Back from the front

Brief summary

The military casualties of the war numbered 10 million dead and 21 million wounded.

Many of the soldiers streaming home from the fronts could no longer find the homes they knew: they could not integrate into civilian life or find work.
Hopelessness and years of unprecedented suffering left their imprint on political life. There emerged ever more radical and violent forces, the representatives of which declared old authorities illegitimate and old values obsolete. As a result, one crisis followed another. Although the so-called “victors” promised that it had been “the war to end all wars”, in November 1918 conflict was far from over. Once back home, millions of soldiers faced a new reality, in which the world they had left for “wartime adventure” had disappeared like a receding fog, and sometimes they found that the country in whose service they had risked their lives no longer existed.


War had taken hold of them and would never let them go. They would never really belong to their homes again.”
Ernst von Salomon


History is made in the trenches where under the foolish pressure of war-madness the soldier thrusts his bayonet into the officer’s body and escapes to his home village to set fire to the manor house.”
V. I. Lenin


Both of my dear Karl’s legs were ripped off at Verdun, but at least he’s alive. He spends his days sitting in the corridor facing the courtyard, smoking his cigars. He never laments, he just snuffles sometimes, saying that his legs hurt.
Hildegard Storch, 1919


I miss my fellow soldiers; my wife looks at me as if I were a stranger; there is no work to be found; we are
hungry; the only occupation I know is killing.

Pál Kovács, 1918

The treaty includes no provisions for the economic rehabilitation of Europe, nothing to stabilise the defeated Central Empires, or nothing to reclaim Russia.
J. M. Keynes




Further rooms

An entire era is lowered into the grave

Franz Joseph’s death was felt as a tragedy by his contemporaries.

Back from the front

The military casualties of the war numbered 10 million dead and 21 million wounded.

The creators of the peace structure

The victors invoked the principle of “national self-determination”, but their decisions bore no trace of this.

The dawn of the American century

After World War I the United States took over the leading role in world politics from Europe.

Europe in tumult

The continent’s victors and vanquished alike faced similar problems: everyday life was overshadowed by social unrest and economic hopelessness.

The Spanish flu pandemic

In three devastating waves, the pandemic killed over twenty million people: more than twice the number of soldiers killed in the war.

The league of nations

The organisation founded at President Wilson’s initiative was the first attempt at peaceful resolution of the world’s conflicts.

Red terror

Violence and intimidation were from the very start the essence of communist dictatorships.

The Leninist model

Attempts at transforming European societies and the threat of a communist world revolution posed a serious challenge to European states.

Changes – 1914–1922

“Divide and rule!” The victors redrew the world map in a way that would possibly perpetuate ethnic and religious conflicts.

In the shadow of Trianon

The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy plunged the Kingdom of Hungary into its deepest crisis since the Ottoman occupation.