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Finding out whereabouts of missing persons: the European War Office, transnational humanitarianism and Spanish royal diplomacy in the First World War

Pérez de Arcos, Marina (2021) Finding out whereabouts of missing persons: the European War Office, transnational humanitarianism and Spanish royal diplomacy in the First World War. International History Review. ISSN 0707-5332

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Identification Number: 10.1080/07075332.2021.1976809

Abstract

A hybrid of personal and state humanitarian action, King Alfonso’s European War Office in Madrid’s Royal Palace reached across social classes, rival camps and continents, enabling Spain to pursue a policy of active neutrality in the First World War. Opened in 1915 in response to the large number of desperate requests addressed to Alfonso XIII from around the globe inquiring about the whereabouts, treatment and repatriation of loved ones (both soldiers and civilians), the Office was run by a relatively small team of up to forty-six staff members, aided by Spain’s extensive diplomatic network abroad. Unlike the International Prisoners-of-War Agency established by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the European War Office opted to file and retain all missives from requestors, resulting in a large collection of letters and over 180,000 files stored in the Royal Palace Archive. This exceptional, multilingual collection offers unique insights into the war, yet it remains unknown to the international scholarly community. Over one hundred years since the foundation of the Office, this article highlights a highly significant and understudied case of transnational history at the intersection of royal diplomacy, neutralism and humanitarian aid.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/rinh20
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DP Spain
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 15:36
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2022 09:51
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/114350

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