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    'All of Us are Looking Forward to Leaving': The Censored Correspondence of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps in France, 1917–18


    Ribeiro De Meneses, Filipe (2000) 'All of Us are Looking Forward to Leaving': The Censored Correspondence of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps in France, 1917–18. European History Quarterly, 30 (3). pp. 333-355. ISSN 0265-6914

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    Abstract

    vocal minority, to be at war with Germany.2 Moreover, the Portuguese army reflected this lack of consensus, a substantial part of its officers believing the country’s intervention to have been the result of partisan policy, born out of the material and political interests of a few, and not of national necessity. Finally, The lack of morale among the Portuguese forces fighting on the Western Front — and its link with the collapse of the Portuguese 2nd Division on 9 April 1918, before one of the most successful German offensives of the war — has already been demonstrated.1 Even if only for one morning, the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps (CEP), at the battle on the Lys river, found itself in the centre of the fighting in Europe, thus accomplishing the objective so desired by the politicians who had initially sent it to France. However, difficulties with supplies and reinforcements, political divisions, and a violent change of government in Lisbon in December 1917 had all contributed to the CEP’s inability to mount a co-ordinated defence against the German onslaught, which was both preceded by a sudden and violent artillery barrage and spearheaded by the shock-troops developed by Hindenburg and Ludendorff. After 9 April 1918 the remains of the CEP were used by the Allies in secondary duties, including the digging of trenches. Some combat-worthy battalions were assembled, but returned to the front only in November 1918, too late to see any fighting. The Portuguese experience of the Western Front, despite the small size of the CEP (an incomplete army corps), is of interest to historians of the Great War because it provides a unique perspective of that conflict: for Portugal the war was a limited, and not a total, war against a distant enemy; there was no consensus in Portugal over the need to send an expeditionary corps to France or even, among a significant and the CEP was, in its social and cultural composition, an exception on the Western Front (although not in the war as a whole, considering the campaigns in Eastern Europe): as an example of a largely rural and illiterate population, whose experience of war was limited to African campaigns, it naturally faced greater difficulties than its Allied counterparts in adjusting to the mass industrial battlefields of France...

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Western; Wartime; Portuguese Expeditionary Corps; Western Front; History; World War One;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > History
    Item ID: 11489
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/026569140003000303
    Depositing User: Filipe Ribeiro De Meneses
    Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 15:44
    Journal or Publication Title: European History Quarterly
    Publisher: Sage Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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