The Global-Imperial Dimension

This strand of the project encourages an examination of the divergences and commonalities between the experiences of mobilisation across the globe. Oxford possesses historians with particular expertise in ‘Greater Britain’ (Canada, Australia and New Zealand), South Asia, the Middle East and Southern Africa. We nonetheless hope to attract researchers interested in the French, German and Ottoman experiences.

Within each of these strands, allowing for their particularities, we might think in terms of a set of broad, comparative themes:

  • Organising the War Effort: the mobilization of labour for military service; for ‘pioneer corps’ (i.e. real labour); for industrial production. Obvious sub-themes include the role of compulsion; the conscription of women and other ‘gender effects’, and the role of intermediaries – those who did the dirty work of compulsion.
  • Materialising the War Effort: the mobilization of material resources, including financial resources, foodstuffs, animal power, transport systems, medical services, and the material consequences.
  • Securing the War Effort: the mobilization of culture, ideas and information: propaganda; the role of the press; the role of clerics – Christian and other; the containment of anti-war movements; women’s movements and the War; conflicts of allegiance; the propagation of ‘loyalty’; censorship and surveillance; the changing patterns of accommodation, domination and collaboration.
  • Demobilising the War Effort: the post-war ‘hangover’: the after-effects of mobilization (highly visible in Egypt, India and Ireland); memory and commemoration in the aftermath; the perception of loss and gain; inflation and depression; shortages and disease (the Spanish Influenza pandemic).

Undertaken in parallel, researchers exploring these themes in different ‘country cases’ would benefit from the comparative possibilities offered by this project. Prof. James Belich, Dr. John Darwin and Dr. Jan-Georg Deutsch are among those able to offer supervision in this research cluster.