‘Cities of barracks’
Refugees in the Austrian part of the Habsburg Empire during the First World War
in Europe on the move
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The unprecedented mass displacement of civilians during the First World War represents a crucial component of the seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century. This chapter introduces refugee/evacuee politics in Austria-Hungary, in particular Cisleithania, and then explores the approach of the Habsburg administration towards refugees. The political framework for the transportation and housing of the refugees only came into being on 13 September 1914, by which time mass flight and deportations from the Eastern Front were already under way. According to a decree of the Ministry of the Interior issued on 15 September 1915, refugees accused of price driving in refugee districts should be deported into a refugee camp. Tight surveillance of the refugees did not prevent the outbreak of strikes and riots inside the refugee camps. A decided aim of educational and cultural policy was to 'alleviate homesickness and pain' among refugees.

Europe on the move

Refugees in the era of the Great War

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