ASEH 2019 conference: A session on the 1920s and 1930s

Dear fellow scholars of militaries and the environment,

Over the last two ASEH meetings we have had fruitful panels on disease and the aftermath of World War I, war, nationalism and natural resources (2017), and strategic planning and civil wars between the world wars (2018). Based on these excellent panels, talk has emerged about pulling together a collected volume on the military environmental history of the interwar years, akin to The Long Shadows and the forthcoming multi-author volumes on World War I and on World War II in the United States. At the 2019 conference, it is high time we take the next step towards a volume on the years between the two global wars.

For the conference here in Columbus in 2019, I would like to propose that those of us interested broadly in the interwar years should develop a roundtable or panel that looks broadly at the major themes in interwar military environmental history. From the past panels I have observed three (possibly four) broad themes that we could collectively consider in this session: 1. environmental impacts of demobilization; 2. strategic planning of resources and resilience; 3. environmental preparation/remobilization for World War II (or lack thereof). The fourth potential theme could include civil wars, empires and colonial wars. Such a session would allow us to consider the meaningful impact of the environment in a historiography that has been dominated by a political and economic focus. Given the theme of the conference on “Using Environmental History” a discussion of strategic planning of resources and the lessons this history teaches us seems particularly timely and relevant.

If you are interested in participating in the roundtable, please send me a short email here describing your particular area of interest and how it fits into one or more of the aforementioned themes and I will put together a proposal contingent on sufficient interest.

Jim Harris
Ohio State University