Hunger Draws the Map: Blockade and Food Shortages in Europe, 1914-1922

This Leverhulme Trust funded project started in January 2016 and will run until the end of December 2018. A series of workshops and conferences will enable the partners to plan the research findings, share methodologies and disseminate results. A co-authored book will summarise the findings of the project and this will be complemented by a website, which will feature interactive maps and research updates.

The network will gather specialists working on different countries affected by the First World War to examine the impact of food shortages on European societies during the conflict. It will consider both the causes – blockade as a mode of warfare and trade disruption – and the consequences of reduced food supplies in various regions of the continent. Our goal is to compare levels of hunger and responses to it during and immediately after the war cross the continent. Local studies on hunger during the war exist but a truly transnational project will provide a much more global picture of the phenomenon.

The five institutions involved in the network – University of Oxford, Regensburg University, University of Amsterdam, The Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University, and The Pennsylvania State University – complement each other well, as they can provide strong support in fields related to the project. At an institutional level, we are particularly pleased to combine the diversity and strengths of First World War studies at Oxford with Food Studies at Penn State, and to have the support of the Hoover Institution, with its rich and unique archival collection that contains primary sources on hunger and living standards. Hoover will be a natural venue for a large conference on hunger during the war.

Further details and updates will appear in due course.

Network Partners

StrachanProfessor Sir Hew Strachan, Principal Investigator for Hunger Draws the Map, is Emeritus Fellow at All Souls College, University of Oxford and Professor of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews. His recent books include The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms (2001), The First World War: an illustrated history (2003; related to a multi-part television series and translated into many languages), Clausewitz’s On War: a Biography (2007), and The Direction of War (2013). He is the editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (revised edition, 2014), and a clutch of volumes arising from his Directorship of the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme. He is a member of the Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel, the Defence Academy Advisory Board, and the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and has been a specialist advisor to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the National Security Strategy in the recently dissolved Parliament. He is a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum and a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner, and serves on the both the United Kingdom’s and Scotland’s national advisory panels for the centenary of the First World War.

Dr Mary E Cox 2016, cropDr Mary E. Cox is Departmental Lecturer of Economic History and member of All Souls College, University of Oxford. Her interests are in the impact of war-induced food shortages on the nutritional status of children. Her focus has been on the Allied Blockade during World War I and the subsequent Allied effort to feed hungry children in Germany after the war. Combining archival data of children’s heights and weights with anthropometric analysis, it is possible not only to pinpoint how the war and blockade led to serious nutritional deprivation in women and children, but also how international food aid subsequently improved the living standards of those children who were most devastated by war-time shortages. She has published on the work of German anthropologist Augustin Krämer in Samoa at the turn of the 20th century, and on the nutritional status of children in Germany during the First World War. She is currently completing a book on the living standards of women and children in Germany during the First World War.

CMorelonDr Claire Morelon is Junior Research Fellow, History of the Great War, at The Queen’s College. Her PhD thesis explored daily life in Prague between 1914 and 1920. Her postdoctoral research focuses on the war experience of adolescents in the Bohemian Lands (1914-1922) and the mobilisation through Catholicism for the Habsburg war effort. She is interested in how people made sense of war through faith, and how the unrest of the postwar period can be seen in continuity with the wartime upheavals.

DSC_3031_joel_web2Dr Joël Floris is Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Evolutionary Morphology and Adaptation Group, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM) / Department of Economics (ECON), University of Zurich. His research interests include Anthropometric History; Economic, Health and Social History of Switzerland; History of Statistics; Quantitative Economic History; and Demography.


Eriks JekabsonsDr Ēriks Jēkabsons, Dr hist., is a professor of history and philosophy in the Department of Twentieth Century Research, Institute of Latvian History, University of Latvia. He is working to incorporate post-World-War-I reports on Latvia from the American Red Cross and the American Relief Administration into the canon of historical knowledge about the country. His research interests include modern history of Latvia; national minorities in Latvia; Latvian-Polish and Latvian-Lithuanian relations in the first half of the 20th century; and history of the Latvian Army.

member-kind-kovacs-friederikeDr Friederike Kind-Kovács, is assistant professor at the department of Southeast-and East European History at the University of Regensburg and associate postdoctoral researcher at the Graduate School of East and Southeast European Studies (Regensburg/München). Her research deals with twentieth century cultural and social history and focuses in particular on transnational and transatlantic entanglements. She is the author of Written Here, Published There: How Underground Literature Crossed the Iron Curtain (Central European University Press, 2014), a monograph for which she won the University of Southern California Book Prize in Cultural and Literary Studies in 2015. Apart from a series of articles, she also co-edited a volume with the title Samizdat, Tamizdat and Beyond. Transnational media during and after socialism. New York: Berghahn Books 2013. In her current book project, which is entitled The Great War, the Needy Child and the Making of Humanitarian Child Relief in Central Europe, she studies the history of childhood in relation to issues of war, poverty, migration and humanitarianism.

