Only a Myth? The Solely English-Speaking Habsburg Army Conscripts from the United States, 1868-1918 Monarchy
By Tamara Scheer
On August 2, 1914, the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled a story "Austrian Consul Busy," and reported the behavior of some of its city dwellers: "But the desire to get back to the defense of the lands of their birth is not confined to reservists. Naturalized American citizens have besieged the … consulates.… Around the Austro-Hungarian consulate fully 500 men gathered this morning."[i] A couple of days earlier, the same newspaper had even named some of these men, among them: "George Harros, a Viennese, came from Trenton to offer his services, saying in response to a question that he would rather a thousand times go back and fight for his country than continue in the United States."[ii] In those days, following the war declaration of Austria-Hungary on Serbia, hundreds of thousands of Austrian and Hungarian men were called to arms. Due to mass migration since the nineteenth century, many of them lived and worked abroad, including the United States. Many of them were even born there. Beside journalists' reports, Austro-Hungarian consulates themselves announced calls to arm all over the world.