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Emigrant Draft Evasion in the First World War: Decision-Making and Emotional Consequences in the Transatlantic Italian family

Daly, Selena; (2021) Emigrant Draft Evasion in the First World War: Decision-Making and Emotional Consequences in the Transatlantic Italian family. European History Quarterly , 51 (2) pp. 170-188. 10.1177/02656914211006298. Green open access

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Abstract

In 1911, Italians living abroad constituted one-sixth of Italy’s population, numbering roughly five million people. During the First World War, approximately 300,000 men returned from the Americas and other European countries to answer the call to arms and complete their military service. However, this number constitutes only 13 per cent of those men living abroad who were liable for conscription. Thus, this article will examine the larger phenomenon of draft evasion among emigrant Italians across the Atlantic, where most evaders resided. I will begin by analysing evasion in the context of Italian mobilization and the factors influencing emigrants’ decision-making. I argue that the decision was a joint one, negotiated between family members on both sides of the ocean. I will thus also explore the impact of this decision on personal relationships, through three case studies of familial separation initially caused by emigration and then compounded by draft evasion: a husband in California and his wife in Liguria; a son in the Dominican Republic and his mother in Calabria; and a woman in Argentina whose husband had evaded the draft, and her sister in Liguria, exploring the emotional toll this decision took on them and their loved ones.

Type: Article
Title: Emigrant Draft Evasion in the First World War: Decision-Making and Emotional Consequences in the Transatlantic Italian family
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/02656914211006298
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/02656914211006298
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2021. Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC 4.0) Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) whicch permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). Request permissions for this article.
Keywords: Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, History, Political Science, Government & Law, conscription, draft evasion, emigration, family, First World War, Italy, letter-writing, military service, MIGRATION, SCALE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10177239
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