War is the greatest of all crimes and yet there is no aggressor who does not colour his crime with the pretext of justice.

Immediately after the start of the war, many who opposed or merely doubted their government’s decisions or the rationality of war were brought before a court of justice or even jailed. Among them journalists, industrialists, teachers, writers and other prominent public servants as well as hordes of anonymous individuals who, out of the blue, became public enemies because they expressed their opinions. Some would be jailed for extended periods while other were quickly released. The majority, however, was prevented from getting employment or were exiled to the front lines or the military rear. At the start of the War, the Monarchy tightened its grip over the civilian population that unwillingly became an integral part of the military apparatus. With the declaration of war, civil affairs were taken over by the military administration that would govern based on army logic, particularly in favour of its own interests and needs.

Despite the authority’s efforts to conceal and quell civil unrest, it quickly became clear that the public euphoria and unconditional loyalty to the Emperor and the Monarchy had another, quite different side, one that was impossible to overlook and cover up. After the War began, suspected informants were first jailed along with conscientious objectors and enemy sympathisers, later on also smugglers and war opportunists, while constantly staving off the pressure generated by hostile anti-German individuals and organisations striving for the unification and sovereignty of Slavic nations inhabiting the multi-national empire. The arrests of obtrusive and suspicious individuals were followed by abolitions, censorship and other actions aimed at restricting the operations of problematic newspapers and associations, while the extensive network of informants assisted in identifying and superseding the bulk of unreliable and other prominent public officials. The nameless masses, however, were the most difficult to silence and discipline. That is, immediately after the onset of the Great War, despite the government’s assurances on the safety of their investments, they thronged the banks, withdrawing all of their savings and consequently nearly collapsing the banking system. Resulting from the continuous inflation of prices were the numerous public protests and demonstrations as well as the “untrue and harmful” rumours circulated among the population, which would undermine the authority and credibility of the government and its actions.