Abstract

The Ottoman Empire was one of the belligerents most severely affected by the First World War. The war lasted four years and required the most comprehensive mobilization of men and resources in the history of the empire. The extraction of millions of men from society and the economy, coupled with the state’s increasingly ruthless intervention in the everyday lives of the Ottoman people, placed unprecedented burdens on their shoulders. Women bore most of the brunt of the war and the state’s wartime policies on the home front. Focusing on their perceptions of and reactions to the war and the dramatic changes it brought to Ottoman society, this article examines how the war shaped women’s relationships with the state and influenced their understanding of gender roles. In doing so, it aims to challenge the historical and cultural construction of war as exclusively male centered and render Ottoman women’s wartime actions and experiences visible.

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