What the Other Didn’t See: An Intersectional Analysis of the Writings of Two Civilians in World War I German-occupied Belgium

Open Access
Author:
Eckel, Katrina Marie
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sophie De Schaepdrijver, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael James Milligan, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Belgium
  • WWI
  • World War I
  • Military Occupation
  • 1916
  • 1917
  • Brand Whitlock
  • Mary Thorp
  • Diary
  • War Diaries
  • Intersectionality
Abstract:
The purpose of this thesis is to examine how German occupation influenced Belgian society during WWI. By using the diaries of Mary Thorp and Brand Whitlock, two civilians living in Belgium at the time of the war, this thesis examines not only how occupation society functioned as a whole, but also how different groups within occupied Belgian society experienced the occupation. After an introduction and an overview of the occupation’s origins and circumstances, the thesis itself is split into sections along the intersectional lines of class, nation, and gender, each representing an aspect of a person’s identity that would change their occupation experience. Examining Mary Thorp and Brand Whitlock’s experiences regarding each of these three things, including how they themselves made note of class, nation, and gender’s impacts on people’s lives under occupation, makes it possible to study both how the German occupation had altered Belgian society, as well as the ways in which Belgian society did not change.