History Research Seminar, University of Amsterdam
Thursday 11 April, 15:00-17:00
Kloveniersburgwal 48, OIH/Bushuis, VOC Zaal
Sophie de Schaepdrijver (Pennsylvania State University)
The Great War’s Third Space: Military Occupations in First World War Europe
Discussant: Floribert Baudet (Nederlandse Defensie Academie)
The First World War divided Europe into sharply delineated spaces: fronts; home fronts; and those spaces which were neither – the areas invaded by enemy armies. Close to 40 million Europeans experienced the war as civilians under military occupation. They lived in areas ranging from the highly industrialized regions behind the Western Front to the sparsely-populated Baltic; from the urban sophistication of Warsaw to the Karst mountains of Montenegro. Occupied Europe was both marginal and central to the war: marginal, because it saw neither army clashes nor arms production; central, because it was created and suffused by the war and because it propelled the war onward. This paper will examine what the particular, and particularly baffling, experience of “being occupied” meant for civilians: violence, but also interstices in violence; limitations and agency; self-definitions; time-horizons; memory. It will also ask whether it is possible to study “occupied Europe” as a whole.