Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kees Boterbloem, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darcie Fontaine, Ph.D.

Committee Member

J. Scott Perry, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Golfo Alexopoulos, Ph.D.


Austria-Hungary, Croat, identity, nationality, Serb


This dissertation examines the function of national identity and the degree to which it is a recent development, particularly in the region of the Balkan Peninsula populated by the South Slav (Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian) peoples. The study examines the question of whether in the period prior to 1918, when much of this territory was part of the multinational empire of Austria-Hungary, was it possible for individuals to be entirely loyal to both their national group and to the construct of the multinational state simultaneously.

In order to answer this question, the dissertation surveys the career of Svetozar Boroević von Bojna (1856-1920), a high-ranking officer with the Habsburg Monarchy’s armed forces who was of Serb-Croatian ethnicity. The dissertation examines each stage of his career and his commands during the First World War, the Eastern (Carpathian) Front, and the Isonzo Front, as well as his fate following the war, and demonstrates how the issue of nationality and national identity impacted Boroevic’s relationship with the ruling classes of the Monarchy as well as others of South Slav nationality. A concluding section challenges the prevailing narrative about the success of the nationalization project among the South Slav peoples at the end of the First World War, and concurs with other recent scholarship about national identification among other groups of the Habsburg Monarchy.

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