The End
of the Concert
of Europe

The End of the Concert of Europe:
Europe and the Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the end of the long 19th century

10th and 11th November 2022

The changes that were initiated, stimulated or accelerated by the First World War caused significant shifts in a number of areas. The political, religious and social map of Europe in 1914 was fundamentally different to the map of the continent in the immediate post-war period and the years thereafter. The unquestioned power of the pentarchy was ended, multinational monarchies were replaced by republican nation states whose governments based their legitimacy on different concepts than their predecessors. However, it is possible to find many more symptoms of this paradigm shift, allowing us to research the turning-point that signalled the end of the long 19th century from the perspective of a variety of disciplines and differing methods.

One possible impetus for a discussion defined in these broad terms is the 100th anniversary of the death of Emperor Charles I of Austria (1922), who in this country is commonly labelled the last King of Bohemia. He remains a controversial figure, one that is subject to diametrically opposed viewpoints, ranging from the defensive to hypercritical. The ten decades that have passed since his death have brought a large number of disputed topics, for example the tense relations between the Habsburgs and the countries of Central Europe and Charles's beatification by the Roman Catholic Church. The centenary of the death of Charles I of Austria can thus be seen as an opportunity for the historization, i.e. the taking of a balanced, critical approach, to not only the person of one emperor, but also the modern history of the Czech Republic and Europe as a whole.

The conference will include contributions in the following areas in particular.

Europe on the verge of the short 20th century

How did the Great War transform Europe? Which key changes did European society go through during the First World War? How were these changes discussed in history, sociology, religious studies, theology and law? Which of the competing concepts of government won, and why? Which strategies were chosen by the Catholic church, non-Catholic church organizations and other religious institutions? Which terms were used to define everyday life in the years from 1914 to 1918?

The Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the end of the long 19th century and Emperor Charles

Which value judgements are associated with the final years of existence of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy? Could Franz Josef I and Charles I have “changed history”, and did they have the opportunity to do so? Which of their decisions and measures have stood the test of time? What can be considered as the legacy of the “last emperor” (the “last King of Bohemia”) and how can we differentiate it from other legacies? How can we consider topics that are naturally linked to political history in theological and spiritual terms? What is the position of monarchs who have been canonized or beatified in national or other narratives?

The Habsburgs and the nobility in the Czech collective memory

What are the shared cultural images of the Habsburgs, aristocracy and nobility in film, caricature and other media? Which reductions and narratives do they reflect, which stereotypes can they serve as the basis of? Where do they draw their strength from and which changes have they gone through in the 20th century? What is the position of the Habsburgs in the Czech collective memory? How should be analyse the tension between Czech egalitarianism and the intensive interest in the nobility?

Faculty of Arts of Charles University
(náměstí Jana Palacha 1/2, 116 38 Praha 1)

Conference dates:
10th and 11th November 2022

Submission deadline for essays:
15th September 2022


Faculty of Arts of Charles University
Catholic Theological faculty of Charles University

Programme and organizing committee:

PhDr. Jakub Izdný, Ph.D.
Mgr. Petr Nohel, Ph.D.
doc. PhDr. Jan Randák, Ph.D.
PhDr. ThLic. Michal Sklenář, Ph.D. et Ph.D.
doc. PhDr. ThLic. Marek Šmíd, Ph.D.
prof. PhDr. Vít Vlnas, Ph.D.

Further information and contact:

The organizers reserve the right to use their own discretion in choosing contributions. We anticipate the publication of modified essays in a publication to be compiled based on the outcome of the conference.