Refugee relief during the First World War: Belgian refugees in Birmingham (1914-1919)

Description: The First World War can be identified as a total war since it affected every level of society, far beyond the front. The violence against civilians caused an unprecedented stream of refugees, which induced in its turn an explosion of humanitarian help. In this view, the Great War can be seen as a catalyst for the transition of charity towards a professional and institutionalized social work. Furthermore, the war was a decisive turning point in which the initial outlines of the current (inter)national policies regarding refugees and human rights were drawn. In Belgium 250.000 Belgians fled to England, of which 5.000 stayed in Birmingham. During the war a layered network of relief work was established to meet the needs of these refugees. Consequently, the central research question of this study is: “How did the Belgian exile during the First World War challenge and influence social work and the underlying networks and what were post-war effects on the further development of social work?”
Promoter(s): .N.N.
Researcher(s): Jolien De Vuyst
Department / Research group: Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
Faculty: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences