The Great War witnessed the most important military operation carried out by Portuguese troops outside the country’s borders during the first half of the 20th Century. Portugal was the only country involved in the conflict which, between 1914 and 1916, was able to preserve a position of undeclared neutrality in Europe and, simultaneously, wage war against Germany in Africa. The defense of the Portuguese colonial empire’s integrity has often been signaled by historians as one of the factors which justified the declaration of war against Germany, in March 1916, and Portugal’s participation in the European theatre of operations, alongside its ally, Great Britain, from early 1917 onwards. This article seeks to analyze the way in which the Great War was considered by the colonies, especially Mozambique, discussing the Portuguese military intervention and the way it was understood and witnessed by civilian and military figures alike.
Ana Paula Pires is a researcher and member of the directors’ board of the Institute for Contemporary History at NOVA University of Lisbon. At NOVA she currently coordinates the research group “Economy, Society, Innovation and Heritage”.
Among her most important published works: Portugal e a I Guerra Mundial. A República e a Economia de Guerra (2011); “Between war and Peace: the Portuguese Experience in the Great War” (2015); “War and Empire: Portugal and the Portuguese Colonies in Africa in a Global War”(2015); and “The First World War in Portuguese East Africa: Civilian and Military Encounters in the Indian Ocean” (2017).
Ana Paula Pires was recently appointed member of an inter-ministerial commission to the study of military tourism in Portugal.