I am pursuing a study of Jewish German and Austro-Hungarian soldiers in the First World War. The two main European partners of the Central Powers each had sizable Jewish populations with corresponding representation in the armed forces. Perspectives amongst these soldiers varied widely regarding their conceptualization of nationalism, Zionism, and dual identity as Jews and as citizens of the German or Habsburg Empires in the early twentieth century. This was highly dependent on nationality, unit, and theatre of war.
Research will be drawn from personal letters, diaries, and memoirs, along with official archival documents, with a particular focus on field officers. This study aims to go beyond the traditional approach involving representative statistics and soldiers’ experiences in relation to antisemitism to portray the diversity and complexity of this multi-layered history which has often been overshadowed in the historiography by the events of the following period, including the Shoah.