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"Perspectives on the Great War" Exhibit Opens Today!

  • Wednesday, 21 May 2014
  • Posted By: Mary-Allen Johnson (
Today is the opening of the exhibit "World Perspectives on the Great War" in the Exhibit Gallery on the first floor of Thompson Library at The Ohio State University campus in Columbus. As described in the previous six blog postings, my colleagues in Area Studies have chosen items from their respective collections presenting World War I from the viewpoints of Latin America and Spain, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, the Jewish world communities, China and Japan.The exhibit not only presents a variety of topics on WWI such as colonialism, neutrality, and the contributions of certain societal groups to the war effort, but it also points to some of the far-reaching consequences of the war – the…

China’s Lingering Resentment

  • Wednesday, 14 May 2014
  • Posted By: Guoqing Li (
When war broke out in 1914 China declared its intention to remain neutral. After years of internal bloodshed, invasion, civil war and revolution, the three year old Chinese Republic faced serious domestic problems. This intial stance, however, changed when Japan, an ally of Britain since 1902, entered the fray by declaring war of German, capturing Qindao (the biggest German overseas naval base on the Shandong Peninsula in China) and violating Chinese neutrality.Japan’s territorial ambitious continued under the so-called 21 Demands. The demands intended to enhance Japanese control over most of Shandong, southern Manchuria, eastern Inner Mongolia, and islands in the South Pacific controlled by Germany. China’s elites and government reassed the nation’s position and saw participation in the war…

Visual Culture: Japan & the Asiatic Theatre

  • Wednesday, 7 May 2014
  • Posted By: Maureen Donovan (
Although far away from central conflicts of World War I in Europe, events in the Asiatic Theatre hold significance not only for that time, but also for their connections to all that has occurred in the region subsequently, continuing even to the present day. This exhibit includes items from the library collections illustrating the period from August 1914, when the British officially asked Japan for assistance in attacking the German colony in Qingdao, China (based on provisions of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance of 1902), to November 1914, with the surrender of German colonial forces to Japan and the Australian defeat of a German ship during the Battle of Cocos in the South Pacific. A vibrant, highly visual culture flourished in…

Jewish Participation in WWI

  • Wednesday, 30 April 2014
  • Posted By: Joseph Galron (
Jewish Military Participation in World War I The upcoming Area Studies exhibit centering on World War I spends a good deal of time on the role European Jewry played throughout the conflict. Jews, although often treated as second-class citizens, served in the national armies of all the belligerent nations. Military service, they surely felt, would entitle them to civic and political rights. Nearly 1.7 million Jews saw action during the Great War. American, Russian, Austro-Hungarian, German, British, and French Jewry provided the largest manpower and not surprisingly suffered significant casualties. Needless to say, it is impossible to discuss the enormity of the war and the participation of European Jewry through a few cases and a few artifacts. However, one…

Colonial Entanglements

  • Wednesday, 23 April 2014
  • Posted By: Johanna Sellman (
When the Great War broke out in 1914, the European colonial empires were at the height of their power and reach. Virtually all regions of Africa were under some form of European rule. The Arab region of the Middle East was still under the administration of the Ottoman Empire. To understand the way that World War One played out in the Arab Middle East and Africa, it is important to consider the role of European colonial interests. Decolonization in the Middle East and Africa wouldn’t take place in earnest until after World War Two. However, the way that colonial interests played out in World War One would have a significant impact on later developments. This section of our World…

On Mobilized Intellectuals

  • Wednesday, 16 April 2014
  • Posted By: Miroljub S Ruzic (
“In ordinary times the intellectual forces of a country’s best elements easily predominate over its collective forces, but in great crises, such as wars, revolutions, and the like, this is not the case.” -- Gustave Le Bon (1841-1931), Psychology of the Great War: the First World War & its origins Gustave Le Bon’s insular observation, centered on the marginal role of mobilized intellectuals as combatants and educated soldiers, has not gone unchallenged. History provides adequate evidence to undermine it. During the upcoming Area Studies World War I exhibit, the East European Studies (EES) case will teach by, among other things, reexamining Bon’s assertion and deepening public understanding of the role of the fighting intellectual. Shortly after hostilities began students…