Today, one century after WWI, it is widely recognized that WWI involved both direct combatants and civilian populations. Besides the soldiers, those whom the war affected, directly or indirectly, also included the population left behind, on the home fronts. Women, children, the elderly, refugees and prisoners-of-war: all these had to suffer because of the global conflagration. Their participation in the war remained neglected in scholarship for a long time. Only over the past three decades has Western historiography broadened the perspectives and interpretations on WWI, going beyond aspects of political, military and diplomatic history and focusing also on the effort of “the many”, who thus came out of anonymity for the first time, becoming subjects of history.
What are, however, still relatively unknown are the realities of the Eastern Front, where the civilian population endured the horrors of the war in forms and at levels that were sometimes different from those on the Western front. This is why the present session aims to recapture the manifestations and effects of the war among the civilians from the Eastern Front. Several issues will be examined, such as: the plight of the refugees from the occupied territories and of the prisoners held in war camps; the situation of women, children and the elderly, left without support on the home front; religious and philanthropic assistance; the role of institutions such as the Church and the School in supporting the war effort.