Great expectations: the latency of the first world war in Republican Portugal, 1914-1916

José Miguel Sardica*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the latency of the First World War in Republican Portugal, tracing the connections between its national scenario and those of its European and global counterparts by exploring the mixture of feelings that influenced the tone of the public debate in the years leading up to Portugal’s pro-Allied participation in the conflict. To that end, it surveys the main voices and discourses that both forged and echoed the dominant feelings of enthusiasm and expectancy that were latent both before the war and from 1914 to 1916, the period in which the Portuguese Republican government managed to impose its militant warmongering on the nation. For Portugal, the war safeguarded its African colonies, preventing the British and the Germans from seizing them as bargaining chips, invalidated Spain’s Iberian whims, and had yet another, perhaps more urgent goal: promoting and guaranteeing the internal ralliement of all of the political and social sensibilities of Republican Portugal around a cause deemed sacred and patriotic, thereby taming the anti-war forces and encouraging them to collaborate in a national union controlled by the government. This goal proved to be the main driving force underlying the country’s blatant warmongering. However, despite all of its efforts to propagate a true ‘psychosis of war’ that would push the nation into supporting the government’s cause, the Republican war discourse failed, incapable of reaching a poor, illiterate and rural society, for which war was always a distant and incomprehensible phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication and the First World War
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780429798849
ISBN (Print)9781138343603
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2020


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