Feast of joy


Ninety-nine years ago on this day the people of Budapest celebrated a feast of joy. The reason of their joy is no longer easy to understand: on this day the Monarchy ordered a general mobilization, two days after having declared war on Serbia because of the Sarajevo assassination.


“The streets of Budapest have never seen as many enthusiastic young people as this afternoon. Everyone flocked to the main routes, everyone erupted in satisfaction, they threw their hats in the air, the ladies cheered the war, the children seized flags and lanterns, touring with themthe city, where raging enthusiasm prevailed. – Long live the war! Long live the King! – shouted the huge crowd, which got a flag from somewhere, and thus they demonstrated for the war. (Pesti Napló)

The general joy gave birth to a new, international pictorial genre, the group pictures of soldiers happily departing to the front, and usually waving from the windows and doors of their trains. The name of the capital of the enemy country is painted on the train, as if they went just for a short excursion. After all, Kaiser Wilhelm also told: by the time the leaves fall off, our troops will be home.


Gyula Juhász: Wonderful days…
(1 August 1914)

Csodálatos napok! Magára lelt a lelkünk,
Mely meddő és beteg békében veszni tért,
Ó első, legnagyobb és tiszta győzelmünk,
Meglelte a magyar szavát, szívét és hitét!

Fenséges nagy napok! Új csillagok születnek
S a régi csillagok új lánggal fénylenek.
Vonuljatok dalos, harcos népregimentek,
Új törvényt vés Klió és új történetet!



Wonderful days! Our soul, which this far
was made fertile and ill by the peace, now
has found itself! Oh, our first, clean victory:
Hungary has found its word, heart and faith!

Majestic, great days! New stars are born
and the old stars shine with a new light.
March on, singing, heroic regiments:
Clio is engraving new law and new history!


We have already published some pieces of this new genre, but now with Natasha Gajdarova, author of the Great War Blog we decided to publish all such pictures known by us, the images of the soldiers cheerfully leaving for the neighbors throughout Europe. A memento of how the new law and new history, finally indeed engraved by Clio, began.