Conference: Military Intelligence Services during the eve of World War I

On the 8th of November, another event on the history of intelligence services was made possible in Vienna, thanks to a cooperation by the University of Vienna, the Science Commission of the Austrian Ministry of Defence and the ACIPSS. Organizers and hosts were Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Mueller and Dr. Verena Moritz from the Institute for Eastern European History at the University of Vienna.

On three extensive panels national and international experts talked about the early endeavours of intelligence services during the eve of World War I (program).

Erwin Schmidl elaborated on unheard or ignored reports of Austrian military attachés during the second Boer- and the Russian-Japanese War in their home country. Guenther Kronenbitter then gave various insights into the planning of wars by Austria-Hungary shortly before the Great War.

Additional insights were provided by Markus Poehlmann, who talked about the organisation and the periodic contextualization of German military intelligence and its actions aimed at Russia. A different presentation was held by Hannes Leidinger, who explained very detailed on how media constructed certain stereotypes to grasp the reasons behind the affair around the treason of Alfred Redl.

The last panel was dedicated to the expertise of Bruce Menning and Evgenij Sergeev. Menning presented various unsolved questions with regard to intelligence history shortly before World War I, but also where possible answers could be found. Sergeev gave a clear picture of Russian spy activity and allied cooperation during the war.

Both the moderation of the panels and the Q&A sessions were guided by Verena Moritz, Wolfgang Mueller and Siegfried Beer. During the discussions additional details to the relevance of research on intelligence services, and also the baby steps of the various services themselves were highlighted, but also the impact they had on political and military stakeholders.

Pictures: David Jaklin