Global war, global catastrophe: neutrals, belligerents and the transformation of the First World War
How important was neutrality to the course, conduct and experience of the First World War? What role did neutrals and neutrality play in radicalising and globalising the conflict?
This research project aims to write a unique overview history of the First World War, presenting the conflict as a global crisis that forcibly reshaped the international system and, with it, the futures of all the world’s people, be they neutral or belligerent. Taking as its starting point the global order of 1914, in which a country’s right to adopt neutrality was as entrenched as its right to go to war, it seeks to investigate how over the course of four years the war tested the on-going sustainability of the international system. It does so by integrating the history of neutrality into the existing histories of the First World War from which (at present) it still is removed. Altogether, the project investigates the global parameters of the war and asks questions of the importance of neutrality and belligerency in determining the course, conduct, consequences and experiences of the conflict.
Maartje Abbenhuis, Age of Neutrals. Great Power Politics 1815 – 1914. Cambridge University Press, 2014;
Maartje Abbenhuis, The Art of Staying Neutral. The Netherlands in the First World War 1914 – 1918. Amsterdam University Press, 2006;
Maartje Abbenhuis, ‘A most useful tool for diplomacy. Neutrality and Europe in the “long” nineteenth century’ International History Review. 35, 1, 2013, pp. 1 – 22.