The article explores Spain’s little-known global humanitarian efforts and policy of active neutrality during the First World War. Opened in 1915 in response to the large number of desperate requests addressed to King Alfonso XIII inquiring about the whereabouts, treatment, and repatriation of loved ones, the European War Office headquartered in Madrid’s Royal Palace reached across social classes, rival camps, and continents.
Unlike the International Prisoners-of-War Agency established by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, the Office retained and filed all letters from requestors, resulting in an extensive collection of letters and over 180,000 files stored in the Royal Palace Archive. The article identifies these relief efforts and traces the global networks at play, paying particular attention to the role of women as petitioners, recommenders, employees, and volunteers at the Office.
Marina said: “I’m elated the article has made the list of most-read articles of all time published in The International History Review, possibly the best-known journal focusing on the history of international relations.
“I’m particularly honoured it has joined the works of reputed global historians and World War One scholars in the list, like Andrew Thompson, Stella Ghervas, Annika Mombauer and David Stevenson. In addition, much-admired colleagues at DPIR, such as Louise Fawcett, have also published in IHR.”
Marina is currently working on a research article with Mahon Murphy from the University of Kyoto on World War One humanitarian efforts on the African front, targeted toward German and Cameroonian soldiers and civilian refugees in Spanish Equatorial Guinea and the Iberian Peninsula. The article is part of a larger project Marina co-lead’s with Dina Gusejnova (LSE) and Arnd Bauerkämper (Free University of Berlin) on new directions of the history of internment during the two World Wars.
She is also working on a larger research project exploring European humanitarianism more broadly during the First World War. Research on humanitarianism and relief activities during the First World War is relatively recent, dating mainly from the last decade, as research traditionally focused on belligerents and battles.
I’m elated the article has made the list of most-read articles of all time published in The International History Review, possibly the best-known journal focusing on the history of international relations.