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    Introduction: The Lusophone World at War, 1914-1918 and Beyond

    Ribeiro De Meneses, Filipe (2017) Introduction: The Lusophone World at War, 1914-1918 and Beyond. e-Journal of Portuguese History, 15 (1). pp. 1-14. ISSN 1645-6432

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    On March 9, 1916, Germany declared war in Portugal. In response, Lisbon sent a fighting force, the Corpo Expedicionário Português [CEP], to France, where it held a portion of the Western Front until April 9, 1918. In addition, a number of smaller expeditions were dispatched to secure Mozambique and, if possible, participate in the conquest of German East Africa. Both theatres of war were a source of frustration for the Portuguese, and participation in the conflict fell far short of the hopes deposited in it by its defenders. As interventionist politicians slowly lost control over the country’s destiny after the war’s end, the conflict faded from the public’s awareness, its memory kept alive essentially among those who had direct experience with combat. For decades, Portugal’s participation in World War I was generally ignored, or reduced to a historical cul-de-sac, a pointless, if expensive, military episode. However, our understanding of the conflict’s impact on Portugal and its importance in the subsequent course of the country’s history has increased immeasurably over the past twenty years. The centenary commemorations for both the Republic, in 2010, and the Great War itself, starting in 2014, have naturally contributed to this process. In March of 2016, on the hundredth anniversary of Portugal’s intervention in the conflict, a colloquium was held at Brown University as an attempt to insert Portugal’s war experience into a wider, but intimately related, context: that of the Lusophone world. The intention of the colloquium’s organizers was twofold. They set out, on the one hand, to acknowledge and showcase the rich diversity inherent in the Portuguese war experience (both in the European metropolis and in the African and Asian colonies) and in its Brazilian counterpart. On the other, the organizers intended to challenge participants to think of the First World War in a new way: not only as the preserve of governments, generals and statesmen, or even of strictly defined nation-states, but rather of linguistic communities and cultures that crossed oceans and were, in some cases, present on all continents. This aspect of the workshop’s rationale rested on the possibility that there might well have existed affinities beyond loyalty to country, class, or even to empire (multinational or colonial)2 that determined how people around the globe experienced the First World War. In other words, it was the organizers’ intention to establish whether global linguistic communities, tied together by a multitude of bonds of varying strengths, developed a common response to the experience of a world at war in the age of total conflict.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: World War I; CEP; Western Front; Lusophone Nations;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 11492
    Depositing User: Filipe Ribeiro De Meneses
    Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 15:50
    Journal or Publication Title: e-Journal of Portuguese History
    Publisher: Brown University, Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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