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Spoils of War


The Economic Consequences of the Great War in Central Europe

Principal Investigator:
Dr Tamás Vonyó

Contract Type: Grant ERC Horizon 2020 Starting Grant

Project Funding: €1.49 million

Period: 2019-2023

Project Description: Spoils of WAR will set a new standard in the economic history of the world wars by investigating how the First World War affected regional economic development and industrial organisation in the Habsburg Empire and its successor states. We can directly account for the impact of wartime resource allocation, independent from the outcomes of postwar political disintegration, using abundant, yet understudied, primary data on war contractors. We can detect how war spending affected the spatial concentration of industry, the economic structure of Habsburg regions and business networks. Case studies on key industries can help to demonstrate how they perceived these changes and what strategies they developed to address them. The project will break through traditional boundaries between economic and business history and integrate the analytical tools of both disciplines. It will shift focus in the recent economic history of the wars from the Second to the First World War and use newly developed methods in historical economic geography and comparative business history.

The project will operate within the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy from 2019 to 2023. The research team includes 2 post-doctoral researchers in economic history (Stefan Nikolic) and historical political economy (Bogdan Popescu) as well as 2 junior research fellows in business history starting in 2020.