Despite the fact that Eastern Europe was the “ignition” of the First World War, the combat in France retains a special place in the hearts of many in the West.

On August 27, the National WWI Museum and Memorial will open Empires at War: Austria and Russia, an unique exhibition showcasing never-before-seen artifacts from the Great War’s Eastern Front.

According to a news statement from the museum, “the Eastern Front was a ‘war of mobility’ in which the Central Powers, with over 2.5 million soldiers, fought a considerably larger, but disorganized, army of 4 million Russians.” “The exhibition includes a remarkable collection of never-before-seen Austrian and Russian material culture — uniforms, equipment, flags, caps, helmets, and more – drawn from genuine items recently donated to the Museum and Memorial’s collection.”

The Eastern Front, which was often overlooked or outright disregarded, witnessed the fall of two empires and the emergence of revolutionary ideals. Despite its significance, collecting ephemera has been difficult since the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires fell apart.

With the centennial of WWI, “opportunities to reengage the worldwide audience and enhance the collection” emerged, as did the opportunity to shed “new light on the lasting effects of war on the Eastern Front.” And, unlike “many exhibitions,” it is organized by themes rather than chronologically. Doran Cart, the museum’s senior curator, agreed. 

Empires at War: Austria and Russia opens this Friday and will be on display in Kansas City until January 2023.

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

  • New Exhibition to Examine the Oft Forgotten Eastern Front of WWI

    (National WWI Memorial and Museum)

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