UitsnedeDr Samuël Kruizinga is assistant professor in contemporary and military history in the Modern History Research Group of the Amsterdam School of Culture and History (ASCH) at the Humanities Faculty of the University of Amsterdam. He specialises in the global impact of conflict during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing especially on the First World War and the Spanish Civil War. He has written extensively about neutrality during the First World War, specifically about the impact of economic warfare on neutrals in 1914-1918. His new research project is on the history of foreign fighting in Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Andrew Newby 2Dr Andrew Newby, Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki. As Docent in European Area and Cultural Studies he is interested in a wide variety of historical and contemporary topics, from a range of disciplinary perspectives. In pursuing both transnational and comparative research, he enjoys questioning some of the accepted norms of European ‘national’ narratives. His current research priority (2012-2017) is the Academy of Finland project, The Terrible Visitation. Famine in Finland and Ireland, c. 1845-1868: Transnational, Comparative and Long-Term Perspectives. As a part of this project, he is also organising a comparative collection of historical articles on aspects of Finnish and Irish history from ca. 1800 to 1920, and participating in other international networks: from 2014-2017 he is co-director of the NWO-funded International Network of Irish Famine Studies, based at the Radboud University, Nijmegen; and from 2016-18 he is collaborating in the Leverhulme Trust-funded Hunger Draws the Map! Blockade and Food Shortages in Europe, 1914–1922, based at the University of Oxford.

maciej_siekierskiDr Maciej Siekierski, is curator of the European Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.A specialist on Poland and Eastern Europe, he has been a member of the staff since 1984, with principal responsibility for acquiring European archival materials. He is the compiler of Polish Independent Publications: Guide to the Collection in the Hoover Institution Archives (Hoover Institution Press, 1999). He edited Wiktor Sukiennicki’s two-volume East Central Europe during World War I: From Foreign Domination to National Independence (East European Monographs, 1984). Siekierski’s doctoral dissertation, Landed Wealth in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania: The Economic Affairs of Prince Nicholas Christopher Radziwill, was published by the Polish Academy of Science in Acta Baltico-Slavica, vols. 20–21, 1992–93. Together with Feliks Tych, he published I Saw the Angel of Death: Experiences of Polish Jews Deported to the USSR during World War II (Warsaw: Rosner, 2006). Siekierski’s latest publication is the 1910–1920 memoirs of Helena Paderewska published both in the original English (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2015) and in Polish translation (Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 2015).

Nicholas SiekierskiNick Siekierski is a PhD candidate at the Tadeusz Manteuffel Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. He is writing his dissertation on Herbert Hoover and the American Relief Administration in Poland, 1919–1922. He worked at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University until 2014 as curator for exhibits on topics including World War II, Chinese history, art, and democracy in Eastern Europe. In 2015 he was a Silas Palmer Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

bertrand_patenaudeDr Bertrand M. Patenaude is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University. He is a lecturer in history and international relations at Stanford University. His most recent book is Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, published by HarperCollins in 2009. He is also the author of A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives (Stanford University Press, 2006), a richly illustrated coffee-table book that showcases the Hoover Archives’ extraordinary collections, which span the entire twentieth century. His first book, The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (Stanford University Press, 2002) won the 2003 Marshall Shulman Book Prize and is the basis for a forthcoming documentary film produced for the award-winning PBS series American Experience.

sophie-de-sProfessor Sophie De Schaepdrijver is Professor of History (Modern Europe) at the Pennsylvania State University. She is a social and cultural historian of modern Europe. Her first field was 19th-century urban history (prostitution, migration, urban planning). She turned to the First World War with her second book, a prize-winning monograph on the Belgian war experience (Dutch original, 1997; revised French translation, 2004). Since then she has published widely on the military occupations of the First World War, on transnational families’ war experiences, and on war and memory in literature and politics. Her latest books are Military Occupations in the First World War (edited volume, 2014), Bastion: Occupied Bruges in the First World War (2014), and Gabrielle Petit: The Death and Life of a Female Spy in the First World War (2015). Her latest work, An English Governess in the Great War: the Diary of Mary Thorp, co-written with Tammy Proctor, will be published with Oxford University Press in 2017. She is active as a public historian: her four-part television documentary Brave Little Belgium aired in August 2014 on the Belgian culture channel VRT-canvas and won the 2015 Michael Nelson Prize of the International Association for Media and History. She holds a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship at the University of Kent for the academic year 2016-2017.

Govert Schoofdrs. Govert Schoof is Senior Project Manager Geographic Information Systems, Donald Smits Center for Information Technology, University of Groningen.





KS_0137_kaspar-web2Dr Kaspar Staub is Institute Manager, Senior Research Assistant and Deputy Head, Evolutionary Morphology and Adaptation Group, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, and Lecturer, Institute of History, University of Bern. His research interests include overweight/obesity; Anthropometry (Height/BMI); Birth Weight; (Historical) Epidemiology; Anthropometric History; Changes in Human Body Shape; History of Health and Nutrition; and (Historical) Demographics.