window,” he said “By the time 1917 comes around … there’s no way to put the thing back together again.”Many historians also overlook Austria-Hungary’s resilience during the war, Deak said, as the empire was forced to raise three armies between 1914 and 1916 despite losing over a million soldiers.Further study of the Habsburg Empire not only provides a better understanding of the causes of collapse, but it also sheds light on the war’s effects on Europe, he said.“We need to give the war more credit than we do,” he said. “I think if we tune our focus on understanding why an empire, which was continually evolving and aiming for multinational democracy … could collapse so quickly, we might understand the First World War in more important ways.”Though this revisionist argument provides “common-sense interpretations” on the downfall of Austria-Hungary, academia still favors the traditional view of a failing empire, Deak said.“The trope that the Habsburg monarchy in 1914 was on the verge of collapse when war broke out is something we’re going to see more and more of in the literature being published today,” he said.According to Deak, part of this divide is because World War I historians spend little time studying the Habsburg Empire, focusing only on the brief month of activity during which Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, was assassinated in June of 1914.“Historians of the First World War generally develop some interest in the Habsburg monarchy, but then they either forget it or they kick it off,” Deak said.In addition to viewing Austria-Hungary as the “sick-man” of Europe, “generalist” World War I scholars also believe the dissolution of the Habsburg Monarchy enabled the multiple nations formerly comprising the empire to develop as modern states, he said.“The First World War is the point in time that open the gates of this prison and lets these prisoners out,” Deak said. “This largely fits into the trope that the First World War was this modern cataclysm that broke open Central Europe.”Deak said it is important to recognize the effects of this divide in historical interpretation.“When we commemorate one thing, we inevitably don’t say other things,” he said. “I think history has become quite esoteric over the last 30 years.”Tags: austria-hungary, franz ferdinand, habsburg empire, history, john deak, nanovic lecture series, nanovice institute WWI series, WWI, WWI lecture serieslast_img read more

UK MPs criticise government over handling of FRC chair appointment

first_imgSource: GSKSimon Dingemans, FRCIn relation to the former Goldman Sachs banker’s suitability for the role, the report concluded: “On the basis of the pre-appointment hearing, we are satisfied that Mr Dingemans has the professional competence and personal independence required of the chair of the Financial Reporting Council.”Dingemans’ appointment comes at a critical time for the FRC, which has come under intense scrutiny since the financial crisis. In addition criticism of its oversight of the audit sector following the collapse of government contractor Carillion at the start of 2018, the FRC has also faced claims from the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum that it misinterpreted UK company law to the detriment of investors.Transition to ARGAThe FRC is now in the process of transitioning into a new, more proactive regulator called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA).Quizzed during his pre-appointment hearing on how he planned to reform the organisation in light of the Kingman Review into the FRC’s future, Dingemans said he wanted to “change the FRC’s focus to serving the end users of accounts as opposed to the preparers”.“But most importantly of all [we have] to change the culture of the organisation, to make it more proactive, more energetic, more challenging,” he added.An overview of FRC enforcement activity over the past 12 months released last week showed a near trebling of the annual fines for defective audit work, from £15.5m (€16.8m) in 2017-18 to £42.9m in 2018-19.The FRC said it had made “far greater use and range of non-financial sanctions” and also overseen a “significant reduction” in the number of so-called legacy cases on its books. An influential committee of UK politicians has issued a stinging rebuke to the government over its handling of the appointment of the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) new chairman.Former GlaxoSmithKline chief financial officer Simon Dingemans was named as the government’s preferred candidate for the chairmanship last month.However, in a report following his pre-appointment hearing, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee expressed “frustration and dissatisfaction” with the BEIS department of government.“We have not been told why the chair [of the committee] was not consulted prior to the recruitment process being launched and at every stage of the process we have had to ask the department for the information that should have been provided to us in a timely manner,” the report stated. “Pre-appointment hearings are an important part of the scrutiny process; the department should seek to facilitate the committee’s work in this respect.”The committee – which is chaired by Labour MP Rachel Reeves – added that its criticism of the department was “no reflection on the candidate”.last_img read more

Premier League wins for Spurs and Man City.

first_imgTottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says he’s delighted to see forward Roberto Soldado end his goal scoring drought.The Spanish striker got the winner in Spurs 2-1 victory over Everton, which was his first Premier League strike of the season.Tottenham are now seventh but had to come from behind to beat the Toffees at White Hart Lane. Meanwhile Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says there’s no question his players have the appetite to win back-to-back Premier League titles.The champions went second in the table with a 3-0 win at Southampton, who dropped to third.Pellegrini’s side have been criticised for conceding too many goals this season and not scoring as many as the previous campaign.But the City manger can’t fault his players’ attitude.last_img read more